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6 Reasons Why You Should Put Sri Lanka Your Bucket List

A hidden gem in Southeast Asia

By: Geoffery von Zastrow + Save to a List

1. It’s Off the Beaten Path: the transition from “vacation to exploration.”

While all my friends are going to Mexico and Belize, which is great, I try to look for something different… In 2016 I decided to take 3 weeks and backpack by myself, I settled on the furthest place away from my current home of Seattle. While Sri Lanka is definitely out out of the way for most people, it's also not one of the notorious Southeast-Asian hot spots, such as Thailand. This provides for a far less ‘touristy’ atmosphere, and cultivates relaxation through exploration.

2. The History

Sri Lanka is an island nation south of India in the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka has a long history, going back more than 2,000 years. It is famed for its award winning tea, ancient Buddhist ruins, and today contains eight UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the 5th-century Sigiriya and the Golden Temple of Dambulla. In 2004 Sri lanka was one of the countries affected by the famed tsunami that brought devastation throughout southeast asia. Then in 2009, Sri Lanka ended its 26yr.-long civil war. Since 2009, Sri lanka has bounced back as a safe and inviting country to visit.

3. Its Vast Beauty

Sri lanka is made up of vast rolling hills, where some of the world's best tea is grown. In the south-central portion of the country, there is a great amount of ideal hiking terrain in the low-lying mountains. When you’re tired of tasting tea and hiking along different peaks, Sri Lanka’s endless beaches provide inviting, and generally non-populous, places to surf, scuba dive, and/or the opportunity to enjoy serene beach life.


Out of the many counties I have visited, the Sri Lankan locals were among some of the friendliest and most helpful people I have ever met. They are alway smiling and are willing to stop & help you on your journey, regardless of what they might be occupied with at the moment (a true mark of the ‘easy-going island culture’). Even in my case, in the face a language barrier, their helpful and earnest nature shines through.


If you like Indian Cuisine, you're in luck! Sri Lanka, being so close to India, has an incredibly similar palette, alongside all the fresh fruit you can imagine.

6. Transport

I don’t anticipate that you will need a car while your are in Sri Lanka. When exploring around the towns and cities, it's simple to grab a Tuk-tuk; a small  three-wheeled open air taxi. However, when venturing further away from the hubbub of city life, the best way to get from A-to-B  is by train. With tickets costing between $2-$10USD, it is also an affordable option. While there are first class tickets, they are overrated in my opinion. I bought only 2nd and 3rd class tickets, this gave me the ability to hang out of the side of the train, and meet other travelers with whom I became quick friends with.

All photos where taken by Geoffrey von Zastrow

To see more images check out my website and Instagram.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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