Blown away by the beautiful countryside, stunning nature, blissful beaches, wonderful wildlife and super-warm welcome – not to mention all the fabulous food – Sri Lanka was everything our own top-notch travelista Tara had hoped it would be… and then some. She spills the beans during a quick Q&A, and gives some sage advice on what not to miss on your own Sri Lankan sojourn.
Having set up home these days in Spain, we took the short hop over from Alicante to Gatwick with Norwegian Air and I have to say that for a quick flight they were really pretty good – we even enjoyed inflight wifi. From Gatwick we flew to Colombo with Emirates – their crew were super-friendly and really couldn’t do enough for us (although whether that was due to the flight being quite empty, we’ll never know).
Arriving into Colombo, we were so happy we’d booked the Silk Route Lounge, with its dedicated attendants sorting out our entry and luggage, as the queues for immigration were quite long – all we had to do was sit back and relax before being whisked off to our waiting car (though sitting down was the last thing on our minds after such a long flight, and Ralph was pacing up and down like an expectant father waiting for his guitar to arrive safely!
1/ Experiencing different types of local food plays quite a big part in our travels, and we always try as much as we can: everything from street vendors to iffy side-street cafés and beach restaurants – and here absolutely nothing disappointed – lots of incredible seafood, and spicy curries – in fact, I think it was some of the hottest food we’ve ever experienced. Awesome.
2/ Outside of Kandy we visited the mysterious Knuckles Mountain Range – named after its likeness to a clenched fist – for a sixhour hike up to one of the waterfalls. These are some of the most hauntingly-beautiful nature trails I’ve ever explored, with scenery ranging from palm trees, rice fields and tropical foliage to cloud-, montane-, and verdant plateaus of pygmy-forest, and a plethora of endemic wildlife to discover (including leeches!). At some points I thought my legs would collapse, but the views from the top and the swim under the hidden waterfall were more than worth it.
3/ Also in Kandy, we took an elephant for a stroll down the river (as you do!), which was pretty cool – especially for Ralph, who was only just getting over his excitement from the monkeys gatecrashing our breakfast and running off with our hoppers! So this just blew him away completely!
4/ Getting to the coast was a welcome relief after lots of inland escapades, and half-a-day's R&R on the beach was enough to get us going again. We loved the beach at Amanwella, and particularly the lovely little local restaurant at the end of the beach, with tables and chairs set in the sand beneath the palm trees. Each morning following a delivery of fresh seafood, they light the massive BBQ, you choose what you want and they cook it while you wait (it was also a great spot for a nice cold beer costing around £3 rather than £12 at the resort itself). There’s also another great locallyrun restaurant just in front of Amanwella that’s worth a visit, too.