Important Things to Keep in Mind When Travelling to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is one of those islands in Asia that always intrigues many travellers for its history, culture, heritage, and nature. It is important to understand the attributes of the people, societies, and landscapes of the island before embarking on your adventure. Knowing this will not only help you in enjoying your trip, but also plan out your vacation without any shortcomings. Here are some important things to keep in mind when you are travelling to Sri Lanka.
One of the first things that you should know is that Sinhala is the country’s first language, and is widely spoken across island. Knowing a few phrases beforehand would come in handy when travelling as you will be able to extract much-needed information when the need arises. Additionally, Tamil is also a language that can help you get about, especially in the north and eastern regions. However, many locals are able to converse in English, albeit, not always a strong suit; but enough to guide you along the way.
2. Culture and Customs
It is imperative that you understand the culture and customs that prevail in the country when travelling. The culture is one that is deeply intertwined with the religion of Buddhism, as it has been the main religion since the 3rd century BC. Understanding the festivals and significance of specific days will allow you to witness how unique the culture is. Additionally, knowing the other religions, such as Hinduism, Christianity, Catholicism, and Islam is another useful fact to keep in mind, as part of the island’s culture stems from those faiths too. For example, remember to cover your shoulders and knees before entering religious places of worship. Walking on the streets in swimwear is frowned upon in most coastal towns aswell; and you’re likely to see signs prohibiting it.
The island is slowly improving its infrastructure of transportation and other areas of logistics since recent times. Therefore, it would be useful to know that the southern half of the island is relatively easy to travel to, since the opening of the Southern Expressway. Using a private vehicle is not the only option out there though, as the train, and more recently, domestic flights are other viable options as well. The trains guarantee the most scenic route as the railway line runs along the coast. Flights, on the other hand, is the more expensive option of the lot, but will give you a unique experience and take you to your destination much faster!
There are mainly two seasons in Sri Lanka, which are the dry/sunny season, and the monsoon season. The dry/sunny season is generally prevalent in the southern region of the island during the months from December to April. In which, at the same time, the monsoon season is prevalent in the eastern region. The months from May to November, however, the seasons switch around. Plan your trip around the country accordingly, as weather plays a crucial part in some activities; like whale watching, hiking, water sports and more.
5. Popular Destinations
Knowing some of the more popular destinations of the island is also a plus point, as it makes travelling more convenient, and also allows you to understand a bit more about the unique features of the country. For example, the city of Galle is a perfect place for you to understand the colonial heritage of the island, and the town of Hikkaduwa is ideal to experience a vibrant atmosphere.
Sri Lanka is a diverse country that will always leave you with everlasting memories, regardless of how you plan out your trip. However, if you want to create that connection with the island and that yearning to explore the road less travelled, then keeping these things in mind will certainly take you a long way.