Year-end travel 2023: Have ₹1 lakh? Go to Sri Lanka | Travel - Hindustan Times
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Year-end travel 2023: Have 1 lakh? Go to Sri Lanka

By, New Delhi
Dec 25, 2023 10:44 AM IST

Formerly known as Ceylon, Sri Lanka is just a hop, skip, jump from India. It is extremely affordable and visa free for Indian nationals.

Separated from India by the Palk Strait, Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon (ancient Greek geographers called it Taprobane. Arabs referred to it as Serendib), it is one of the most popular destinations for Indian travellers. Known for its rolling tea estates, historical ruins, silken beaches, a lavish culinary spread and its ancient connection with the epic Ramayana, Sri Lanka is just a hop, skip, jump from India, And extremely affordable.

Sri Lanka, an island nation in South Asia, boasts a rich tapestry of culture, stunning landscapes, and a history that unfolds like a living chronicle.(Pexels)
Sri Lanka, an island nation in South Asia, boasts a rich tapestry of culture, stunning landscapes, and a history that unfolds like a living chronicle.(Pexels)

Here is a quick guide to the island country, a country that can be explored within a 1 lakh budget.

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Important cities: Colombo, Kandy Jaffna, Trincomalee, Galle, Anuradhapura, Batticoloa, Nuwara Eliya, Negombo. (Also read:

Must-see/do: Udawalawe National Park to see elephants, Explore ancient wonders in Anuradhapura, Visit a tea empire in Nuwara Eliya, Spot leopards in Sri Lanka's national parks, Dondra Head to see whales (January to April), Explore Kandy, famous for a Buddha relic, Visit the walled city of Galle known for its colonial charm, Experience Tamil culture in Jaffna, Picnic in Viharamadevi Park, Explore the rock fortress of Sigiriya, Adam’s Peak. (Also read: Year-end travel: Have 1 lakh? Maldives is also an affordable option )

Must-eat:

• Sri Lankan hoppers: Made with a fermented batter of rice flour and coconut milk, hoppers are also known as appa or appam.

• Kottu: Chopped up roti mixed with veggies or meat of your choice

• Kiribath: Milk rice

• Curd made from buffalo milk

• Gotu Kola Kanda: Part-soup, part-porridge

• Seeni Sambal: Combination of chilli powder, chopped onions, salt, grated coconut and Maldive fish.

• Dhal curry: Red lentils cooked in coconut milk with other condiments

• Lamprais: Typical Sunday lunch, this is the Sri Lankan version of Dutch meat balls

• Fish Ambul Thiyal: Sour fish curry

• Watalappan: Similar to egg custard

• Love Cake: Cake made with aromatic spices and coconut milk.

What to buy: Tea, fabric, sarong, handicraft, spices. gemstones, wooden handicraft, traditional masks.

Where to buy: Pettah Market, Galle Face Green Market, Liberty Plaza, Crescat Boulevard, Galle Fort Shopping Street, Kandy Market, Nuwra Eliya, Tea Factory outlets, Ella Village Shopping Center, Negombo Fish Market.

Packages:

• Sri Lanka - Bentota with Colombo (3 nights/4 days): 19,000+. Book on: thomascook.in

• Sri Lanka - The Wonder of Asia (6 nights/7 days): 51,000+. Book on: thomascook.in

• Sri Lanka - Shri Ramayan Anant Yatra (5 nights/6 days): 40,000+. Book on: thomascook.in

• Sri Lanka - Bentota -Kandy-Colombo (5 nights/6 days): 55,000+. Book on: makemytrip.com

• Colombo & Kandy: (3 nights/4 days): 19,000+. Book on: sotc.in

• Sri Lanka Fort Town Tour (4 nights/5 days): 44,000+. Book on: cleartrip.com

• Jewels of Sri Lanka (4 nights/5 days): 49,000+. Book on: cleartrip.com

Return Flight (Economy): Mumbai-Colombo-Mumbai return flight starts at 27,000+. Chennai-Colombo-Chennai flights are much cheaper, start at 18,000+.

Visa: Indian nationals can enter visa free and stay up to 30 days.

Good to know:

Currency: 1 Sri Lanka Rupee = INR 0.26

Language: The main languages in Sri Lanka are Sinhala and Tamil. However, most people associated with the hotel/tourism sector speak English.

Local transport:

Taxis: Several taxi services - from luxury cars to Tata Nano - operate in Sri Lanka. You can easily spot the mini taxis due to their bright colours of red, yellow and silver and the equally bright display of call-up numbers.

Bicycle: You can book bicycles through Clean City Cycle Club.

Expo Rail: Expo Rail is a first of its kind luxury train that now operates on four major routes covering more than 60 key destinations.

Air Taxis: The Sri Lankan Airlines Air Taxi Service offers a quick journey across the island to most of the popular destinations. The service is also available as a connecting flight from the international airport to your holiday destination.

SLTB Express is an online portal to reserve Sri Lanka Transport Board passenger transit services across Sri Lanka.

Use busbooking.lk to reserve bus seats 24x7.

Wi-fi: Most hotels, restaurants, cafes have free wifi. You can buy Dialog and Mobitel tourist SIM packages that are valid for 30 days.

Security/safety tips:

• You must carry an official form of identification at all times- passport is accepted everywhere.

• Avoid crowded places, gatherings and demonstrations.

• Snatchers on two-wheelers are very common. Keep your cash, important documents in a body belt or wear a cross-body bag.

• If your bag has a shoulder strap, do not wrap the strap around your arm or shoulder and do not try to hold on to your bag. People have been pulled to the ground by their bag straps.

• Do not let your credit/debit card out of your sight during transactions.

• Only use ATMs attached to banks or major hotels.

• Do not accept drinks from strangers - drink spiking is common.

• Alcohol is not usually available on religious holidays.

• There are severe penalties for drug offences, terrorism and all other serious crimes.

• Do not use binoculars to look at, take photographs or fly drones near government buildings, vehicles used by VIPsor military bases.

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