10 things I wish I knew before going to Sri Lanka

10 things I wish I knew before going to Sri Lanka

Judith Kamau18 October 20201134 views8 min. read
10 things I wish I knew before going to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has become one of Asia's most sought-after travel destinations, thanks to the luxurious hill country and its palm tree-fringed exterior. Wildlife, a great history, culture, and food, define all the intrigues everyone needs to be aware of before setting foot on this island off the Indian coast. Sri Lanka tourism is a success thanks to the coordination with the Sri Lanka airline and it has an endless bucket list of attractions that you can't exhaust from a single visitation. It is an island of beaches and beautiful sceneries that has managed to recover from two disastrous phenomena. The 20-year civil war ended a decade ago, and the 2004 tsunami brought significant setbacks. However, that has not stopped Sri Lanka from blossoming. In spite of all that, there remain a lot of things you need to know before deciding to spend your time in Sri Lanka. Here are ten of those things.

1. There are many things to see and do in Sri Lanka

colombo For a small island on the coast of India, Sri Lanka offers a lot to its foreign travelers. There are many places to explore, like the tea country found in the Central Province and the stunning mountain ranges suitable for a hike. Sri Lanka also has UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Sigiriya. Wildlife safaris are no exception, especially in Yala and Udawalawe, where you'll see plenty of Asian Elephants and Leopards. There's another whole lot of what to do in Sri Lanka. Think of diving among shipwrecks, surfing uncrowded waves, and a visit to the Buddhist temples. You'll surely need a lot of time to exhaust everything in Sri Lanka, and I still bet you'll leave with some unaccomplished missions. So before you travel to Sri Lanka, be aware of what awaits you there.

2. The seasons in Sri Lanka are a bit complicated

kudawa For the best time for visitation, it all comes down to where to go in Sri Lanka. Despite its small size, Sri Lanka weather has two monsoon seasons that affect the island at different times. The two weather seasons, one being the Yala monsoon, affects the South and the West of Sri Lanka from April to September. The Maha monsoon, on the other hand, comes in from November to March. When to travel to Sri Lanka? Your travel to Sri Lanka should factor in these two different Sri Lanka weather seasons. Another thing you need to know is how their religious calendar affects some of the country's top attractions. Between December and May, the Pilgrimage usually leads their way to Adams Peak. The congregation forms one of Sri Lanka's most important religious sites.

3. Sri Lanka is not your typical party place

Before you set off on your journey to the Island of Sri Lanka, be informed you won't find that nightlife typical in most parts of Asia. Partying and nightlife are very much restrained, and any form of excessive public drunkenness is highly disapproved of. Locals prefer lounging on empty beaches, making it more of a beer & sunset place than fanfare and endless night thrills. This is pretty common even in the large towns and cities that remain laid back and chill. Though some coastal cities such as Arugam Bay may have some high-profile parties, shelve off any partying expectation while in Sri Lanka.

4. It is difficult to commit to one transport mode in Sri Lanka

sri lanka transport Sri Lanka's famous candy blue train journey has been severally voted as the world's most beautiful train journey. The rail journey that passes in the neatly arranged tea plantations leaves you wondering why you'd opt for any other means of transport on the island. That isn't the only travel mode though; there is a lot more to choose from. The buses will take you around, and are very economical in terms of price and time management. They also have some fun experiences as they are decorated with lights and are always packed with people. You'll also enjoy the blaring Sri Lankan music videos through a rickety TV set. The tuk-tuks are also on your list of endless choices. These modes of transport can help you determine where to go in Sri Lanka.

5. Learn to stick to various behavior codes

temple in sri lanka Before you make a list of what to do in Sri Lanka, it is better to be well furnished with what is expected of your behavior once you land there. There is an emphasis put on the local customs in order not to make any offense. There are a few things to be adhered to, such as not standing with your back to Buddha and not wearing footwear (including socks) inside the Buddhist grounds. You're expected to use your right hand when eating while in Sri Lanka. Public nudity is prohibited on the beaches, but swimsuits are allowed on the beaches. Reserve your public display of affection for another place as it is frowned upon in Sri Lanka. Hide in the umbrella, if at all you can't hold off your urge to kiss.

