Sri Lanka

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

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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

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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

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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

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Tangalla Beach, Sri Lanka: Which direction should we walk today?

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Happiness at Tangalla Beach

We’re sitting under the canopy of a rickety, bamboo-thatched hut. It’s open on three sides, offering up views of the languid comings and goings along the beach. The floor is an extension of the golden sand that meets the azure sea. On the wall behind us is a massive poster of a chilled-out Bob Marley. There’s a rectangular cut-out in the wall next to Bob, with a view into the rustic kitchen, where  a couple of ladies are sharing laughs as one of them prepares Mike’s fruit juice. This place has become our favourite spot for a break during our long beach walks. Maybe it’s the combination of the beautiful beach, mellow vibe and no decision making except for which direction to walk that’s making me feel unusually content. A young man with a big smile brings Mike his juice, and me, my king coconut. Life is good here on Tangalla Beach. Continue reading

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Don’t let anyone tell you that Colombo is not worth a visit

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Galle Face Geen, Colombo

I enjoyed Colombo much more than I thought I would. I’d read many reviews that describe Sri Lanka’s capital city as not worth a visit, and plagued by traffic congestion, noise and pollution. Sure it has some of these issues, but not worth a visit—no way. We spent a couple of days there at the start of our trip and it turned out to be a fascinating introduction to the country. What I like most about Colombo is its vibrant and diverse public spaces. The city buzzes with energy, and nowhere is this better displayed than in Pettah’s market streets and at Galle Face Green—my two favourite experiences in Colombo (and among my top memories of our entire trip). Continue reading

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Happy days in Sri Lanka: Highlights of a 3 1/2 week trip

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Cave temples of Dambulla

Mike and I returned home from Sri Lanka just a week before the heinous Easter Sunday terrorist attacks. I’m still shocked and sad, and have had trouble figuring out what to do with this post. While vacationing in Sri Lanka may not be at the top of your list at the moment, I want to share with you the country we experienced—its stunning beauty, rich culture, friendly people, abundant wildlife and delicious food. Tourism is so vital to the Sri Lankan economy and the livelihoods of many people. I hope for peace and stability so visitors will return to this gorgeous country. Over the next months I’ll be writing detailed reports about our trip; for now, here are the highlights of the happy days we spent in Sri Lanka. Continue reading

Categories: Sri Lanka | Tags: , , , | 46 Comments

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