En route to India I've stopped off at Sri Lanka for just over a week. Flights through Sri Lanka were cheaper and as I'm heading to Tamil Nadu, I thought it would be worthwhile. From what I knew, the island is rich with variety of attractions and experiences all packed into a relatively small island island, well, small compared to India anyway.
I can't help but compare it to India. At first glance it felt very similar. Almost a 'lighter' version of India but with slightly more expensive rates. Perhaps aimed at a different audience, the working-holiday-taking types.
Surfers as the target audience, along with divers and kitesurfers. These activities alone would bring a regular stream of tourists. Then there is the religious and heritage / architectural side of things, catering for more sedate holidaymaking. (Backpackers might find the rates a little high).
I didn't know what exactly to expect but I was assuming that it would not be too far from what I've seen in India. Actually, I have to say that Sri Lanka does feel unique and with its own authentic feel.
The history and heritage help to tell its own story.
I found the Buddha cave temples particularly impressive. It's rather spectacular what's been created inside those caves that are high up in the hills. The altitude and climate would have made them a challenge to construct...
My trip here has mostly been about the beach and just relaxing before heading to India. The short day trips I've been able to take which were without any hassle have been more fun than I'd had thought. The hotel takes care of most of the logistics. But what I like most about them is that they are literally on the beach and everything is just really easy. I'm staying at Paradise Beach Club in the South at Mirissa beach. I've not ventured further than the South this time.
The next stop is Fort Cochin in Kerala, India. I was there about six years ago and I wonder what it will look like now. I'm glad I came to Sri Lanka though, I definitely got what I came here for... island vibes!