Are you planning to visit Sri Lanka for the first time? Great! You’ll find so much to explore – delicious cuisine, stunning nature, unique culture and fascinating history. But making sure that you get the best out of your trip can be challenging if you’re unfamiliar with the country. That’s why we’ve put together this guide filled with essential tips and tricks to help make your vacation in Sri Lanka an unforgettable experience.
Learn some basic Sinhalese phrases
Exploring a new country can be an exciting adventure, but it can also be intimidating when you don’t speak the language. That’s why learning a few basic Sinhalese phrases can make all the difference when travelling around. Key words to learn include:
- Ayubowan (hello)
- Isthuthi (thank you)
- Karunakarala (please)
- Ow (yes)
- Naa (no)
- Ingirisi dannevada? (do you speak English?)
- Singhala danna naa (I don’t speak Sinhala)
- Meeka Kiyadha (how much is it?)
- Kumana paetteda? (which way?)
By learning these off by heart or having them written on a card, you’ll not only be able to navigate your way around more easily, but you’ll also be able to connect with the friendly locals and immerse yourself in their culture. Your efforts will be greatly appreciated and you’ll feel more confident exploring this beautiful island nation.
Get familiar with the local cuisine and customs
Sri Lanka is a country brimming with delicious cuisine. Whether you’re wandering through a bustling food market, basking with a picnic in the idyllic countryside, or savouring an aromatic curry in a local restaurant, the abundance of tantalising flavours and aromas will transport your senses to new and unforgettable heights.
Make sure that you read up on any etiquette or customs surrounding food before you travel, to avoid causing unintentional offence. For example, it’s generally not appropriate to consume alcoholic beverages with your meal. Whilst this might be unusual for you, it’s important to remember that you are a guest in the country that you’re visiting, and therefore you should be respectful of your surroundings.
Make sure to visit the national parks
From pristine beaches to dense rainforests, Sri Lanka is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty. And with over 20 national parks across the country, there is no shortage of wonders to explore. Whether you want to see majestic elephants grazing in the wild or spot elusive leopards, Sri Lanka’s national parks offer thrilling experiences in the heart of nature.
As you venture deeper into the wilderness, you’ll be struck by the sheer diversity of flora and fauna that call these parks home. With stunning vistas, breathtaking waterfalls and rugged terrain, Sri Lanka’s national parks are a visual feast that will leave you awestruck. So, pack your bags and grab your camera – this is something you won’t want to miss off your holiday itinerary.
Respect local traditions and religious sites
Sri Lanka is renowned for its rich culture and religious significance, with Buddhism being the most commonly practised faith, followed by Hinduism, Islam and Catholicism. Therefore, it is important to respect the varying local traditions and religious sites while visiting this country.
Dressing appropriately is one way to show respect. For example, it is deemed inappropriate to wear revealing or tight clothing while visiting a temple. Additionally, taking photographs or videos at certain places should be avoided. This is because some sites may be considered sacred and taking photos may be seen as a sign of disrespect. If you’re unsure, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid taking photos.
Instead, try to embrace the moment and use the lack of photo opportunities to really soak up the atmosphere. By being mindful, visitors can embrace the beauty of Sri Lanka’s traditions while simultaneously showing respect for the country’s people and their beliefs.
Bring a reusable water bottle
When packing for our holidays, it’s easy to forget the impact we have on the environment in the midst of all the excitement. It might not be the first thing on your mind, but plastic waste is a growing problem that affects everyone, and it’s estimated that 1.59 billion tonnes of plastic waste is mismanaged in Sri Lanka per year.
To help reduce your impact, one easy change is to take a reusable water bottle with you – with average temperatures around 30℃, you’ll definitely need to stay hydrated. By choosing to reuse, you can reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills and oceans after your trip. It’s worth noting that tap water here generally isn’t safe for visitors to drink, so avoid filling up your bottle from hotel taps. Instead, purchase larger bottles of water and decant what you will need for the day into your bottle before heading out.
In conclusion, a visit to Sri Lanka can be full of rewarding experiences. With its inviting culture, beautiful nature and friendly people, it’s no wonder why so many tourists visit each year. By being mindful of the country’s customs and traditions, you’ll be able to make the most of your stay and come out knowing more than when you arrived.