I’d been told that Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful places in the world and a place that I absolutely must go to at some point, but when I first started to plan this trip the civil war was still going on and I assumed that I wouldn’t be able to visit. By the time I left home it looked like the war was over and I started to research going to Sri Lanka. I know there are still many government warnings about traveling to Sri Lanka, but in the end I decided that the situation here was calm enough to visit.
From armed soldiers on almost every corner in parts of Colombo (incidentally, there are no photos from Colombo because said armed soldiers informed me that I couldn’t take pictures of most landmarks there), to police check points, and posted warnings to be on the lookout for bombs, there are still many reminders of the recent war. However for the most part it doesn’t feel like a country that just underwent a civil war. In Colombo daily routine appears to be uninterrupted; the public buses, which were once a target of bombings, are jammed full of people on their way to work. After a few hours I found that the soldiers faded into the background for the most part, and I didn’t even feel that nervous about riding public transportation around Colombo.
I imagine that some of these impressions would be different if I were in the northern part of Sri Lanka, and I’ve read that there are still some areas that have land mines, so the situation is still far from completely back to normal even from a tourism perspective.
The main thing I have observed is the lack of foreign tourists. I’ve read that tourism is picking up again, but so far I haven’t seem many signs of that. With all the warnings I think many people are still staying away. However given the number of amazing beaches, national parks, historic sites, and trekking that Sri Lanka has, I except that it won’t be long before tourism picks up dramatically.