Let me tell you about my personal experiences oin Sri Lanka and why, even it is super amazing, it did not got me!
X Reasons why you have to go to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka – best backpacking destination
Why you have to travel Sri Lanka right now
These and many other articles are literally forcing their readers to visit Sri Lanka. The little island
south of India, also called “the tear drop of India” is hyped in the backpacking world as crazy right
now. I have travelled there, not because of all these articles, but because I needed to get away and
the plane tickets were really cheap. You know, if the ticket is cheap every destination is good.
It´s not about the destination, it´s about the journey
Let´s see what I got.
Nature / Adventure
Sri Lanka is a green island. Everywhere you are in the middle of the nature. Colombo, the capital, is
an exception here, but who spends much time in the cities anyway ;-). The little piece of land is not
much bigger than Bavarian, the state in Germany, but there are already numerous national nature
parks, with variants of plants and animals. If you want to see sharks, whales, dolphines and turtles or
elephants, leopards, different birds and crocodiles, Sri Lanka will provide you with plenty option to
see all kind of living beings.
Daily life in the nature
When I was spending my time in Arugam Bay, I once cruised around the city with a motocross,
turned around a corner and stopped because 5 meters ahead of me a Elephant was standing and
busy with his dinner. Welcome to the nature life in Sri Lanka.
I once got up at 5am to climb up the Pidurangala Rock, close to the famous Sigiriya Rock. What I
have seen on the top during the sunrise, was stunning. Everywhere green jungle around as far as you can see!
Why I choose that Rock instate of the famous and holy big one?!
First of all: Money. Getting on that the Pidurangala Rock, will charge you with 500Rs in state of
5000Rs for the Sigiriya Rock.
Second reason: Adventure. When I write climbing here, I mean climbing. It is not super easy but with an average fitness level totally doable and exciting.
For the nature not to be missed, get on the train from Kandy to Ella. I can just get in line with all the
other travelers already blogging about it, this train ride is amazing!
People you meet in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is indeed the country of the smiles! The local people are incredible nice. Everywhere you
will get a big smile and people welcoming you with open arms. In the busses, they will offer you a
seat even if they are older and/or weaker. They will take care of you getting to your desired
destination. They will offer you food and drinks on the road and will always be open for a chat. I did
not had one unfriendly or bad moment with the Sri Lankan people. I got a few new friends on the
world in Sri Lanka and learned so much from them about living in the nature and with the waves.
Making friends with the locals
I tried surfing already a few times in Bali and Nicaragua, but as untalented as I am, I never really got
on the board…until Sri Lanka. Thanks to a local surf instructor, who didn’t stop to pursue me to give
the board and the waves another chance, I stood on my first waves. He did not do this for business;
he did not want a single Rupee for his help.
Nangeen, the owner of river point cabanas at Arugam Bay, became a special friend. He taught me how to drive a motocross, showed me the wild life in the jungle and I will never forget our Arack-attack evenings. If you ever end up in Arugam Bay, what you totally should do if you are travelling Sri Lanka, check out his place: Bungalows on a little island in the river behind the village. You will notregret it and win a new friend.
Same story different place. In Trincomalee I stayed twice at the “Wanderers Hostel”. Definitely the
Hostel with the best vibes on the Sri Lankan East coast. Koki and his team went out of their way to
make the travelers feel at home and once you are there, you will have a new friend. Koki taught and
showed me a lot and I will always remember the party nights, same as the nights on the rooftop
philosophizing over life and our fishing trip.
These are just three out of many examples from my time on the island. I think this is just how the
people of Sri Lanka are, welcoming caring with a big smile on their faces and big hearts. So when you
are visiting Sri Lanka, try to get into contact with the locals.
Rice and Curry, Kotthu roti and the fruits of Sri Lanka
Rice and Curry, Kottu and tons of Fruits…that’s basically all I ate during my time in Sri Lanka. First,
you can get Rice and Curry and Kottu in different variations so it never get boring. The food is cheap
as hell (2$ – 5$, depends on either you eat at the street or in a restaurant) which makes it the perfect
backpacker diet. Finally yet importantly, it is delicious.
Rice and Curry as the name says is rice with different variations of curries. Most if the time you will
get 3 to 5 curries with one portion of rice. You can choose between vegetarian and non-vegetarian and get it for cheap everywhere on the streets.
