23.12.2011 - 09.01.2012
Some of my nicest experiences in Sri Lanka have been staying with local families. You do not need to know people in Sri Lanka for this to be possible, but you do need to choose your accommodation carefully.
Firstly, I would suggest bypassing big hotels and staying at locally run guesthouses, some of the ones suggested in Lonely Planet are great, but there ARE others! In my experience some of the guesthouses ( particularly those who have MADE it into Lonely Planet), have become more like small hotels.
I stayed with a family who rents just one room, in the beach side town of Mirissa, and had a delightful time. Throughout the day and evening one of the family members would appear at my door offering tea or biscuits. On my first evening they were very concerned that I was alone, "So sad for you! No husband. No friend." I appeased them with assurance that I had some lovely friends and family in Australia, and soon the whole family was sitting on my bed, as I trawled through facebook pictures of my nephew, sisters, parents and friends.