"A 'PLACE LIKE NO OTHER'" Sri Lanka by ViajesdelMundo
Sri Lanka Travel Guide: 3,609 reviews and 8,335 photos
I FIRST VISITED IN 1970, ON MY FIRST ASIAN TRIP---AND ABSOLUTELY FELL IN LOVE WITH EVERYTHING!! i.e., particularly the people, as well as the food, the fabulous diverse geography within a small area, the ancient culture with its ruins, did I mention the FOOD?
This latest trip was my 13th visit, for just 3 weeks for the wedding of my dearest girlfriend and Sister-in-Christ.
Of course, I have seen so many changes in the development of the island, through many governments, and also the effects of the 'civil war'. This latest trip was my first since the end of the war and I did not get out of Colombo, being so busy with the wedding, but the city seemed really liberated and opened up! People are out much more and the stores and roads were full at all hours of the day, every day of the week. I'm sure that many more opportunities will become available and therefore more of the former indigenous ways of life will continue to disappear. But the further you get out of the main cities, village life is there for the traveller to experience
A first-time traveller can use the services of a package to facilitate ease of getting around to all the major places of interest. The trains have not been maintained very much for several decades, and are often over-full, so unless you are familiar with that style of travel, a tour operator who can provide a charter bus, or for individuals a private car with driver may be the prudent, most efficient way to go; especially if the stay is a short one.
But in general, there is nothing to fear, and the people are the most hospitable and friendly of anywhere in the world! I have so many friends there, that I had to purchase a local cell phone to be able to make plans, without having to sit by a hotel phone!
Years ago, in my first few trips, which were by myself, I was frequently "taken home" by people I just met on the train, in a hotel lobby, or walking on the beach!! I have always had a good sense of 'discernment', but I never had a bad experience. Just the contrary! I was fed and housed by, and made friends with, Hindus, Buddhists, Moslems and Christians alike. Many of them are still friends today, over 35 years later. (Of course, there were a few who approached me with some ulterior motive, but they were easily spotted and promptly dismissed.)
I believe it is one of the few places that has managed to maintain its unique cultural flavor, outside of Colombo. But even in the capital, if you spend some time there, it will seem very different from any other place on earth. Due to being under the rule of the Dutch, Portugese and British, though, there is a blend of Western amenities which make the foreign visitor comfortable.
Also due to the civil insurgency, and the subsequent diaspora, many Sri Lankans now live overseas, making much higher incomes, and of course come back to visit and the economy reflects this cultural and economic spillover. Inflation is definitely hitting the island, but most things are still very inexpensive to the Western traveller.
- Pros:So MUCH to See and Do!
- Cons:TOO Much to See and Do!
- In a nutshell:Something for Everyone
'LAMPREIS' (also spelled 'Lampries') The name is originally Dutch, and is a labor-intensive meal usually of a mixed-meat... more travel advice
A lovely lake with boating available, lots of wetland bird watching, and strolls not far outside of Colombo. more travel advice
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