Many people wonder, “What are the actual differences between Sri Lanka and India?” In this blog post I will give you 7 Reasons Why Sri Lanka Is Not India.
So many people know about India, yet there are far more people that don’t know about Sri Lanka or the many gems which it has to offer that are different from India.
Think of Sri Lanka as a hidden gem that is overlooked by others because it is a smaller nation and less recognizable on the worlds scale. Sri Lankas past may be full of conflict, war, struggle, and difficulties; however, it’s a new day now and now Sri Lanka was just ranked by “Lonely Planet” as the top tourist destination in 2019. In recent years, conflicts have ceased, and the tourism industry has blossomed.
New hotels, excursions, and attractions are being renovated and opened every year. Compared to India, Sri Lanka has a bright, rapidly improving future that will continue to expand, bringing more tourists from around the globe.
This hidden gem is now discoverable and there are many reasons why this destination is one of the most sought-after adventures for vacationers. We hope you choose to explore this treasure in the near future.
When you think of India, you may think of a place with vibrant colors and spicy curry located in the South East part of Asia. When you think of Sri Lanka what comes to mind?
Do you know where Sri Lanka is? Do you know that it is different? What is Sri Lanka known for? Why would you want to visit Sri Lanka?
Take a look below at my 7 Reasons Why Sri Lanka Is Not India. and plan your next amazing trip to the “Pearl.”
1. It is an Island
One of the biggest geographical differences is that Sri Lanka is Island and India is not. Known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is just that. As a pearl shimmers in the sunlight, Sri Lanka is an island that outshines India in so many ways.
The island, although big, is much smaller than India. This provides people with the amazing chance to see so much of a country in just a little amount of time. When comparing Sri Lanka to India, they are Black and White.
Tourists want to know the best time to travel to their destinations. (See our blog on “The Best Times to Visit Sri Lanka”) Because Sri Lanka is an island, you can have a great beach any time of the year. There are times when the East Coast is good, but the West Coast is not and vice versa. This makes anytime a great time to visit the Island of Sri Lanka!
2. They are two different countries.
This is an obvious geographic observation, but a lot of people have never even heard of Sri Lanka. It was just a couple of years ago that I learned about this amazing country. With 30 kilometers of ocean separating the countries at places, Sri Lanka can sometimes be overlooked when India is right above it due to its large size and world influence.
Sri Lanka is its own individual nation. They are their own people, with their own national language and their own foods and culture. When you visit Sri Lanka, be sure to get an order of Kothu, which is completely unique to Sri Lanka. (Check out our “Sri Lanka Food Guide”)
Although India offers a large selection of different curries, Sri Lanka has their own unique curries as well that are specific to the island. One example is Mango and Jack Fruit curry. Depending on the taste and desire of the person eating the curry, both fruits offer savory and sweet flavors.
Agriculture is India’s top industry. You might be surprised to learn that Sri Lanka’s main industry is Tourism. Don’t miss out on a chance to experience one of the most unique islands in the world!
The currency is also different. Sri Lanka has the Lanka Rupee, and India has the Indian Rupee.
You will find that your dollar can go a long way here, as the conversion rate is great.
3. Sri Lanka is cleaner and has a smaller population.
Aside from the fact that there are 1 billion people in India, and 24 million in Sri Lanka, Sri Lankans take pride in their pearl island home. Sri Lanka has less wealth and natural resources than India, but the streets, cities and country side are so much cleaner.
If you look closely, you will see a system and structure that keeps this beautiful island so well maintained. There will be an Uncle or Auntie carefully sweeping a property when just a few palm tree leaves or flowers have fallen. You will see little details that show that they care for the cleanliness of the island.
Not far outside of the populated city of Colombo, you will find many rural destinations that tourists love. One of our favorites is the Hill Country Tea Plantations that provide crisp air, a true view of the local hill country people, and the best tea in the world.
Sri Lanka’s poverty rate is low, despite the fact that they have limited resources. Slums and dangerous areas are not prevalent.
Speaking of crisp air, Sri Lanka’s pollution content and air quality is much better than India. Having less people in a condensed space makes for a healthier air environment.
4. Hospitality at its finest.
Having been to many countries, I’d venture to say that Sri Lanka is one of the most hospitable and friendly countries that I have ever been to. People go absolutely above and beyond to help, no matter the need.
This hospitality is not only given to foreigners, but you see it among the culture as well.
With a friendly smile around every corner, you will be greeted with joy and thankfulness. Sri Lankan’s are very proud of their country and they genuinely want you to have a good time.
From the Tour Guide, to the cleaning lady, everyone will give a helping hand when it is needed. I have heard the Sri Lankan people being described as, gentle. Gentle is a very fitting word for these wonderful people.
Drivers in Sri Lanka are responsible and respectful. Pedestrians have the right of way, with the exception of buses. With a busy schedule to keep, buses don’t stop for pedestrians!
