Thirteen things I learned about Sri Lanka on my first visit.

7B941473-E1B6-45A0-BD5C-DBB348D74AFASri Lanka was new to me this summer …….my grandad had visited during the first war and as I child I heard stories about Ceylon and handled the well polished tortoise shells kept in the front room. So here I was learning about ‘Ceylon’ first hand.

  1. Very few decent roads on the island, hence travelling in Sri Lanka takes time. The airport express road and the route to the beaches in the south west are the exception and tend to be quicker and more efficient.
  2. Very few road signs and directions so using a private driver makes life easier.
  3. Only three sets of traffic lights in Kandy!
  4. The lotus flower is the national flower and Buddhists take both blue and pink flowers to the temples as religious offerings. We saw many examples of this at the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy
  5. There are several religions practised including Buddhism,Christianity, Muslim and Hindu.
  6. Education and health care is free in Sri Lanka although private schooling and medical treatment is available for those that can afford it.
  7. There are three school terms with a month off at Christmas, Easter and Summer.
  8. Smoking is not allowed on the streets, there are heavy fines of 5000 Sri Lankan rupees if caught.
  9. It costs about £3000 to purchase a tuk tuk one of the popular forms of  transport, there are both metered and non metered vehicles. The posh ones are manufactured by Piaggio.
  10. In general older women tend to wear saris whereas the younger ones wear western style dress. In the countryside women tend to look after the home and get up at four thirty to prepare breakfast and lunch for their families. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are often curry based with dahl usually eaten earlier in the day. Tea is drank with milk until the evening when it is taken black.
  11. Over 50,000 people died in the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004.
  12. Elephants are used in ceremonies and effigies are used in temples. They used to signify wealth historically.
  13. The main crops grown in Sri Lanka are tea, coconuts, cashew, jackfruit and rice.


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