7 Reasons why Sri Lanka is still one of the best travel destinations despite the economic crisis…

Sri Lanka now?

Let me guess, When you first saw the title of the post, you must have thought “is it really?”. That’s totally understandable because Sri Lanka recently has been making headlines in all the wrong stories. Well, it’s true that right now, Sri Lanka is going through an unprecedented economic crisis and it has affected really badly on the lives of Sri Lankan people. There’s no doubt about that. But Sri Lanka still has everything that made it the Top Country to visit in 2019. All the tourist attractions, kind and welcoming people, affordable prices and so much more. The economic crisis just added some challenges that weren’t there in 2019. 

Although I can’t promise a trip to Sri Lanka now will be a smooth ride like it was in 2019 when Sri Lanka was named the top country to visit, if you are up for a bit of a challenge and are open to minor changes in your plans during your visit, Sri Lanka will not disappoint you. After reading this article, let me know in the comments if you agree with me. I would love to know.

To read more about the current situation in Sri Lanka you can read my Q & A article by this link. 

Sri Lanka is the ideal destination if you want to experience sunny, warm tropical weather, mouthwatering cuisine, and beautiful sandy beaches where you can sunbathe and get a natural tan during the day, unwind and enjoy a peaceful evening with a breathtaking sunset, or go surfing on the ideal waves. If you visit around the right time of year, you may even go whale and dolphin watching.

If you’re a nature lover like me, your ideal vacation spot may be somewhere with an abundance of natural beauty with scenic green velvet of forest canopy, breathtaking trails leading to stunning, snow-white waterfalls, or places where you can go on safaris; deep into the wild – where you can see wild animals in their natural habitats, or maybe a place where you can go on a boat ride in a beautiful lake or a river and enjoy the spectacular sunset.

Visit Sri Lanka - safe to travel to Sri Lanka

For those of you who are interested in archeology and History, you might be looking for a destination where there are many historical places that you can explore archeological sites with thousands of years of history wound around them.

I know it’s hard to believe. Sri Lanka has it all.

Allow me to tell you 7 major reasons why Sri Lanka is still one of the best travel destinations despite the economic crisis.

It’s easy to explore

This small pearl of an island in the Indian ocean is only 432 km in maximum length and 224 km in maximum width.

Its small size doesn’t match its abundant natural beauty at all.

It offers a very diverse set of travel experiences for any visitor according to his or her needs, and the best part about this paradise island is that due to its location and size, it will only take around 5 hours of driving via a scenic route, after enjoying a refreshing cup of Ceylon tea in misty Nuwara Eliya before reaching Arugambay beach, where you may test the ocean waves with your surfboard.

You’ll witness the change of the nature around you as you drive down the central hills towards the beach because you enter a different climate zone. It’s pretty fantastic.

It’s cheap and affordable

Photo by Eddy Billard on Unsplash

Who doesn’t love to enjoy a wonderful vacation and relax without having to spend a huge amount of money right?

You can be an adventurous and spontaneous backpacker or you can be visiting Sri Lanka with your family to enjoy a well-planned vacation offered by one of the 5-star hotels. Sri Lanka offers a variety of affordable solutions that are ideal for either your plans.

Right now, 1$ has a high value in Sri Lanka due to the economic situation which is actually a Big Plus for tourists. You’ll get more Sri Lankan rupees for your Dollars.

You can have a very fulfilling meal for just 1$. And surprisingly, a train ticket from Colombo to Kandy costs less than 1$.

Compared to the wide variety of quality experiences that you can get by visiting Sri Lanka, I would say the money you spend here is Money Well Spent.

And not to mention that we, as Sri Lankans, really need foreign currency to come in to Sri Lanka, for the economy to be stabilized once again.


Image of a tea plucker in Sri Lanka carefully harvesting tea leaves. Traditional attire and meticulous plucking highlight the labor-intensive process of tea cultivation.

Sri Lankans adore foreigners. I can’t stress this enough. The innocent, friendly smile of Sri Lankans is a sign of their warm and welcoming nature which many foreign visitors who came to this island cannot forget.

