5 Things You Didn’t Know About Sri Lanka
We love featuring guest post from our travel blogger friends who can highlight parts of the world we aren’t in or haven’t been able to visit yet. This week we are excited to show you 5 things you didn’t know about Sri Lanka, thanks to Brian, half of the great team over at Wandering On. So sit back, relax, and let Brian give you some insight into Sri Lanka, a place we are very excited to visit in the future!
1. Sri Lanka and India are closer than you think!
Adam’s Bridge is a series of limestone shoals running between India and Sri Lanka and was once passable on foot! Looking out from the remote fishing village of Talaimannar in Sri Lanka you could probably make out the shores of Dhanushkodi in India across the Palk Strait, just thirty kilometers away. Ranging from three to thirty feet deep, these shallow waters are heavily patrolled by each nation to deter any would-be swimmers! Strangely, while they’re so close geographically, these two countries are very different culturally and Sri Lanka certainly isn’t the ‘India by the sea’ which we and many other travelers we met had envisioned.
2. Tasty Food
Rice and Curry is the Sri Lankan staple but rice and curry doesn’t just mean rice and curry. It means a whole lot of rice, a vegetable curry, a meat curry, a dhal, papadums and sambal (chutney) and what’s more is they’ll keep it coming as long as you keep eating. Roti are another popular snack, a wrapped roti bread stuffed with your choice of filling, a great filler in the middle of the day and something totally different to the cuisine of neighbouring India. Another Sri Lankan favourite is Kottu, a dish you’ll hear before you smell! Cooks rhythmically bang two blunt metal blades against the hot plate as they mix the chopped roti, spices, vegetables and your choice of fish, chicken, egg or beef, like a calling to all travelers and locals alike that dinner’s served!
3. Go North!
By far the best decision we made during our ten weeks in Sri Lanka was to make the trip north to visit Jaffna. With the war only ending in Sri Lanka in 2009, people are worried about how safe it is to visit and let me tell you, it’s as safe as safe can be. Yes, there are ruined buildings, yes, it’s sad see the devastation the war caused and yes, seeing bullet riddled palm trees might not be the palm trees you usually seek out but Jaffna is a must! Up north we met the most genuine people while travelling around Sri Lanka, saw some of the most beautiful temples and learned a lot about the countries very recent history first hand. If you have the opportunity to get there, don’t miss out!
Sri Lanka is home to a staggering twenty-two national parks, that’s quite a lot for such a small country! These parks can be expensive to visit, especially for backpackers on a budget and the great thing about Sri Lanka is you don’t need to visit the parks to experience the wildlife. Everywhere you look in Sri Lanka there’s wildlife, it’s like the country is one huge National Park, if you keep your eyes peeled you’ll see beautiful turtles, tropical fish, birds, monitor lizards, snakes, deer, squirrels, strange insects and even elephants, without paying a penny!
5. Top Tea Producer
Sri Lanka is the world’s third largest producer of tea behind the two huge nations of China and India. Throughout Sri Lanka’s central Hill Country there are great opportunities to visit tea factories and tea museums, making for an interesting afternoon. However, just traveling through this area on the train, passing through the green blanket of tea plantations that cover the rolling hills, watching the locals hand pick the tea is a true Sri Lankan Experience.
Brian Barry is a travel writer, photographer, blogger and self-confessed travel addict. Together with his girlfriend Noelle Kelly, they run WanderingOn.com, designed to help and inspire you to get out there and see all the world has to offer. They share their travel stories, experiences and adventures through photos and videos, as well as travel tips and advice on travel as a lifestyle. Keep up to date with them on Facebook and Twitter.