India and Sri Lanka have both successfully managed to capture the interest of travellers from across the globe in search of unique cultural experiences and delicious local cuisine. If you’re still in planning mode tossing up between India Vs Sri Lanka, we’re here to help you make the right decision.
Read on to find out where you should visit this year.
|Currency||Indian rupee||Sri Lankan rupee|
|Population||1.324 billion (2016)||21.2 million (2016)|
What kind of traveller is India suited for?
To describe India in one word would be “incredible,” – but that doesn’t mean that it is suited for everyone. We’re not going to say that first-time travellers should steer away from India, but we need to mention that some of the experiences can be more intense than those in the more tourist-friendly destinations in nearby Asia including Thailand, Vietnam or Cambodia.
With over a billion people living in India, the population density is high, most cities are incredibly busy with people and traffic and it is easy to become overwhelmed. That being said, that experience of being overwhelmed is different for everyone, so as long as you’re prepared to battle the crowds to jump on an overnight train in a small town where almost no one speaks English, then go for it!
A trip to India can be completely life-changing (in a good way), and there are many incredible lessons you will learn during your travels that you won’t find elsewhere. If you’re ready to take on the incredible adventure of India, we can almost guarantee you won’t regret it.
There’s so much to take in when you arrive in India – the the sights, the sounds, the smells – but what stood out for us the most was the hospitality at some of the hotels and resorts where we stayed. Indians truly believe that when a guest arrives in your home, he/she should be treated like GOD! We were blown away by the level of attention to detail, and we left with the impression that the Indian people are a very generous, humble and jovial bunch.
The most important advice we have for anyone traveling to India is to plan their trip in advance. That’s where O’Harani comes in! Our one-of-a-kind experiences and knowledgeable guides enable us to create the perfect, customized itinerary curated specifically for each traveler, based upon his/her likes/dislikes and travel patterns. Having a game plan and a solid itinerary are key to having a phenomenal journey in royal, regal, resplendent India. – Patrick & Jitin, O’Harani
Should I travel solo in India?
There are some destinations where you can be fairly relaxed about leaving your bag out of reach or walking around late at night without checking over your shoulder. India is not that type of place. There is no doubt that travellers can easily travel through India solo, but you do need to make sure extra precautions are taken.
To answer the question, yes, India is safe to travel solo however it depends on your comfort levels when moving through busy cities where your language is not readily available. Small precautions such a taking note of local emergency numbers, carrying a portable charger, buying a local sim-card and avoiding unfamiliar neighbourhoods can help you to stay safe in India. If you’re still set on travelling solo, go for it! Just make sure to keep reading and do your research beforehand.
If your travel buddies don’t share the same passion and excitement about visiting India, you might want to think about joining a small group tour. Most group tours will include a tour guide (otherwise known as your walking, talking Wikipedia guidebook of knowledge!) so you can learn more about India and forget about navigating tricky situations solo. Also, meeting like-minded travellers is always a win-win!
How do I get around India?
It goes without saying, that India is a HUGE country. But, you can easily get from A to B via a number of transport modes. If you’re travelling independently, most travellers will find that local transport is fairly easy to navigate, through might not always be time-effective.
With the exception of air travel, it’s worth noting that most services operate on “India time,” meaning the bus/train/taxi/tuk-tuk will often arrive whenever it wants at whatever time.
- Domestic flights: Travel by air is a great option if you are short on time when in India and is often inexpensive.
- Car: The most popular choice would be to enlist the help of a private driver to travel between cities, and it is advised to avoid hiring a car or embarking on the self-drive option.
- Bus: The most cost-effective mode of transport is to travel by bus. Buses will always make toilet and snack stops along the way.
- Train: Take your pick from a sleeper cabin or an upright passenger seat. A train journey can be long, but some of the views from your seat will be the most beautiful.
What is the food like in India?
