Travelling Sri Lanka: What To Do, See & Eat

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After spending three weeks in Sri Lanka, we left the country with many new impressions and experiences.

Sri Lanka had given us so many contrasting experiences, and the charismatic people we had met along the way had given us different insights into the country and its people.

It was interesting to see how this country has quickly risen from a long time of struggling and hardship, and is today really starting to take shape and create its own identity.

The People

I really enjoyed the people in Sri Lanka, and can honestly say that they were among the friendliest people I’ve met.

We often felt that the people we met were genuinely interested in us, and were happy to share a lot about themselves as well.

Children or adults, they were all easy to talk to and everyone always said hello, waiving from the car or street.

Being invited to a Sri Lankan family’s home was a great example of their openness and hospitality, but that wasn’t the only time we experienced this; on the buses and trains, on the streets and in hotels, the people were incredibly friendly and often greeted us with big smiles as soon as you made eye contact.

Many Sri Lankans were very positive about the future, something which you could tell not only in conversations but everywhere around you.

For example, hotels seemed to be built in a way where they could easily add new floors once business was prospering.

Sri Lankan Food

Impressions Of Sri Lanka Food
Impressions Of Sri Lanka Food

The portions in Sri Lanka are massive – sometimes when we ordered two meals, the waiter would tell us that one would be enough for both of us (some pretty honest people!), which turned out to be very true.

We were expecting the food to be similar to that of India, but found that the Sri Lankan cuisine had a very distinct style of its own.

If you ever travel to Sri Lanka, you have to try their street food!

There are Roti (a type of pancake) in an endless variety, lots of pastries, and the very popular buffalo curd, which you will love or hate.

Sri Lankans also seem incredibly fond of their foul smelling “Wood Apple”, which surprisingly tastes delicious as a milkshake.

Nature

Sri Lanka Food Nature
Sri Lanka Food Nature

From postcard-perfect beaches with palm trees hanging over the waterfront of a milky turquoise ocean and colorful wooden fishing boats, to lush rain forest, countless of waterfalls and tea plantations.

Sri Lanka has some of the most beautiful and diverse nature I’ve ever seen.

There is a little bit of everything for everyone when it comes to the nature in Sri Lanka, surfers and beach bums will love the beaches, hikers will love the mountains and views, and adventurous people will love the wild life and how easy it is to find “unexplored” and “off the beaten path” areas.

You can see a lot of it from the train window, but getting up close with the nature there is a very unique experience!

Sri Lanka Food Train
Sri Lanka Food Train

Prices in Sri Lanka

We were actually very surprised, and confused, about the cost of things in Sri Lanka. Compared to other countries in South and South East Asia, Sri Lanka is not cheap – you simply get less for what you pay for.

Public transport was insanely cheap, but also incredibly difficult to use.

Trains often only went twice a day, and at the time we were there they were so overcrowded that even the ticket salesmen often advised us to take a taxi.

To see many of the places and attractions in an area you often need a driver, so hiring one for a week or the entire duration of your stay is actually a really good idea – but naturally, this will also cost you more.

The fees to temples and cultural sites, were often surprisingly high, which put us off a little since we weren’t prepared for that.

So, as a conclusion, Sri Lanka offers a lot to see and do, but to really be able to do it all and get the very most of the country when it comes to attractions, bring a bigger budget than to India and SEA.

World Class Beaches and Surfing

The thing I didn’t like about the beaches in Thailand was that the water was absolutely still, something which got very boring after some time.

Sri Lanka has the best of both worlds; paradise beaches and good surfing.

Unawatuna has been voted as one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world by Discovery Channel, and people take Sri Lanka holidays to surf at Arugam Bay, one of the top 10 surf destinations in the world.

Culture and Festivals

One of the best ways to get an insight into a country’s tradition and culture is to attend the festivals and celebrations, and there are so many festivals in Sri Lanka that it seems like the people there love to find reasons to celebrate..!

One of the biggest celebrations is the annual Perahera festival in Kandy, a Buddhist celebration with elephant parades and dances – something I would love to see!

Elephant Encounters

I’m quite cautious when it comes to elephant centers, as I know that many of them mistreat their animals, and it’s sometimes difficult to know as a visitor.

In Sri Lanka, the Asian Elephants were hunted close to extinction during the British colonial period, and are now endangered.

But the country has made many efforts to increase the elephant population, promoting eco tourism and has as many as nine national parks, seven bird sanctuaries and several conservation centers like Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage.

It seems like a good place to meet these huge gentle animals without feeling guilty.

Impressions Of Sri Lanka about our time in Sri Lanka, check out the articles.

Sri Lanka Elephant Encounters
Sri Lanka Elephant Encounters

Explore Sri Lanka In 4 Mins VIDEO

 

Earlier this year we spent 3 weeks traveling around Sri Lanka, a country with incredible diverse nature and the most charming people.

