Sri Lanka, the quaint and small island nation south of India, is widely regarded as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean,” and for several compelling reasons. It boasts of nearly unlimited tourist attractions – gorgeous beaches, plentiful waves, splendid terrain and unspoiled jungles that make for an authentic experience of paradise here on Earth. And like any other gem, the radiant beauty of Sri Lanka reveals itself in unhurried stride.
The best way to discover Sri Lanka is to catch a train ride and marvel at the fast-moving pictures of the stunning countryside “with row after row of perfectly manicured tea plants dotting every slope.” According to Lucas Paterson, writing for The New York Times, the slow journey on train from the capital Colombo to Kandy and down to Ella “was one of the most beautiful and scenic train rides I’ve ever experienced.”
Indeed it makes perfect sense that Paterson’s experience showed the way to best explore the island paradise. “Full of fantastic food, kind people and astonishing natural wonder, Sri Lanka is a place best seen slowly, even if you only have four days on the ground like I did,” the travel columnist wrote.
Travelling On Modest Cost
In the same piece, Paterson shared that living in Sri Lanka even for a very short time and getting around will not require reaching deep on the pocket. During his stay in the island, “I was able to keep my expenses comfortably under control,” the columnist said.
The plane ride from Chennai, India to Colombo, Sri Lanka was paid for at $180, while the train fare starts at $14, and then getting around on specific locations could be as low as $10 with a tour guide gleefully bringing along his trusty tuk-tuk or auto rickshaw, the preferred mode of public commute in this part of the world.
On accommodation concerns, it’s easy to score cheap and decent bookings online and the price ranges from $10 to $30, depending on traveller’s preference. If one is willing to live with a local family and get a taste of Sri Lankan hospitality packed with generously prepared breakfast, then the money to spend will be kept at the minimum.
Enjoying the food is also wallet-friendly but the best part is the unique experience that accompanies every serving. “The food is wonderful in Sri Lanka; bright flavours, sharp spices and complex curries usually eaten with rice as the centrepiece,” Patterson said.
Cappuccino can be had for about $2 and a bottle of beer is cheaper, at 60 cents for the local brand. The famed Sri Lankan tea can be brought back home for no more than $7, which is for a package of broken orange pekoe variant. In some cases, buyers grabbing more packs of tea can haggle for big discounts or fantastic deals.
The Sri Lanka Experience
Yet as Paterson had observed, one will have a more meaningful appreciation of Sri Lanka’s soul by immersing on its natural wonders. To experience this, the columnist decided to summit the Little Adam’s Peak on Ella and saw for himself a breath-taking scene.
“I approached a small shrine that had a covered golden Buddha statue and multi-coloured prayer flags fluttering lightly, and admired the vista of low-lying clouds resting gently on what seemed like an endless series of rolling, green hills. Even through the rain, it was a spectacular sight,” The Times columnist recounted.