Sri Lanka Top 10

A diary in Sri Lanka

Sunday, November 3, 2013
A diary in Sri LankaLike0

Great Britain has many things to love, among them the beautiful architecture, the lush greenery, the ONE MORE THING…but sadly (for anyone seeking a holiday tan) blissful sunshine and endless sandy beaches are not among them. Luckily, I found those things in Sri Lanka, which was dubbed “the little England” of Asia for good reason.  The island, which was colonized by the English in the late 18th century, is the perfect escape when the ‘squeeze’ gets too tight in the city. A diary in Sri Lanka began.

Upon our arrival, we took the Colombo highway to drive south, near Galle, and reached our hotel in approximately 2 hours. The drive was lovely, with coconut trees blooming and wildlife easily within reach.  We frequently found ourselves lost for words, as we discovered that every corner of this majestic island was precious and one of a kind.

We spent days on the road, exploring, hiking, whale chasing (only because we were desperate to find one and could not) experiencing new food, flavors, culture, homes and villages. Sri Lanka is a must visit at least once in your lifetime, any time of the year and don’t bother asking a local when the best time to visit is, he will smile and tell you ” We do not believe in the weather forecast here in Sri Lanka. It can rain one minute and the next sunshine for the rest of the day”. It’s true. October-November is named the slowest season, it was far from it. We enjoyed every corners of every city and the beautiful things they have to offer. Sri Lanka has just come out of a 30 year war in the North, so the island is picking up the pieces, fast. Travelers are discovering it once again and wanting to go back for more.

One of our favorite experience is the Galle Fort (more than 400Yrs old) and the most memorable way to experience it is by walking. A leisurely walk leads past the old Dutch Church, the Governor’s house, the spice warehouses, Court Square, the Kacheri (town hall), the lighthouse and on to the sea wall and ramparts.

We decided or thought we could cover Sri Lanka in one week. Little did we know. We could have possibly done every mistake in the book a traveler would do, but, it gives us a chance to write about it, nevertheless, it was an experience that made us want to return for more in December.

Here are a few things to consider.

1. Do not spend all your time on the road. The journey between Sri Lanka’s cities is not easy. When we were warned, we did not understand why. Picture this, one way lane around the whole cities. The only highway there is, is to get to Kandy and that, you must leave early to avoid traffic. Luckily, a new highway will open soon and smooth traffic. However, inland and beach road are a beautiful drive, but not if you are driving 4 hours. Do not calculate distance in KM, calculate in hours and always, always add an extra 30 minutes to any time you are given. Drive in the evenings after 8pm if you are traveling further than 2 hours. That way, you reach your next hotel in the evening, sleep and have the next full day to enjoy instead of spending it on the roads!

2. Do not attempt to cover everything in one trip. You will get exhausted. Stick to 2 areas if you have the time. Always stay 3 days in one place. You will need time to recover from the road trip

3. Do not attempt to drive to Nawara Ella and back the same day. No matter where your back road is. Just don’t. It is a difficult road up 2000meters +. However breathtaking and not to be missed. The little England of Sri lanka. Try not to miss this tea plantation haven if you are close bye

4. If you can, try traveling independently by railway. You will love the experience through inland and sea

5. Do not miss out on Ayurvedic Massage

6. Adam’s peak is breathtaking. If you are staying around that area, GO to it! 5:30am wake up call though is a must

7. Don’t try to hard to do sightseeing if the places are to far away. Enjoy the beaches and the food. It truly is relaxing

8. Do not change hotels every night. (Don’t even ask, this was a crazy trip!)

9. Watch the sunset at Galle Fort

10. Visit Tangalle, Mirissa (little bars around that area too), Unawatuna and Mount Lavinia Beach

11. Lunch at Tapribane Island

12. Go elephant trekking

13. Go fishing

14. Adapt the Travel Junkie Initiative and give back a little something to the land you are in

15. Don’t go looking for all the tea plantation factories. If you have seen one, you’ve seen them all, personally, it was not as interesting for us as we expected.

