Sri Lanka has something to offer for every traveller with so much to see, do and eat. This beautiful island has turquoise beaches, a lush tea country, tropical jungles, barely touched national parks and historical ruins dating over 3000 years. You can relax at a beachside resort, hike through the tea country, visit a tea factory, explore ancient ruins, learn about a rich history or spot animals on a jeep safari tour.
Despite being a small island, travelling times between towns and cities are very long as the roads aren’t well developed. But this means that each area is so vastly different from the next. The climate, landscape, people and even the food can vary depending on the location. So spending 2 weeks in Sri Lanka isn’t enough to thoroughly see every part of this amazing island I’m proud to call my birth country.
This was my first time travelling as a tourist and I was pleasantly surprised by the thriving tourism industry with excellent service, beautiful boutique and mainstream hotels and the abundance of fresh food turned into beautiful, high quality dishes for a reasonable price.
My boyfriend and I started in the busy capital city Colombo where we visited family, explored the Old Dutch Hospital precinct and wandered around the Colombo National Museum. We stayed at boutique hotel Tintagel, the former residence of a former presidential family where the service, rooms and meals were exceptional.
We ventured out one night for a tasty (although pricey) crab and prawn curry dinner at the Ministry of Crab owned by famous cricketers.
We continued our cricket theme with lunch the next day at The Cricket Club Café. The café’s walls are covered in cricket memorabilia from around the globe and the reasonably priced Western dishes have cheesy cricket themed names like ‘Punter’s Pepper Chicken’ and ‘The Ashes Aussie Steak’.
Our next destination was the hill country, Kandy. We caught an early train from Colombo and sat on the right hand side of the train to watch the beautiful scenery.
In Kandy, we visited more family, explored and paid our respects at The Temple of the Tooth and wandered around the Botanic Gardens for only about 10 minutes until it started pouring with rain.
On our second day in Kandy, our driver took us on a day trip to Sigiriya (Lion Rock), which is basically an old rock with a rich history and about a gazillion stone stairs. We only had one giant water bottle between us and started climbing at about noon in scorching, unbearable 40-degree heat. So if you go, remember to take plenty of water and go early in the morning, say 9am.
We stayed at The Kandyhouse, which is a large, spacious 200-year-old traditional Sri Lankan house converted into a boutique hotel and about 30 mins away from the city. The service, rooms, décor and setting in the middle of a lush jungle near paddy fields was amazing. The food was delicious and it was here that we tried our first ’10 curry’ experience where we tasted all types of curries from potato to beetroot and my favourite, banana flowers. We felt very comfortable here and my boyfriend even played cricket with the friendly staff on the front lawns while the manager was away. On that note, we would recommend booking through your travel agent rather than the hotel directly like we did. The manager gave us a bill that was significantly more than the quoted price because of hefty tourist taxes….
After paying our hefty bill but eating a tasty breakfast, we hopped in our driver’s car for a road trip further up the mountains on winding roads to Nuwara Eliya, the tea country. After a few phone calls to the hotel for directions, we eventually turned off the main road and onto a treacherous, rocky path with no railings to protect us from the sheer drop into the deep valley below. My boyfriend thought it was an adventure. I felt sick with fear.
To be continued….