Why Go To Sri Lanka?


As I just said on my Facebook page, words cannot express how much we love Sri Lanka.

Seriously! It’s like stepping into comfy slippers. So good to be back.

The four of us have been sick with terrrible Malaysian flu for over a week now. Really ill, high fevers, sweats, shakes, chills, headaches and an awful lot of nasty chesty coughing. Enough to put me in a foul mood, usually, but even feeling like death hasn’t stopped me loving Sri Lanka to bits.

So Why Go To Sri Lanka? What’s So Great About It?


The spectacular view from Galle Fort, Sri Lanka.

The people!

It started on the plane, we flew Air Lanka.

The cabin crew who greeted us were beautiful smiling ladies in peacock saris proudly displaying luscious, brown, rounded midriffs. You’ve got to love a nation that doesn’t need to hide it if they’re not super model thin. Sri Lankan women are spectacularly gorgeous, all glossy black wavy hair, tropical colours and lovely smiles furnished with amazing white teeth. ( Chef totally concurs with me on this!).

It doesn’t stop when you get off the plane. Wherever we go we are greeted by genuine, warm smiles, of greeting, of sisterhood or of curiosity. Even the guys do it.  After 4 hours on a local bus, with flu, I got off with a song in my heart and just one thought.

” These people are fantastic!!”

I have never seen such concern for strangers. Every time someone less able to stand boarded our bus, chairs would be shuffled. There was a hierarchy of seat-needyness. The elderly were immediately offered seats, so were mothers with babies or children, so were older, and then younger, women. It was a joy to see. If the young woman preferred to stand then a seated gentleman would take her bags on his lap. Total trust, nobody was worrying about theft at all. Call me old fashioned, but it was wonderful to see.


Did you ever see fish this fresh? Galle fish market Sri Lanka

Manners aside, the buses themselves are a joy. Glittering lights and music turn every bus ride into a special occasion. No blaring techno or horrible elevator music, just lovely Sri Lankan tunes played at just the right volume to be enjoyable, even to us. Maybe the Sri Lankans are sick to death of the same tunes every day on their way to work, but we think it’s cool.

The bus drivers and conductors are friendly and helpful. I’ve seen both do their share of cooing over cute babies, and even over my two boys, who sometimes stretch the definition of cute a little.

They don’t try to rip us off, they take the correct money and tell us when to get off. Sometimes they will go out of their way to drop us exactly where we need to be dropped.

And they smell good! Is that a weird thing to say? On the whole, I love a nation of soap users, in the mornings you can detect a distinct fragrance of soap on the air. There’s not many places you can say that.

Don’t get me wrong, there are sharks and touts about. We ran into a few today in Galle trying to sell us spices and gem stones, but it was so easy to extricate ourselves from their grip that it was no trouble at all.

It’s Not Just The People!


Leave the main road, cross the railway track and you’re in a different world.

The natural environment is spectacular. Huge powerful waves pound the pristine shore. Dense rain forests appear just a few meters back from the coast road and there are the cool hill country tea plantations waiting for us to explore.

The wildlife is incredible , so much diversity! Leopards, elephants, ginormous monitor lizards, marine turtles, even blue whales. It’s all here! We’ll be trying our best to spot them all in the next few days.( we saw a blue whale! click here)

Sri Lanka is the only place I have ever seen a wild sea turtle laying her eggs on the shore. It was magical.

You have the co-existence of Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and Buddhist faiths, the historic buildings, temples, forts and markets. Sri Lanka is immensely rich in history and culture.


Beautiful produce and markets, Galle , Sri Lanka

Then stop and consider the recent past. A war ( 80-100, 000 deaths ) and a tsunami  ( over 30,000 deaths) devastated this country in my living memory and still, these people are the friendliest and most welcoming that I can think of. I’ve travelled so wide and so far, and I really think that this is a good as it gets.

( You can read about Sri Lankan history, the war and political situation, very briefly here).

Stay tuned, see if anything can pop my bubble. Will I be able to maintain this level of absolute joy at being here for the whole month, I do hope so!

