Marco Polo described Sri Lanka as “the finest island of its size in the world”. Is it true? I can’t tell as I haven’t seen enough islands to compare, but I can only say it definitely is more than just a fine island. Looking at Sri Lanka on a worldmap some have compared it to a teardrop falling from the tip of India or to the shape of a pearl. From ocean and beaches to jungle, hill country, rice fields, ancient cities and monasteries, ... there’s an enormous diversity for anyone who likes to travel around.
It’s strange to think that up untill 2009 Sri Lanka was a ‘no go’ zone, torn by a bloody civil war. Today it’s even strange to think the island was a scene of so much violence. I experienced Sri Lanka as very welcoming. The most dangerous thing was probably the crazy traffic with racing busses and reckless tuk tuk drivers in between! You can hire a car but I wouldn’t recommend it :-)
An excellent alternative to discover the country is to go on the road with a private guide/driver. I have done some small group travels in the past, but this time I was on the road with my friend Lesley and neither of us had done such a private tour before. We prefer to get behind the wheel ourselves, but our experience with the Sri Lanka tour was very positive. Our guide was called Rohan, he got us safely everywhere, told us many things about the history, culture, buddhism and introduced us to new exotic fruits like rambutan :-)
Two weeks turned out to be perfect for a roadtrip from Colombo to the centre of the island and then back south and to the west coast. Many tourists stick to the beaches, but why do that while there is so much to see and discover? Although I have done some travelling I had never been to Asia before, so Sri Lanka was my introduction to this content. It feeds the travel appetite :-)