Sri Lanka for the first time!

Sri Lanka
 Must read guide if you are going to Sri Lanka for the first time!

by Bavani Srinu, the founder of

Sri Lanka is a great holiday destination. It has pristine beaches, adventure, wildlife, nightlife, culture, heritage, mountains, valleys and so much more. However, until 2009, Sri Lanka was known for the civil war that prevailed over the country for 25 years.

Sri Lanka
Hospitality and friendliness

The most explored places are the South and the West coast of Sri Lanka. Tourists who are interested in water sports such as kite surfing are known to head to the East coast.  East coast is also packed with backpackers. Jaffna, the worst hit city of Sri Lanka during the civil war, located in the northern part of Sri Lanka has been opened up for tourism recently.

Sri Lanka
Market in Sri Lanka

For first time visitors, this pearl island could be fascinating for few and be bewildering for the others. In order to know more about Sri Lanka, it is necessary to understand its different regions and also about its occupants. South of Sri Lanka is occupied by Sinhalese speaking Sri Lankans. The north has Tamil speaking locals. Here are 7 unexpected things to expect.

  1. Language barrier – Not many Sri Lankans speak English (although this number is slowly growing). It would be advisable to learn a few local words before you reach this beautiful country.
  2. Spicy food – We are not kidding. The Sri Lankan cuisine is delicious but is not suitable for all palates. Be prepared to be shocked with the local curries. For the not so brave, western cuisine is available and are a milder alternative. If you are someone who likes to eat local food, warn the chef beforehand and they will prepare your food based on your spice tolerance level.
  3. The ultimate Head Nod – This is a funny thing to see. Locals would acknowledge or respond to you by nodding their head up and down for a ”yes” and left and right for a ”no”, accompanied with the words yes or no. The head nod is part of their body language. I must tell you that Sri Lankans are lovely people. Reciprocate the nod with the same warmth 🙂
  4. Cows everywhere – Sri Lankans are harmonious people. You will witness cows on the beach, walking on the streets in tandem with moving traffic such as motorcycles, cars, and buses etc. Sri Lankans would give them their space and move around if necessary.
  5. Hospitality – Some countries are not tourist friendly. But Sri Lankans are warm, hospitable people. Their smile and genuine interest would make you want to know them more. They are also very helpful. At first, you might think there is a hidden agenda only to realize sooner that their only intention is to help 🙂
  6. Seafood- Oh this island is a seafood paradise. Surrounded by water on all sides in the middle of the Indian Ocean, need I say more? Eat to your heart’s content. That is one happy tummy speaking.
  7. Lack of privacy – Don’t be surprised when locals ask you about your age, partner, no of children, what they do etc. in the first meeting. The concept of privacy does not exist in their culture. They are curious people but they mean no harm.
Sri Lanka,
Food is spicy, though delicious!

Enjoy Sri Lanka. I love that country.

Bavani Srinu, Ichigoo
Bavani Srinu, Founder of Ichigoo

This post was written by Bavani Srinu, Founder of Ichiqoo, a travel website that promotes local and curated experiences in Sri Lanka. Ichiqoo helps travelers plan their holiday to Sri Lanka like a pro.

You can also find her on facebook – click here!

4 thoughts on “Sri Lanka for the first time!

  1. Hahaha!!! That’s a lovely article. Most of these points are applicable to rural tourism in India as well. We too have the same head nod, spicy food, lack of privacy and cows, (also dogs, donkeys and region specific camels, yaks etc)!!! Anyways, Srilanka is in my wishlist. Hope to visit soon.

  2. Lovely post! I would love to visit Sri Lanka someday. Your article is very inviting and I wonder when can be my trip to Sri Lanka possible. I do think that people there are also like Filipinos. What I love the best among the features you gave are the kinds of seafood. I love seafood most especially the lobster. I think that I will enjoy Sri Lanka.

  3. I’ve thought about Sri Lanka as a holiday destination multiple times. But I haven’t been there yet. I definitely want to go someday. Number one is a very good one to know. So important. Spicy food.. Good to know. I’m not used to spicy food. So I really should keep that in mind when I go.. Seafood is great. Love it!

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