We’ve been to Sri Lanka twice in the past two years, making our way across the country for more than a combined 4 weeks of travel. Sri Lanka is varied, diverse, ancient, and very cheap. It’s a great place to go and here are 5 reasons why Sri Lanka should be your next travel destination.

Sri Lanka
This is me walking along some ruins in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. The ancient city is massive, beautiful and mostly empty!

1 The Food is THE BOMB!

Like Thai? Like Indian? Well, those two food groups just had a baby and the baby’s name is Sri Lankan cuisine. Vegans and vegetarians can rejoice as well! Fish and meat are in no way a part of every Sri Lankan’s diet and it is quite easy to find rich, delicious meals packed with spices, flavor, and absolutely no dairy or meat.

Lunch in Sri Lanka
Here’s a typical lunch in Sri Lanka! Packed full of flavors, textures, veggies, and (if you want) meat or fish.

The meals consist of many different dishes served together on a plate, usually garnished with pol sambol, a spicy shredded coconut topping. We did not get sick of the food at all while there. In fact, we stole a bunch of recipes and made them when we got home (although it’s really hard to find buffalo curd in New York City…).

2 Sri Lanka is Not Crowded with Tourists (yet).

Most people will flock to the Thai beaches for their get-a-ways, completely ignoring the pristine, empty beaches of Sri Lanka only 3.5 hours to the West by plane. I don’t think this will be the case in another five years, however. Sri Lanka is trending ­– 2.1 million tourists in 2017, up from 1.8 million in 2015 – becoming a hot destination for tourists. If you are looking for a chance to go to a truly exotic country not yet overrun with McDonalds and globalization, get yourself to Sri Lanka! (Get there quick, they are growing rapidly!).

Sri Lankan beach
Ladies and Gentlemen: care for an empty beach? We took this while staying in the little village of Balapitiya on the Southern Coast.

3 There are so Many Things to Do and See!

Like Hiking? Vistas? Sri Lanka’s mountainous center will scratch that itch! Want to explore ruins so old Europe’s castles look young? You got it. How about surfing and beach bumming? Done: got it. Oh, and don’t forget safaris, or exploring tea plantations. There are so many things you can do and at so many price points, Sri Lanka’s activities will keep you busy for quite a while. I’m only at the tip of the iceberg here.

Sri Lanka
That’s us in Horton Plains National Park after climbing to the top to get a look around. It was absolutely beautiful.

4 It’s Safe

Sri Lanka is not dangerous. The locals are some of the friendliest people we have met while traveling (we’ve been to over 30 countries). They are incredibly helpful, curious and they speak English! The infrastructure is somewhat iffy at times (the roads can get really bumpy and filled with potholes), but there are a number of ways to travel around the country easily and cheap, giving the traveler a chance to really sink their teeth into this island nation with few worries about getting robbed or ripped off. Sri Lankans take a lot of pride in the safety of their tourists and will go out of their way to make sure you are taken care of.

Monkeys in Sri Lanka
Monkeys! Everywhere! It’s not uncommon to find them roaming around ruins and temples especially. These guys were lounging around the grounds of the ancient city of Anuradhapura.

5 It’s Very Digestible

Sri Lanka is not very big, but packs a lot into it for such a small country. Due to the size, it is really easy to get around and see a lot of stuff in a relatively short amount of time. This makes planning itineraries of 1 week to 6 weeks simple as you don’t have to factor in too much time in getting from one place to another.

Sri Lanka
A must-see while in Sri Lanka: Sigiriya rock! This is a fantastic UNESCO world heritage site for good reason. The views from the top are stellar!

It’s also really cheap! Shoe-string travelers rejoice! You can get by on very little in Sri Lanka and still enjoy the rich culture, food, people and places this country has to offer. (This is cheaper than Thailand, folks!). Expect to spend $50 USD a day for food, lodging and travel and still have some left over: Hell. Yes.

Sri Lankan bus
If you are bold (and smart) these will be your main mode of transportation around the country. Buses are the lifeblood of the Sri Lankans and these babies can take you everywhere for very little money. You really don’t need a car to get around.

Have I convinced you? I hope so! This is a fantastic country, full of history, nature, people and not overrun with tourists! What a win! Get yourself over there and see for yourself before everyone else does!

Courtesy of: Natalie Allen of A Pair of Travel Pants

See more of their travels on Instagram: @apairoftravelpants

5 Reasons to Visit Sri Lanka

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