I’ve been home for a few days now and I gotta tell you, Sri Lanka was SO MUCH MORE captivating than I expected.
I went on Intrepid Travel’s Real Food Adventure (my fourth food tour) – a 12 day trip, visiting some of the teardrop-shaped island’s fascinating, historical and delicious towns.
Our major stops were:
My most memorable experiences include:
Visiting a tea factory in the tea plantations of Haputale
Learning about the ways Sri Lankan’s love and use coconut
Going on safari in Yala National Park and nervously watching a big, male elephant come stomping towards our jeep
Enjoying wonderful hospitality and incredible meals in local homes
Swimming in the clear, blue Indian Ocean at Mirissa beach
And the beaming, contagious smiles of locals.
We were very lucky to have an experienced guide who has loads of local knowledge and is passionate about his country. His previous career as a teacher was a big help and I found the information he shared very interesting.
Some of the interesting facts I learned about Sri Lanka:
- At 226km wide and 432km high, Sri Lanka is a similar size to Tasmania
- The population is 22 million (Australia is 24 million!)
- Sri Lanka is only 35km from the most southern tip of India
- As 52% of the country is arable land, farming is a big part of the culture
- The national flower is the fragrant blue lotus
- Rice is a staple food, eaten at almost every meal
- 80% of rice grown locally with 20% imported
- Rice is the most grown product, followed by coconut
- The coconut tree is referred to as the ‘tree of life’ with many products being made from this abundant plant
- Japan is the main financial donor for the Sri Lanka. Norway, Sweden and Canada also contribute
- Sri Lanka is the highest producer of cinnamon in the world
- The biggest exports are Ceylon tea, cinnamon, natural rubber, coconut products and gemstones, earning $15 million per year
- Textiles is the biggest industry, with sales of locally made garments accounting for 18% of the national income
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