Indian food in India is simply out of this world. Aside from being incredibly cheap, Indian food is a haven for vegetarians. Each dish is not as spicy as you might expect, but be careful – if you order a spicy dish, it’s going to be seriously hot.
Top experiences in India
Take savasana art the beaches of Goa
Take time away from the frenzied cities of India and enjoy time in Goa at the beaches of Anjuna, Palolem and Patnem and practice a few yoga sessions with local masters.
Travel on an overnight train
Note: this experience, while being mostly entertaining, is not for those who enjoy creature comforts.
Throw colourful powder at Holi Festival
As one of the most notable festivals in the world, make the most of your chance to throw colourful powder in the air to celebrate the arrival of spring.
Head south to explore Kerala
Make time to explore this famous area that holds significant value and cultural importance.
Explore out the Taj Mahal
Built in the 17th century, this marble mausoleum exists as one of the many architectural icons of India.
The first time I had ventured to India was 9 years ago with my family. I instantly fell in love with the vibrant colors, contrasting culture and of course the humble people I interacted with. The culture, people, and the way society works is beyond fascinating and is by far one of the most eccentrically beautiful destinations this world has to offer.
My most important piece of advice when traveling to India is pack light and keep an open mind. Embrace the sounds, the contrasts in culture, try the food and relax. With so much hustle and bustle many people can get overwhelmed, but I would really recommend to talk to people, get to know them and simply explore. – Perri, Where is Per
India is my motherland and I love exploring this magnificent country. As of now I have covered only places in South India as India is a huge country. I am slowly and surely going to enjoy exploring the entire country with time. Now that I am traveling abroad, I miss my country’s spontaneity. Sure, everything moves slow in India, but you can do anything at anytime. Reservations are not that important, you can spontaneously do anything you like, go any place you want.I would advice travelers to India to avoid tourist traps like Goa and the Golden Triangle. These spots are overcrowded and overrated in my humble opinion and are heavily exploited by the tourism industry. India is much more than Taj Mahal or Goa. There are tons of incredible places all over the country like Meghalaya, Lakshadweep. – Priyadarshini, Glorious Sunrise
Phrases and Words
What kind of traveller is Sri Lanka suited for?
If you haven’t been to Sri Lanka, then you should. Simple as that. As for the type of traveller that Sri Lanka is most suited for? Everyone.
From families to couples or solo travellers and everyone in between, Sri Lanka is an unexpected surprise that will not disappoint. Filled with friendly faces, charming towns and luscious landscapes, many travellers seem to overlook this undiscovered country.
Located just a hop, skip and a jump away from the well-travelled grounds of neighbouring India and wider southeast Asia, Sri Lanka is the up-and-coming destinations suited to all types of travellers.
Sri Lanka has so much to offer the intrepid traveller – from ancient civilisations, incredible wildlife, tea plantations, a stunning coastline and delicious cuisine. For me, I adore the quiet serenity and beauty of the old tea estates. Staying in one of the old planters bungalows is something really special. It’s a place to unwind, contemplate, relax and enjoy homestyle Sri Lankan cuisine. The temperature is cooler than the coast so is perfect for strolling around the plantations.
Before booking a trip to Sri Lanka be aware that much of the coastline is not suitable for swimming because of the strong currents, there are a few exceptions, namely Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna areas where there are protective reefs but follow the advice of the locals if you are unsure. -Torie, Chill and Mint
Should I travel solo in Sri Lanka?
Planning on travelling solo in Sri Lanka? Go for it, and don’t hold back! As a predominantly Buddhist country, it is a safe and welcoming destination for solo travellers.
How do I get around Sri Lanka?
Whether you’re travelling solo or about to join a group tour, there are a few modes of transport that you can make the most of while exploring Sri Lanka.
- Bus: Possibly the most popular form of transport in Sri Lanka, fares are inexpensive which makes bus travel one of the best ways to get around.
- Flights: Domestic flights are available however they are not always the most affordable way to travel. If you plan in advance then flights will be fine however if you’re planning on booking a last minute trip, don’t bet on being able to book a flight on arrival on a whim.
