Sri Lanka is packed with nature, culture, lovely people, and delicious food.
For three weeks, my boyfriend and I thus took our heavy backpacks to explore the scenic beauty of this island.
Kandy (1 day)
After a long and tiring journey, we eventually arrived in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s main airport.
It was 5 am and we immediately took a “tuk-tuk” to the nearest train station – Veyangoda.
Be aware of “tuk-tuk” drivers! They will at first always try to set the most delirious price. You must thus persist and negotiate a fair one…
Let the adventure begin!
When we arrived in Kandy, it was extremely warm and noisy. We could clearly tell we were in Sri Lanka’s main city.
We had a stroll around the Kandy Lake and visited the Temple of the Tooth. We also visited the Royal Botanical Garden.
Sigiriya (1 day)
Sigiriya, on the other hand, was way calmer. It felt so good and peaceful to be surrounded by all this nature.
We woke up at 8 am to climb the famous Lion Rock. Two advantages of doing so: no tourists, plus you avoid being stung by wasps once it becomes warmer.
Polonnaruwa (1 day)
Polonnaruwa is another site that belongs to the “Cultural triangle”. It is recommended to rent bikes and to get lost in the city but unfortunately for us, it was raining cats and dogs!
I was especially impressed by the Gal Viharaya; three huge bouddhas carved into the rock.
There is not much to do in Dambulla, except for this impressive Golden Temple. A must!
Nuwara-Eliya (1 day)
After all this heat, we finally got a bit of freshness when arriving at Nuwara-Eliya.
Nuwara-Eliya – also called “Little England” – is a mountainous region in Sri Lanka and is best known for its tea plantations. We could clearly see the British influence (due to the past colonisation) in the architecture.
Dalhousie/Adam’s Peak (1 day)
Dalhousie was our starting point for Adam’s Peak. The climb typically starts in the middle of the night (around 2 am) in order to reach the peak for a breathtaking sunrise (which we unfortunately weren’t able to see because of the bad weather conditions!)
The climb was not as hard as I expected, but the recovery the next two days was certainly pretty tough! Trust me, your body is not used to climb 5.000 steps all at once!
For Sri Lankans, Adam’s Peak is an important pilgrimage site. You will thus probably stumble upon a few pilgrims!
Be sure to bring warmer clothes for when you reach the top, and some cookies to give you some fuel.
Ella (2 days)
Ella, ohhh Ella. I loved this place!
At night, there were lots of cosy restaurants and bars where you could just enjoy a cold local beer while playing cards. “Cafe Chill“ had such a nice atmosphere!
Do not hesitate to try out a traditional “Rotti” or “Kottu Rotti” at “Ella Rotti Hut”.
I would definitely recommend our hotel, called “The View”, which – as its name suggest – offers a magnificent view on the entire valley!
You might also want to have lunch at “98 Acres” (http://www.resort98acres.com/), a luxurious hotel with an impressive view as well!
Arugam Bay (4 days)
Arugam Bay, or the paradise for surfers! Probably my favorite place on the Sri Lankan coast.
We stayed at “Upali Beach” (http://www.upali-beach.com/), in little cabins. Waking up the feet in the sand and facing early morning surfers, what else could we ask for?
The place also has its little restaurant, that serves delicious mango smoothies and burgers!
Do not miss the occasion to walk to the “Elephant rock”, from where you can observe wild elephants!
When it comes to food, I would recommend “Samanthi’s” for a traditional rice & curry. Make sure to order in advance!
Two other restaurants, perhaps a bit more European, that I absolutely loved were “Hideway” (http://www.hideawayarugambay.com/) and “The Spice Trail”. The cuisine was so tasty and refined!
Buttala (1 day)
Buttala is probably never mentioned in travel guides. But a local recommended us this secret eco-lodge called “Galapita Rocks” (http://www.galapitarocks.com/)
Literally heaven on earth!
The place is surrounded by jungle and waterfalls and the four unique bedrooms are carved into the rock.
Not to mention the food, which is probably the best I had in ages. So many fruits, vegetables and spices; I was over the moon.
Even though the staff was a bit shy, they were very kind and helpful.
The price is 70 $ per night but it is totally worth it!
Tangalle (3 days)
One thing I will surely remember about Tangalle is its covered food market; so many fruits and vegetables!
We stayed at “Palm Paradise Cabanas” (http://www.palmparadisecabanas.net/) which was very nice. We enjoyed the swimming pool, as the waves were quite aggressive!
Polhena (1 day)
The weather at Tangalle was terrible, so we decided to move on and try another beach, Polhena.
On the road to Polhena, we stopped by the biggest sitting buddha in Sri Lanka; Big Buddha. It is located at Dikwella.
Mirissa (1 day)
Mirissa is another idyllic beach in Sri Lanka. I believe there is not much to do, so just relax and enjoy the waves!
Galle (1 days)
Located in the South-West of Sri Lanka, Galle is a cute little fortress and above all a UNESCO heritage site.
Galle was once colonized by the Dutch, and we can clearly see it in its architecture. The little streets are so lovely, and there are many little souvenir shops.
We went to a nice bistro for lunch, called “Sugar” (http://sugarcolombo.com/)
And for dinner, I would advise the “Lucky Fort” restaurant which serves 10 curries with rice at a very cheap price (http://luckyfortrestaurant.wix.com/)
It was quite difficult to find a nice place to stay in Galle, as everything was pretty much touristic and very expensive! But we eventually stumbled upon a very nice hotel, and as it was “unfinished”, we got half price.
Negombo (1 day)
On our last day, we stayed at Negombo as it was the closest place to the airport.
Do not miss the fish market, which is very entertaining!
So here ends our amazing trip to Sri Lanka, one of the prettiest place I have ever been to.
I hope this article was useful, and I strongly encourage each one of you to go and discover this little piece of paradise!