Recently, Sri Lanka watched hometown Caroline Jurie be crowned Mrs World 2020 in Las Vegas. In a little teardrop island, even the smallest of achievements is celebrated by thousands, so something like this is not only phenomenal, but has also inspired many young girls, such as myself, to embrace my heritage and truly be proud of where I came from.
Having travelled here to see family for more than 19 years, it has never been a dull experience of mine. Enriched with tropical magic in every street corner, sacred religious cities and even your very own delicious pastry van that passes through villages each morning (which are typically ransacked by my mother on the daily); Sri Lanka is home to the smaller wonders of the world, yet has more fire to fuel even the most adventurous of holidaymakers. If you’re ever planning to step outside of the city of London to escape into this glorious new paradise, here are two must-see or try tips:
- Colombo to Trinco
Why not make your trip an extravagant road trip? Journey through the bustling city of Colombo through a train, or an edgy tuk-tuk taxi all the way to Trincomalee beach, all while making stops at some of the finest places this country has to offer. From Nuwara Eliya where you can switch sunshine for snow and marvel at incredible sights of rich green plantation fields of tea, to Kandy, with its colourful festivals such as in the Temple of the tooth where Buddha’s actual tooth is carried on the back of an elephant in a golden casket to be paraded across the country. Play with baby elephants in Pinnawala orphanages and conquer the lion paws of Sigiriya rock to witness breath-taking views of the whole island; all till you finally reach Trincomalee with its heavenly beaches, where you can soak up the sun on lush sand and even scuba dive on vibrant coral reefs with all kinds of funky fishes.
- eat, Eat, EAT
One of the earliest memories of my childhood was getting up as soon as the sweltering Sri Lankan sun rises, just to run outside to the front porch of our house to meet my grandfather, who would be eating strange fruit such as rambutan, papayas, star fruits or wood apples whilst reading his newspaper and telling me stories that made me laugh hard enough to awaken all the birds at 6 am. Trying these sweet treats, as well as sipping out of the mighty king coconut, is an ultimate refreshing adventure in itself. It’s also complemented beautifully with the street food dish of Kottu – made up of roti, egg, vegetables or meat and topped up with any curry you could ever dream of having. Trust me when I say, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried this.
Even here in London, the effects of my home country are genuinely everlasting; from the lessons of being kind and brave taught by the warm-hearted inhabitants you will meet, to the handful of curries I grabbed to spice up cheap university meals. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags for an unforgettable time in Sri Lanka.