10 Things You Must Know Before Traveling to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a beautiful travel destination full of culture, beaches, history, nature, wildlife and smiling faces. Travelling to Sri Lanka is not a new trend as it has been a tourist destination for ages. Below we have listed down 10 facts you probably don't know about Sri Lanka you must read before you go.
1. Is it safe to travel to Sri Lanka?
There was a big question seven years ago on how safe (or unsafe) Sri Lanka is for travelers due to the long civil war which made most tourists to stay away from the country. With the civil war ending in 2009 and overcoming the destruction from the 2004 tsunami, the country is now rapidly becoming one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Tourist arrivals are booming each year and it is expected to trend around 300,000 in 2017 according to the tourism econometric models.
2. Can I get cheap flights to Sri Lanka?
The answer is simply YES. Most of the big airlines do fly to Sri Lanka and if you're clever about it, you can get a return flight for a cheap price. Read our article on Airlines to get detail information about range of flights that travel to Sri Lanka. Instead of checking for low air fares on the internet, it is a good idea to directly call your airline and get information about deals, sales and connecting flights that you might not otherwise consider. Sometimes Airlines grant better prices than online ticket booking sites.
3. When should I go to Sri Lanka?
It's a bit tricky. The demanding time period is December to January due to the weather being quite chilly. There are two monsoon seasons which you would probably experience due to erm, rain being a heavy possibility then, and they fall between May and September and November and early December. Whenever you go, it's going to be bit hot and humid throughout the island at most times of the year. Click here to get the live weather forecast.
Sri Lankans are just about the friendliest people you will meet wherever you go in the world. Do not be shy to speak to them as Sri Lankans are very hospitable and take pride in inviting people to their homes, however modest they may be.
5. Where should I go in Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka has many breathtaking tourist attractions to visit for any traveler from anywhere in the world. The most common travel route takes tourists from Colombo and Negombo, up into the hill country to Kandy and down to Hikkaduwa on the South East coast and Galle. If you can, hop on over to the Yalla National Park and also, if you've got all the time, do not forget to visit Jaffna in the newly-accessible North is equally brill.
6. Where should I stay?
Finding a room is easy and Sri Lanka has all types of accommodation ranging from Guest houses to Five star hotels. If you are on a budget, then Guest houses are ideal. Guest houses are cheap and all main cities have them. Many rooms in all prices can now be booked online through popular websites. Click here to search for cheap accommodation.
7. How do I get around?
Although buses are the primary transport mode in Sri Lanka, take the train wherever you can. It's super cheap (like $0.5 for an hour's journey), well ventilated with windows and fans and some has air conditioned compartments and yes it’s more comfortable compared to buses. Don't bother spending on a first class ticket, go second or third class and meet all sorts of super friendly people.
Once you're in a town, grab a tuk tuk, which is the easiest way to get around the cities. Before you get into a tuk tuk, it’s always good to chat to waiters, barmen and your restaurant managers to find out what you should be paying your tuk tuk driver and agree firmly on a price before you start the trip to avoid added extras which could show up at the end of the journey.
There are plenty of busses too - air con and fancy seats come at low prices; expect to pay about $8 for an overnight bus from Colombo to Jaffna (400Km)
8. Things to do?
I would say Everything if you have time!!! Sri Lanka has so much to offer and you can definitely get a unique experience compared to other tourist destinations. Surrounded with over 1,600km of coast, Sri Lanka is an ideal location for wind-surfing, surfing, snorkelling and scuba-diving. Popular experiences include a peaceful beach vacation, wildlife safari tour, a tour to see spiritual ancient ruins, adventure tours, or Honeymoon tour to a delightful hotel. The best part is that, Sri Lanka is one of the few destinations where one can do all this with a very short tour.
9. What should I eat?
Rice is the main food in Sri Lanka generally consumed with an assortment of colorful curries (dhal, potato, sambol, chicken, and fish). Apart from this Sri Lanka has a variety of unique and sensational cuisine to choose from like hoppers (a pancake-like snack), string hoppers (steamed rice noodles) and pittu (a mixture of flour and coconut). Seafood lovers can enjoy the fresh fish, prawns, crab and cuttlefish. Desserts include curd eaten with palm-honey, and the Malay-derived caramel-like wattalapam.
You can find almost all fresh fruit juices in Sri Lanka including the popular mango, pineapple, banana and papaya, but also many lesser-known but unique juices like sapodilla, guava, soursop, mangosteen, rambuttan, wood apple, and beli.
Shopping in Sri Lanka can be a very tedious job so it’s better to plan it in advance noting down what to buy and where to go before you step out. Shopping can be in 2 forms, walking around the streets checking out the bargain-priced latest fashionable items or visiting a luxurious shopping centre.