When I set my sights on visiting Sri Lanka, the first question I got was “Why Sri Lanka?”. It may seem like an unusual place to visit but if you take a moment to look into what the country has to offer you will see it is a really great holiday destination.
While deciding on our next holiday, Dean and I were hit with so many options and so many places in Asia we wanted to see, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, the list is endless. But having experienced an abrupt holiday in the Philippines (due to a typhoon) the previous December, we knew we needed to be cautious with our decision. We came across this site where we checked the weather for different countries in Asia and thus the idea of a Sri Lankan holiday popped into our heads.
We spent 12 full days in Sri Lanka and absolutely loved it. The country has so much to offer and I’m sure we didn’t experience the half of it.
One thing that surprised us most about Sri Lanka was that it clearly wasn’t an unusual place to visit and there were lots of tourists. When flying from Dubai to Colombo we expected to get on the plane and be some of the few non Sri Lankans, but were definitely naïve as the plane was full with European tourists. While travelling around the island we found many of the travellers came from Germany, Sweden and Norway and some towns were favourable amongst Russians.
This is Part 1 of my Sri Lankan travel guides. Whenever I travel I spend ages going through travel guides and blogs as I love to get personal opinions and experiences. I will post more in detail about the places we visited but for the mean time here’s what our itinerary looked like:
Day 1: Arrive in Colombo. Colombo Airport to Kandy
We caught a taxi from the airport to Kandy which we shared with 2 Swedish girls. As we arrived quite late we didn’t want to waste time getting into Colombo City to the bus terminal and the trip to Kandy was about 3 hours. The girls we met had planned to catch a bus to Kandy but sharing a taxi worked out very reasonable and was much more efficient. We spent the night in budget accommodation (ok-ish for 1 night) in the Kandy Hills.
Day 2: Kandy to Ella
The only reason we went via Kandy was so that we could catch a train to Ella. The Kandy-Ella train trip is raved about and is a recommended must do. When planning our trip we decided to skip out on Kandy’s attraction and but we really wanted to do the train trip. Unfortunately we ran into some bad luck. It was absolutely pouring with rain and this put a damper on our train plans. The owner of the guesthouse warned us against catching a train because he said that the train would struggle to get up the hill and there would need to be another train that came with workers told help fix tracks that could be washed away. This sounded like a situation we definitely wanted to avoid! We were really disappointed and weren’t quite sure how we should go on to Ella. Luckily a German couple were in the same situation as us and they had organized a mini-van to take them to Ella. They offered us to join them and we split the cost. It was actually really great catching a taxi with them because our driver stopped where ever we wanted and our German friends were really organized and planned some places for us to stop at along the way. When we arrived in Ella we stayed at a great lodge just near our new friends and we actually ended up bumping into them a few times throughout our trip-even in Mirissa!
Day 3, 4, 5: Ella
Day 6: Ella to Tangalle
At this stage of our holiday we were a bit lazy and while we had planned to catch a bus to Tangalle we thought we would rather spend extra catching a taxi and save ourselves some time and an unpleasant journey. The thought of catching a fully packed bus with huge backpacks stresses me out a bit. The drive took about 3 hours by car so I’m sure it would have taken much much longer by bus. In Tangalle we stayed at a new lodge which I would highly recommend.
Day 7: Tangalle
Day 8: Tangalle to Mirissa
This time we opted to catch a Tuk-Tuk and it wasn’t half bad. The drive was about 1 and a half hours. In Mirissa we stayed at a lovely family run guest house.
Day 9, 10, 11 : Mirissa
Day 12: Mirissa to Unawatuna
Again we caught a Tuk-Tuk to Unawatuna which took roughly an hour. We stayed at such an amazing villa in Unawatuna, I could seriously live there.
Day 13: Unawatuna
Day 14: Unawatuna to Colombo Airport. Depart.
Once again we were lazy and decided to catch a taxi to the airport instead of hassling with buses or trains. The journey was just over 2 hours.
This is what our itinerary looked like overall and what we got up to:
We also attempted our first travel video. We learnt a lot about filming and editing and I can't wait to make more videos. Take a look.
See the rest of my guides here: