Travelling to Sri Lanka with kids, how has it been?
We have loved travelling around Sri Lanka. So much so, we were only initially staying for 3.5 weeks. I went to Colombo and extended our visas so we can stay another six weeks! That was an ordeal in itself.
What is Sri Lanka like?
Sri Lanka is like the calmer and quieter cousin of India. Still glorious but not as showy as India. The Sri Lankan people we have met are wonderful and honest people. They are so kind and welcoming. I have only been ripped off once! There are alluring national parks to try to spy a herd of elephants, a Sri Lankan Leopard or Sri Lankan Sloth Bear. The beaches are clean, and you can see turtles nesting. The food is spicy but doesn’t blow your head off – it is delicious.
Sri Lanka with young kids: a toddler and a baby?
The best part about Sri Lanka is they have a real grasp of what is important – family! Our boys are young, eight, three and one. They have been welcomed into a number of homes and dare I say it hearts during our time in Sri Lanka. We have met some of the most gentle and kind people here and the boys have been shown everything from festivals to Buddist chanting ceremonies. They have given offerings at the temples and seen the excitement of seeing elephants and monkeys at these temples. Although, I would not agree with all the animal use, in particular elephants by the temples. It is part of their culture and you have to learn about the postives and negatives.
Maybe it is the Buddism influence, but they are calm, caring and kind. I feel very safe walking down the street at night and am we are all experiencing the country as a local. Although I have been called ‘baby’ and ‘cutie’, I didn’t feel harassed, and it didn’t feel seedy. They are just friendly.
What we have loved
The kids and I love that monkeys are in the backyard trying to steal the mangoes. We have seen squirrels everywhere, monitor lizards chewing on grubs and a chameleon fading into the colour of the fence! The cattle roam the streets and get right-of-way. The birdlife is immense and the species are diverse. Anything from giant stalks to sea eagles, from seeing our first woodpecker to a kingfisher. We love that you buy an entire banana and hang it in your house. As I have said the people are kind, caring and generous with their time.
What haven’t we loved?
The roads are pretty terrifying. In particular the young tuk-tuk drivers, they are foolish and fearless. The scariest vehicle on the roads by far are the short-distance buses! Those drivers are literally insane, I am sure they are high as they look possessed. Crazy eyes! I bought the kids car seats and although have had to be innovative with their attachment to the vehicles, I am very glad I did.
The animal treatment isn’t the best, unfortunately, that is across Asia. There are many people trying to help save many of the species that in trouble. We are trying to seek our ethical travel alternatives and avoiding as much as possible any exploitative activities. The issue of elephant-human conflict is one I feel very strongly about and will talk in much more details soon.
Ethical Travel Tips
Try to eat vegetarian or vegan, if that is too hardcore you can easily have a pescatarian diet (fish). It is very easy here to maintain this.
Animal activities can be questionable. Be careful to limit how you support elephant activities. Never ride an elephant. If you go to a national park ensure you go with a reputable company. There are no licenses required and many cowboys that are being very disruptive to the animals.
We love it here! If you are sick of going to Bali for the umpteenth time or getting bored with Phuket, Sri Lanka is a real alternative.