Despite what they’re going through due to the economic crisis, Sri Lankan people haven’t lost their globally renowned excellent hospitality, kindness, their honest smile and friendly attitude towards foreign tourists. And they need you now more than ever.

Being a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country, you will meet a diverse community of people who are co-existing in this beautiful island. The majority of them understand English and are willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. Regardless of their language or religion,you will be pleasantly surprised by their humanity and hospitality.

Although 99% of Sri Lankans can be complimented as above, there is a small percentage who can take advantage of you. So, be careful not to get scammed by this minority.

Rich culture and Glorious History


Visit iStock by Getty Images for more stunning photos from Ceylon, including ones like these that a talented Sri Lankan photographer has captured.

Because Sri Lanka is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country, Sri Lankan culture as a whole is quite interesting.

You can see a cultural or a religious festival in any month of the year. The most prominent of them is The Sinhala and Tamil New Year which is celebrated in the middle of April. If you visit Sri Lanka at this time of the year, you’ll see festivals in every village and town, firecrackers, and you’ll definitely get the chance to taste delicious sweets that are usually made specially for the New Year.

One of the main religious festivals is the Vesak festival which falls on the full moon day of May to celebrate the birth, enlightenment, and death of The Lord Buddha. Decorations with coconut leaves, colorful lights, different kinds of stunning Vesak lanterns, beautiful exhibitions of very artistic Vesak pandals that describe the life story of The Gauthama Buddha are some of the things you’ll be able to see during this festival.

And during this season, you won’t be able to escape from a “Dansala” where Sri Lankan Buddhists offer different kinds of food for free. (even though it’s a Buddhist festival people contribute to dan sala despite their religious beliefs). You can find dansal literally everywhere you go along the street. People usually don’t cook on Vesak day because you can get free food from dan sala. Sri Lankans love to give. They think it’s a good deed. I think it’s a wonderful quality.

Kandyan dancers are dancing facing the Royal Tusker who is carring the casket of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy Dalada Perahera - Sri Lanka. On the corner there is a bright fire torch which lights the path for the Esala Perahera (Dalada peragera).
Kandy Esala Perahera

Visit iStock by Getty Images for more stunning photos from Ceylon, including ones like these that a talented Sri Lankan photographer has captured.

Another very prestigious, universally famous cultural/religious event is the Kandy Esala Perahera (also called Dalada Perahera in Sinhala) which is held to seek blessings from the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. It is held in August and is a perfect opportunity to enjoy some of the outstanding cultural representations of Sri Lanka. 

The sound of whip crackers signals the beginning of the perahera with athletic Kandyan dancing decorated with breathtaking stunts, thousands of drummers with different kinds of drums, colorfully dressed giant tuskers, and  thousands of dancers just to name a few. After many other marvelous acts comes the Royal Tusker caring the casket of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha, which marks the climax of the perahera. Also, you can see adjoining peraheras of 4 Devala’s which are equally stunning and colorful as the Dalada perahera.

Read this interesting article on The things that you wish you knew on your visit to Kandy Temple of the Tooth Relic. (Dalada Maligawa)

If you are interested in history and like to visit countries with a long history and abundance of ancient kingdoms, archeological sites, monuments, caves, frescos, Sri Lanka is at the top of the list.

Sri Lanka has a documented history of more than 3000 years. That’s a lot of history for such a small country. Right?

And did you know that Sri Lanka has 8 Unesco World Heritage Sites? If you didn’t it’s not a problem at all. I’m going to tell you right now.

  1. The sacred city of Kandy, 
  2. The ancient city of  Sigiriya, 
  3. The sacred city of Anuradhapura, 
  4. The old town of Galle and Galle fort, 
  5. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa, 
  6. Dambulla cave temple, 
  7. Sinharaja forest reserve, 
  8. Central highlands.
Sigiriya rock-Sri Lanka

Visit iStock by Getty Images for more stunning photos from Ceylon, including ones like these that a talented Sri Lankan photographer has captured.

