Sri Lanka was our trip for the school Easter break. Being teachers we have to limit our holidays to match the schools. This time we had two weeks off so we booked Sri Lanka for 10 days. When we initially looked at Sri Lanka we thought we would base ourselves in one place, however after doing some research, realised there was too much to see to not travel around. So here it is my blog post on Sri Lanka… hope you enjoy the read and pictures.
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For the whole trip we used Sri Lankan tours with Sami. @srilankantourswithsami He was amazing and arranged everything. He created an itinerary based on what we wanted to do in Sri Lanka and gave ideas to match it up and link it together. Sami also communicated logistics with us the whole holiday, even ringing to check everything is ok when we were picked up from the airport. Thanks Sami!
Colombo – Capital city
We arrived in Colombo late at night to stay at the Renuka city hotel for 1 night. This was perfect for what we wanted at this time of night. We were apparently in District 4 which was a central location so a good place to stay if you wanted longer in Colombo. The place we stayed at happened to be opposite Burger King so we may have chilled with a BK and a couple of local lion beers on our first eve – cultural!
The next morning we left to go to to Gangaramaya Temple on our way to Bentota. It was great to walk around the temple and our driver who came in with us, told us some interesting facts, such as an elephant usually lives on the grounds of big temples like the one we were in… just roaming around!
Bentota -Beautiful beaches and sunsets
We stayed at Vivanta by Taj in Bentota.
The highlights – beautiful location right on the beach with an amazing view! It also had a lovely pool and sun beds to relax on. Bentota is small but lovely for 3 nights of relaxing and walking around the small town. Whilst exploring we even ventured into the local post office to send a postcard which majorly took us back in time. This cost us 125RR to send internationally, which works out about 66p\3 dirhams (crazy prices compared to Dubai)! A couple of other hotels looked lovely like the Avani hotel which had a cool bar called ‘The Loft’ just off the beach. We sat there for some sundowners on our first day and got chatting to some other ‘traveller type folk’. It was great to compare travels, although I did feel at one point it turned into a competition of who had been to the most countries! This was also one of the first nights we saw it absolutely pour with rain. This was exciting for us to watch along with the constant flashes of lightning, lighting up the sky. They are definitely used to sudden downpours and storms here!
We ate in a lovely place during our time here, called Mali restaurant, I recommend any of the fish if your a fishy person. I’m not and even I enjoyed it! Also Wunderbar hotel had a bar just a little back from the beach which had amazing views of the sunset as well as some tasty drinks and snacks! On our last night we went out of Bentota to the nearby Aluthgama to eat along the riverside.
Unawatuna – favourite stop in Sri Lanka
On our way down to the next stop, Unawatuna, we stopped in Kosgoda to visit one of the many turtle sanctuaries. We visited one of the oldest sanctuaries there. It was obvious that the people there really looked after the turtles as I was initially worried about how they treated the animals but I did not need to. They keep the turtles for a short amount of time to avoid the female turtles being hurt, injured or eaten. Apparently we were told 1 in 50 baby turtles is a female, therefore they need protecting or there would be no reproducing! They also kept any injured turtles who could no longer survive in the wild. We got to hold many turtles which was an amazing moment for us and one I won’t forget. A tip for you, which unfortunately we didn’t know before we went, is to go in the early evening as you will most likely get to release some of the baby turtles back into the sea!
We also took a trip to one of the moonstone mines. This was interesting to see how the locals make their money around this area and how they find the moonstones and turn them into gems! We then arrived at our place – Cantaloupe levels. This was a lovely small boutique hotel which felt very exclusive. Only downside was we had paid for a sea view and unfortunately did not get one from our room, it being right beside the pool. Other than that it was lovely and very chilled. Also one evening we ate in the hotel and Will claimed that it was the best lobster he had ever tasted! Whilst in this area we went whale watching in Mirissa (an early start but totally worth it), visited Unawatuna town (ate in the Kingfisher restaurant which was super yummy and a great atmosphere), visited jungle beach as it was a short walking distance from our hotel and visited Galle Fort.
Galle was a quaint, historical town which was beautiful to walk around especially at sunset. It also had some cool poster shops where we bought some memorabilia for home. I would recommend eating or having cocktails at Fort Bazaar and/or Galle Fort Hotel. We also ate at a place called ‘Crepeology’, which if you love crepes like me, is the perfect little rooftop restaurant to have a sweet or savoury crepe. Delicious!
Before you leave this area, don’t forget to visit Dalawella beach for the famous leaning tree picture with the rope swing.
Kandy – Temple of the Tooth
We arrived in Kandy after a long journey (4 and a half hours), and the heavens opened. We were welcomed with buckets of rain pouring down but stopped for a nice lunch at ‘The Honey Pot’, overlooking a river and the oncoming storm. We stayed at the Cinnamon Citadel hotel, which had an amazing view out across the river with luscious greenery all around. It was lovely and you can’t fault the view, however it did seem to lack some atmosphere and seemed to host lots of large groups.Most of the big resort hotels are up in the mountain a little out from the city centre. We did visit another hotel during our stay called ‘Mahaweli Reach hotel’, for a massage. It had a Ceylon spa (Ceylon products are popular in Sri Lanka) which was lovely after a previous awful massage experience (I will say no more) and would definitely recommend a visit.
During the rest of our time we visited the Temple of the Tooth, which was really fascinating. I am not usually a fan of tour guides but our driver recommended someone who turned out to be fantastic. It was really useful having someone direct us to the places within the temple as certain areas were only open for a certain amount of time, which we would not have had a clue about. We managed to catch a glimpse of the golden case that held the Buddha’s tooth in between being pushed and shoved with everyone trying to have a look.
We caught a train from Kandy to Nanu Oya. Catching the train is definitely a must and the views were incredible. The only trouble is trying to capture some of the beautiful scenery while on a moving train was quite tricky! Our journey took about 4 hours which was a little too long to come back again afterwards but it was an experience and was great to see the Sri Lankan’s hanging out the sides of the doors and windows. Small tip, make sure you get a second class ticket, first class is great as they are AC carriages however it lacks the atmosphere of having the windows down and soaking in the breeze and sights. You still have fans and the cool mountain breeze so don’t worry you won’t be too hot! However if you do want to experience the train in true Sri Lankan style go third class, although you might end up hanging out the doors too! The reason we got the train so far was to visit the famous tea plantations that were everywhere in Sri Lanka’s hills and mountains. It was interesting to find out how they make the tea that we drink and that our PG Tips comes from these places in Sri Lanka. If your a tea fan then it’s worth a visit, you also get to have some tea and cake at the end!
Finally we visited a forest called Udawattakele Royal Forest Sanctuary. We walked through the tall trees and spotted some butterflies, birds and of course some cheeky monkeys. I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to monkeys but was great to see some wildlife.
All in all Sri Lanka is up there with one of my top holidays on my travels so far.
Thank you for taking the time to read and view my Sri Lanka blog post! I wanted to share with you all the information and pictures to allow you to have the best adventures there!
Stay tuned for some more travel photo diaries and My Where Next…
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