If you’re up for amazing wildlife experiences, lots of culture and a breathtaking scenery, Sri Lanka should be on top of your bucket list for 2017. Here are 10 good reasons to go as soon as possible.
1. It’s an eco-friendly destination
Sri Lanka is one of the world’s greenest destinations and tourists will immediately notice the effort the government is making for protecting nature and animals. This is seen through countless wildlife conservation programs and rules, which tourists must follow in order to protect the environment. It was a pleasure to meet locals who care about their country beyond just being proud - they want to make a difference in the world of sustainable tourism.
A bit about turtle hatcheries:
During the trip, I visited one of the country’s famous turtle hatcheries in the southern part of the country, and even though many tourists love it, I wasn’t impressed. Turtle conservations programs are amazing, but a hatchery shouldn’t be transformed into a tourist attraction. Visitors shouldn’t be allowed to touch the turtles (no matter what size), as this causes them a lot of stress. Furthermore, turtles shouldn’t be living there permanently, as wild animals belong in nature. Check up on those kind of things before visiting a hatchery.
2. It’s easy to explore the country
Don’t just stay in one place when you’re here - do and see as much as possible! Thanks to trains and busses, it’s easy to get around and prices are very reasonable too. The standard is usually pretty good, even on night trains. Go to www.railway.gov.lk for more information about how to get around by public transportation in Sri Lanka.
3. You can enjoy an amazing wildlife
Sri Lanka is truly home to an amazing wildlife and there are plenty of options to embark on a real safari! Unfortunately, too many tourists have found their way to the safari parks in recent years making it sometimes hard to actually even spot a leopard or an elephant, but if you go in early morning, there should be a chance. It was an absolute pleasure to visit Yala National Park, which is home to the highest density of leopards in the world. Make sure to book a stay at the incredible Cinnamon Wild Yala to complete your wildlife experience.
4. People are very warm-hearted and friendly
People visiting Sri Lanka won’t go unnoticed to foreigners - they are both curious and friendly. I’ve rarely seen a culture that full of happiness and gratefulness for what they have. The outgoing nature of the Sri Lankan people really makes you feel welcome right away!
5. It’s “India for beginners”
Even though India and Sri Lanka are just a stone’s throw away from each other, there’s quite a difference between the two. It’s a well-known fact that things go a little slower in Sri Lanka - a fast-paced lifestyle and stressed people are in fact very hard to find! During my trip, I heard someone mention Sri Lanka as ‘Indian delight’, and that’s not far from the truth. If you’re not into the hazzle of Indian cities (or if you simply have to adapt slowly before going to India!), Sri Lanka is the ideal place
to begin your journey!
6. You can indulge in delicious Sri Lankan food
Let it be known: Sri Lankan food is not for the faint-hearted! While I do love a good curry, I felt my throat burning several times during my stay in Sri Lanka! The reason: lots of spices! Don’t get me wrong: Sri Lankan food is delicious, and they’re very proud of their food traditions, but go slow on the curries once you’re there (unless you’re a pro, of course). Typical dishes include fish curry, chicken curry and dhal curry (with lentils).
7. Go explore the world-famous tea plantations
Whether you’re fond of tea, history or splendid nature (and who isn’t?!), there’s no way around Sri Lanka’s famous tea plantations, which have been producing ceylon tea for centuries. Tea production still plays an important role in Sri Lanka’s economy, as it employs more than 1 million people. The first tea plantation saw the light of day in 1867 and it’s still possible to visit them as a tourist. Explore the beautiful plantations in Kandy, Matara or Galle (to name a few).
8. Get to know a fascinating and diverse culture
Different religions don’t always cope with each other in the most comprehensive way possible. That has been a fact for thousands of years, but if you go to Sri Lanka, you’ll see a different reality. This is probably the only destination I’ve visited, where so many different religions and cultures are fine with each other’s presence. It’s truly a multi-ethnic society, where Tamils, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Hinduists get along.
9. It’s a surfer’s paradise
The world is full of nice surf spots - some better than others. Sri Lanka belongs to the first category. Surfers from all over the globe flock here to catch waves on more than 1.600 kilometers of coast, where one can also do wind-surfing and water-skiing. Book an instructor if you’re new to the game and enjoy the beauty of the Indian Ocean.
10. Pamper yourself with Ayurvedic treatments
For thousands of years, the most popular method used to restore and rejuvenate both body and mind, has been Ayurveda. It’s the world’s oldest holistic medical system - and it works! Ayurvedic treatments are very popular in Sri Lanka and you can spend an entire afternoon getting pampered without spending a fortune. The west coast of Sri Lanka offers plenty of spa’s offering herbal treatments, baths and massages that will leave you revitalized and completely relaxed.