Tuesday, 26 June 2018

5 Must-do things in Sri Lanka

I thought the first thing I could give you the low down on is our trip to Sri Lanka. It was genuinely the best time I've had and I'll share with you the top 5 highlights from the trip.

Little disclaimer here - I took all photos with my phone so apologies for the sub par quality. I do wish I'd taken my camera. 

We went to the South-West part of the island in November and our route was Colombo (didn't spend actual time there though) - Kandy - Ella - Tangalle - Galle - Bentota - Colombo (to go back).

1. Train from Kandy to Ella 

The train from Kandy to Ella is the most scenic ride I have been on - the track is quite high up in the mountains so you get to see the most breathtaking views. The journey is 5 hours long but don't be put off by it! I was also not keen to get on public transport but 99.5% of people on that train were tourists and it felt really safe. We pre-booked a first class ticket to be in the air-conditioned carriage - that cost about £15 per person. We could have easily gone second class I think, it's high up in the mountain anyway so not that hot at all - Ella is quite chilly in the evening even (at least by my standards).

The Sri Lankans are not that great with health and safety it seems - tourists hang from the wide-open train doors. My rational, prematurely old mind was screaming not to do it but my little adventurous spark absolutely loved it. My boyfriend just sat at one of the doors and didn't leave till we got to Ella.

2. Mountains in Ella 

Little Adam's Peak

Ella was lovely - again lots of tourists, young backpackers etc. It never felt noisy or annoying though, everyone was doing their own thing, which I really liked.

There we hiked up to Little Adam's Peak - we got a tuk tuk from town and he dropped us by the trail -  from there on it's a 30,40 mins walk / climb to the peak. It's really beautiful and definitely worth seeing. Don't be put off by the words "hiking" or "climbing", it's not a big deal at all and you get the return of awesome views.

3. See the elephants 

Unfortunately, I don't have great photos of the elephants but there is a reason why - we didn't want to go to one of the sanctuaries where keepers and tourists mistreat the animals doing things like rides on their back. I don't want to offend anyone who has done it, my personal view is that it is harmful to the animals. Don't get me wrong, I would love to feed a baby elephant myself and give it cuddles, who wouldn't? But in most cases the carers in those places are really horrible to them and the elephants sometimes live in really poor conditions and it's very difficult to know who is truly looking after them and who is there for the money. I have read a few recent articles about mistreated animals, which confirmed my fears about those popular sanctuaries where most tourists go.

I was adamant I didn't want to sponsor that practice so we went to Udawalawe National park, where you can only see them from a viewing platform during their feeding times. The orphaned babies come out first and then you get to see lots of elephants chilling in front of you. Yes, it's not as entertaining as feeding them yourself or touching them but my personal belief is that the overall wellbeing of the animals should be more important than a photo for Insta.

4. Perfect beach days

Sunset in Tangalle (no filter)

I had the best chilled beach experience in Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, the time of the year  when we went was not the best (November - we actually got hit by a cyclone) but it was still amazing. The hottest ocean water and the best snorkelling experience swimming with a giant turtle in a bay by Unawatuna beach near Galle. You do need to spend a day or two just relaxing at a good beach - and if it's not your sort of thing, you can definitely find a an activity. My boyfriend spent about 5 hours a day body boarding *rolls eyes*.

We were a bit concerned about crocodiles in the ocean but were assured that public / open beaches are perfectly safe. The river is a different story so stay away from it.

5. Curry 

That's a funny one. Another disclaimer here, I don't like curry... at all. My boyfriend however loves it and had curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I am not even joking, wish I was!

Anyway, it did look pretty amazing even to me and given that the Sri Lankans cannot cook Western food to save their life, it's only logical to go and try this supposedly magical Sri Lankan curry!

Taru Villas - our accommodation in Tangalle

The fort in Galle is also a must! There are plenty of lovely little shops and restaurants, I loved it. We stayed in Galle Fort hotel there and it was brilliant too.

A lot of people also ask me whether we hired a driver but we didn't, we got by on tuk tuks, which was inexpensive and for the long journeys we hired a car.

Hope you learnt something useful, I definitely recommend the destination!



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