I had already bought Flight Tickets for my future holiday in Sri Lanka when the terrorist attacks happened. After weighing up the pros and cons I decided I should make the trip anyway and get to know the best of this magnificent country. Once again, for those who travel is something that happens sometimes, this trip started with a canceled flight, and consequently one day less in my adventure in Sri Lanka. To make the most of this little paradise, I left the airport and took an Uber to the first city, Dambulla.
Dambulla offers an authentic experience of what a real Sri Lankan city is like. The streets are busy and there are hundreds of local restaurants to try out. One of the attractions worth your visit is the Dambulla Cave Temples. Also known as The Royal Rock Temples these ancient Buddhists are built 160m above the surrounding plains and offer stunning views of the area. One area worth visiting when in Dambulla is Sigiriya. There are lots of things to do and see but the main attraction is Sigiriya Rock. I guarantee you won’t regret it, it’s simply breathtaking.
The next stop was the spectacular city of Kandy. Kandy is Sri Lanka´s second-largest city after Colombo, brimming with a fascinating history, rich culture, spectacular beauty, and old-world charm. In this town you can Stroll amidst the stunning Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, visit the three wonderful temples Embekke, Lankathilake and Gadaladeniya, talk to the locals and taste the wonderful and cheap Sri Lankan food. You can’t forget to visit the famous Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, a place revered by pilgrims. It is in this town that you take the blue train to the famous town of Ella. This is considered one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world, but there is something you have to keep in mind, you can spend most of the 8 hours that the journey lasts standing. It’s not just because of the tourists, this train is a popular mode of transport for the locals. About an hour out of Kandy you’ll begin entering tea country. The landscape changes from palm jungle to incredibly steep hills covered in tea bushes with huge open vistas.
In this city, you have at least three places you must visit. Mini Adams peak is the closest and easiest hike in Ella, Sri Lanka. I recommend this as a must-do with full ratings, you would absolutely love the experience. The glorious Nine Arch Bridge between Ella and Demodara train stations is one of the engineering marvels in the early 20th century. Hill Country of Sri Lanka is quite popular for beautiful waterfalls and Ravana Falls is right at the top.
Before heading to Sri Lanka’s famous beaches, I decided to take a Safari. As I am a biologist, I couldn’t miss seeing wild animals in their natural habitat. Tissamaharama is the main city from where you can leave for a safari to Yala National Park, the most visited and second largest park in Sri Lanka. You can observe lots of wild animals like birds, deer, buffalo, a chameleon, an iguana, elephants, and if you are lucky leopards.
Mirissa and Tangalle
After a week of traveling around Sri Lanka, we decided to relax for a few days on the best beaches. Tangalle was the place chosen, and although Sri Lanka is a tourist country, we were practically the only tourists in the area due to the recent terrorist attack. We were able to enjoy the beach, watch the wonderful sunsets and enjoy this little paradise.
The last stop was Mirissa. It is a beautiful beach, with a relaxed and laidback atmosphere. Along the beach are plenty of small restaurants and cafes, serving delicious and fresh seafood.
As we only had the evening flight, we opted to stop in Galle. The moment I stepped out of the Tuk Tuk I started walking the small alleys of the historic center and all around me I found a colonial town, the very opposite of the Asian cities I had visited so far. In the XVI century, the town gained strategic relevance when a Portuguese fleet, taking a wrong route, arrived on its coast, decided to settle here, and built a fort. In conversation with some locals, I realized that they still use some Portuguese words.
This trip to Sri Lanka was amazing. It is a very complete country, we can relax on quiet and beautiful beaches, be in contact with wildlife, visit amazing temples, eat cheap and delicious food as well as talk to very friendly people.