My dream holidays are different all the time. Sometimes its about the city, crowd and nightlife and sometimes its about peace and nature and rejuvenation. Our travel plan this time was realized with a wonderful holiday to Sri Lanka. Excited as always, we packed our bags and was ready to roll. We almost had a week to discover this wonderful country, and we made it to the maximum. We had an incredible time in this beautiful island of South Asia. A diverse and multicultural country, Sri Lanka is home to many religions, ethnic groups, and languages. It has a rich Buddhist heritage. Green, clean, peaceful and charming, this country should be on everyone’s bucket list for sure. Here, I am sharing my personal experience of visiting Srilanka.
Famous for tea, spices, gems, beaches, wildlife and ancient ruins, Srilanka is a tropical delight. Nature has truly conferred it’s magnificence on this country and local folks add a sweet flavor to it. We landed at Bandaranaike International Airport at Colombo and were ushered to our hotel. As our car cruised away from the airport into the city, we were amazed to see how clean and organised the city was. We spent a day here at Colombo and totally enjoyed. It is the gateway to Sri Lanka for most of the travellers, but don’t just simply pass through this diverse and interesting city. Make sure to stop by and spend some amazing time here.
Independence Memorial Hall is one of the major attractions here and a national monument. Built in commemoration of the independence of Sri Lanka from the British rule, the surrounding greenery, architecture and the tranquility will leave you feeling refreshed. Parliament Ground and Martyr’s Pillar are also quite scenic and striking.
The Galle Face Green is a ocean-side park which stretches along the coast of Sri Lanka. Its a very popular destination for tourists, vendors, lovers, kite flyers and all those who want to indulge in their favorite pastimes next to the sea. It is the largest open sky space in Srilanka.
Another one of the best places to visit here is Gangaramaya (Vihara) Buddhist Temple. The temple’s architecture demonstrates an eclectic mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, and Chinese architecture. It serves not only as a place of Buddhist worship but also a centre of learning and is involved in welfare work including old peoples’ homes, a vocational school and an orphanage.
While we were in Colombo we had our lunch at one of the most famous restaurant, Echo Grand, Cinnamon Road. The food was amazing and you should definitely visit it to satisfy your taste buds. Everywhere In Srilanka, you’ll find delicious food, often seafood pulled straight from the Indian Ocean and curries made with the freshest natural ingredients. If you’re a vegetarian you’ll have no shortage of choices. Coconut features heavily in Sri Lankan food and you will find it in lot of preparations.
Odel and House of Fashion in Colombo are hot spots for all shopping enthusiasts because of the wide range of collecction.
Colombo was great! This city doesn’t get a lot of love, and plenty of people will tell you to skip it. Well, we had a lot of fun here, especially hanging out on the Galle Face Green along the water, eating delicious street food, and soaking in the views.
Our next destination was Kandy and this was the place I wish I had more time to explore. I loved the architecture, the hills, and the frenetic energy of the city. One of the best and most fun attractions here was Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. It is an orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants and believe me, you will totally adore this place. Elephants bathing at the broad river bank, herd interacting socially and playing. Visitors can go to the park to view the care and daily routine of the elephants, such as bottle feeding of elephant calves, and bathing in the Ma Oya (River). The experience here is totally worth it. I fell in love with baby elephants, they are too cute.
Another significant and prominent attraction here is, The temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. The golden-roofed temple houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic – a tooth of the Buddha. Apart from the main revered temple, the complex includes a series of smaller temples, shrines and museums. If ancient ruins and temples are something you love to explore, then you will adore this city.
The Botanical Garden here is enormous and very pretty. You will enjoy walking around. Lush green lawns, tall tress, pretty flowers, giant bamboos, unique orchids, manicured hedges, and colourful landscapes will leave you hypnotized.
In Kandy, we also relished a cultural evening. It was beautiful experiencing Srilankan culture in its dance and theatre forms. The music, dance, costumes, characters, everything was so different and instantly connects you with the rich and diverse culture of Srilanka.
