12 travel tips for Sri Lanka that you may not find in guide books

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The life saving king coconut

No matter how many guide books you read, there are always some recommendations or travel tips that you miss (or get missed). That’s generally not a bad thing, except when you’ve fried off the soles of your feet at a Sri Lankan temple. Why didn’t anyone warn me to bring socks! In this post, I’ll take you through some of the quirky, funny, painful, intriguing things we discovered about travel in Sri Lanka, and offer up tips that you may not find in a guide book. Continue reading

Categories: Sri Lanka | Tags: , , | 26 Comments

Wandering through Sri Lanka’s tea plantations: an unexpected highlight

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Dambateene Tea Plantation, Sri Lanka

It’s late in the afternoon and the last tea pluckers are heading home. We wander down the narrow, hard-packed paths that crisscross the enormous plantation. Our long shadows blanket the glossy green bushes that uniformly stand waist-high and cling elegantly to the curves of the surrounding hills. It’s tranquil, and beautiful, and awe-inspiring. These are my favourite memories from Sri Lanka. Come take a walk with me: first, from Lipton’s Seat through the Dambatenne Tea Plantation near Haputale, then at Oliphant Estate, high above Nuwara Eliya. Continue reading

Categories: Sri Lanka | Tags: , , , , | 33 Comments

5 Great Things to do in and around Ella, Sri Lanka

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Little Adam’s Peak, Ella

It was tough to tear ourselves away from the beaches of Tangalla, but promises of sweeping mountain views, tea plantations, and hiking got us excited about Ella. The town makes a great base for exploring Sri Lanka’s hill country, and sits in the middle of some really WOW scenery. While Ella’s busy main drag is a bit off-putting, the town has lots of good places to sleep, eat, drink, and get a massage after a long day of hiking.  Here’s a summary of our favourite activities around Ella. Continue reading

Categories: Sri Lanka | Tags: , , , , , | 31 Comments

Captivated by the ambiance of Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

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School children at Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

It’s late on a Friday afternoon in historic Galle,  and there’s hundreds of school children out in their tidy, white uniforms. Teachers keep a watchful eye on the youngsters as they walk hand-in-hand along the fort walls and play on the beaches. Their youth is an irresistible foil to this exotic old trading port in southern Sri Lanka. We are captivated by Galle’s ambiance. Come along as we a stroll atop the 17th century, Dutch-built fortification and explore the atmospheric walled town. Continue reading

Categories: Sri Lanka | Tags: , , , , | 31 Comments

Don’t miss The Gargoyles on an Elfin Lakes hike

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The Gargoyles in Garibaldi Provincial Park, British Columbia

I’ve hiked to Elfin Lakes at least half a dozen times, but I’ve only recently done the gem of a little add-on hike to The Gargoyles. Elfin Lakes is a popular hike in Garibaldi Provincial Park, near Squamish, British Columbia. The 22 km (14 mile) return hike is a beauty on its own, but for just an extra 2.5 km (from Elfin Lakes) you get into some incredible glaciovolcanic landscapes. In non-scientific lingo, that means bizarre volcanic rock pillars, stark scree slopes, and turquoise-hued, glacially-carved lakes.  A few weeks ago, my friend Morag and I got to explore this otherworldly place called The Gargoyles. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Hiking | Tags: , , , | 56 Comments

Hiking Brandywine Meadows and Mountain at Whistler’s Callaghan Valley

 

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Brandywine Meadows

I’m on a hiking roll, and just did another beauty—Brandywine Meadows and Mountain, at Whistler’s Callaghan Valley. This hike has an incredibly high reward-to-effort ratio, particularly if you have a sturdy 4-wheel drive vehicle. An easy walk brings you to a beautiful meadow surrounded by snow-dappled peaks. It’s crisscrossed with gurgling creeks and is currently ablaze in wildflowers—you’ll think you’ve landed on set in The Sound of Music. The trail beyond the meadow, to Brandywine Mountain, is more strenuous, but with so many gorgeous views it doesn’t feel onerous. And, if you don’t make it the whole way (we didn’t), it’s still an enormously satisfying hike. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Hiking | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

Hiking Whistler’s Skywalk North Trail

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Skywalk North: Whistler, British Columbia

I’m so excited about a hike I did earlier this week that I’m taking a short break from my Sri Lanka series to tell you about Whistler’s Skywalk North (better known as one of the trails leading to Iceberg Lake). Despite the clouds and the voracious mosquitoes, Skywalk North was amazing and got me motivated to explore more trails of the Skywalk network. My hiking pals (Morag and Eva) and I love a hike with variety and this one gets top marks: The 23 km lollipop route (a loop with a short repeated section at the start and end) travels through cedar forests, alpine meadows, rocky slopes with dramatic views of the Coast Mountains, and a glacial basin with tumbling waterfalls and the turquoise-hued star attraction— Iceberg Lake. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Hiking, Places | Tags: , , | 67 Comments

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