Sri Lanka – Adventures, relaxation, and memories to last a lifetime

Hi travellers

 

With borders re-opening, who’s felt comfortable flying already? I must admit, I want to hop back on that plane! But given we have an 8 month old, the hubby is more cautious than me, so we’re planning to staycation for the moment 😦
So for now, I’m more than happy to travel dream escape with you! Especially to this months’ location which is Sri Lanka. One of the BEST places we’ve ever been. It’s got everything you’re looking for! Adventure. Relaxation. Experiences. Sun. Beach. Safari. Amazing culture and locals. Honestly, if this country wasn’t on your bucket list, get it on there and shift it to the top! We hope to go back there, 100%!
There’s so much to do here, and if you’re adventurous like us, best advice is get a private driver to take you round the whole island. Spend a good 2 weeks if you can, and see some magnificent places.
We’re a little crazy and crammed a lot in! But we don’t regret it. As we then moved on to the Maldives to rest and relax after a VERY fun-packed adventure trip!
We covered 70% of the island, visiting 13 places! You may want to break your trip up and go to Sri Lanka a few times to do what we did! Life of globetrotters!
Here’s a little of what we got up to in this beautiful “land of serendipity”:
Climb Sigiriya Rock (an ancient rock fortress) – be prepared, it’s actually quite a steep hike! Again, we just “decided” to do this! No prep. We just thank God we’re all in good shape and relatively fit! But the views as you go up is truly astounding.
Get on the Kandy to Ella train. There are intervals where the train moves slowly for you to get some infamous photos of you popping your head or your whole body out of the train! If you can, pay for first class – it’s cheap, and you’ll thank me for it later! The full train journey takes 7 hours. We got the train, and got our driver to meet us at the other end, just so we could experience it!
Watch the fishermen pull their fish into land – in Galle, one of the locations we stayed, we happened to see fishermen pulling in the fishes, so we stopped and got involved (as you do!). We helped them pull in the fishes. Waited a good 3-4 hours with them (bearing in mind, they’d been there hours before already from dawn). The experience was fun, but once the net was on land, it was really heartbreaking to see most of what they’d caught was rubbish thrown into the water. Their hours of hard hard labour, for such tiny gain. If we still dropped litter at that point, when we came home, we were certainly more mindful to recycle instead.
Watch the stilt fishermen – this is a dying tradition of stilt fishing – but do go to see the few still there, and for a little fee, you can get on the stilts too. Most impressively, I caught a fish when up on the stilt! I’ve never fished before, so I was totally stoked!
Stay in a private villa and relax – again, with things being so cheap, we got a place with its own private pool, with the beach just a stroll away. Despite our packed schedule, we had some time to wind down, have some pool and beach fun, and pretend we were on a photo shoot! Be sure to take your mosquito repellents.
Climb Adams Peak (a 2,243m tall mountain) – again, we just “decided” to do this. Although thankfully we’d prepared ourselves before going to Sri Lanka that we were going to do it. So although we didn’t train our bodies, our minds were prepared! It was a monstrous hike, with 5,000-6,000 crumbling steps to climb! Depending on your level of fitness, it takes 2-4 hours to climb. We started our journey around 2am and managed to make it to the top around 5:45am as the sun was rising! Honestly, there were times we wanted to give up, bearing in mind, you then had a 1-2 hour descent to do! But as you watched older more frail people making the journey, it motivated you to keep going! But wow, wow, wow. It felt like you were touching the heavens you were so high up. It was a little chilly when you reached the top, so take along a jacket. I’d never do it again, but it’s an accomplishment that will last us a lifetime! And to reach the top was a truly amazing feeling, with awesome views to match. As you climb, you may see Buddhists along the way, as this is also a pilgrimage. Be mindful that due to the location and time you need to start the hike, the only place to stay at is in one of the Adams peak “hotels”. None were to our standards. We booked 2 rooms in one we thought was most likely the best of the bunch, and even then, hated it, and ended up all cramming into one room for some kind of safety solidarity!!!! But hey, that’s the experience of Adams peak!
Visit Bahirawakanda (Buddhist) temple when in Kandy. This particular temple was chosen as it’s a famous landmark which can easily be seen from Kandy City. To note, you must never have your back to Buddha, so politely walk backwards as you exit the area, turning around once you’re a few feet away from the statue. Be sure to visit the city of Kandy whilst you’re in the area
Visit the ancient city of Polonnaruwa – ruins of the ancient city that is. So be mindful of what to expect (we weren’t!). It is a UNESCO world heritage site though and was quite amazing to see
Visit Dambulla temple – another world heritage site. Again, it’s a fair few steps to get to the temple so be prepared, but it’s definitely worth it. Take socks with you as you’ll need to remove your shoes and the ground can get very hot. Inside, you’ll see lots of different Buddha statues which is truly magnificent.
Do a safari. We love animals and nature, and there’s a few different safari options you can do in Sri Lanka. I believe we did a jeep safari in Yala national park. However, don’t bother trying to see “elephants swim” – because we didn’t see any!
Check out a tree plantation. Did you know Yorkshire tea get their tea leaves from Sri Lanka and simply package it themselves! It was really insightful. And as we’re tea drinkers in our household, we bought some fresh tea leaves, of different flavours, home with us 🙂
Eat like a local – rice, potatoes or meat inside a leaf, and eaten with your hand! Do as the local do it. Their food generally was really good
Be sure to check your travel dates for any religious days, as if they coincide, alcohol cannot be bought during those days. 2 of our days there was over these days, but thankfully we survived.
I don’t want to overload you, so I’ll stop here! Do watch our fun video to get a true feel of how fun this country was!: https://youtu.be/zJuqRsa59uE
But there is so much more to do. If you need any more tips, just message me and we can talk privately! We got through a lot, but there was still so much more you could do, so we definitely hope one day to be back 🙂
See you all next month. I wonder where we’ll travel dream escape to then!….
Tina
T&T Consultancy

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