Table of Contents
- Ten suggestions for people who have never been to Sri Lanka before
- Get ready to move slowly
- Don’t go crazy; calm down.
- Take care of yourself
- If you want to avoid traffic, go north.
- Write down the food
- Think about Colombo.
- Plan your activities based on the season
- Things to do
- Use your money in the best way possible
- Learn about regional norms
Ten suggestions for people who have never been to Sri Lanka before
Sri Lanka is an appealing place to visit because of its stunning natural beauty, incredibly friendly people, and past as a British colony. 2023 is a great year to visit Sri Lanka because the country has had some rough years. If you’ve never been to Sri Lanka before, here are some ideas for things to do.
Get ready to move slowly
Even though infrastructure is getting better and there are many ways to get around, it can be hard to get around Sri Lanka at times because the roads are small and the hills are very steep.
It’s pretty normal to waste time in the Hill Country. Take a bus, tuk-tuk, or train to get from one tea farm to the next. The speed between them should be 12 to 15 miles per hour. Many tourists will find that renting a car with a driver is a better option. Seerendipity Tours can put you in touch with knowledgeable Sri Lankan local guides who can take care of all of your Sri Lanka travel plans, including private transfers, tours, and hotels.
Don’t go crazy; calm down.
Dorm-style hotels are hard to find outside of Colombo and a few beach towns. Families that run guesthouses are much more well-liked. This makes it easier to meet locals but harder to make friends when you’re going by yourself.
Some people also go on vacation to Sri Lanka, which is definitely worth it. Beach bars can be found in Arugam Bay on the east coast and Hikkaduwa on the west coast. However, these aren’t very busy places, and many of them close during the off-season, so tourists hoping for an evening scene as exciting as Khao San Road in Bangkok will be let down.
Sri Lanka is a great place to get away from your busy life, go on a retreat, and find happiness through yoga, meditation, and Ayurvedic treatments because the old ways of doing these things are still very much used there.
Take care of yourself
You can spend extra Sri Lankan rupees at a number of brand-new high-end hotels and villas in Sri Lanka. Some big names, like Aman, are already known on the island. Shangri-La runs two hotels, one in Hambantota and one in Colombo. On the other hand, you should stay away from the small, locally owned luxury hotel chains.
If you want to avoid traffic, go north.
The Northern Province of Sri Lanka is a great place to get away from it all in the country. It was one of the last places on the island to let people back in after the Tamil Tigers used it as a stronghold. It hasn’t experienced the same influx of foreign tourists or welcomed the same number of hotels, resorts, and other brand-new structures.
Head north if you want to find historical places, churches that are far away, and golden beaches that are empty. The “Jaffna and Western Sri Lanka” sample itinerary made by Seerendipity Tours details what to do in Jaffna and the surrounding area. As with all of our sample Sri Lanka itineraries, this one is great because it can be changed to fit your needs. “Modify this Sri Lanka tour package” is all it takes to get in touch with Seerendipity staff.
Write down the food
Sri Lanka has a lot of tasty food that you should try while you’re there. Still, it might be harder than you thought to figure out where and when to look for good things. Bowl-shaped hoppers, which are delicious rice flour crêpes that are only served in the early morning or late afternoon, are the star of the show. For lunch, there is rice and curry, but at night, there is kottu rotty, which is chopped flatbread stir-fried with eggs and vegetables.
People who are used to Asia will be surprised to learn that there aren’t many street food sellers. In fact, some of the best places to eat are in the kitchens of guesthouses.
When you get to Colombo, stay the night (see below) and go on a small-group tour to try some of the great food that the area has to offer. A local guide will walk you through the different tastes and choices.
Think about Colombo.
Colombo is no longer just a place to visit. Its music clubs, boutique shops, rooftop bars, and restaurants are known all over the world. Sri Lanka has a lot of interesting places to see, but it’s also a great place to just stay put and experience how people live there.
Galle Face Green is a place where families fly kites at dusk. The next thing you can do is watch the national cricket team play at R Premadasa Stadium or see grandma bargain with vendors in bright saris at Pettah Market. You can get around in tuktuks, check out shops, and stop for some tasty street food. Private hidden gem tours of Colombo will show you more than just the city. They will also teach you about Sri Lankan culture and way of life.
Plan your activities based on the season
Remember that the seasons can bring a wide range of events, even if the monsoon rains don’t stop you from travelling. If you want to climb Adam’s Peak, for example, the best time to go is between December and May. This is also the best time to visit Sri Lanka because that’s when Buddhists go on pilgrimages.
The tea shops that line the road will be closed during these months, but you can still get to the top. Also, instead of hundreds of excited locals, you’ll only be climbing the mountain with a few people from outside the area. This means that most of the excitement and camaraderie that climbers usually feel have gone away.
Things to do
Sri Lanka is famous for its beautiful beaches, tea farms, and stupas, but there are also many interesting things to do in Sri Lanka. You could go river rafting on the Kelaniya Ganga in Kitulgala, hiking in the Knuckles Mountain Range, or surfing in Arugam Bay. Also, cycling vacations are becoming more and more common. You could put them all together to make your own Sri Lanka vacation tour. In Frank’s sample adventure course, you can go cycling, hiking, or trekking. You could also just ride your bike around Colombo’s rural places for the day.
Use your money in the best way possible
Even though prices are going up, Sri Lanka is still a cheap place to go on vacation compared to the West. You can be sure that you are not paying too much for everyday things like toothpaste and tea when you shop in big towns. The price is written next to the letters “Rs.” (which stand for rupees) on the packaging in corner shops in smaller cities.
Learn about regional norms
Sri Lanka and India are very different places, even though they are only 18 miles apart by sea. It looks like people in Sri Lanka live a lot more slowly than people in their country, India. As a result, Sri Lanka is the best option for people who are both interested in and afraid of India. Covering up is usually a good idea (and required in places of worship), but wearing shorts and jackets probably won’t get you much attention from the locals, who don’t pay much attention to tourists.