5 things you didn't know about Sri Lanka

September 25, 2019

Do you really know Sri Lanka? Here's 5 things you didn't know about its cuisine, tradition and culture.

Smiling local fisherman in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a fascinating country for those who are looking for a meeting with the local people and natural landscape.

If you're planning to go visit the former Ceylon, we have a few fun facts and useful suggestions to help you create the best itinerary.

Sri Lanka on the table

The dish that you will probably eat during your holiday in Sri Lanka is curry rice, never in powder unlike in Europe, but mixed with spices and toasted in a pan. It's interesting to note how many dishes are influenced by the colonial past of the country, such as the lamprais, of Dutch origin. It is made with boiled rice with curry and frikkadels, meatballs, and wrapped in banana leaves. Bolo fiado has Portuguese origins instead and is a layer cake.

Table with spices used in Sri Lanka's cuisine
Spices in Sri Lanka's cuisine

The elephant orphanage

Although when we think of safaris we generally imagine Africa, Sri Lanka is also an excellent destination for this kind of experience. What once was known as Ceylon is indeed a land of parks and natural reserves where sightings of leopards, bears, buffalo and above all the main attraction of Sri Lanka, the Asian elephant, are quite common.

The elephant is also the symbol of the country and Sri Lanka is home to one of the largest orphanages dedicated to these animals, the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, where the abandoned elephant cubs are bred and fed, before being released into their natural habitat. Finally, in Sri Lanka paper is produced from elephant dung: so this animal employs many companies and creates jobs for the inhabitants.

Elephant in a national park in Sri Lanka
An elephant in Sri Lanka

The fishermen on stilts

It's common for fishermen in Sri Lanka to fish on top of stilts in the water. It is a very awkward position, and certainly not ideal for fishing, but Sri Lankans continue to carry on the tradition, especially at dawn and dusk, the times of day in which the waters are teeming with fish. Certainly a fascinating spectacle and a major attraction for visitors on a trip to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka's fishermen on stilts
Traditional fishing technique on stilts

Women in Sri Lanka

The conditions in which women live in Sri Lanka differ greatly between the ethnic group of Tamils ​​and Sinhalese, as the latter enjoy greater freedom. Note how Sri Lanka was the country that had the first woman in the world as Prime Minister, Srimavo. Her daughter then became President of Sri Lanka. Another curiosity about life in Sri Lanka is that on Sundays local newspapers publish "marriage proposes", with which parents seek a groom or a bride for their son or daughter.

Sri Lankan woman picking tea
Woman in Sri Lanka's tea plantation

High tea

Ceylon tea is one of the finest in the world and plays an important role in the country's culture. In each house of Sri Lanka the tradition of the high tea is carried on, drinking delicious teas similar to Indian ones, but with a greater addition of sugar and milk, which is a legacy of the British colonial period.

Farmers in Sri Lanka's tea plantation
Tea plantation's farmers