The first seed of my desire to visit Sri Lanka was planted in 2010, when then-relevant singer M.I.A. tweeted her outrage over The New York Times including the island on its annual list of places to visit. Two years later, I was on the cusp of making my maiden voyage to Sri Lanka, but had to cancel at the last minute when my ophidiophobic ex-boyfriend learned about the snakes that apparently live in Sri Lanka.
I finally ended up getting to Sri Lanka last summer—and I’m happy to report I witnessed neither the carnage M.I.A. warned about in her tweet, nor a single snake slithering across the ground.
What I did find in Sri Lanka was an enchanting, diverse arrays of landscapes that belie the island’s small size, a plethora of untouched cultural wonders and a pacifying hospitality that proved the perfect counterweight to the stress the country’s lacking infrastructure often caused me.
Today’s post, which features Sri Lanka pictures from its modern capital Colombo to its 2,500-year old capital Anuradhapura, from its idyllic beaches to its towering tea plantations, from its ancient Buddhist relics to the timeless beauty of the elephants that wander its backwaters, will ensure you don’t wait as long as I did to get yourself to this magical island.