Essential Travel Tips for First Time Sri Lanka Visitors
Brace Yourselves! Slow Transportation is Coming
- Getting around in Sri Lanka can be slow and time consuming. With its tightly winding roads combined with engine-testing inclines, traveling by bus or train in Sri Lanka makes you think why you didn’t just take a seaplane or hire a car driver that knows alternative routes around the area instead.
Visit the Place to Relax, Not to Rave
- You’re less likely to find any hostels with dorm rooms in the place. What you’ll find instead are family-run guesthouses to stay the night. This means that’s it’s easy to meet locals but harder for solo travelers to make new friends. Sri Lanka also attracts a lot of couples because it is the best place to go for honeymoons. Nightlife people who’s looking for fun will surely be disappointed in the place as beach bars are nowhere to be found.
- The best way to waste your money in Sri Lanka is by spending the night in their luxury hotels and resorts. Big names such as Aman and Shangri-La have their shops on the place too. But the best thing that really stands out in the island is their home-grown, luxury hotel mini-chains that you should definitely check out. Uga Escapes and Resplendent Ceylon are two of the best examples of local brands that offers something more rather than just repetitive styles other hotels had offered.
Check Out Their Food
- Sri Lanka cuisine is extremely delicious that makes you want to crave for more. You should definitely try their bowl-shaped hoppers (which is just savory rice flour crêpes by the way) that are only served first thing in the morning or during late afternoon. During lunch time, rice and curry is the one you can find while kottu rotty is available during the evening.
- Don’t forget to visit the island’s capital Colombo. You can find a lot of jazz clubs, rooftop bars, boutique stores, and internationally-acclaimed restaurants scattered all around the city. It’s great if you want to experience what local life feels like in the place. You can see a lot of families fly kites around the Galle Face Green during sunset, watch the national cricket team at the R Premadasa Stadium as they play, and witness grandmothers trading with stallholders at Pettah Market for a bargain.
Plan Around the Seasons
- Experience will vary depending on the season. If you feel like going on an adventure by climbing the Adam’s Peak, then visit the place during pilgrimage season which is around December to May. You can still climb the mountain though during other seasons, but you’ll be climbing with a myriad of tourists instead of hundreds of local devotees.
Engage in Fun-Filled Activities
- Sri Lanka may be filled with beaches, stupas, and tea plantations, what you didn’t know is that the place is also filled with activities that will surely pump yourself up. You can try surfing at the Arugam Bay, go hiking along the Knuckles Mountain Range trail, or immerse yourself on white-water rafting at Kelaniya Ganga, Kitagula.
Make the Most Out of Your Cash
- Although Sri Lanka is a cheap destination, prices are still increasing quickly as time goes by. The cultural show located at Kandy has increased double the price compared to last year. If you want to shop for essentials such as toothpastes or tea, it’s best to shop them at supermarkets in the big city where your money is worth it. Don’t forget to check the packaging too when shopping in smaller cities where the prices are printed as letters “Rs” which means “Rupees”.
Learn Their Culture
- Sri Lanka and Indonesia may seem similar when it terms of culture, but the truth is, they are worlds different from each other. Sri Lanka feels much calmer than the frantic life you can find in Indonesia. You may meet a lot of locals whose eyes are on you, but wearing shorts and vests cannot attract too much attention. It’s still necessary to cover yourself up if you plan on visiting their temples though.