One of the world’s most exotic islands, Sri Lanka boasts diverse culture and religious beliefs, as well as considerable natural beauty. After five decades of civil war, peace in Sri Lanka opened the island to international travel in 2009; a decade later, a burgeoning tourism was nipped in the bud by COVID. Today, we’ll have a guest with great knowledge about the island – from a tourism perspective, in particular – who will share some of his top tips for visitors looking to explore this exotic island off the southeast coast of India, particularly Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority provinces.

(Sri Lanka photo courtesy of Ryan Ver Berkmoes)
Scott & Trevor Banter about travel to Sri Lanka:

Scott went there for XMAS – NY in 2014 – Marissa for surfing and beach – was nice; Adam’s Peak – nice night hike; Galle – super cool; and Colombo  – reasonably interesting but not the best capital city (civil war impacted this): Would love to go back – really is a small huge country: tea fields; safari; mountains; beaches and surf.

Trevor: According to wikipedia, “the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, is an island country in the southwest of the Bay of Bengal, where it shares a maritime border with the Maldives in the south-west and India in the north-west.The Sinhalese people form the majority of the nation’s population of approximately 22 million, followed by the Tamils, who are concentrated in northern Sri Lanka, a region we’ll be discussing today. Other long-established groups include the Moors, Indian Tamils, Burghers, Malays, Chinese, and Vedda.

(Sri Lanka photo courtesy of Ryan Ver Berkmoes)

Scott: More from Wikipedia: “Sri Lanka’s documented history goes back 3,000 years, with evidence of prehistoric human settlements that dates back 125,000 years.The earliest known Buddhist writings of Sri Lanka, known collectively as the Pāli canon, date to the fourth Buddhist council, which took place in 29 BCE. Also called the Teardrop of India, or the Granary of the East, Sri Lanka’s geographic location and deep harbors have made it of great strategic importance, from the earliest days of the ancient Silk Road trade route to today’s so-called maritime Silk Road.” I’m aware of Jafna in the north and it’s very geographically odd in shape – in a good way – but it’s out there and I’d really be curious to know more about the region. Good thing we have Ryan here today!


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(Sri Lanka photo courtesy of Ryan Ver Berkmoes)

Guest Intro: Ryan Ver Berkmoes has authored over 130 guidebooks to destinations worldwide, including Lonely Planet guidebooks for Oahu, Hawaii, Indonesia, Crete, and Sri Lanka. Today he joins us from the island of Idra in Greece.


  • Where are you from and what first brought you to Asia?
  • When was the first time you visited Sri Lanka, for what purpose? 
  • What were some of your first impressions?
  • How does it fundamentally differ from somewhere like nearby India?
  • Before heading into the regions you’ll go deeper into for this episode, please give us a big picture overview of Sri Lanka.
(Sri Lanka photo courtesy of Ryan Ver Berkmoes)
  • Why don’t we start in the capital, as I assume that’s where most people arrive and it’s also a Tamil-majority town: how long does one want to spend there and what are some of the highlights?
  • What makes the Tamil-majority provinces of the north / north-central special?
  • What are some of your favorite things to do and see in Tamil areas? /see in each region?
  • How does one get around these parts as it’s quite a big island these provinces are quite big too?
  • How is the food? What are some must-order items?
  • Is it safe to travel, not simply danger from political unrest, but road safety, petty crime, physical safety?
  • What are some important things to consider while planning a trip?
  • Any specific things to prepare yourself for or pack beforehand (some language guides, gifts, etc.)


Learn more about Scott and Trevor:

Trevor’s novel: ArAnna, the millennium mom-and-dad super-couple who change the world, launches April 22, 2024. Click the image above to join the adventure.

The embodiment of the all-American family, the Joneses of New Hope, Virginia stand at the fulcrum of human history. Caught at the center of an unexplainable global phenomenon, their search to solve a supernatural mystery leads them to every continent, where the lessons of traditional cultures present themselves as guideposts toward the survival of the human species -if the bonds of love are strong enough to keep their family together.

*** Exploring the crossroads of magic, science, and religion, including the power of belief, the limitations of technology, and the wisdom of indigenous cultures, ArAnna is a rom-com mystery that reimagines the American dream ***

ArAnna’s story begins this Earth Day, April 22, 2024.
Follow as the story unfolds in real time.

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