The Top 8 things that surprised me about Sri Lanka.
- Sri Lankans sleep early – we were driving at 1 am from the airport to Colombo and we didn’t see a single form of life for more than half an hour. Only when we were at the heart of the city we saw some tuk tuks and cars. In Galle we had the same experience. The restaurants close around 10:30 pm and after that there is no one on the street. Me and the sweetest one wanted to have a walk but it lasted only a few minutes because there were too many stray dogs around us and we didn’t want to be eaten, at least not without witnesses.
- Internet is really cheap and fast in Sri Lanka and getting a sim card is easy as Sunday morning. I got mine from Dialog, the sim was free and I paid only for the data plan, 1.3 usd for 2 giga, but they have a lot of different packages.
- Tuk Tuks are everywhere and …drum roll … they have a meter! I have never imagined even in my wildest dreams that this was possible. We used them several times and the drivers were always willing to put it on. They are cheap as well, for 8-9 kms we paid around 3 usd. Our friends even went from Galle Fort to Hikkaduwa for less than 6 usd.
- The people are the kindest I have ever met – I was overwhelmed by their happy and friendly nature. While in some other countries I feel like a foreigner, in Sri Lanka I felt like I was at home. I went to the beach in Colombo at 6 am to see the sunrise, and as always, I was a bit concerned that someone would kidnap me and sell me to a human traffic organization. This didn’t happen, on the contrary, everyone I met smiled or said good morning. No matter how beautiful a place is, it’s always the people that make the difference and the locals definitely know how to make you feel welcome.
- Everyone speaks English – or at least everyone we spoke to, from the coconut vendor to the tuk tuk driver. The awareness that I can ask and get an answer that I understand gave me an invaluable sense of serenity.
- Driving in the opposite lane or reversing on a busy road is not such a big deal. Apart from a few horn honks no one seemed particularly bothered.
- Don’t mess with the King Coconut – when they say that travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer they are right. Before coming to Sri Lanka I hadn’t realized that there is such thing as a King Coconut, I just thought that some coconuts are green and others are orange. But comparing them apparently is like comparing silver to gold. The King Coconut is the best, the sweetets and the most nutrient, now you know it too.
- Rumor has it that Sri Lankan food is the spiciest in the world – we paid extra attention when we ordered our meals. Of course I couldn’t resist the temptation to try a spicy fish soup in a local restaurant, despite the concern of the waiter. It didn’t make me cry but I finished all the bread that was on the table. However, I would recommend to anyone who doesn’t eat chili for breakfast to be careful.