Travel

9 Fun Facts About Sri Lanka That You Should Know

In the previous post about me feeling regret visiting Sri Lanka, I haven’t shared with you some fun facts about the country. If you have no idea about Sri Lanka, here are 9 fun facts that you should know:

Bring USD

If you can’t find money changers that sell Sri Lankan Rupee in your country, get USD. Remember, bring USD – NOT Pound sterling or Euro because they’ll charge travelers for commission rate.

In general, the country accepts USD and Sri Lankan Rupee as payment.  Therefore, even if you don’t have time to change your money into Sri Lankan Rupee, you can still pay with USD in most places.

Sri Lankan Curry is Tastier than Its Neighbour’s

String hopper with curry, spiced coconut and dahl

Okay, Sri Lanka maybe near to South India, but that doesn’t mean their curry family tastes the same! Sri Lankan curry, dahl and everything similar is thicker and tastier because they’re cooked with coconut milk. It’s a good idea to make Ceylon tea your best friend during meals to cleanse the fat.

The Food Price is Average

In The Empire Cafe, you can enjoy a delicious meal and free WiFi
It’s very near to The Temple of the Tooth, what a perfect location!
The interior design is very pinky and vintage… with delicious Western and Asian food

Surprisingly, the food price there is similar like Malaysia. You can eat for RM5-10 in small eateries. If you want to get comfy eating in nice cafes or hotel restaurants, expect to spend from RM20 and above. In general, you’ll find delicious food everywhere!

The most reccommended budget eatery in Nuwara Eliya
For around RM5-8, you can get all of these. This place is loved by backpackers and the locals

Fish Dishes aren’t Recommended

My best friend said the fish dishes in Sri Lanka weren’t fresh. I should’ve listened to him. I ordered fish twice during my trip and they’re overcooked + burnt ‘till it’s hard for me to chew. What’s more disappointing, I was eating at a big restaurant and a very popular café!

Grilled tuna in garlic sauce+fresh salad with pineapple chunks+french fries,
especially prepared by chef Rukshan and his friend
I can’t believe they also have this kind of dried chili!

The only fish dish that I enjoy is served at Coco Beach Talpe, a small café beside the sea, near Bentota. To my surprise, the cook and my tour guide cum friend, Rukshan, were the ones who prepared my lunch!

There are “Little Kutas” in Sri Lanka

Who would ever think that some cities in Sri Lanka are almost as happening as Kuta? Prepare your surfing board and bikinis to catch some waves.

Get out from your hotel at night in Ella, Tunawatuna and Hikkaduwa to enjoy live band while dining. There are plenty of interesting cafes, bars and souvenir shops along the road.

For party-goers and beach lovers, Tunawatuna and Hikkaduwa won’t disappoint you. If you want private and intimate moments in the beach, Bentota is more suitable for you. You may not find bars or restaurants along the road, but I believe the food in Bentota hotels are superb (just like mine).

How to Taste the REAL Devilled Chicken/Fish

The ‘so-called’ devilled fish is actually spicy sweet ‘n sour fish – Cafe Chill

Don’t be surprised if the signature traditional Sri Lankan food that you order, Devilled Chicken, tastes like sweet and sour chicken with a dash of spice. Whaaat??

Cafe Chill is one of the most popular cafes in Ella
Despite of the slightly burnt devilled fish, it tastes good and they have a cool interior design
I need this after a 3-hour train ride!

It’s because most of the travelers who come to Sri Lanka are Caucasian and they can’t eat spicy food. Even when it’s just mildly spicy to me, the Caucasian traveler beside my table kept on wiping his sweaty forehead then ordered another glass of drink. In the end, he only finished his rice lol…

How the REAL devilled chicken looks like – Coco Beach Talpe

That’s why, in order not to disappoint them, the locals do some improvisation to the traditional recipe. If you want to try the REAL devilled chicken, ask your writer to cook it spicy – like how the locals eat.

The Iconic Train Ride and Photo – All You Need to Know

Firstly, the iconic route isn’t Kandy-Ella, but Nuwara Eliya (Nanu-oya)-Ella. As I mentioned in the previous post, normally people take the first route to skip the English Town, Nuwara Eliya. It’s quite a long ride, 6 hours journey and the beautiful scenery only starts to appear from Nuwara Eliya.

So, for me, it’s better to have a 3-hour train ride with a wonderful view than trying to save some cash and making my a$$ flat from sitting long hours on the train.

Secondly, you can only get the train ticket from local travel agents. Make sure that you don’t do a sudden booking because the tickets are often sold out. If you really need help to book a ticket, you can contact me for I have a local friend who can help you 😉

Thirdly, you need to decide between comfort and producing great photos. The photos of travelers poking their bodies out from the train that you see online? They’re mostly taken from the 3rd class coach. It’s packed, it’s uncomfortable and hot. Sometimes, you won’t even get a seat.

However, you can open the windows to feel the fresh, breeze of wind when the train’s moving. Furthermore, you can use this opportunity to ask your friend to take your photo (you’re poking out your body from a train door+ him taking the photos from the window).

Or, you can choose the 1st class ticket. It’s not packed, quiet and full AC. The only catch is, you can’t take dreamy photos like you could’ve when you’re in the 3rd class coach.

OH, ACTUALLY YOU CAN.

There are one or two connecting gaps with two open doors located nearby in the 1st class. If you don’t find them near your coach, keep on walking ‘till you find it. With this, your friend (in my case, a stranger) can take your photo from one door while I’m posing from the other doors.

One of the friendly strangers who take my photos

This is highly dangerous for both of you as the train moves very fast. I only did this when the train stop. Please be very, very careful when taking photos while the train is moving. Your life is more precious than some beautiful photos.

Cheese Kottu Tastes Like Spiced Mac ‘n Cheese

What if you can have a springy-textured macaroni, with loads of cheese and spices that taste like nasi goreng aka fried rice?

That’s what came into my mind the day I finally tried cheese kottu! Kottu is a traditional Sri Lankan dish made from godhamba roti, vegetables, egg, meat and some spices. It’s like fried rice but instead of rice, you get a chewy roti to munch.

Normally, I don’t eat too much of mac ‘n cheese because I feel bored. It’s cheesy, which is nice, but… it’s plain. However, cheese kottu is different. The mixture of spices and cheese could easily make me finish one whole plate!

It’s Better to Die When You Reach 50

It’s sad, but that’s what some of the locals think. Sri Lankans get really low wage despite being hardworking. Therefore, some of them think it would be better for them to die when they reach 50 years old so they don’t need to suffer.

Personally, I agree… If I don’t have enough money to survive, I’d rather live a short, meaningful life than a long, suffering life. That’s why, friends, it’s very important to travel AND save some money for the future – in case you’re gonna live for a very long time.

So friends, please be generous with tipping when you’re traveling to Sri Lanka. Get your most affordable flight ticket now! 😊

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