- Three-wheelers: Known in other parts of Asia as tuk-tuks, these vehicles can be found almost everywhere in Sri Lanka and are a popular way to get around.
- Taxi: Only some are metered however in most cases, the fare will be very reasonable and travel by taxi is incredibly convenient for most travellers. In Colombo, Uber is a popular mode of transport.
- Car: Over recent years self-drive car hire has risen in Sri Lanka, however, this is only recommended for the more confident drivers or someone who is able to navigate complicated roads.
Sri Lanka for us had everything…from the nature to the wildlife and the beautiful beaches. We were originally supposed to visit Sri Lanka for three weeks but extended our stay to three months! It was so easy to adapt. The transport system was efficient, the people were super friendly and the food is something that we often find ourselves craving! We became dhal and sambol addicts!
Embrace the experience! Sri Lanka is an under rated country that doesn’t get half as much exposure as it should do! The people speak amazing English, the local transport, buses especially, are some of the most efficient we’ve experienced and the island on the whole is full of natural beauty. – Charlie & Lauren, Wanderers & Warriors
What is the food like in Sri Lanka?
If you’re yet to experience the beauty of Sri Lankan cuisine – then you’re missing out on a food experience like no other. With that being said, the best place to sample Sri Lankan cuisine, is of course, in Sri Lanka. Some of the best dishes you need to try include:
- Appa (otherwise known as a Hopper)
- wambatu moju
For an in-depth guide for where to find the best food experiences in Sri Lanka, you can find out food guide by clicking right here for more information (you won’t regret it).
Top experiences in Sri Lanka
Feast on a hopper
While the name might sound strange, an encounter with a hopper will be just the start of your food journey in Sri Lanka.
Explore the Dambulla Cave Temple
Head underground and set your sights on 150 stunning Buddha statues and religious artworks hidden in a cave filled with mystery.
Cycle to the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya
Remnants of a once mighty palace can be found here, along with impressive gardens and out-of-this-world scenery.
The thing we have enjoyed most about visiting Sri Lanka is undoubtedly the nature. We have seen beaches that are postcard-worthy, spectacular sunsets and rolling hills of emerald green palm trees. The wildlife is abundant and we have seen wild dolphins, humpback whales, blue whales, peacocks, cheeky monkeys (throwing mango stones at us from a telephone wire!) and swam with turtles. We are really looking forward to visiting elephants in the national park, going on a river tour to see crocodiles and hopefully spotting a leopard while we are here.
Make sure you move around a bit. The beaches are so pretty and the sunsets so gorgeous that it would be easy to bunk down in one coastal resort and not see the rest of the island. There are ancient temples, majestic mountains and endless tea plantations to explore so grab a backpack and a tuk-tuk and get out there! As a bonus piece of advice I would say to bring a portable Wifi hotspot and portable charger as power cuts are frequent and good Wifi is rare. – Hannah, Adventure Travel Family
Trek through Yala National Park
For the animal lovers, this is where you need to go to spot abundant wildlife.
Ride along the Nine Arch Bridge in Sri Lanka
Take a ride on the iconic Nine Arch bridge and roll past lush jungles views.
My favorite thing about Sri Lanka is the diversity of the country. Every area is relatively close to each other, but you can experience everything from Mountainous terrains to safaris, to lush jungles, and stunning beaches. Southern Sri Lanka would be my personal favorite area. The beaches are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen and are covered with lush tropical palm trees.
Book your transfers with a reliable source. You will likely need to take a taxi to get around to many areas. You can hire a taxi service in advance and communicate on whats app to make sure you have a safe, reliable, and fairly priced transfer from one area to the next. There are not many highways in Sri Lanka so be prepared for some the drives to be a little longer than you would expect! – Jessica, Choosing Chia
Phrases and Words
- How are you?
Comment below and tell us where you will visit next. Will it be India or Sri Lanka?