You can`t avoid trying Kottu when you are in Sri Lanka . As soon as you take your stroll through the
streets, doesn`t matter where, you will hear the sounds the vendors are making with the knife when
slicing the roti and mixing all ingredients in their big pots.
Kottu is small sliced roti, mixed with vegetables and/or egg, meat, sea fruits or fish combined with
many spices. I loved it! The first 4 days I didn’t ate anything else, not kidding 🙂
Fruits like always in this corner of the world are fantastic and almost everything exotic is available.
Get yourself Mangos, Papayas, Bananas, Jackfruit etc.!
Never get bored
Trust me; you will not get bored in Sri Lanka. From hiking on mountains, on rocks, snorkeling and
diving with sharks and thousands of fish, safari and surfing, Sri Lanka is a perfect place for an active
holiday. There are uncountable temples and a huge number of national parks to be visit.
The places for water-sport activities are depending on the season. While in the first half of the year
the monsoon is on the West Coast, in the second part of the year it is on the East Coast. So check
this out when deciding where to hit the waves, go diving or do Kite Surfing.
There are worldwide known surf- and diving spots and beautiful beaches. For diving, especially in
Trincomalee on the East coast you will find the perfect beaches, riffs and conditions under the
water. You can also go whale watching here.
The famouse surf spots are in the south, on the west and the east coast. So it doesn’t matter in
which season you are coming to Sri Lanka, there will always be a spot waiting for you. On the West
Coast, you also can go Kite-surfing.
For Surfers looking for a spot on the east side, same as for beginners I strongly recommend to check
out Arugam Bay. Not only because the place makes it hard to leave again, so most of the travelers
get stranded there, but also because it has several surfing spots for different levels.
Getting around on Sri Lanka is super easy but can exhaust your nerves. When you are like me a
backpacker, travelling on a budget, you will try to catch the busses instate of the taxis. Busses are
running frequently all over the island to all places. As there are no hard fixed schedules, aks in your
hostel for the current timing.
Most of the time there are central bus stations in the cities and
villages, from where all busses are leaving. Just tell the bus driver or the ticket man where you want
to go. They will tell you when to get off or where to change the bus. Busses are super cheap, it will
charge you around 5-8$ for an 8 hours drive.
Taking the bus in Sri Lanka, means three things:
- Time: Taking the busses will sometimes make you think you will never arrive. The busses
are slowly and the streets not really good. Also the drivers are driving like crazy. Better
don’t sit in the front and don’t look on the street, so you don’t see what the driving in
- Music: A lot of it! Be ready for constantly played Indian music on full volume next to your
- Contact with the body: The busses are most of the time totally overcrowded. So you will
sit or stand with more people than the bus can actual take in the bus. You will get to
know how a sardine feels in the can.
If you have caught enough busses or your budget is not so tight, you can also travel with shared
taxis. In most of the places, you can organize them through your hostel. Prices vary depending on
how many people are sharing one car. There are also Facebook groups like ”shared taxi Sri Lanka”,
where you can find other travelers to share a taxis with or to jump on one, already organized by
Resume on 4 weeks Sri Lanka
The island is a pearl in the Indian Ocean full of beauty and nature. The culture is as rich as in India
and the history of this little piece if world is impressive. Travelling in Sri Lanka is super easy and safe.
Maybe that and its beauty are the reasons why there are so many couples and honeymooners
spending their time on this island. Many people are telling that Sri Lanka is a preparation for India. I
have been to India before and I cannot agree on that statement. Sri Lanka is different, it is a place to
relax and enjoy. All the uncomfortable aspects of travelling India, are removed from your travel life
in Sri Lanka. You can get pretty spoiled in Sri Lanka 🙂
Sounds everything to good to be true?
Well let me be honest.
Sri Lanka didn’t got me!
The adventurer in me was looking for challenges
With this, I don’t mean that I had a terrible time there, or that I didn’t met amazing people there, or
that the nature is not truly stunning as written above. All of this is true and I enjoyed my relaxed time there.
I can’t really tell one particular reason why Sri Lanka didn’t got me, maybe Sri Lanka is to easy and to perfect for me. I missed the adventure, the challenges that travelling in foreign countries brings all the time. Maybe I
have done the South-East-Asia path to often, that it is getting a bit of a routine what it brings on its
way but Sri Lanka didn’t got me.
Many times I thought by myself, it is so beautiful and relaxed here, it is actual a paradise. But for my
personal opinion Sri Lanka is to good, there are no edges and faults that make this country special.
Get lost, but dont get hurt!