If you seek some peace and solace for yourself, Sri Lanka has time and time proven itself out to be an amazing destination to visit. This tranquilizing island has garnered the attention of the tourists year after year with its indulging peace and beauty. This charming island does have a little bit of something to offer every single person. Irrespective of what kind of things you like, it is not surprising that you are most definitely going to love visiting Sri Lanka, at least once in your life.
The place is littered with cute romantic spots along with the lush greenery of the tea field and the golden reflective sand beaches. When it comes to views that would leave you speechless, Sri Lanka has got that covered it up for you. Apart from the natural beauty of the place, the combination of the rich culture, history, and tradition all pile up to make this small island one of the best spots to plan a vacation.
Formerly known as Ceylon, Sri Lanka is an island country which is located in the Southern part of Asia. It lies surrounded by the Indian Ocean and is separated from the peninsular country of India by Palk Strait. The capital city of the country is Colombo and is located southwest of the Bay of Bengal and Southeast of the Arabian Ocean.
Sri Lanka is not a “newly” discovered island or country but is believed to have been inhabited for over 2 million years, dating back to the time of the stone age. While that predominantly dates back to long years back, the immigration started when the Indians started moving in there during the 5th century BCE. This population is what is currently known and termed as the Sinhalese population in modern Sri Lanka.
Following that, around two centuries later, the Tamils arrived from South India to settle down there in Sri Lanka. All of them predominantly then settled down in Jaffna. Majority of the population around in Sri Lanka consists of the Sinhalese Buddhists while a minority of them consists of the Tamils who are Hindus and Christians.
It was the north Indian Prince, Vijaya who landed around in Puttallam in Sri Lanka along with 700 of his followers to set up the very first Sinhalese kingdom around Anuradhapura. It was later in the 3rd century when Buddhism arrived from India at Mihintale where the popular conversion of the King Tissa happened.
Following the years, there was a consistent invasion from the colonial rule. It was the rapid growth of the unrest under the colonial rule which led to the formation of the Ceylon National Congress in the year of 1919. Following its establishment, a constitution was written but the country of Sri Lanka finally gained its independence in the year 1948.
There have been records of civil wars which started in the year 1983 and finally subsided in 2009. The war was consistent between the Sinhalese and the Tamils in which the latter was finally defeated. Currently, in the modern day Sri Lanka, it is a democratic republic which is run by a flexible government and has its own president and prime minister for decision making for the country.
How to get there?
Irrespective of which part of the world you are coming from, you will need to board a flight to reach the Sri Lanka. If you are traveling from International destinations, it is best suggested to book the flight tickets beforehand to ensure that you don’t have to pay any last minute hiked charges for the flight. For the most part, the flights all reach and land in the Bandaranaike Internal Airport which is located in Colombo. This is the primary international airport where the majority of the international flights land.Reaching Sri Lanka by road or train from other countries and such isn’t possible.
When to go?
When it comes to the optimal time to visit Sri Lanka, the majority of the expats suggest visiting during the months of November to mid-April. This is mainly because the weather during that time is predominantly dry and won’t end up hampering your overall stay there. You can step out of your hotel rooms and explore around the place without having to fret about the rain and other consequences.
January till April is the best time to explore around the central highlands. The main reason behind the same is because of the fact that the weather is pleasantly cool during that time of the year.
The majority of the tourists tend to visit during the months between December till March. The main reason behind the same is because of the fact that these months are the off-season months and is quite on the cheaper side. If you are on a budget and need to save up before visiting, these months to make up for quite a good experience altogether.
Must try dishes
Sri Lanka is not just known around for it’s amazing lush greenery and tranquillising beaches, the same is also quite popular for its amazing variety of dishes around. The food around in Sri Lanka is not just delectable but does have a lot of variety and options for people of different palates and preferences.