6. People are super friendly

sri lanka market This is among the exciting things everyone needs to know about Sri Lanka. The people there are super friendly and always welcoming. You may want to keep your caution as you travel around for fear of being a visitor, but the locals will always approach you seeking to know more about you. All of this happens out of genuine interest, and showing some interest back will also make you learn many things about the place. Don't be worried about the Sri Lanka Language, as many locals around understand basic English. Apart from the two common languages of Sinhalese and Tamil, most people in Galle and Mirissa speak and understand English. Therefore, be free to socialize in Sri Lanka; the locals love it.

7. There is safety in Sri Lanka

meditation Despite all the international headlines that rocked the world a decade ago, Sri Lanka remains one of the safest places you can think of visiting on the Asian continent. The country went through a bitter civil war for 20 years, where many people lost their lives. A state of emergency was also declared in 2018 after instances of violent unrest between Buddhists and Muslims broke out in Kandy. Political unrest and protests were also witnessed in late 2018. The country has since recovered from every incident with guaranteed safety for everyone. The locals remain unified and proud of their country and of every significant stride made to avert any unrest in the future. The Sri Lanka flag is also a symbol of their unity, bearing the Asiatic Lion, which represents Sinhalese as the biggest ethnicity. The flag also carries other stripes that represent the other races in the country. The leaves represent Buddhism.

8. Carry your cash, traveling around Sri Lanka is not cheap

sri lanka currency The Sri Lanka currency is majorly the Sri Lankan Rupee, which is a little different from the neighboring Indian Rupee. The currency can only be purchased once you arrive in Sri Lanka. Therefore make sure you have enough money in your credit cards or paper money to enable the exchange. All around the Colombo airport, you'll find currency exchange desks and ATMs. It is advisable to carry around cash; however, this doesn't mean there are no other places accepting credit cards. Carrying cash will be worth it, especially outside of the major tourist hubs, where smaller businesses cannot accept credit card payments.

9. Do your research before settling on any particular safari?

sri lanka park Sri Lanka tourism boasts the best tourist experience outside of the African Continent. You'll surely be spoilt of choices when it comes to where to go for a game safari. If you need some amusement from the Asian Elephants, then Udawalawe National Park should be your first stop. Bundala National Park has the most bird species; hence it should be on top of the list if you love bird watching. Researching well enough, including knowing what the most preferred Sri Lanka currency is, and settling for places to visit works to your advantage. It'll ensure you enjoy the best of your time in Sri Lanka. The Yala National Park, which is the largest and most famous in Sri Lanka, will offer you a bit of everything. Its dense Leopard population isn't something you'd want to hear from a mere narration.

10. Sri Lanka is a haven for fresh produce and seafood

fresh seafood Your time in Sri Lanka cannot end without giving the wide variety of seafood available there a try. The country has an abundance of fresh produce and seafood. Some refer to the food as a milder version of the Indian Cuisine. However, the fact remains Sri Lankan food is among the best. The meals consist of colorful curries, rice and roti, and some steamed rice noodles. The fresh seafood from the Indian Ocean tastes good and is always available in abundance. I can't fail to mention the excellent tropical fruit and Western dishes that are often available across Sri Lanka. The choice of what to eat in Sri Lanka rests on your shoulders, and it is at a pretty affordable cost.

Conclusion

There are countless things you need to know before visiting Sri Lanka. The list can't be exhaustive enough; however, the few insights into life in Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka language will be a worthy eye-opener. You'll need a Sri Lanka visa before traveling to Sri Lanka, except if you are a Singapore, Maldives, or Seychelles citizen. Alternatively, a Sri Lankan visa can be obtained on arrival at the airport. Sri Lanka airline, the carrier of the Sri Lanka flag, operates many flights across the globe. Its headquarters are in Colombo, out of the Bandaranaike International Airport. The airline plies daily, with many scheduled direct flights. Find out about their flight destinations and see if you can catch the next flight into Sri Lanka for an amazing experience.

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