16. A good friend kept reminded us to EAT PASSION FRUIT. Take advantage of their fruits. We had fruits every minute of the day. Visit the markets and just keep tasting

17. Book ahead!!!

18. Galle could be your center-point of South

19. End your trip in Galle and do not spend so much time in Kandy

20. East has been said to have the most beautiful beaches, Trincomalee , Arugambe, Pasikudah, that does not mean south is any less

IamSriLanka Tours

Hotels we explored

1. Galle Fort

2. Jetwing Lighthouse in Galle

3. Kahanda Kande

4. Cinnamon Wild Yala

5. Number One Mirissa

6. Amanwella

7. Heritance Nuwara Ella

8. Mount Havana Gampola

9. Michelle Boutique Hotel

10. Cocoon Resort & Villas Bentota

11. Serene Pavilions

12. Heritance Kandalama

Tour Guide used

iamsrilanka.com

Juliet Coombe for Galle Fort thanks to Mr. Oliver’s recommendation who runs Galle Fort Hotel

 

 

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Travel Junkie Diary

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  • Your memory feels like home to me.
So whenever my mind wanders, it always finds its way back to you 💫
  • Someone at work asked me the other day what my goals were... I told them to be happy. To be really really really F**** happy. What’s yours?
  • How much time do you spend planning for a trip? I still can’t get over the beautiful sunsets I’ve been lucky to experience on the island. I’ve also written two blog posts on guides to Menorca and what to watch out for prior booking. 
I do usually spend a lot of time on research for my trips, months in advance and, for this specific trip, it was a little challenging finding a place to stay that matched what I was exactly looking for. 
The search engine that worked well for me was @wegoarabia - as for flights, I didn’t have too many options from Barcelona but it worked out well. I mixed it between hotel stay and private villa stay for my 10 nights. Booked a car and took it really easy at the end!
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Our business and being an entrepreneur in today’s world on @travelwithtjd was featured in an incredible article on @entmagazineme (link in bio to read the full story) written by the incredible @thisisaby on how I started @tjdhospitality , my goals, my passion and dedication to what I truly believed in... and nothing stood in my way... It continues beautifully on the chapter how @dennisstever and I created our mini series to launch @travelwithtjd and the future... and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. 
One day it will just click. You realize what's important and what isn't, you learn to care less about what other people think of you and care more about what you think of yourself. You realize how far you have come and remember thinking that things were in such a mess they'd never recover.. and then you smile. You smile because you are truest proud of yourself and the person you have fought to become. 
Never forget who has helped you in the past or who kept believing in you when you stopped. 💫
  • I’m not into small talk... so show me your soul. Let’s our minds connect, let’s us just be who we really are and say how it is... or, just say nothing at all.
  • A small town in Menorca, a 30 minute drive into this beautiful town. Long sandy beaches and little houses built around the sides of the bay overlooking the sea. I had to stop the car every minute and step out and appreciate the empty beaches and how incredibly happy I was deciding to visit this beautiful island despite taking a long time on my research! 
Thank you to @hertz.uae for always making it so easy to rent a car and for adding my skywards miles while booking with you 😊
  • One of the most beautiful beach strip in Menorca. I definitely love quiet beaches, and here tends to be crowded and popular, but it was still so comfortable and an exciting vibe to it.
  • There is a legend of Cova d’en Xoroi, a story of a pirate name Xoroi, who abandoned his ship, discovered this cave and found refuge here. 
Xoroi then abducted a woman from the village, fell in love and married her and had kids. 
One day, in winter, the island was covered with unexpected snow, and armed men found footprints into the cave and found the women with her 3 sons. 
Xoroi was surrounded and powerless and jumped into the water from the cliff, and his eldest son followed him and his wife returned to the village. 
What happened after that is a mystery...
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It’s been a crazy 2 weeks on the road, first in Finland with over 16 hours road trips and now in Menorca doing the same on a much smaller scale, exploring the island in our family van that we rented from @hertz.uae And earn Skywards Miles 😊
What are your smooth road trip tips?
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Do you have a favorite beach in Spain?
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This has quickly become my comfort zone... Most of the times, my mind always control things and I always plan EVERYTHING ahead of time... it’s the organized side of me... but here, I feel my heart is upside down, and it leads the way, giving my mind a rest... almost like Shirshasana.
My passion for the unknown and peace takes reign and I start my story all over again, choosing which to keep and to let go of those that don’t serve me anymore. 
The stories of who I am is told through what I remind myself on how far I’ve come and that... it’s always ok not to have everything figured out. So...for now, here is what makes me happy and gives me answers. And so, here is where I’ll always come back to. 💫 #travelwithtjd