Fish Curry with Mixed Rice
Rice is a staple in Sri Lanka and covers the majority of the food hours throughout the day. The main reason behind the same is because of the fact that it is grown extensively around. Yet another staple in Sri Lanka is the variety of fish dishes you get. If you want to visit Sri Lanka and eat the most commonly eaten food that the majority of the population indulges in, it is the fish curry and mixed rice combination. These kind of combinations are quite common and are available for cheaper prices as well. Often times, you even get a choice of vegetable curry to go on the side as well.
Chilli Fish Curry
Don’t get intimidated with the mention of chilly because the curry itself is not going to make you regret every last bit of it. This often resembles the famous Burmese food curry. The spice blend used in this dish is quite robust and something that you wouldn’t normally encounter around. The fragrance itself of this dish is enough to draw in all the possible food lovers. The flaky fish and the combination of the spices completely make this one of the absolute best dishes that you definitely should try.
Sri Lanka Dhal Curry
Dhal curry is one of the most commonly cooked dishes in every Sri Lankan household on a daily basis. The pulses or the dhal curry is predominantly made with red lentils which are often cooked with a number of spices in it. The blend of the spices along with the amazing combination of the coconut milk further adds to the overall texture and taste of this dish. It is not just consumed with the flavourful rice but is also often eaten with the flatbreads that are famous there.
Before anyone starts screaming, no, we are not talking about the ripened jackfruit but the young and unripe form of it. The fruit is cut into small cubes and is first boiled to soften it up a little bit. The dish is then cooked like a stew with fried onions, garlic and ginger and a plethora of spices in it. It is always fished off with some coconut milk which further brings together the whole dish. Often times, vegetarians tend to eat this as a “meat” supplement.
Yeah, it is a thing and quite a popular one at that. Beetroot curry is not possibly something anyone would ever think of but Sri Lankans love their vegetables and this curry is one of the mostly eaten ones around. This dish is also often cooked in the form of a stew with a lot of robust spices in them, the curry leaves and cinnamon being the staple ones in the lot. Unlike what you might think, the beets are actually very tender and delectable which is a definite shocker.
Kottu is possibly one of the most popular street foods you will find in Sri Lanka. The vegetable and egg kottu is possibly one of the best amidst them all. The crispy bread along with the noodles and a wide range of vegetables and egg is perfect to not just tease your palate but also fill you up to the brim. The combination of leek, cabbage, onion, and carrots along with the egg makes up for a nutritious and hearty meal that you just can’t pass out on.
Fried Salted Fish
Don’t get overwhelmed. This is one of the most commonly talked about dishes of Sri Lanka. These small and heavily salted fishes are not made into a curry and are often just deep fried till crispy and brown. This is not predominantly eaten alone but is often enjoyed with the addition of rice and other accompaniments with it. It is also often added to several sambals to bring out that fishy flavour in them.
This one is made out of eggplants and is yet another one of the popular dishes around in Sri Lanka. This candied brinjal eggplant is unique to this place and the curry made with it is absolutely one of the most delectable ones that you could possibly get your hands on. It is cooked with salt, soy sauce, and sugar. This dish is much like an acquired taste that not many people like or enjoy but if you want to enjoy something different, this is the one.
Sri Lankan Chicken Curry
Sri Lankan chicken curry is all about the tenderness and juiciness from the chicken and the robust spices that bring everything together. This specific one of the chicken curry is actually one of the best around in the lot. The combination of the spices along with the thick coconut cream brings everything together. It is often different around in different household depending on who is making it.
Yet another one of the popular dishes around that majority of the people rave about is the Eggplant curry. The best thing about this is the fact that it is made out of small golf size eggplants which is what makes it one of the best things. It is coated with the popular green curry sauce which is what brings everything together. It is quite spicy and not sweet as many might often think it would be.
Candied Shrimp Curry
Who would have thought, right? But, candied shrimp curry is actually a thing. The blacked shrimps are often a preserved delicacy loved and enjoyed by the people in Jaffna. Many might often steer clear off of this specific dish but trust us, this was all worth the wait. It might not seem like the most appetizing dish altogether but the dish is definitely remarkably good. The blend of the curry spices and the beautiful crackling of the shrimp do bring everything all together. Make sure you try this from the popular places around to ensure that you can get a good taste of everything.
