Magical Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a magical place with untouched paradise at every corner be it in the form of beaches, mountain ranges or ancient history spanning through out a country in which the locals create a lovely atmosphere with their welcoming attitude towards visitors. After spending one month exploring Sri Lanka I can look back at it as one of my favourite countries I’ve ever visited.
Colombo like most people travelling to Sri Lanka was my first stop after a half an hour journey from the airport in Negombo (dependant on traffic) I arrived in Mount Lavina a scenic ten minute train journey from the centre of Colombo just in time for a beautiful sunset to get my holiday started. Heading into the centre of Colombo you can experience the hectic Pettah markets full of local produce and exotic foods in which was the highlight of Colombo in my opinion especially the sea food. If you get the chance try the buttered cuttlefish at Baracuda restaurant my favourite dish on this trip followed by some ultra cheap baked crab and rice at ‘Yarl Eat House’. If you fancy finishing your day off with a couple of drinks head to the Old Dutch Hospital site most notably the bar ‘Taps’.
Next up on the trip was Galle a city on the southwest part of the country famous for Galle fort a 16th century Portuguese inspired fort which has tons of history and is now occupied by a number of quaint cafes, restaurants and museums and a pretty picturesque lighthouse on the outskirts of the fort. Galle is also home to a beautiful beach with golden sand and palm trees offering activities such as snorkelling and scuba diving a great place for spotting sea turtles, round the corner is Jungle beach another of many lush beaches worth seeing in Sri Lanka. If you time your trip right make sure you catch a cricket match at the Galle stadium as you will notice when you visit that Sri Lankan’s are crazy about the sport!
Mirissa is the most popular spot for many tourists along the south West coast and you can understand why! A stunning little bay with a lot going on, this is one of the best places in Sri Lanka to take a whale watching trip to go and try spot the biggest living creature on the planet the Blue Whale along with dolphins and other marine life. Mirissa has a lot to offer but take this time to enjoy the beautiful sea and beaches again keeping an eye out for the large number of sea turtles you can spot from the shore or while your snorkelling, it’s also a great spot for beginner surfers if that takes your fancy if not enjoy a beer and watch some of the local surf talent I guarantee you’ll be very impressed with their tricks and flips.
Uda Walawe is famous for its National Park being one of the best elephant safaris in the world along with elephants you’ll see a wide variation of birds, wild dogs and maybe even a leopard if your lucky. If your safari isn’t included in your tour you can organise it through local tour companies for 20-30 dollars for a half a day tour which should be enough to get your fix of wildlife.
Ella is a huge contrast to the rest of Sri Lanka, a one road village set up in the mountains and surrounded by tea plantations. There’s a number of walks along old train lines providing beautiful views as well as waterfalls for cooling off, make sure you visit the Nine Arch bridge and watch as the trains come and go or if your feeling active take the ‘Seven Arches’ walk which will allow you to get a different aspect of Ella. (tour guides are available) After a day of hiking there’s loads of lovely places to get a well deserved feast, the Rawana Hotel had a top notch rice a curry set menu which you’ll be more than used to at this point of your trip and make sure to check out the local bakery’s scattered around Ella and be sure to try the coconut and honey pancakes another local delicacy.
After your stay in Ella comes to an end make sure you take the world famous train ride to Kandy which takes you through the mountains and it’s one of the most beautiful journeys you can take, train tickets can be bought on the day of your joint in either first, second or third class. If you have time be sure to stop at one of the mountain villages on the way and have a look a round the tea plantations and other natural beauties that’ll will be on offer.
Home to the Sirigiya rock which draws thousands of travellers a year to this ancient fortress on top of a huge rock surrounded by alluring landscapes where you can see for miles – climbing the rock can take up to half a day with local tours providing the best and safest routes up. Take in the most of the art on the rocks walls which have been there for as long as time itself especially keep an eye out for the ‘mirror wall’ and the ‘lions claws’ in which are the remains of some of the historic statues that existed on this rock dubbed the right wonder of the world.
If you’ve still got energy after the first rock there’s also ‘Lion Rock’ which is the smallerless busy than it’s also the best way to see Sigirya Rock itself and also provides amazing views of surrounding areas. A noticeable aspect of Sigiriya is the high quality of hotels in the area with some stunning resorts which can be very cheap dependent on the season – contact our team at Low Cost Deals for the best deals in the area.
Northern Sri Lanka
Heading further north is a world apart from the rest of Sri Lanka as its closer to southern India than Colombo gaining a unique character from Indian settlers.
Foremost of the attractions in the North is the fascinating town of Jaffna, with its absorbing mixture of colonial charm and vibrant Tamil culture, while the Jaffna Peninsula and surrounding islands offer a string of remote temples, Hindu and Buddhist alike, beaches and more off-beat attractions.
Arriving in Jaffna can come as a culture to the uninitiated, and it is difficult to miss the profound Indian influence made obvious by the gradual switch from the singsong cadences of Sinhala to the quick-fire intonations of Tamil, as well as a list of other details like the Indian pop music which blares out of shops and cafs, and the hordes of kamikaze cyclists who fill the congested streets.
Yet the town has its own unique and complex identity shaped in true Sri Lankan fashion, by a wide cross-section of influences, including Muslim, Portuguese, Dutch, British and Sinhalese, with colourful temples set next to huge churches, and streets dotted with ancient Dutch and British residences.