You Should Go To Sri Lanka.
Just go there.
It’s cheaper, more exotic, prettier, more laid back, and better than just about every other beach destination on Earth (yeah, even Thailand). Have your doubts? I’ll prove it to you.
Where else can you stay at a “Hilten” hotel for $9 USD a night?
Okay, so it’s not THE Hilton, it’s the “Hilten”. Close enough, and at $9 a night for a hotel right on the beach, who the hell cares.
Plus, does the actual Hilton have this little guy?
Didn’t think so.
Also there’s the half finished, abandoned rooftop floor that’s freely accessible for all.
While it’s not fair to say Sri Lanka is particularly more exotic than other South Asian destinations, it’s certainly not all beaches and relaxation either (well.. unless you want it to be). Populated areas run the gamut from ruins and ancient cities in the country’s center to the bustling and modern capitol of Colombo.
More adventurous types will love the natural beauty of the country’s inland areas. Try the hike to the top of Adam’s Peak, the tallest mountain in the country at 7359′. Start the hike at 2 or 3 am for an amazing sunrise view from the top. I sadly didn’t have time to do this on my visit, one of the many reasons Sri Lanka will be a repeat trip.
There’s plenty of culture to be had even for those who spend their entire time on the beach. Wake up early for incredible views like this:
It’s laid back
With their devastating 26 year long civil war, Sri Lanka sadly hasn’t had a real opportunity to chill out for a long, long time. The war ended in 2009 and while the south was always safe, today most of the country is accessible.
To be blunt, Sri Lanka doesn’t attract new, uncultured travelers the way some other places do (like some parts of Thailand, among others). It’s sad when hostel etiquette is abandoned and respect for land and culture is nonexistent. Head out in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand any night of the week and you’ll see exactly what I mean. The traveler vibe in Sri Lanka is much more relaxed and low key.
It will be interesting to see how the vibe changes as Sri Lanka slowly becomes a much deserved must see for Asia bound travelers. At least for now though, Sri Lanka is very much a chilled out place. All night parties can still be found in Hikkaduwa and especially Unawatuna (the latter being the most naturally beautiful, least environmentally sustainable beach in Sri Lanka).
What do you think?
Have you been to Sri Lanka? Is it on your list?