Your maiden trip to Sri Lanka, simplified!

A beach in Sri Lanka. Photo: Shutterstock Images

The tear-drop shaped island of Sri Lanka has been a holiday favourite destination for Indians since time immemorial. A few lucky ones reading this might have already had the opportunity to explore this beautiful paradise-on-earth and can't wait to go back. And then there are some of us who are yet to visit Sri Lanka, either way; there are a few things you should know about the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.

Planning a holiday requires considerable thought. You want to get everything right- you want to relax, but you don't want to waste time; you want to indulge in various experiences, but you also don’t want to overspend... There are plenty of considerations that need to be taken into account.

A Sri Lankan holiday is no different! Here are a few of the things you need to think about before visiting the stunning island off the shore of India:

1. The vibe of the country
If I had one word to describe Sri Lanka's vibe, it would have to be 'relaxed'. It is the place you go to; to forget about your problems and take a break from your hectic daily life. Sure, there are a few bars and clubs in Colombo, but the hustle-bustle is blanketed by clam even in the country's biggest city. So if partying is all that you want from your vacation, this island might not be the ideal fit! However, if you want to just chill and have a relaxed holiday, Sri Lanka is heaven with picture-perfect sights to behold.

Colombo. Photo: Shutterstock Images

2. Perfecting the itinerary
Don't pack in too many places and crowd up your itinerary; go with the flow of the Lankan vibe! Whilst visiting any new destination, the temptation to cover as much ground as possible, see as much as possible, is quite real. But keep in mind, it isn't possible to cover everything that Sri Lanka has to offer in even three weeks and also, you won't properly enjoy what the country has to offer if you are busy hopping from one place to the next. We suggest you jot down the top three to five places that classify as your "must-visits" and pace them out over the days you are there.

'When in Lanka, do as the Lankans do' : take a break! And if you don't, the traffic will force you to. Vehicles move slow, and you are likely to take double the time the maps show you to reach your destination.

3. Understanding the climate
The tropical island has a perennially hot climate. Two different batches of monsoons accompany the sunny seasons. One from May to June end (with May being the most severe) and the next from October end to end December (with November getting the maximum share of rain), thus making May and November unpopular times to visit Sri Lanka. However, the months of January and February offer cool winds to visitors and get heavy footfall too. Furthermore, the tourist season continues till the end of April and restarts after the monsoons in the month of September.

Tea plantation in Nuwara Eliya. Photo: Shutterstock Images

4. The mood of the food
Sri Lankan cuisine is primarily a coastal cuisine with the flavours of coconut and curry leaves playing dominant roles in most dishes. The overall flavour palette of this cuisine can be described as 'mellow' but add some of their homemade Chinese style chilli paste, and you'll get the tangy-spicy hit of flavour in every bite.

The island country is gastronomical heaven offering a taste of the fresh sea in every bite of its utterly delicious cuisine. The main dishes feature rice in one form or the other and are usually accompanied by a curry. Being an island country, seafood covers an impressive amount of the menu. Some of the most popular dishes available here include hoppers, string hoppers, Kiribath, Kottu, Sambal etc.

Kiribath. Photo: Shutterstock Images

5. Leaving room for an adrenaline rush
Yes, the overall vibe is calm, and Sri Lanka might as well be called the 'island of relaxation, but that does not mean it doesn't beckon to the sports enthusiast in all of us! The island offers an array of sports, both in and out of the water, to help energize you and get that adrenaline pumping. There are plenty of trekking paths and hikes with varying levels of difficulty that offer the most picturesque views. If you are a water baby, then the jet skis and banana boats await your indulgence.

6. Where to swipe the card
The shopaholic within me does a little jig every time I get to know that someone will be visiting Sri Lanka! There’s so much that the tropical lands have to offer! Sri Lanka is one of Asia’s largest exporters of tea and cinnamon, so those are the top two items to stock up on when in Lanka. These relatively inexpensive items are followed by the lustrous gems and jewels that the island is famous for. Also, the arts and handicrafts 'scene' in the country is mind-blowing! You are very likely to find unique elements made by local artists (that make wonderful home décor pieces and gifts as well; just be careful of your luggage allowance).

Sri Lanka also boasts of one of Asia's largest bio-diversities, so make sure you carve out time to visit the elephant parks when you're there! You can even go whale watching and hope to spot the beautiful creature in its natural environment.

With that, we've got you up to speed with all things Sri Lankan! Bon Voyage!

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