Hoppers are also one of the most popular staple dishes around in Sri Lanka. It is one of those compliments or types of food that helps you scoop the curry up. There are several kinds of hoppers available around in Sri Lanka, the string hopper and the common standard ones being easy to get. The egg hoppers are quite popular when it comes to the breakfast staples. It is nothing but a pancake batter made into a crispy bowl-like shape which is then used to scoop curries up in. If you have had injera bread before, this one tastes quite similar to that.
Chutneys and condiments are a quintessential part of every meal that you have in Sri Lanka. The Poi Sambol or the coconut chutney is quite a popular one. The experts suggest that the colour of the sambol should be like that of the sunset, bright orange. The correct amount of spices and the sweetness and balance of the tanginess in the sambol is what necessarily brings everything all together. Maldive fish is also often added to heighten the flavour and taste of the dish.
These flour and coconut funnel cakes in Sri Lanka can even make you stay there forever. These are that good. It contained coconut in the freshly grated form and also in the desiccated form for that texture and crunch. These are traditionally steamed inside the bamboos and then eaten with coconut milk or sometimes even just on its own given the fact that it is so creamy and sweet. Due to the lack of available bamboo, it is nowadays being prepared inside the metal tubes but does provide with similar taste to it. Commonly, it is served with sweetened coconut milk.
Fish cutlet balls
Let’s end the list with yet another one of the commonly sourced street foods around in Sri Lanka. These fish cutlet balls and even the eggs rolls are one of the most commonly found street foods you will find in Sri Lanka. The filling is stuffed and even the last bite is filled with the delectable filling which is definitely something you won’t get around from the other places. The egg rolls are breaded with crispy bread crumbs which are then deep fried for that perfect crispiness and taste. If you want to get the authentic taste of Sri Lanka, it goes without saying that one needs to absolutely try this without fail.
Owing to the fact that Sri Lanka is an international country, you need to get your Visa and passport all sorted out. Make sure that the passport of yours should at least be valid for 6 months more after your arrival. Since 2012, the authorities have swapped the tourist Visas with electronic travel authorisation that the majority of the visitors should get printed which will then be valid for the coming 30 days since their arrival. Check details for your country prior to visiting.
Sri Lanka is not a very expensive country. When it comes to transportation, people can either rent out cars or even avail public transport which is readily available as well. The overall prospects of the transportation around in Sri Lanka are quite efficient and not something that will end up daunting you day in and out. If possible, get a tuk-tuk and roam around the place on it for that perfect day and bask in the amazing weather outside that majority of the people often rave about. If renting a car check the regulations for Sri Lanka before visiting.
Travel tips for Sri Lanka
When it comes to Sri Lanka, there are a few things that one should always keep into account and lose track of. It is necessary that you keep these specific tips in handy and use them whenever required throughout your trip.
- Make sure you get your e-visa prior to visiting the country. If you don’t necessarily wish to stay stranded out, this is very important.
- Sri Lanka doesn’t tolerate Buddha tattoos. If you are found with one, you might even get arrested and then deported. It is best to hide it anyhow if you are visiting this country.
- Be aware of the Tuk Tuk scams. The drivers tend to charge you 5x more than what the actual price is. If you find yourself in such situations, it is always best to either take help of a local or simply walk onto the next driver. Always negotiate the price first.
- If you want to travel inside of Sri Lanka, the best way to do so is with trains. The trains can readily take you anywhere and won’t cost a lot as well.
- Avoid drinking water from the taps because your body might not be accustomed to the microorganisms there. Stick to bottled water for optimum safety.
- Always carry some cash around with you because there are chances that your ATM card might not work everywhere.
- Be safe wherever you go and make sure that you stay alert at all times.
- Sure you observe any rules when visiting places of religious significance.
- Book travel insurance.
- Check online for any alerts such as political or health prior to visiting.
Visiting Sri Lanka is an experience like no other. Not only do you get to indulge in some of the beautiful landscapes around, but the food is also just as good. Book your tickets and make sure to let go off of the stress there and have a vacation like no other.