Sri Lanka is a small yet beautiful and diverse country that is being discovered by more and more tourists and travellers as one of the best holiday destination in Asia if not in the world.
There are many attractions that are famous in Sri Lanka and most of all its numerous world-class sandy beaches and water adventure sports. But when you step off the regular tourist trail to understand the local culture, beliefs and way of life of the Sri Lankan people, not much is well known.
So we decided to do a bit of digging around to come up with our own compilation of lesser known yet really cool facts and trivia about the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka that we are sure you will love to know about. While being fun and interesting, knowing this cultural trivia can help enrich your Sri Lankan holiday, as you will understand and appreciate the island’s culture and the customs and traditions of the native Sri Lankans better.
Before the Portuguese, Dutch and British arrived in Sri Lanka and influenced the island’s culture and customs, there existed the original inhabitants called Veddah. The Veddah people are native to Sri Lanka. They lived in primitive conditions and hunted for a living. While most got intermingled with the colonists and settlers, some members of the Veddah community have retained their identity and continue to reside in the jungles within and surrounding Sri Lanka’s national parks.
Today Sri Lanka is well-known as the leading producer and exporter of tea in the world. But before tea made Sri Lanka so famous with high-grade Ceylon tea becoming a prized commodity, it was actually coffee that was grown and exported from Sri Lanka. A turn of fate in the late 1800’s led to the complete wipe out of the coffee plantations that were replaced with tea plantations. And this led to much commercial success for the plantation owners, workers and for Sri Lanka’s economy.
There is a high emphasis on education in Sri Lankan society. For a tiny country with a population of just around 20 million, Sri Lanka has 20 universities. That’s quite a lot. But most impressive is the fact that the country has achieved a literacy rate of a whopping 92% which is the highest in South Asia! It is also one of the highest literacy rates in all of Asia.
If you or your loved one loves jewellery and especially coloured gemstones, you will love this fact about Sri Lanka. Ratnapura in south western Sri Lanka is famous for the mining of precious gemstones such as sapphire and ruby which has been a tradition here for decades. In fact the Ratnapura mines and gems market is a popular tourist attraction and also the place to go in Sri Lanka if you want to buy some rubies and sapphires.
There is so much to see and so many exciting things to do in this super scenic, warm and friendly country. Being culturally well informed about your destination is a good trip preparation to do especially if this is going to be your first visit to Sri Lanka. Check out our travel guide to find out more about this tropical island nation, its best beaches, water sports, national parks and outdoor adventure activities, traditional Sri Lankan dishes and other such travel information so that you can plan your trip accordingly.
Before you set out on your vacation to Sri Lanka, make sure you purchase travel insurance. Having international travel insurance is essential to protect you from a mishap such as your luggage getting lost or misplaced, an accident, theft or sudden illness that could occur while you are holidaying in Sri Lanka. Even if your flight gets delayed or your trip itself gets cancelled, your Sri Lanka travel insurance plan will back you up to minimise financial loss. That is why it is always a smart decision to stay financially covered with travel insurance when travelling abroad.