In December, last year I was lucky enough to visit travel hotspot Sri Lanka for the first time. I travelled with my mother and we met my brother and his wife there – our first family holiday for years! From sandy palm-fringed beaches to lush cool highland valleys, from bustling noisy cities to exquisite 5 star hotels, this island is a feast for the senses and truly stole our hearts. Whether you’re a culture nut, a gourmand or simply after some quiet and relaxation, there really is something for everyone.
Our family is not good at sitting still for too long so we opted for a bit of everything. Our travel agent pulled together a fabulous 10-day itinerary which meant we saw a lot of the country and got a real feel for the people and culture. Roads in Sri Lanka are improving all the time but if you want to get around, be prepared for some long days and erratic driving – particularly from the local tuk tuk drivers!
Here are some of my trip highlights:
This ancient city is rich with wildlife and birds and it was here that we did an amazing elephant safari. It was an experience I’ll never forget seeing so many of these majestic animals in the wild. We also did a fabulous but challenging (fabulously challenging!) hike up Mount Sigiriya (one of Sri Lanka’s seven World Heritage Sites and is the eighth wonder of the world) where we explored the abandoned rock-top fortress. Here we stayed in a stunning hotel called Heritance Kandalama which is built overlooking Sigiriya.
Kandy is a beautiful bustling city high up in the middle of Sri Lanka’s green centre. It’s a world away from the bright lights of coastal Colombo and well worth a visit. It is also home to the famous Temple of the Sacred Tooth – Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic.
Nuwara Eliya (meaning City of Light)
Often described as Little England, this small town captured our hearts. We treated ourselves and stayed at one of Nuwara Eliya old colonial hotels – The Grand Hotel. It was the best hotel I’ve ever been to! The architecture was stunning and the food faultless. We spent New Year’s Eve at this hotel and the Sri Lankan Prime Minister was at the party!
The sleepy town of Galle is a well-worth a day trip. The faded glory of the Dutch colonial architecture is charming and it’s easy to while away a few hours exploring the old fort and snaking backstreets with an ice-cream in hand.
On the South-Western tip of the island, this coastal town was the perfect place to chill out. The white sandy beaches and crystal clear warm water were just what we needed after all our sight-seeing. The scuba diving and snorkeling were fantastic when the sun lounger got too much! Each evening we would dine on the sand eating fresh seafood and local exotic food.
Even though we couldn’t get a decent cup of coffee anywhere (a true Aussie coffee snob!) we loved our time in Sri Lanka and would highly recommend it. If you’re thinking about going, I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. Just drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org.