Tropical beaches, postcard perfect sunsets and tea plantations- the stuff of Polaroid pictures and perfect memories are the order of the day in Sri Lanka’s sea of culture that in itself is a doorway to silent ruins, coastal food and a strong Portuguese influence around the seaboard. It’s an expanse of spectacular colors, often rendering me speechless at many a sunset bathed in twilight. Strolling along the busy Galle Road that seemed to me like an uptown mix of Colombo’s Chowpatty and Marine Drive, I wondered why I had encountered such few Indian travellers among the many tourists I saw around town. Maybe for the same reason that I hadn’t ever put Sri Lanka on my travel plans for years- it had never caught my fancy. Recently returning from a holiday in Sri Lanka though, I would enthusiastically nominate this happy little island for your next vacation, for I enjoyed Sri Lanka more than I did Thailand. There, I said it. If my conviction does not convince you, here are four other reasons that will:
There is something for everyone
It is one of those miracle destinations where you can spend an afternoon beach bumming and 24 hours later find yourself enjoying the chill amidst the tree plantations in Kandy. It is a country that entertains many interests. History enthusiasts will find themselves intrigued by the Portuguese culture that weaves its way into the country’s coastal regions, visible in the form of architecture- predominantly in Colombo, Galle and Jafna. Culture zealots will enjoy exploring the temples and the Buddhist influence on the country’s way of life. You could turn it into a backpacking trip, a road trip, a luxury vacation or a party spot for a friend’s bachelorette. But by far it’s the food aficionados and sunset chasers, quite like myself, who will reap the most benefits of vacationing in a country that delivers flavourful sea food and spectacular sunsets on an artfully curated platter.
Flights from New Delhi cost approximately INR 20,000 for a return ticket. Once there, public transport is cheap (bless you, Uber) unless you were taken for a ride by the Tuk Tuk drivers- pun intended. Inter-city travel doesn’t cost much either, as long as you steer away from hotel cabs. Poking about my Uber driver’s plans for the coming week worked for me. 1 Indian Rupee would yield you 2.32 (approx.) Lankan Rupees, so you end up spending as much as you would while traveling in India.
Getting there is easy
A direct flight is less than 4 hours from New Delhi (flying via Mumbai or Bangalore will cost you 6 hours), 3 hours from Mumbai and 2.5 hours from Bangalore. The visa is an E-Visa which takes less than 10 minutes to land in your inbox from the time you submit the form online. It’s also convenient, because customs is a breeze, there’s no time difference, sim cards are available at the airport and almost everyone speaks English. Sri Lanka is an international vacation sans the headache of planning one. Impromptu weekend getaway cravings are best satisfied sipping cocktails on those beaches.
Indian food is everywhere
While Sri Lankan curries themselves are almost identical in taste to those found in South India, there are numerous stand-alone restaurants and hotel restaurants offering North Indian cuisine. Indian dishes are incorporated into cafe menus as well as breakfast buffets. To further delight your true Indian blood, tea is abundantly available everywhere.
Author: Nikita Butalia
Nikita Butalia is the founder/editor of Stumbling Around Delhi. A 20-something travel blogger who shows off her experiences in witty and informal blog posts based on luxury weekend getaways around Delhi, short trips around the country and solo travel experiences abroad. She dreams of checking the entire world off her bucket list, Antarctica being at the top of that list!