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Sri Lanka: Just How Safe is Unsafe?
So, Sri Lanka is on the list of the 10 most dangerous destinations to visit, according to Willy Volk's post. Willy's not fibbing. I read the article myself before I read his post and sure enough, Sri Lanka is a place to think twice about before you travel there. My advice is to think twice, but not that hard. Things change. Perhaps, it will become a bit safer. Who knows? Perhaps, it already is.
We visited Sri Lanka during a time right after political strife created a bit of havoc-I think someone was blown up somewhere. The northern part of the country was off-limits so people didn't travel there, but because we were living in Singapore, and had friends who raved about the place, we went to a good part of the rest of Sri Lanka anyway. Once there, we could see why the country had such a fan club.
In nine days, because we hired a private driver so we could have easy mobility, we were able to hit areas as varied as: Polonnaruwa, the ancient city built in the 12th century with its reclining Buddha images; Sigiriya, another ancient city that dates back more than 5,000 years and is also a World Heritage Site (Sri Lanka has 7 in all); Galle, the Dutch port on the coast; Kandy, the city that's considered the arts center and the city with the Tooth Temple where supposedly one of Buddha's teeth are kept; the beaches of Hikkaduwa, and the mountainous area of Nuwara Eliya and the tea plantations. There was a lot more in between these two or three day stops like a spice plantation and an elephant orphanage.
If you do go, notice the elephants and coconuts. Sri Lankans still use elephants to do work so it's not uncommon to see elephants getting a bath in a river or being used to transport goods. The coconut industry is labor intensive and you will see more useful items made from coconuts then you ever thought possible. Since the coastal areas were hard hit by the tsunami, I'm sure places like Galle and Hikkaduwa are still recovering. Still, I would hate to think people are scared off from visiting. This is a country that knows how to ensure travelers have a great time. It's also a place where tourist dollars make a difference. The official tourist website is a great place to start making your list of things to see.