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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.