Sri Lanka is so full of surprises and experiences, there are so many things to see and do there that we didn’t feel that 3 weeks was enough.

 

Photos:  (1, 2, 3)

27 thoughts on “Travelling Sri Lanka: What To Do, See & Eat”

  1. According on these smiles I can say that people in Sri Lanka are kind and hospitable 🙂

  2. I love roti channai’s, I eat them every morning when I go to SEA! It’s good to experience a country that is developing at a healthy rate… “not too fast, not too little”, alas few countries can be described in such a way!

  3. After reading through all of your posts, I really am all the more determined to make sure I make it to Sri Lanka on my impending RTW trip. I really appreciate how candid you’ve been about your time there. I hadn’t planned on hiring a driver in Sri Lanka, but it’s something I will consider now, which may mean upping the budget, but I’d hate to miss out on some of the wonderful things the country has to offer because I was too stingy.

    And my husband and I are so looking forward to the food! It looks SO good.

  4. many countries surprise us with the prices, to be honest! I have to agree with the nice people, all I know are super nice 🙂

  5. Sri Lanka has been on my radar for a while. I’d especially like to go now because a monk I befriended in Burma is living there. It’s always good to have a “local” to show you around!

    Sounds like a nice place to visit but a bit tough for travelling. How much are you looking at to hire a driver for a week?

    Where are you off to next?

  6. I loved Sri Lanka. Unfortunately we were only there for 2 nights because my husband currently works in Chennai and doesn’t get holidays, only weekends. All of our travel is whirlwind visits. But after being in Chennai for four months, Colombo and Negombo were like an oasis of green gorgeousness. The people were friendly and helpful in a genuine way. Not in a being friendly for a tip way. I love Sri Lanka and really want to go back. I want to live there.

  7. Roti Channais are perfect for breakfast, we’ve had them everyday too since we arrived in Malaysia. Yeah, few places can be described that way, and while Sri Lanka sure has a lot to work on, people seemed so positive, and that’s always a good thing 🙂

  8. Great to hear you feel inspired! Yeah, have a look at hiring a driver, we met many people who had prepared it all in advance, but you can always do it on the spot as well, and there are many ways to arrange with the driver so that you get the trip you want.

    Also, the taxi and tuk tuk drivers we met there were some of the nicest people, often very sincere as well.

  9. Having a local showing you around is a great idea. And even if you happen not to find your friend, the locals there are so friendly and your chances of making new friends are pretty high 🙂

    We never hired a driver for a week, but paid as we went. We met a couple who had a driver for a week, and I think they said they paid something around 40,000 rupee for the whole time.

  10. Sri Lanka sounds beautiful The food, the nature, the prices, and the people. With the delicious food, I would definitely need to spend some time in nature to work it off. However, like most places the best thing about Sri Lanka are the people.

    Makes you wonder how they are so happy and positive. Trips like this inspire you to not only see but learn. Seems they could teach us a few things as well.

  11. I’m desperate to visit Sri Lanka. I was planning on going in March, but sadly it just didn’t work out. Fingers crossed for next year. It looks gorgeous!

  12. Been there in Feb this year. Was there for 8 nites, and that was really insufficient, as we hadn’t have the time to go to the ancient temple sites of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. What a pity! But it’s a great excuse to come back to this wonderful country again. And you’re rite, the people are among the friendliest I’ve met on the road! Miss the beaches too! 😀

  13. Hmmm, sounds interesting. I want to go somewhere for six weeks at the end of this year and Sri Lanka was one option. I really thought it would be totally cheap though, obviously not. Think I need to do some more research 🙂

  14. Sri Lanka’s not cheap?! What about compared to India? Wish we had more time to visit..

  15. I didn’t realize that Sri Lanka is more expensive than se Asia. I really want to go though- it looks beautiful in all of the photos I’ve seen of it!

  16. Hospitality speaks so much about a country. I’m looking forward to visiting Sri Lanka soon.

  17. This is great information! Was very excited to hear about the large food portions. Can’t stand when you barely get any food when ordering a meal!

  18. It’s not at the top of my wish-list but you did a good job selling me Sri Lanka … it sounds like you guys had a good time there!

  19. Sri Lanka offers everything that a traveller dreams sandy virgin beaches, diving ,rafting, whale and dolphin watching, wild life and birds, water falls, rain forests, cool climes and tea estates in hill country, amazing historic sites, cultural festivals. I have been visited Sri lanka ,6 times over the past ten years.One thing deficient in SL those days was some large scale shopping, I think during past 2 year that also improving to a certain extent. Another good thing to note is Sri Lanka is Clean when compared to other countries. Agree that Sri Lanka is not so cheap, but this destinatation is real worth for money, as we need to go to many countries to get the diverse experience we got from Sri Lanka.

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