Next in list was Nuwara Eliya. Often referred to as ‘Little England’, this city has a British-country-village feel to it, with its colonial-era bungalows, well-tended hedgerows and pretty gardens. The lush surrounding countryside of tea plantations, carefully tended vegetable plots and wrinkled hills is highly picturesque.
Nuwara houses the famous Sita Temple and Ashok Vatika where Sitaji was kept captive by Raavan after her abduction. On the rock face across the stream are circular depressions, said to be the footprints of Rawana’s elephant. Beautiful green hills surround the temple, you will love to spend some quality time here.
Lake Gregory is a great place to enjoy strolling , taking out aswan-shaped pedal boat, or trotting around on a pony. Lovely flowers, clouds flying over the hills and cool breeze. It feels so relaxed and serene to be here.
Tea Gardens on both sides of the road makes the whole way exceptionally stunning. You can see here how tea leaves are plucked from the garden, meet workers and click lovely pictures. To find from where our morning cuppa originates, we headed to the Mlsena Tea Castle in Nuwara. You can visit the tea factory, purchase various types of tea and enjoy a hot cup of tea with the breathtaking view. Everything here just makes you feel perfect.
And the last stop at Nuwara was St. Clair’s Waterfall. This is one of the most scenic waterfalls in Sri Lanka. A lovely stop to photograph and admire beautiful view of falls, tea gardens and mountains. Located very nearby are Water Villas, surrounded by the mountain ranges of the hill country and lush green tea plantations. Leisurely surveys of green tea plantations, a visit to tea factory, a mountain trek, a dip under the cool water of a natural spring or a stroll in the country side awaits you to spend holiday with a difference. If fun and relaxation is what you seek then, these villas are for you.
Nuwara was the part of the country that I loved the most, the hill town in the Central Highlands. I could have stayed there for a lot longer than we did 🙂
The next day we left from Nuwara to Bentota, a quaint coastal town on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast. Lovely golden sand beaches, clear blue waters, tall coconuts along the shores and salty winds. A perfect destination for beach lovers! This was one of my favourite destinations in Srilanka.
Lovely sunrise and sunsets, a romantic candle light dinner by the beach and adventurous water sports, are some of the marvelous activities we enjoyed here. Sunshine Water Sports Centre is one of the best in town where we had an amazing time doing banana ride, water sofa and jet ski. You can also take a ride inside the mysterious, dark and secret mangroves and experience handling a baby crocodile. I still get goosebumps thinking of it!! But while you take the ride, the beauty of backwaters and mangroves will make you fall go crazy.
Here we visited Turtle Hatchery, where you can find turtles of all size. Injured and lost baby and adult turtles are rescued from the ocean and brought here. They are taken care of and again left in the ocean when healthy. This is a must visit place when you are here, at Bentota. I lifted a huge turtle in my arms and it was an out of the world experience. I loved it!! These little fellas can really cheer you up.
While in Bentota, we also had an opportunity to visit a gem mine. It was something different to explore the age-old traditional mining methods and observe the hard work, patience and cooperation among the miners. You would definitely want to indulge in gem stones the country has to offer because of the diverse options. I am not much of a Jewellery person, but still could not resist the beautiful stones in all colors that one could possibly imagine.
This was our last destination in Srilanka. A week ended and the trip was over. I wanted to stay more, explore more and feel the love this place was showering on us. Warm and friendly people, delicious food, gorgeous beaches, stunning mountains, wildlife and ancient ruins, this place has everything that makes you fall for it. I created some of my most precious moments during this holiday.
While my flight took off, I stared gleefully at the Colombo lights. I wanted to admire Srilanka till the last light of Colombo faded away from our sight. I loved this country so much. I know that I barely scraped the surface and I look forward to delving deeper into this splendid country.
Ayubowan Sri Lanka!!! Till we meet again 🙂