I have lived in Sri Lanka for five years and can assure any reader that this is no holds barred unmanicured guide to the paradise island by a genuine insider. Humorous and bold in parts when describing some the set-backs travellers may encounter it is also accurate and up to date in its description of location specific services. I don’t agree with the description of the food as I love the vegetarian version of the local rice and curry based cuisine, short eat pastries, fritters and cutlets but I have heard meat and fish eaters complain in ways that are similar to the author. The section on Sri Lankan drinking culture is particularly amusing and worth reading for any traveller wanting to enjoy the bars in peace. The island has a big drinking culture but it is somewhat hidden and much of it consists of imbibing homemade brews due to the soaring price of legal liquor pushing it beyond the means of many locals. This policy of raising prices is the government’s attempt to control drinking but in fact it does not achieve its goal but merely drives affordable liquor production underground. However there is a love of drinking in bars but most tend to be male only spaces. It is in fact illegal for a Sri Lankan woman to buy alcohol in Sri Lanka, so any women of South Asian descent- beware! The safest places for solo female travellers have been tried and tested by the author. I agree with her conclusions which are also useful guides for couples and groups when you want a hassle- free night out. The section on Sri Lanka’s wildlife describes the island’s outstanding natural beauty and the best ways to observe, appreciate and explore what can deservedly be called paradise. Sri Lanka is wondrously magical in its stunning beauty and it’s for this reason I lived there so long. So if you are going there for a short or long trip, do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of Backpacking Sri Lanka for an insider’s guide to the highs and lows of island life. You won’t regret it!