15 Sri Lanka Fun Facts To Ignite Your Curious Soul

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Sri Lanka – The Island of Many Wonders is one of Asia’s hidden gems. Being a small island, it is packed with things to do, eat, and various other tourist activities.

A tourist who enters Sri Lanka never returns empty-handed! This country has everything that you will ever yearn for.

So what makes this country a hidden gem? Here are several fun facts about Sri Lanka to ignite your soul and book for an epic adventure.

1. Sri Lanka’s Unique National Sport

Can you guess this country’s national sport? It’s not cricket, with many within the country choosing to watch and play volleyball.

2. The Waterfalls Power the Electricity

Sri Lanka is home to numerous waterfalls and you can swim in a most of them. Such waterfalls produce immense energy, which helps supply power through hydropower plants.

3. Explore Buddha’s Tooth Named Kandy

Kandy’s temple of tooth stands in Sri Lanka.

Kandy is one of the most sacred temples across the globe dedicated solely to Buddhism that contains Buddha’s tooth, which is named Kandy – hence the interesting name of the temple.

Kandy's temple in Sri Lanka

Many travel thousands of miles to place their prayers and petitions at this temple.

4. It is Always Rice Before Curry

Rice and curry is Sri Lanka’s staple dish and is available everywhere. This dish is mainly served on a banana leaf, and you are allowed to eat it using your hands.

People here don’t use a fork or spoons to eat rice and curry. It is always rice before curry and never curry and rice.

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5. The First Female Prime Minister was from Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka was the first country to officially elect a female Prime Minister. The country’s first female Prime Minister was Srimavo Bandaranaike who was elected as Prime Minister for Ceylon and Sri Lanka 3 times.

6. Sri Lanka is Home to the Most Sacred Mountain

Adam’s peak is the most sacred mountain in Sri Lanka and an important pilgrimage site. This remarkable mountain is significant to every major religion.

Adam's peak in Sri Lanka

The mountain is believed to be the location of Buddha’s last steps before Nirvana and also the place where Adam and Eve resided – The Garden of Eden. Hiking up the mountain is quite challenging, but there is delicious tea to stop and try on your way.

7. Sri Lanka is Nicknamed as Pearl of the Indian Ocean and Teardrop of India

This small island nation is known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” due to its incredible natural beauty, extraordinary biodiversity, and precious gemstones.

The island also has a teardrop shape and is located off the coast of India, which is easier to see on a map. This is why it is also known as the “Teardrop of India.”

8. Sri Lanka’s Wildlife is Treat to Eyes

This country is rich in biodiversity and wildlife and it comes as no surprise that Sri Lanka is home to about 7,500 elephants.

Tourists from across the globe visit Sri Lanka mainly to tour Udawalawe National Park, Minneriya National Park, Willpattu National Park and many more. The Yala National Park is worth visiting as it holds the highest density of leopards.

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9. Sri Lanka Holds the Oldest National Flags

Sri Lanka holds the world’s oldest national flag. A famous legend surrounds the Lion on the chief flag. Prince Vijaya, the founder of Sri Lanka, arrived in this country from Sinhapura, India, back in the 5th century.

Sri Lanka flag on flag pole during windy day

Sinhapura is known as the “Lion city,” due to which the national flag has Lion inscribed. The golden Lion holding a sword symbolizes Sri Lanka gaining independence against British rule in 1948.

10. Sri Lanka Has Three Local Languages

Most Sri Lankan people can understand or speak English, while the two local languages widely spoken are Sinhalese in the south and Tamil in the north.

The majority of the schools now primarily teach English, with some of the younger generations now speaking limited Sinhalese or Tamil.

11. Sri Lankan People Always Wobble Their Heads

For every answer, Sri Lankans wobble their heads. If the answer is yes, they wobble their heads, if it’s no, they still wobble their heads. This can be both amusing and confusing for first-time travelers.

This physical movement is known as the figure eight shape created with the head. The degree they wobble depends on the situation. When they understand your message, they will probably wobble more energetically.

12. Incredibly Scenic Train Rides

Sri Lanka provides some of the most epic train rides that I’m eager to book.

Woman putting head and body out of window during Sri Lankan train ride

These rides will take you across tea plantations, beautiful coasts, paddy fields, up the mountains, and through the old eucalyptus forest. You can experience the summer heat of Colombo and end in the cold crispy air of Nanu Oya – just in time for tea.

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13. Lipton Tea is from Sri Lanka

The famous Lipton Tea originated in Sri Lanka. It is made with Sri Lankan tea leaves named Ceylon tea. Lipton tea started back in the 1860s when Thomas Lipton established his mega empire and tea estate. Even today, Sri Lanks still love to have tea with milk and sugar.

14. Sri Lanka is Home to 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Surprisingly, Sri Lanka hosts 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They are:

  • The Sacred City of Kandy
  • The Ancient City of Sigiriya
  • The Sacred City of Anuradhapura
  • The Old Town of Galle
  • The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa
  • Rangiri Dambulla Cave Temple
  • Sinharaja Forest Reserve
  • The Central Highlands of Sri Lanka

15. Coffee is One of Sri Lanka’s Early Exports

Coffee is one of the earliest exports of Sri Lanka. In 1870, the entire coffee plantation was wiped out by a dangerous disease known as coffee rust. Many owners switched to tea plantations for which the country is now famous.

Joshua Smith

Joshua has visited 10 countries and has another 110 to go! He plans to sail around the world over 5 years, and then spend the next 5 years driving around the world in a 4×4. He prefers to explore the more remote places without the tourists, and yet, doesn’t mind the ritzy feel of business class at 10,000 feet either.

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