When: Jan 17th-28th 2013
Hello everyone! This is our first blog post ever on our first blog site ever and so forgive us if this is sub-par! We went on a two week trip to Sri Lanka this year and thought we would share our experiences with you. As we have family in Sri Lanka, this specific blog post will be more of a just for fun one, with photos etc. Normally, we aim to review our trips away in terms of sights, value for money, hotels etc. and also some local eateries & pubs. For now though, we give you Sri Lanka:
Sri Lanka is a South Asian island nation which lies south-east of India. Most people don't know where Sri Lanka is and even more people think it's a part of India. This isn't really much of a problem. I suppose this keeps it a hidden gem and if you get the chance to travel there before tourism flourishes there, you should. This is because Sri Lanka has only recently come out of a bitter 25 year civil war between the country's majority Sinhalese government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
We won't get into politics here, just the facts which we know. One fact we know is that Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with a distinctly island feel. Sri Lanka's island population hovers somewhere around a comfortable 21 million and there are certainly parts of Sri Lanka that are calm and peaceful like Dambulla, Sigiriya, Nuwara Eliya and many more (see below for further detail on these places). The island has a very long history dating back 3000 years and this history has left behind a visible legacy of monuments and temples dedicated to monarchs and emperors as well as vast ruins sacked by the invaders over time.
The food is very rich and diverse in Sri Lanka and SPICY as hell! A common misconception is that Sri Lankan food is basically the same as Indian food. Whilst both cuisines share the same spice palate, Lankan cuisine has a unique taste and style. The climate is mostly quite hot and humid (except monsoon season of course), however one can often get respite from the natural island breeze along the coastal areas.
The people in Sri Lanka are a very, very diverse bunch. The island's majority population is of Sinhalese descent (at roughly 75%), followed by the next largest minority group, Sri Lankan Tamils (at roughly 11%). The rest of the nation is made up of an eclectic mix of ethnically and linguistically diverse minorities: Malays (descended from Malay army sepoys brought over by the British during the East India Company days), Moors (descended from Arab traders who stayed back), Burghers (descended from the Portuguese & Dutch colonisers) and even the Kapiri, who are an African people brought over as workers/slaves by the Arab traders! The predominant religion in the country is Buddhism with Catholicism, Hinduism & Islam very prevalent also.
This mix of people combined with the 92% literacy rate in Sri Lanka (education is free even at certain universities), lead to a pleasant experience for the Western traveller. Most people will speak English even in the villages which is a pleasant if not impressive surprise. The people are very friendly and laid back and quite receptive to foreigners.
Okay enough waffle, onto the specifics........ a little later on! (soon we promise)