Do you want to know 7+ intersting things about Sigiriya. Follow this link to read about Things you should know before visiting Sigiriya.

Since Sri Lanka was colonized by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British empires respectively, you will see the influences of these colonisations in some of the Sri Lankan architecture. Quite interesting! Isn’t it?

Okay! Who is already convinced to visit Sri Lanka by now? Haha! If you are still not convinced, there are more reasons that will convince you.

Beautiful sceneries, landscapes & Exquisite sunsets (For Photographers and Instagrammers)

Photo by: Nalinda Ekanayake

Sri Lanka is full of breathtaking sceneries that you wouldn’t be able to resist capturing to your camera lens. Either you are an enthusiastic photographer or looking for instagrammable shots to post, you can find spectacular sceneries all around this beautiful country. 

From central hills with a never-ending green canopy covering the mountain tops which rise above clouds to kiss the sky and scenic tea estates, waterfalls, grasslands, flower gardens to the beautiful sandy beaches surrounded by palm trees where you’ll be able to witness magnificent sunsets, the country is famous for its overwhelming beauty.

The train ride from Kandy to Ella is extremely famous among tourists due to its picturesque route. It is said to be one of the most beautiful train routes in the world.

Just a bit further from Ella, you will find the well-known nine arch bridge which is an extremely popular tourist attraction. I’m sure you have already seen very famous photographs that were captured near this bridge.

Photo by Lucija Ros on Unsplash

Another such popular camera-ready social media hot spot is the famous rope swing in Dalawella beach at sunset.

Horton plains with never-ending grasslands that are frequently covering and unveiling by mist, weather that is not too cold and not too hot, herds of elks and deers wondering, beautiful maharathmal flowers and cloud forests, alluring, scenic trails leading to the most iconic and magnificent waterfalls, I mean, the list goes on and on. 

If you love photography you won’t notice time passing when you are in Horton plains.

For wildlife photographers, Sri Lanka has many national parks where you can see herds of elephants in their natural habitats like Minneriya and Kaudulla, the highest density of leopards can be found in the Yala national park, which means the chance for you to capture one into your camera lens is pretty high. If you are interested in bird watching, Kumana and Bundala are perfect places for you to spot beautiful flocks of birds and photograph them.

You will be able to capture pretty awesome shots in all the 8 world heritage sites which I talked about earlier. Kandy, Dambulla, Sigiriya, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa are some of the places that you don’t want to miss if you are passionate about photography.

Visit iStock by Getty Images for more stunning photos from Ceylon, including ones like these that a talented Sri Lankan photographer has captured.

Activities for the action-loving, adventure-seeking tourists

Yes, for our adventure seekers who love surfing, water rafting, hiking, mountain climbing, wildlife safaris, whale and dolphin watching Sri Lanka offers some of the perfect spots for each of these activities.

Arugam bay beach is most popular among surfers as one of the best places to surf in the whole world. Some very popular surf competitions are also held in Arugam bay.

Hikkaduwa is another place for surfing, but the waves are much better in Arugam bay.

Kelani River near Kitulgala is a perfect place for water rafting. 

If hiking and mountain climbing brings you joy (it certainly does to me) Horton plains, Riverston, Knuckles mountain range, Adam’s peak, Sigiriya, Pidurangala, and Siharaja forest are just a few suggestions.

If you visit Sri Lanka from January to March you can go whale watching in Kalpitiya.

To go into the wild and see wildlife in their natural habitats, you must hop on to an open-top safari jeep. If you love wildlife and also looking for an off-road adventure this is perfect for you. Minneriya, Kaudulla, and Yala are the most famous national parks where you can go on a safari. 

Safaris in Sri Lankan national parks are said to be the best safaris outside of Africa. So, this is something you really don’t want to miss if you are visiting Sri Lanka.

Food.. Yum yum!

While I was researching what foreigners really love about Sri Lanka, I was actually surprised to see how much they love Sri Lankan food. I mean, for me as a local that was really interesting and made me wanna appreciate our Sri Lankan food even more. Wow!

