Sri Lanka & My First Time in South Asia!

I have always wanted to explore South Asia.

Since little, I've imagined myself to be living in an unruffled village tucked away in the mountains where everyone appeared to be a little intriguing and mysterious. We would have spoken a language that was unique only to our tribe, and although we welcomed visitors into our homes, we were always cautious and protective of our people and possessions.

Being an adult now, I realized very little has changed. I still have the same longing - to be close to the mountains in places which are culturally rich, formative and distant, to live a life among nature and the stars in a tranquil and healing mise en scène.

Sri Lanka & My First Time in South Asia!
Sri Lanka & My First Time in South Asia!

Sri Lanka & My First Time in South Asia!

I've decided that only South Asia could match up to my imaginative home. It is, after all, a region that stood against the test of time, gingerly preserving its traditions and way of life even when promised with seductive luxuries - the ease and expediency of technology and innovations. Here, people have unwavering loyalty to their roots, religions and heritage, and nothing seemed to have changed to this very day.

Hence, you can imagine how excited I was when I finally booked my ticket to Sri Lanka. For years, I've been pressured and warned by close friends and family to never step foot in this region, especially as a solo female traveller because of all the mishaps that might happen to me. Even the media seems to think so.

I wouldn't lie - I was a little scared. Loaded in my luggage was clothes that I have calculatingly concluded to be the least flashy and revealing. The plan was not to stand out, not when my skin colour would already be an obvious sign that I was a foreign visitor to the country. I spent days reading about travellers' experiences, and those testimonies were literally cautionary advice, discouraging female travellers from undertaking the journey. "It just isn't worth it, don't put your life at risk!" or "Don't come unless accompanied by males!".

Here's my advice to travellers who are heading to the island: Don't believe what you hear until you have experienced it for yourself!

Sri Lanka travel
Beautiful Singala women in traditional saris waiting for the train at Nuwara Eliya

Sri Lanka is a safe haven. The locals are well-mannered and respectful. Men do not have the time to lecherously ogle at you, not unless you strut through the streets half-naked. People are religious - they pray, they abide by the teachings of their respective beliefs and they do not harm without a cause. Honestly, I felt safer in Sri Lanka than in most parts of Southeast Asia. I never once felt threatened nor mocked.

Sri Lanka Travel Guide
A proud vendor showing his catch - a flying fish at the Colombo morning market.

A Journey Across Sri Lanka

Having a week to spend on this beautiful island in the vast, glittering Indian Ocean, I was fortunate enough to have explored its southern districts: Colombo, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, and Matara. I treated my taste buds to the much raved about Egg Hoppers or Bittara Appa, and I got to dip in its remarkably blue and magical sea at Mirissa. Here, I got to see the elephants (my favourite animal) roam freely - the way they ought to be, and had the chance to sip on fragrant Ceylon tea at the very place it originated. And oh, I got to experience to Kandy-Ella train ride, which is said to be the most scenic of its kind in the world.

The trip was unforgettable. My only regret was not having more time to explore the North.

Till we meet again, Ceylon!

is sri lanka safe
Worshipers donned in white at the Nelligala International Buddhist Center

Don't forget to share your travel & dining moments with us on Instagram by tagging @rollinggrace or #RollingGrace. Happy travelling!


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