Sri Lanka

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Flag of Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
Information
Language: Sinhala and Tamil
Capital: Colombo
Population: 20,650,000
Currency: Sri Lanka Rupee
Hitchability: <rating country='lk' />
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<map lat="7.9232940879498" lng="79.617067109384" zoom="6" view="0" float="right" />


Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) is an island nation in Southern Asia. Hitchhiking is nearly an unknown concept in Sri Lanka and that's why it's super-easy, especially if you are a "suddha" (a white person). You get a lot of short rides but that's fine because you never need to wait for more than few minutes.

Weather

The climate really hits you in the face (ca 35 degrees celsius, humidity 85%). Seasons are monsoon and little rain.

People

People are hospitable, generous, happy and laid back. Get to know them. Speaking a few words of Sinhala (or Tamil when applicable) helps.

Sinhalese language (with tuk-tuk drivers and street merchants)

  • Salli naha - No money
  • Pissu suddha - Crazy white person
  • Mage nama (your name) - My name is
  • Sinhala kathakaranna naha- I don't speak Sinhalese
  • Ingrise kathakarannaduh? - Do you speak English?
  • istuhthee - Thank you (in Tamil: Nandri)
  • Epa! - Don't! (or "Stop!", "I don't want!)

Most Colombians speak English. If you learn these few words and use them you can cut off two thirds of your travel budget. Please note: Don't expect Tamils to speak Sinhalese.

Cities

The good stuff

Pointless to go the cities. See the nature instead. Go to the hill country and visit tea factories. Hit the best beaches in the world (Beruwala for water sports, Arugam Bay for surfing, etc). Visit rain forests or go and see the amazing bio-diversity of the "middle belt" - between low country and hill country (e.g. Belihuloya). Climb up to Horton Plains. Check out the water falls. Go to Adam's Peak after Christmas and climb 5000 steps to the top before sunrise. Check African-like savannahs in Yala National Park with a wide variety of wildlife.

Ferry to India

According to the Hindu Business Line the Tuticorin-Colombo passenger ferry service may resume soon (September 2010).

Update: As of February, 2011, it looks like the ferries will start operating in March 2011.