The Pearl of the Indian Ocean does not disappoint. One does not simply resists the charms Sri Lanka has on its visitors. Beware that you will be enticed to stay, forever.
Sri Lanka is a burst of culture and emotion. This place offers everything from the exciting hustle and bustle of the city, to scenic beaches and beautiful mountain landscapes. It is a country of people rich with tradition and culture. There are endless activities to do here and yet places to hide away, totally alone to ponder on life. One of my favourite countries thus far!
So here are my 3 travel tips:
Get your Visa online!
The ease and efficiency of getting a visa to Sri Lanka is commendable. Everything is online and almost instantaneous. I got mine within hours after filling in a form and paying a $30 fee.
Talk to the Locals!
It would be a challenge finding people that are as friendly and hospitable as the Sri Lankans. They are extremely welcoming and won’t hesitate to go out of their way to help out.
For getting around, there is a local app that helps you commute with ease and for a very low cost. It’s called ‘PickMe Sri Lanka’. Regretfully, we only found out about this on our final day there. Would have saved us a lot of money.
Where to go in Sri Lanka.
This tranquil and quiet town was a much needed get away from the usual hustle and bustle back home. You could finally hear yourself think! It was here we spontaneously decided to take part in a safari. Because you know, what better way is there to experience Sri Lanka than to hang out in the wilderness?
It began with a seriously bumpy ride through the woods. My black eye is evidence that it was a badass adventure. Throughout the ride, we were scouting like meerkats, competing to see who would be the first to catch a glimpse of a live animal. We all lost to our 11 year old guide sitting at the very back of the jeep. He spotted elephants from a mile away. We were of course ecstatic! This was the first time we’ve seen elephants in their natural habitat. Awestruck, we sat motionless in our vehicle savoring the real life scene of a mummy elephant and her baby feeding.
Ahhh..the beach.. I won’t forget this place.
Especially when our room was literally right beside it! We had to but walk 20 steps and we were in the water.
Trincomalee is the definitely one of the more chilled out beaches in Sri Lanka.
We strolled around the town, chatted up locals and explored their local temple architecture.
Put on sun screen though! We all thought we could brave the sun but it bested all of us. There was no regret while we were there though, the water was amazing. So were the people.
One of my favourite experiences in Sri Lanka! The elephant orphanage.
These majestic creatures are a wonder to behold.
We got to watch them get a bath, feed them bananas, pat their trunks..it was surreal. But what took the cake was getting to ride them!! Marissa was her name. She brought us into the river, while we clung on for dear life. Under her trainer’s command, she dipped her trunk in the water, brought the tip towards us, and blew! We were stunned! We were repeatedly struck by the powerful jets of water as an audience laughed at our sheer panic from the side. Soon enough, we joined their laughter, and started to enjoy this truly refreshing natural bath.
The sunburn from the beach at Trincomalee had started to sink in. Our skin was peeling off. Perfect timing for us to arrive at one of the coldest places in Sri Lanka, Nuwara Eliya. It was a dilemma choosing between tolerating jackets rubbing against our raw skin, or braving the ice cold winds of Nuwara Eliya. Neither was attractive, but, the suffering was worth it.
Because Nuwara Eliya is a little hidden piece of heaven.
In the middle of its lush rolling hills lies, Lake Gregory, a bewitching town aptly nicknamed “Little England”. Horses strolled about peacefully, the water was still and calm and the view… no words would do it justice. We were so captured by the unearthly beauty we just sat down on the plains absorbing it all in. Never wanting to leave.
So far, our trip around Sri Lanka was a series of exhilarating expeditions. It was time to kick back and relax. And that was what we did in Colombo. The house we rented was perfect. We cooked, swam and just lazed the day away.
It was the perfect pause to the thus far epic adventure.
Back to the beach, but now south of Sri Lanka. We went surfing!!
The instructors here taught us the motions we needed to know before whisking us out into the open sea. They guided me, a total newbie to catch waves and actually stand up on the board and ride all the way to the shore! Kudos to my instructor, he gave me great tips to keep myself balanced. Stand up on your board slowly and keep your knees bent at all times. If you’ve not surfed before, it will be a worthwhile endeavor. If you ask me, surfing was the closest I’ve ever felt to flying.
And that’s it! All the info you’ll need to plan your trip to this exquisite country! Hope you learnt a bit from what I experienced, now go make amazing memories of your own. Have an absolutely lovely time in the Pearl of the Indian Ocean!