Travel during uncertain times

Never has traveling been as important as it is right now. After Covid many economies and entrepreneurs that were making their living out of tourists have a chance to cover up for the lost two years when the world was closed. Sri Lanka is one of those countries. On the top of it all they small island nation in the Indian Ocean is severely suffering from an economical crisis. There is a lack of gasoline and cars have to wait in kilometer long lines taking days in order to refill their tank. As a tourist you might think there could not be any worse time to visit the island nation but in fact right now the people need all of us that have power to pay for our luxury to travel more than ever. The travel advice from Swedish and other European countries has just been lifted so it is no longer an official advice not travel to the island nation in the Indian ocean.

Why Sri Lanka?

Myself has been dreaming about visiting the country for years. When I was a kid there were not many dark skinned people around me. A guy from another neighborhood that came from Sri Lanka used to come and play soccer with me and my play mates. Already as a kid I was interested in people from different places and loved to listen to stories from him. When Sri Lanka started to become a popular tourist destination back in 2017ish I said one day I will go. Then we all know what happened. Maybe you also remember the shootings at the breakfast buffet in Colombo a few years ago? Then at my second attempt the 25 December 2019 I had a visa and everything but failed to get on the flight at DXB so ended up going to Bangkok instead. Finally, in July 2022 I got the Sri Lankan stamp in my passport.

In order to enter the country you need to obtain a visa which you apply for HERE. I prepared mine but you can also arrange it upon arrival for a few bucks more. As of now (July 2022) you also need to have a health insurance for 12USD. I made a typo when I applied for my visa but it was solved in a minute with the admin head at the airport in Colombo.

My experience from Sri Lanka travels

Due to the current situation I had contacted the yoga resort I was planning on staying at on beforehand to make sure they were operating despite the situation. I also checked that transports and trains are running according to schedule so there wasn’t really any issues going down South of the country. Just less people traveling and easier to get train tickets in first class which is the preferred if you want a seat. That is the only class where you can make a seat reservation when traveling by train. Trains tend to be crowded so for long journeys that is recommended.

It felt a bit strange though to walk around I the capital city and basically there were no cars on the streets. It tend to be extremely crowded there. You could easily go running in the middle of the Main Street. At Al Jazeera I had read about protests against the fuel prices but I didn’t noticed any except tents which people had set up. During my last day in Colombo there were though protests going on and the government collapsed. I think it is really interesting to watch these kind of things from a safe distance and my hotel in the center of Colombo was safe. I arrived some hours before the worst protests broke out and walked through a massive amount of people heading to the protest site. Although looking like an outsider I got warmly welcomed by the Sri Lankas. It never felt unsecure to walk myself the 1,5 kilometer from the train station to the hotel. The day after the protests there were a lot of people out celebrating their victory. First I was a bit hesitant to go out but asked the hotel staff and they said it were safe. There was a lot of military outside so I started to walk nearby the hotel but it felt completely safe and the locals were just happy so it wasn’t a biggie and friends and family back home were ten times more worried about me being in Sri Lanka thanks to the news than what I was myself being on-site.

What I saw more of what that people really suffered from the economic crisis. There weren’t many people outside begging for money, if any, but guess that is because everyone is in the same boat. As a tourist I always try to think twice where I spend my money. Although convenient to stay at famous branded places I prefer local hotels also so i did both during my trip. One can’t do all…

Traveling to Sri Lanka during the crisis did impact my initial travel plans. I shortened my trip and didn’t went to all sights I wished to visit. But I save the North part to another trip. Always good to have a reason to get back once more. I really hope for the people on this island that have struggled through the Tsunami, shooting at the ShangriLa hotel, Covid and now the economic and political crisis that the future will be brighter and that tourists will return to the upcoming winter season. The country has a lot to see and explore for everyone eager to do so. Have you been to Sri Lanka or would you like to go?

/ Pernilla on global adventures

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