Scott said that the key to a great vacation spot is that it leaves you wanting more. I definitely feel like Sri Lanka fits that bill. We had a 24 hour layover in Sri Lanka on our way to India, and truth be told, we weren’t that excited about it. Sure, it was a country we could add to our list, but we didn’t think it would be anything special. Before going, we saw the Anthony Bourdain, No Reservations episode on Sri Lanka. I won’t lie to you, I’ve never seen one of his episodes that made me steer clear of a country more than this one. The show portrayed the country as a war plagued, hot, overcrowded country. Well, it was hot and overcrowded, and I’ll give it to them, that there was a civil war at the time they filmed the show. The thing is though, that I don’t think these elements define this country. In fact, none of those characteristics even come to mind when I think of my short time there. With the construction of a highway that will go from the airport to downtown Colombo, this will be a tourist mecca for anyone from adventure seekers, beach (and surf) goers, nature lovers, religious sightseers, and much more. So without further adieu, here are my top five reasons why you should make a trip there before everyone figures out how awesome it is.
- 1. The people – This was probably the best part of the trip. I don’t know if I have ever been to a place where everyone was so nice. A quick hello to our driver, and he was showing us all around Colombo, giving us history lessons, and the political drama of the day. From speaking to people, they had a lot to say about the country. They had recently been through a civil war, that left them with a government that is…well, not that great. Still, they had such a peaceful and positive outlook on everything. It’s amazing that these people, that had been through so much (and currently struggle in the time of the unknown), are so friendly and have such great sense of humor about them. I think a great example of this is when we were reading the paper that morning we were there, they dedicated an entire section to amazing things that dogs do. Yes, dogs. They featured dogs around the world.
- 2. The beaches – Sri Lanka is a small island country. If you want to go to the beach, just go south from Colombo, and you’ll find great seaside towns. Colombo’s waters are too treacherous to swim in, but a short drive south, and you’ll hit some fun beaches. I think taking a trip along the south coast and back up through the middle of the country sounds really fun. Surfing there is also supposed to be really nice.
- 3. Tea – Sri Lanka is known for their tea. While I didn’t go to one of the traditional tea plantations, I did try the tea, and loved it. They served it to me with milk. Not the usual way I take my tea, but it was very delicious. You can even stay at a tea plantation while you are there….very unique and exotic.
- 4. No second language dictionary necessary – Most shops and restaurants are in English. You can definitely tell this is a Commonwealth of Nations country, and the many architectural gems in Colombo reflect its former British Rule over the country. You won’t have trouble getting around with English only here, although it’s always fun to learn a few words in Sinhala (their official language).
- 5. Did I mention that it’s really inexpensive? – Maybe if you are Mr./Mrs. Moneybags, then you won’t be concerned with this one, but for the rest of us….getting a great bang for our buck on vacation is always a plus, and a way for us to go somewhere far away. Sure, the plane ticket might be a bit pricey, but once you are there, you are golden. You can stay at nice hotels, and have a driver without breaking the bank. This is important since you won’t want to rent a car. The drivers down there don’t follow ANY driving rules….or maybe that is their only rule. Anyway, there is so much the country has to offer, from great zoos, Buddhist relics, great beaches….and this is all inexpensive to get to. The food is also really cheap, (but really spicy).