1. No one's Going to Judge You If you Live With Your Parents
Pretty much anywhere outside South East Asia, living with your parents is a fierce indictment of your inability to adult. In Sri Lanka, if you're unmarried and living independently, people squint at you and wonder what's wrong (grand family estrangement? secret lover? family found out dark sexual habit?). The pros of living with your parents in SL are endless: you save the lion's share of your salary going rent-free, get to eat your mum's dope chicken curry whenever you want, and people still think you're dateable. Score.
2. Getting into a charity is tougher than getting into a fancy restaurant
Whenever I've approached a home (either for children, specially abled, or the aged) to donate meals for the residents, we've had to book in advance because there are just so many Sri Lankans who routinely donate to causes near (in terms of location and emotion) to them. If you've lived anywhere else, you'll realise how unique and surprising this is. Sri Lanka isn't ranked the world's 8th most generous country for nothing.
If you want to be part of this generous populace, head to our DEMU section for charities, initiatives, and ways to help out the community.
That smell that permeates the air after a swift and furious tropical storm is amazing. It's essentially just the chemicals released by minerals in the soil reacting with minerals in rainwater, but it's mesmerizing. A close second is that heavy, pregnant, still atmosphere of humidity just before a long-awaited storm breaks out. Dang.
4. Stray Dogs Are Chill
The world appears to be divided into 3 dog zones :
1. No dogs at all (Iran, Maldives etc)
2. Dog and dog ownership are controlled by the government. No strays, only trained and leashed and documented pets (North America, Northern Europe).
3. Dogs run wild like feral scrappy savages (South East Asia, Africa)
Sri Lanka is a total outlier, where you get posh fluffy pet dogs, but also plenty of stray dogs that are friendly, well behaved, and spunkily unafraid of humans. Why? Because they're used to getting a small ear scratch and the occasional leftover buth packet from humans on their turf. It's pretty rare to see a stray dog being kicked, abused, or worse, as you'd see in most other busy South Asian streets, so strays don't have that cultivated hatred or fear of humans. And it warms my soul.
If you want to know how to help stray dogs, either by volunteering time or money, check out Animal SOS in Matara or Adopt a Dog or Aranyani Dog Rescue.
5. Blue Skies, Constantly
This one seems like a stale, obvious one, but if you live in Europe or China for more than a week during most non-summer months, you'll feel a constant chill and sense of dread. That's seasonal depression for you, caused by BUTTLOADS OF CLOUDS. Everything is grey. Skies are grey, peoples' faces are grey, clothes are black…or grey. You'll realise how vibrant colours, skies, and life is in Sri Lanka lickety-spit. Give me a sunburn over wearing 87 layers just to head to work any day.
6. Dinner Dances!
Where else can you find the ear-splitting glory of the Lankan dinner dance?
7. Cray Fruit Variety
With hundreds of varieties of bananas and mangoes, and heaps of exotic fruits like the Ceylon Olive (veralu), Indian Gooseberry (nelli), Batoko Plum (lovi), Velvet Tamarind (gal siyambala), Sri Lanka's fruit game is strong. It's a playground for delicious tropical sorbets, cocktails, and cooking. Best part? You're not paying crazy Whole Foods prices, none of these would cost you more than Rs. 50 a pop! Don't even get us started on the flowers (my favourite? Monkey's tails!)
8. A Delicate Balance of Chaos
Sri Lanka is less loud, messy, and in your face than India, and less sterile and flavourless than upscale cities around the world. You've got yourself the colour, vibrancy, and happy madness of Asia, alongside some decent roads, relatively low crime rates, and easy living. It's the best of both worlds, with a side of paripu.
9. You'll Never Be Alone
In an increasingly lonely world, it's easy to feel isolated or disconnected. Not so in the paradise island. If you're a local, you undoubtedly have a flock of 837,292 relatives who want to know where you are, who you're seeing, what your latest exam qualification was, etc.
If you're a foreigner, never fear. You'll get plenty of these questions, plus a couple of bonuses ("Ah you're from England? My cousin's husband visited London last year. You know him?") Everyone else needs to rely on Instagram likes to feel connected or relevant. Not you. If you're single, rest assured that at any given time there are dozens of people personally invested in getting you married off. Tinder can go suck it.
10. Geographical Diversity
Where else are you going to find hill country, beaches, wildlife parks, tea estates, ancient cultural sites and temple ruins, private islands, waterfalls, and a chic capital, all within a couple of hours of each other?
Notable mentions that didn't make it to our top 10
- Bars adjoin kids' play pens: Just head to your local club, Otter's/SSC etc, and you'll find the bar area is right next to those plastic playgrounds for children. Because who doesn't need an arrack while you babysit?
- Island Culture: Government offices close at 4 PM. Nobody remembers any issue or calamity for more than a one week newspaper cycle. Happiness and arracks ensue at any given opportunity.
- Tuk Tuk Polo: Really, what even is this beautiful madness? You won't find this slightly nutty sport anywhere else.
Pol Sambol: Basically just coconut, chilli, & happiness.
Random Mid-Week Holidays : Full moon holidays, bank holidays, religious holidays, who knows, just embrace them (thanks to our commenters for this one). We've got a full list of public holidays and where to spend them too!
Got your own favourites? Want to tell us we're buffoons? Head to the comment section below!