Uber drivers are especially helpful, and you can’t leave the country without the experience of riding with a Sri Lankan tuk-tuk driver!
Tuk-tuks will gladly take you where you would like to go and are typically quiet drivers that are focused on getting you to your destination quickly.
If you look carefully, when you are given change, or served your afternoon tea, the workers will put their left hand on top of their right hand as a sign of humility, gratitude and service.
5. Cultural Diversity
Sri Lanka is home to many Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims. If you are looking for highest concentration of cultural spots within a small area, look no further than Sri Lanka. Interested in Buddhist temples? Intricate Hindu Temples and Mosques? Sri Lanka is the place to see them all.
The unique and timeless temples are breathtaking, and the rich cultural sites offer much to see. Places such as the “Tooth Temple” located in Kandy is said to house a tooth of the Buddha. Another site is “Adams Peak” where Christians and Muslims claim this is where the first man, Adam, went after he left the garden of Eden. Buddhist claim this is the site of a footprint of the Buddha. (Check out the article on “5 Adventurous Excursions” with details about Adams Peak)
With a wide variety of temples, comes a wide variety of culture and experience. Apart from the religious aspects of the culture, you will see that the people vary from place to place.
It is an amazing thing to see the Tea Pickers of the Hill Country, the fishermen of the ocean, and the rubber harvesters of the plains within such a close proximity to each other. Every town is different with diverse cultural experiences to offer.
Sri Lanka is also unique in its rich Colonial History. Sri Lanka just recently became an independent country in 1948. The Queens of England love their Ceylon Tea and understandably Sri Lanka is the biggest tea exporter in the world.
Come to Sri Lanka, and you can head to the hill country with a cool crisp breeze, enjoy a hot cup of tea, and a explore a vast array of history and culture.
6. Better Beaches and Unique Wildlife.
No pearl in the Indian Ocean is complete without beautiful beaches. With Maldives being just a short distance away, Sri Lanka also ranks high with amazing beaches. Want beach lounging to be your main activity while you are here? Look no further!
The beaches here will not be polluted, and the sand will be free of trash. Sea Turtles 3 feet wide swim wildly in the turquoise ocean of the south. Head a little further and see the mysterious, yet mesmerizing purple sand of Hikadua.
While India has its own array of wildlife, Sri Lanka is home to thousands of unique species of animals. Sri Lanka has been featured on many wildlife shows, and one documentary shows an entire kingdom of monkeys and their own unique society. Sri Lanka is home to 452 species of birds, most of which are bursting with color unlike any bird you have ever seen.
The Sri Lankan Asian Elephant is not just home to Sri Lanka. In some towns you will find elephants parading through the streets after they’ve finished their afternoon bath down at the river. What could beat souvenir shopping while watching a huge family of elephant’s march by?
7. Beaches, Tea Hills, Wild Plains, and Mountains. All in one place!
Although small in area, Sri Lanka is not limited on things to do. If you are looking to spend less time and energy traveling and more seeing multiple sites, then Sri Lanka is the place to do this, whereas in India it would be much more difficult.
Do you like the city? Stop by Colombo for some delicious food and see the bustling parks with lively people. Colombo is also a great place to do some fun shopping. From high end fancy to bargain deals, Colombo has the store for you.
If you like the plains, head to Sigiriya, where the weather is a little cooler and you can experience hiking and history in one day at Sigiriya Rock. Take a Safari in Sigiriya where you’ll be surprised at what you discover. While on our safari, we spotted many different species of monkeys, birds and a big family of elephants!
Beaches galore! Not only does Sri Lanka have beaches, but they have many different types to choose from. It depends on your location, but Sri Lankan beaches have options for your preference.
Head down south to see the turquoise water of Unawatuna and check out the historic Dutch Galle Fort while you are there. Hop on a palm tree swing and take in the breathtaking view of the ocean waves and rock reefs.
The mountains of Haputale are a foggy dream with Tea Plantations and fireplaces. While the temperature doesn’t get below 50 degrees in the winter time, it is one of the most peaceful and beautiful scenes that you can visit. The sunrises will amaze you as the sun peaks over the trees.
World’s end offers a long hike by the hills in Nuwara Eliya. While on this hike you can take a guide with you and see elk and other wildlife.
If you love more hiking adventures, Adam’s peak offers a great view, along with a piece of culture as you can see one of the top Buddhist temples at the top.
After reading this blog post, we hope that you will have a better understanding of a few reasons why Sri Lanka is not India.
We know that you will fall in love with this small island country and with the people as well.
From the vast array of beaches, to the hiking trails on Adam Peak, be sure to add Sri Lanka to your next bucket list destination. After all, where else can you visit a country where you can make a trip to the beach and the mountains in the same day?