Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle has lived in Sri Lanka since 2003. As a freelance travel writer, she has travelled extensively around Sri Lanka and written numerous features on a range of subjects from destinations and activities to food and lifestyle. Her knowledge on Sri Lanka is second to none. Her travel writing has also taken her throughout Asia and Australia. Emma is the co-author of a number of Rough Guides titles including Sri Lanka, Cambodia, India, South East Asia and Australia, and her work has been featured in The Guardian, Destinations of the World News, The Sunday Times travel magazine, Open Skies, Going Places, Get Lost and High Life. Emma is an experienced hotel and villa reviewer, and has written reviews for Mr and Mrs Smith, i-escape.com and Elite Havens, and is a Telegraph Travel hotel expert. Emma also works with The Sri Lanka Collection, a representation company that represents boutique hotels in Sri Lanka to the UK travel trade and media. Emma also works as a copywriter and occasional photographer.

Emma's Cultural Tip

Sri Lanka is predominantly a Buddhist country though the island is also home to a significant amount of Hindus, Christians and Muslims, who today, predominantly, live in harmony amongst one another. Sri Lanka is quite sensitive to misuse of Buddha iconography. Using Buddha images in a decorative way is a no no – tattoos depicting The Buddha will offend, and has resulted in tourists getting arrested or deported in the past. Decorative pieces of jewellery with Buddha figurines are also frowned upon. Visitors should also be aware that having a photograph taken of them (or a selfie) with their back to a Buddha statue is a cultural faux pas.

Memorable Travel Experience

I love challenges, and climbing up mountain peaks are amongst some of my very best travel experiences. Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, was one of these – a challenging yet moving journey up from cloud forest to a snowy volcano ridge with views of the sweltering African plains. Sri Lanka’s very own climbable mountain, Adam’s Peak, is another unique experience as it’s a pilgrimage spot for all four of Sri Lanka’s religions – Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. Most ascend the mountain to reach the temple for dawn, and spectacular sunrise.


Culture Smart! guide(s):

Sri Lanka