A Heart Of Gold: Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a country of strength and soul. As a young British backpacker, I was welcomed in with open arms. The country's civil war actually only ended 10 years ago, but for many years, people have been attracted to its tropical natural beauty, exquisite food and plethora of changing landscapes.

From such a brutally turbulent past, the country finally shone bright and warm, excited and ready to blossom in the tourism sector. Sri Lankan locals are some of the kindest souls I have met, always greeting you with a big smile that is completely infectious, or making sure you have eaten enough that day.

After the recent attacks in Sri Lanka, the country faces a tremendous loss in tourism revenues (an estimated $750 million this year), upon which locals rely heavily for income. As I left two weeks prior to the attacks, I was lucky enough to travel freely for a month, covering most of the country with my camera.

With the tropical sandy beaches of Mirissa, hill-top tea plantations of Ella and English-built racecourse of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka is fascinatingly diverse. Public transport here is cheap and easy, making the country easily navigable - plus, Sri Lanka is four times smaller than the UK.

One of the main attractions here is the three-hour scenic train ride that passes through vivid green tea plantations en route from Ella to Kandy. The ride will set you back around 160 Sri Lankan Rupees (approximately 73p) - just remember your own toilet paper.

In the wake of the attacks, I can only hope for a quick recovery in Sri Lanka's reputation and tourism industry, so that locals can continue to showcase their precious jewel of a country and thrive as a nation.

@ecrossphoto | emily-cross.com

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