Why we chose our family holiday in Sri Lanka

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Why we chose our family holiday in Sri Lanka

In October 2008 we chose a holiday in Sri Lanka. Many people asked us why we chose Sri Lanka for our family holiday when it is a country. To understand that you need to know a little about us and more about Sri Lanka.

We are a family of 5, living in the UK. My wife has her own business that she runs from home. When planning our holiday in Sri Lanka, she was looking to relax in 5 Star luxury at a hotel with a tropical beach to lay out in the sun just yards away (which incidentally we’ve never actually done). Privately she’s a bit of a holiday snob and the thought of doing her relaxing in Ibiza or Costa Blanca would never enter her head.

I am an accountant by profession and love researching before holiday destinations before booking which generally drives everyone mad. In complete contrast to Lisa, I find it difficult to sit still or to “do nothing”. When choosing Sri Lanka as our holiday destination I was looking for a destination with interesting cututre and local historic attractions.

You can probably already see that planning a holiday our family is far from easy. We try to make decisions about holidays collectively and the generally have a “Family Conference” to make important decisions. This year (2008) we found ourselves with a little extra money and decided that we’d break the mould. We all decided we’d have a “holiday of a lifetime”. The million dollar question of course was; where? Sri Lanka seemed to fit the bill nicely

Planning the Sri Lankan holiday

Imagine an archetypal accountant, remove the numbers and give him a list of holiday destinations and you’ll have some idea of the process we went through to decide. I won’t bore you with the full detail of the decision making process but these are the things we took into consideration when evaluating the options and why we chose Sri Lanka:

  • Food. Our children are better than many but by no means the best. They all like curry but Kate can’t take it too hot and Fish is a bit of an issue. So we wanted something where alternatives to fish were abundant and the food wasn’t too “way out. Sri Lankan food is top notch. It is lightly spiced but you can add your own extra spice. The curries taste decidedly different from Indian curries and the variety of Sri Lankan accompaniments is excellent.
  • Weather. We wanted it hot so that we could spend some time on the beach after I’d dragged the rest of the family round on the sightseeing tour! The Sri Lankan weather was perfect even though we visited during the Sri Lankan inter-monsoon season (the wettest time). The weather in Sri Lanka is a pretty steady 32 degrees celsius.
  • Beaches. It was important that there was a nice beach, preferably “tropical” and not at all “touristy”. The Sri Lankan beaches looked good, especially on the southern time of the Island.
  • Animals. After a little research the children quickly started citing seeing and even “being with” unusual animals as an important part of the trip. Elephants in Sri Lanka struck a chord but so did swimming with Dolphins in Mexico or a safari in Africa.
  • Culture. It was important to me (and probably only me!) to go somewhere that had a totally different culture. Sri Lanka with its rich Buddhist and Hindu traditions was perfect.
  • Price. I’d be lying if I said price wasn’t an issue but on this particular holiday it was last on the list of criteria.

These were the criteria we used to guide our decision making. We missed a very important one however – security. We really didn’t pay much attention to this and as you’ll see this caused us a few sleepless nights of worry!

A beach in southern Sri LankaSo with our list of destinations on the table we sat round to discuss the possibilities. I’d love to say that we all came to an immediate and unanimous decision! But Lisa and I had to quietly veto a number of highly dubious choices from the children. In the end however, Sri Lanka came out as pretty obvious choice. As a predominantly Buddhist country, it is culturally very different but its food is much milder than Indian with seemingly no widespread equivalent to “Delhi Belly”! It is a tropical country with temperatures in the high 20s all year round and the beaches look lovely in the photos. It is well known for its Elephants and I’d spoken to a friend who had ridden on an elephant in Sri Lanka which practically sold it to the children.