A next door neighbour for India , Sri Lanka is a beautiful little island in the Indian Ocean. With its rich natural resources, gorgeous beaches and solid infrastructure for tourism , it can very well give a good run for its money for many island destinations. However, like every other country that depended on tourism, Covid took a massive hit on Srilanka’s economy. Srilanka opened its doors to tourism fully in the second half of 2021. But struck with an economic crisis, it once again had to endure hardships on the debt front. However this have led to an incidental advantage for other countries to travel to Srilanka now , thanks to lower Forex conversion rates.
Brief summary on the Srilanka Economic Crisis in June-July 2022
Starting May end 2022 , Srilanka went through a severe debt crisis and fuel shortage. The people of Srilanka together raised a peaceful protest against the ruling government. The protest was termed as #GotaGoGama (translating to Gota (President) , Go back to your village). Early July, the Government was overthrown and a new democratic government is now being formed as this post is being written). The country is also closely working with IMF and other allies to restructure their debts and loans to come out of the economic crisis. Fuel is on short supply. Citizens are largely recommended to work from home as much as possible.
However, the country took important steps with the Tourism sector in mind being
- Fuel allocation separate for all Tourist cabs and given directly to operators.
- All Tourist sites, hotels and trains fully operational as usual
- All flights to Srilanka (through Srilankan Airlines and other airlines) are operating with the same frequency.
Is it safe to Travel to Srilanka from India now?
A very common question from atleast 10+ people :
Do you think its safe to travel to Srilanka for a vacation now : Answer is YES !
There has been no security incidents of any kind that has affected a single tourist . The answer is from my own visit during the last week of June. It was based on the things I observed personally (vs what I saw in media) . The crisis was strictly an economic one without even the slightest hurdle for tourists. In fact , they were more than eager in welcoming tourists. So bottom line to me was, it has always been super safe to travel and you should travel too.
So why Srilanka?
The country might have its own internal share of crisis, but has never shied away in opening its doors to tourisms. In fact the hospitality of Srilankans is quite world famous, unparalleled to others.
Listing out some top reasons here
- Currency Advantage – Indians can now enjoy a huge currency advantage. Foreign exchange price went from 1INR to 2.5 LKR TO 1INR to 4.3 LKR. By paying, 430 INR, you get back 1000 in LKR
- Prices in Srilanka for most items has remained same, but cost for Indians has reduced by half. Example : If a 4-5* hotel was at 10000 LKR. You had to pay anywhere between 4500 to 5000 INR earlier. Now you have to pay only 2500 INR (thanks to the new exchange rates of 4.3 : 1)
- Srilanka is BEAUTIFUL. With stunning beaches, gorgeous mountain valleys and plenty of beautiful sites, there’s everything you can ask for in this blissful vacation.
History of Ramayana – Fan of Mythology? The great epic, Ramayana happened here. Called as Ravana’s Lanka, there are still plenty of sites that traces the history of Ramayana. These include Seetha Eliya (near Nuwara Eliya), Vibeeshana’s temple in Colombo , Hanuman’s temple and Kathragama Murugan Temple
Food – My previous visit to Srilanka made me go on a gastronomical journey ( with me being a vegetarian as well).
- Train to Ella : Experience one of the most beautiful scenic train journeys in the world as you go from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya. I kicked myself for not knowing this during my first two trips).
- Proximity to India : Just an hour from Chennai and 2-3 hours from other cities, Srilanka is a quick getaway destination , be it a 3/5/7 day break
- On-arrival/ E-Visa – Standing in queues for visa appointments with long covering letters can be a headache. Srilanka offers Immediate e-visa for just $20 per person.
- Apart from the currency rate of LKR being cheaper, a round trip to Srilanka from Chennai costs only 10-15K . This is cheaper than most domestic destinations in India.
- Last but not the least, Visit Srilanka for their hospitality, that you might have never experienced before.
Places to Visit in Srilanka
You can be spoilt for choices while deciding on places to visit in Srilanka. Depending on your no of days, you can choose the places you want to visit, though ensure you give adequate time to explore each place.
Some of the common trips include :
For a beach vacation : Colombo -> Galle – > Weligama -> Hikkaduwa-> Bentota -> Yala
Mountainside trip : Colombo -> Kandy -> Ella -> Nuwara Eliya
For a temple Trip : Colombo -> Kandy -> Kathragama -> Jaffna -> Trincomalee -> Seetha Eliya
Other places to also consider : Negombo, Dambulla & Sigriya, Anuradhapura
Based on proximity and time available, you can also choose to travel covering a few cities from each of the above trips ( like a combination of Beach, temple and mountains in a 6-7 day trip).
What to Shop in Srilanka?
If you’re a green tea drinker like me, Srilanka gets you the best green & white tea in the world (next only to China). Though found in all supermarkets, look for those heaps of green tea available in special “Tea shops” or even visit a Tea estate/factory to buy some A+ graded tea.
Cinnamon & Spices : With plenty of spice plantations in and around Srilanka, you can never be far away from getting a high quality cinnamon stick / cinnamon power + other spices too.
Batik Prints : Srilanka is famous for impressive Batik designs on dresses, scarfs, shirts. Definitely pick up one of them when you next visit them.
I also picked up one kg of avocados (because there were just 40 INR a KG 🙂 )
How to reach Srilanka?
The best way to travel to Srilanka is to fly their national carrier, Srilankan Airlines. They have connectivity from almost every single major city in India , including Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad.
Why this Post on Srilanka Now?
If you happen to wonder why I have written this post on Srilanka tourism and travel, there’s a very important reason behind it. For starters, I’ve been a person who always takes time out to verify, validate facts and write about something, only if I have personally experienced it. A false/negative portrayal of a country by outside media can have serious effects on the country’s economy or tourism.
A visit to Srilanka , understanding the crisis, walking through the peaceful sit-in protest areas made me realize that , there was a complete difference between the reality and what’s mentioned in media. A very peaceful, tourist friendly nation with super friendly/warm people, bears of the brunt of both the economic crisis caused by poor governance as well as false reporting through selected media outlets. So my post is to encourage all travelers to visit Srilanka soon and experience a once in a lifetime vacation. As a travel blogger,I wanted to pass the above important message through this blog, to reach the users across the world.
An economic crisis is just a country trying to raise money to solve its debt. It however doesn’t affect nor compromise safety of its citizens nor the tourists its welcoming with both hands.
If you need help in planning your trip as well, just drop a text in comment 🙂 I’ll be able to share as much info as possible
Srilankan Tour Package : If you are looking to book an attractive, budget friendly Srilankan Tour package, do check out this link : https://bit.ly/3o5R7Xm (The SL Holiday group has allowed my readers a 5% discount on the package with this coupon code : 5OFFKARTHIK )
You can also read about my Srilankan Airlines Business Class review here