Same as the culture Sri Lankan cuisine is very diverse. The locals love their spices. So, delicious, spicy, and savory dishes are considered essential in their cuisine.

For Breakfast, Sri Lankans typically enjoy eating milk rice with onion sambol or pol sambol, steamed rice with pol sambol, lentils curry with fried dry fish, string hoppers with lentils curry, pol sambol, or hoppers with lunu miris etc.

I’m sure you noticed in many of the breakfast options there’s pol sambol. It is a very delicious mixture of coconut scrapings, spices, garlic, onion, curry leaves, and a bit of Maldive fish. When all these ingredients are mixed in perfect proportions and fried with a bit of oil and mustard seeds, the result is so appetizing. I personally love it. I can eat it for all 3 meals with just steamed plain rice. 

For lunch, it’s almost always rice with many tasty, savory curries. There are so many options that you can choose and experiment with. If you go to a Sri Lankan buffet for lunch you’ll see what I’m talking about. Some of my recommendations as curries for your perfect Sri Lankan lunch will be Fish ambul thiyal (sour fish curry), Polos (baby jackfruit) curry, Brinjal pickle (it’s sweet and savory at the same time), papadam, fish cutlet, one of the green curries of your choice (there’s a lot like beans, ridge gourd, okra, pumpkin, etc.), and also chicken curry or devel because with Sri Lankan spices, the chicken curry you eat in Sri Lanka wouldn’t be the same as of any other country.

It is said that a meal served on a banana leaf or a lotus leaf is much tastier than a meal served on a plate. But, I’ll leave it for you to judge.

For dinner, one of the tourist favorites is Kottu.


Street food courts offer a lot of tasty dishes which have won the heart of many food lovers who visited Sri Lanka. Kottu is the King of Street Food. Full of flavors and guaranteed to fill your hunger with even less than one portion. Even though kottu is primarily considered as a street food, you will find it in almost all the dinner menus in hotels in Sri Lanka. I highly recommend that you try kottu. 

Another dish that is adored by tourists is egg hoppers and plain hoppers. Hoppers is a local bowl-shaped pancake made with rice flour, a small portion of wheat flour, and coconut milk. The mixture is fermented with yeast for few hours for a fluffy texture. The mixture is then poured into a bowl-shaped pan and fried until the sides are golden brown. When an egg or an omelet mixture is added to the middle of the hopper while it’s cooking it’s called an egg hopper. Even though plain hoppers and egg hoppers are the main types of hoppers the Sri Lankans have created new variations as cheese hoppers, chicken hoppers, milk hoppers, etc. The difference is what you add to the middle of the hopper. For me, nothing beats the plain hoppers and egg hoppers with lunu miris.

When you are in Sri Lanka, I highly suggest you make a quick stop in a fruit market and try some tropical fruits. Or maybe a cool, delicious, freshly-sqeezed fruit juice. You will find many varieties of bananas (not only in different sizes, textures, flavors but also in shades.), mangoes, wood apple, watermelon, Pineapple, Papaya, Mangosteen, Rambutan, Durian just to name a few.

And don’t forget to quench your thirst with some king coconut water, the perfect antidote for the thirst on a hot sunny day in Sri Lanka.

So, That’s 7 reasons. Do you think Sri Lanka is one of the best travel destinations despite the economic crisis? Did I succeed in convincing you? Actually the post became longer than I expected. I hope it was interesting for you to read as it was for me to write.

If you made it to the end of the article please let me know in the comments, your thoughts about Sri Lanka, what you love about the country, and what you would like to read in the future about Sri Lanka. If you enjoyed the post and don’t want to miss any interesting posts in the future you can subscribe to our newsletter. We would be thrilled if you do.

Finally, I hope I was able to provide you with some interesting and useful information about my wonderful country. Thank you so much for reading this post.

නැවත හමුවෙමු😉 (Newatha hamuwemu = Let’s meet again)

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