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I first visited Sri Lanka earlier this year with my family. I only had three days there and it turns out that just wasn’t enough. Despite not having a lot of time there I quickly fell in love with the island and the Sri Lankan people.

LUCKILY, I got the chance to return this month on a 10 day press trip organised by the Sri Lankan tourism board. This time I was able to see much more of the country and it’s wonderful people. But why are the Sri Lankan people so special? What makes them different to other people in the Asian continent?

About the Sri Lankan People

Sri Lankan People where is tara povey top irish travel blog

Firstly, how many people are in Sri Lanka? The population of Sri Lanka is just over 20 million which is 5 times the population of Ireland. It must be a bit of a squeeze considering Sri Lanka is 10,000 square miles smaller than Ireland. Though I must admit it never felt crowded to me.

The people of Sri Lanka are mainly Sinhalese. They speak “Sinhala” which means “lion’s blood” (not as intimidating as it sounds). However, English is the language of commerce in Sri Lanka and most people seem to speak a bit. The island is fairly multi cultural due to a colourful history. The main religions are Buddhism, Hindu, Muslim and , surprisingly, Catholic. 

Why Do I Love the Sri Lankan People?

1) The Warm Welcome

sri lankan people where is tara povey top irish travel blog

Men waving from a shop front, welcoming us.

As I cruised through Colombo with my fellow bloggers on a city tour Sri Lankan people came out of their shops and waved, crying “Welcome to Sri Lanka”. You don’t get that many places nowadays. The locals seem genuinely happy to welcome tourists to their country

Every single Sri Lankan person that I have met has been extremely welcoming and eager to show me their country and customs. Everywhere we went kids and adults alike would wave at us. The thought of that happening in a Western country is laughable. 

2) The Colours

sri lankan people where is tara povey top irish travel blog

Even the little old ladies have great style.

This may be slightly shallow but the Sri Lankan people sure know how to dress. The colours of their outfits, both traditional and modern, are always striking and incredibly beautiful. On my first trip to Sri Lanka I was asked by a shop owner to try on a traditional Sri Lankan saree. I’ve never worn anything that made me feel more beautiful in my life.

I was also lucky enough to witness two weddings in Sri Lanka during my recent trip. Let me tell you, the Sri Lankan people do weddings in style. The traditional Kanyadan (plush hat with a sort of Aladdin-type waistcoat) outfit for men is a sight to see. I don’t know if I’d want my future husband to sport it, but it sure looks good on the Sri Lankan men. Weddings aren’t all white as well, gold and red often feature heavily. Basically, the people of Sri Lanka are visually stunning.

3) The Lack of Staring

If you’ve ever travelled in Asia you’ll probably have noticed that a lot of the time people will stare at you because you look different. This is to be expected. However, the Sri Lankan people don’t seem to do this. They’ll look at you, wave, smile and MAYBE ask for a photo (or just take one because they’re embarrassed to ask). But in general, no staring and DEFINITELY no creepy staring. Never once did I feel intimidated by a person in Sri Lanka.

In fact, we were halfway through our trip when one of the other bloggers said to me, “You know what I love about Sri Lanka? No one has sexually harassed me at all”. That might sound like a low bar to judge a people by, but in fairness, being a blonde western girl in Asia, you’ll inevitably (usually) get someone making kissing sounds at you at some stage. This is not the case in Sri Lanka it seems, and I really appreciate that. Basically, the Sri Lankan people make you feel safe and respect your personal space. 

4) They Love Horoscopes

sri lankan people where is tara povey top irish travel blog

Traditional Sri Lankan Angampora martial arts.

The Sri Lankan people place a very high value on horoscopes. They check them for marriages, business deals and all sorts of important occasions. Udara, our representative from the Sri Lankan tourism board was extremely proud of the fact that he and his fiancee had 95% compatibility according to their horoscopes (usually over 60% is good). I also met a traditional Sri Lankan martial artist who informed me that in Angampora (Sri Lankan martial arts) they will not accept any new members without first checking their horoscopes. Pretty interesting! But maybe that’s just because I’m fairly astrologically obsessed myself. 

Aannnnnd there’s a million other reason like their views towards animals but I won’t go into all of them or I’m afraid you’ll just fall asleep.

Photos of Sri Lankan People

Here’s some of my favourite photos that I took on my recent press trip to Sri Lanka.

sri lankan people where is tara povey top irish travel blog

A 62 year old (Yep, seriously) traditional Sri Lankan martial artist.


sri lankan people where is tara povey top irish travel blog

A street vendor welcomes me to Sri Lanka and asks me to take his photo!


sri lankan people where is tara povey top irish travel blog

A woman and her granddaughter beautifully dressed.


sri lankan people where is tara povey top irish travel blog

A street vendor sells corn to locals and tourists at a popular tourist spot.


sri lankan people where is tara povey top irish travel blog

A young Buddhist monk walks through temple ruins.


sri lankan people where is tara povey top irish travel blog

A local woman mirrors the colours of the Buddha in her outfit.


sri lankan people where is tara povey top irish travel blog

I LOVE the colours of this photo. A local vendor and his shop.

I hope that you visit Sri Lanka in the future and get to experience the hospitality of the Sri Lankan people for yourself! If you would like any further information on Sri Lanka, check out the official tourism board website OR leave me a comment.


Have you been to Sri Lanka? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

 **This trip was sponsored by the Sri Lanka tourism board. However, all views, opinions and tips are (as always) my own.

Recommended Reading

If you liked this article make sure you check out my article about The Maldives.

Also check out my review of Jetwing Kaduruketha in the Sri Lankan jungle.

where is tara tara povey top irish travel blog

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7 Responses

  1. Michael Huxley

    I love your photos, the colours are just amazing! Especially that guy with his (I’m hoping) mum, what is he doing there!? You are so right though, the Sri Lankan people are in general so welcoming, I can’t remember seeing so many smiles! And it is definitely a world away from the lack of space, crowding and staring you get in neighbouring India.

  2. Karthik Shetty

    Srilanka is a store of contradictions.During my last excursion to Srilanka we booked a transient rental and had an incredible time.

  3. Kim Lang

    What an amazing and a fascinating place to visit. I really didn’t know much about Sri Lanka but after reading this post I will surely visit one day. Thanks for sharing such an amazing post.

  4. Mani

    One of the best guide I have ever seen about Sri Lanka. I wish I could meet you. Make me aware on your next Sri Lanka trip. SEE you soon Tara.

  5. Annicka Henttonen Steiner

    I really enjoyed your article and the spirit of it, and I agree 100%.
    I just hit back 4 days ago after 3 weeks there and am suffering withdrawal, so I googled and found your article. Beautiful photos!
    Yes: the colors, the smiles, the beauty, the animals, the astrology, the temples, the food, the ocean, the climate!
    I never felt sexually harassed but did receive a lot of love declarations 😀
    I have the impression “I love you madam” means something else there – also told to me by a young woman. A mystery – to be continued.

  6. Nadeeka

    This is awesome. Glad you have met real Sri Lankans.Proud of my mother country.


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