 Want to read more about Sri Lanka?

Here you can read about how we saw a blue whale on our first ever whale watching trip out of Sri Lanka. Or you can click here to read why I think Mirissa, Sri Lanka is Paradise.

Back to our Sri Lanka Family Travel Home Page

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  1. I’d like to go because I think the capital is called Candy – like me ;)
    Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot recently posted..I Love Lions! Zimbabwe Travel Photo StoryMy Profile

  2. Oh Alyson, this looks great! We didn’t have it on our list to see, but it is now. Thanks for sharing.
    Heidi (@WagonersAbroad) recently posted..Our visit to StonehengeMy Profile

  3. Kate Thomas says:

    Ever since someone came back from ‘Ceylon’ and gave my mother a boxed tea selection I’ve wanted to go to Sri Lanka. I’ve just been given the ‘In Remission’ news today so maybe I’ll be able to in the next couple of years! 8))

    • Fantastic news Kate! Brilliant, so pleased. I remember ( back in 1998) announcing that I was off to Sri Lanka for the first time and somebody (you!) saying, “Well you’d better go to the ancient cities!” Of course! I love this place and it’s so easy to get around. You should come :)

  4. Melanie Murrish says:

    One of my late dad’s favourite places on earth…and he’d been around!

  5. Never been but it sounds absolutely wonderful. Really, no one tries to rip you off? This astonishes and intrigues me. (Can’t say the same about Mexico.) I’m glad you’re back in a place you love!!!
    Renee – RambleCrunch recently posted..How much does it cost to go to the movies at Lake Chapala?My Profile

    • Absolutely nothing like, say, Thailand Renee! Catching a bus is a joy, tuk tuks cost well under a dollar for short trips, even with 4 of us plus backpacks. There are scams, gems, spices, day trips, but you’ve just got to know what you’re doing. Seriously, it’s a breath of fresh air, so much less draining than other parts of SE Asia and way easier than India, from what we remember.

  6. Thank you for painting a glorious picture in my head. Enjoy!

  7. Catherine says:

    I have always wanted to go to Sri Lanka, and nearly got there more than 30 years ago, but planes and boats cancelled from Sthn India due to it being the monsoon season. Looking forward to followup posts on favourite foods, places, cheapest places to stay and must sees. Also best, or least hot time of year to visit. Are there many tourists or touristy/backpacker areas?

    • It’s very touristy along the beaches between Colombo and Galle Catherine. The winter sun package tourists have been coming in huge numbers from Europe for a very long time. Now, down in Mirissa, the package tourists are thinner on the ground and there are more backpackers and surfers. Our host here is just telling me that over Christmas Mirissa is full, totally, not a room to be had. My best advice to anyone is come and find accommodation on arrival ( so long as it’s not peak season!) Companies like booking.com etc. take huge cuts for themselves, we’ve just been told $24 per booking, so obviously you pay more and the guest house owners lose money.

  8. I also noticed today that it made the Rough Guides voted in top 10 of world’s friendliest countries. Hope to check it out soon.
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  9. Ah, you may just twist our arm to go there one day Alyson. We have a long list to get through first though! :)
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  10. so you always show up with your magic at the perfect time. guess where we are going after india? yes! and now, we have a source whom i trust (which is so rare in the travel world) to follow. thank you love. looks amazing! gabi
    gabi (the nomadic family) recently posted..After 18 Months in Asia- Three Oddities of the West & My Little Holiday- Houston, TexasMy Profile

    • Are you really? I thought you were packing up your backpacks for a while? Well good, you’ll adore Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan people, they’re gorgeous. So easy to get around, no big rip offs, lovely to be here, an absolute joy! Local food is cheap and we’re paying $16 for a room at the moment. All good!

  11. I want to visit so bad. Thank you for this – I have now definitely added it to my wish list.
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  12. Ok so now I am annoyed that I just booked our next trip to Bali… I want to go to Sri Lanka!!! Hope you keep having a great time and I look forward to hearing more
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