To those of you aliens who didn't know this already, Sri Lanka was named the best country to visit in 2019 by Lonely Planet.
To those of you who don't know what Lonely Planet is, it's a fancy travel guidebook publisher from Australia.
Now that we're all caught up, rejoice! And expect lots and lots of new people coming into the country this year!
Anywho, how did this teeny tiny island got this kind of esteemed position? And why you should visit this country when so many are trying to leave it?
The answers may surprise you!
1. Colonial Beverage Culture
If you're looking for a tea drinking spree, Sri Lanka is the place to be. Yes, that was meant to sound corny. Anyway, We all know that tea is our to-go drink. But, the past few years have shown that SL doesn't limit itself to tea but has a whole load of coffee as well. No one knows why but slowly we see ourselves slowly drifting away from the cup that cheers and more towards constipation central.
2. Train Rides From Ella
Sri Lankan train rides are becoming more and more popular among locals and non-locals alike and the train ride from Ella to Nuwara Eliya is known to be the best of the lot. Beautifully running through the clouds, tea plantations, and the iconic Nine Arches Bridge, no wonder it made this list. However, all train rides in Sri Lanka are an experience, so make sure to use a train the next time you come here.
3. Birds and Beasts
From stray dogs to turtles to flocks of birds and whales and dolphins, animals are a massive part of making us one of the cool kids (according to Lonely Planet) and why shouldn't it? We've all gone to Yala at some point and had a fight with someone in the truck about whether that mee haraka (buffalo) you see from a distance is actually an elephant. It's a part of being Sri Lankan. Click here for a list of national parks, that you can observe the wildlife of Sri Lanka.
Sigiriya deserves its own heading since it's a MUST place to visit if you're in Sri Lanka. Hordes of people come to visit the rock fortress every day and even the slight chance of a wasp bite doesn't seem to bother them. Revel at the view and pictures painted thousands of years ago while toasting yourself in the mid-Northern heat. Indulge in history, my comrades. That's one thing we do best here. Just in case this didn't convince you, here's Indi's take on Sigiriya.
Galle Face Green is one of my favourite places in Colombo (hence why it's here). The sunset, the beach, the people, the kites and the smell of isso wade all add up to a vibrantly spicy cocktail of an afternoon that you can't find anywhere else. It's a budget picnic spot for couples and families and for anyone looking to experience a part of Sri Lanka's street food culture if you're not too much keen on the hygiene side of things.
6. Everyone's A Relative
Sri Lanka has some of the friendliest people ever. Of course, this doesn't apply to everyone. But, if you've lived here, you can certify my previous statement. Uncles and Aunties are everywhere in this part of the Indian ocean and whether it be in giving directions or just suggesting places to bathe and not die, they will try their best to be as helpful as they can. Even if it is with broken English, or by simply asking someone else to tell you, and nodding along to whatever that person says like he/she understands.
7. Rock Climbing
If you're one of those nature, #iloveexercise types, Voila, I bring to you, Knuckles, Pidurangala, Horton Plains, Ohiya, Haputale, Ella and a whole jingband of other places I don't have the time to tell you about. Sri Lanka has some of the prettiest places in the world and we have a whole heap of them. So, if and when you come here, I suggest taking a hike and having one of those 'wauw, nature is so beautiful, noh?' kinda conversations while you're at it.
Photo Credits: www.mahoora.lk
Aside from Sinharaja, SL also has a whole bunch of places which offer similar experiences.
9. Soul Food
Sri Lankan cuisine is pretty fabulous. At least that's what I've learned by watching foreign people blogging about being here whilst drinking kola kenda. Yes, Kottu is our go-to food. But, our normal indi appa (string hopper) and the now politically influential appa (hopper), are two of the many reasons why Sri Lanka is a cool place to visit.
So, if you're not from here, I suggest you try anything from cheese kottu to kavum to just plain old rice and curry, because I guarantee you'll love it. If you need any help in choosing places to get food, you've come to the right place!
10. Going Ohm…
Ergo, we are generally associated with vacations involving de-stressing rituals and Ayurveda (a traditional medical practice found in Sri Lanka. All thanks to the multitude of medicinal plants and centuries worth of practices relating to the subject). We have yoga, we have the scenery and we have the people who can massage you away from insanity. Need I say more?
11. Fancy Souvenirs
This is our way of saying our culture is boss. It's colourful, it's diverse and the souvenirs are great. From taking home a mask to a sari to just a big block of Muscat, or even a wooden elephant (it's been done.) Our souvenirs probably helped a lot with convincing people that we're a really fancy country to visit.
12. Lion Beer
Ah, Lion beer! There's absolutely nothing that could beat this cold, frothy, amber coloured malty beast after a good swim in the ocean. A light bitterness up front, that slowly fades into a swirl of sweetness, while a bit of alcohol warmth helps to balance out the flavours.
13. Budget Hostels
Travelling can be expensive. Very, very expensive. However, have no fear of finding accommodation in Sri Lanka under a budget. We have a range of trending budget hostels for every broke soul, looking for rest in this tiny island.
14. Oceanic Aspects
AYYYY, the beach is probably the most obvious topic on this list. We're an island…near the equator…what did you expect? Therefore, I'm not going to rattle on. but here's a list of 15 of the most beautiful beaches in SL to help you out.
15. Residual History
Bits of castles, statues and temples are all that is left of what used to be advanced and glorious kingdoms from times long forgotten by most. History is something we find in excessive quantities here and is why Sri Lanka is probably one of the best places to be if you're into history. We are overflowing with stories of kings, rebellions and of course, lakes. And no matter where you are, I guarantee that there's something interesting that has happened in the past in the place you stay.
There you have it, a bunch of reasons why we think we're cool. So, if you do end up coming here in 2019 or whenever, keep these things in mind. And have a great time in SL!