Hey peeps!! Guess what? I planned Russia and ended up in Sri Lanka. But am I disappointed? No, never! Sri Lanka is travel heaven for wanderlusts. For a person like me hailing from Kerala (same topography), the spirits were not high when I was about to set my journey to this tear dropped Island. However, once explored, I came to realise that this country is having the largeness of a continent. From vibrant exotic beaches to striking waterfalls, tropical rain forests, scenic hills, deep-rooted culture, colonial remains, delicious food and friendly people- Sri Lanka has everything to make your long weekend escape exquisite. If you are planning to have a long weekend getaway from Dubai, then this Sri Lanka Travel Guide will surely come in handy.
We have managed to cover the “maximum” in four days.
DAY 1- KANDY (Sri Lanka Travel Guide)
Our trip to Sri Lanka was a sudden plan, and there was a tension in the air because of the Presidential election in Sri Lanka. On top of it, the UAE Embassy in Colombo has issued a fresh alert to travellers, warning them not to visit the country. So, safety was our primary concern, and hence we depended on a travel agency from Dubai to take us around.
We planned our itinerary, suggested the properties and made them execute everything so that we can travel safe and sound with an authorized local guide who knows the country better. But if you are looking to explore the country on your own, then I must say getting around Sri Lanka is not a herculean task since the country is relatively small; and you can access all the places with public transportation like trains and buses/ taxis/ tuk-tuk rides.
I reached Colombo a day before and stayed in a guest house. It is always advisable to sleep properly before you start exploring a new country.
After breakfast, I started my journey to Kandy from Colombo. It will take almost 4 hours to reach Kandy. However, in between, we stopped for the very famous-
PINNAWALA ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE
Located in the Pinnawala village, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is the nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants. A place for elephant welfare- sounds cool, right? But are they really being taken care of? Let us get into it!
I was thrilled to see the wild elephants merrily bathing on the river first. It is remarkably fun to watch these animals being playful and naughty. However, you can’t get close to the giants during the bath, but you can do it inside the park. Also, I was very much impressed with the shops on the line that sells recycled products from elephant poop.
Then our guide took us to the park where the elephants are chained and forcefully tamed for tourist purpose. It was heartbreaking to see the frustrated elephants shaking their heads up and down at an alarming pace. However, the violent ones are kept away from the main park. I am not being negative here, but I am totally against this kind of cruelty. We were asked to do the elephant ride, which we refused.
I liked the river bathing scene, but….. 🙁
ENTRY: 2500 LKR
SPICE GARDEN (Sri Lanka Travel Guide)
OMG, I just don’t know if it is because I am living in a desert, a walk through this spice garden was so refreshing. I just felt like I attended a deep healing meditation session after coming out of this garden. That explains how we need nature to endure. Well, let me tell you a secret I wanted to live in a huge city like Dubai!
There are plenty of Spice Gardens in Srilanka, just because the Island’s climate favours the growth of spices, and that is why the British ruled this country for centuries. Spice trading has been happening in Sri Lanka for more than 2000 years.
The best part about visiting this spice garden is that you can learn about the herbs, their development, advantages and its benefits on the human body. You can find herbs from the family of Peppercorns, Turmeric, Cardamom, Cloves, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Aloe Vera, Cocoa here. However, the entry to this garden is free, and the wise guides will explain the making and benefits of the spices in the garden. If you are lucky enough, you will get a free massage as my husband did.
CHECK-IN MOUNT BLUE KANDY
After huge traffic, we reached this beautiful property by evening. Mount Blue is perched on the top of a hill in Kandy, which explains the breathtaking beauty of this property. The rooms and dining areas have a mind-blowing hillside view, and the infinity pool is just wow. They have Spa facilities as well!
Since we were tired, we thought of taking a break and relax in the pool. But it was raining cats and dogs.
DAY 2- KANDY (Sri Lanka Travel Guide)
Brace yourself for a long day… I mean long read guys!
ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN, PERADENIYA
Nothing like a day starting with the nature walk! But, this botanical garden is not just a nature walk; it is just non stop walk. Kidding guys!
Royal Botanical Gardens is 60 hectares in size (don’t worry you will get a map) which is loaded with an amazing collection of orchids, an endless number of rare and common plants, thousands of wing-flapping fruit bats, hundreds of monkeys and much more. Basically, I am not a fan of botanic gardens, but this one was astounding.
If you are a naturist, then you will “get lost” in the middle of this Garden of Aden.
Walking through the park was a stress buster, and my eyes were gratified to the core seeing the beautiful trees and flowers.
ENTRY: 1500 LKR
Visit this place only if you would love to grab some pieces of the exquisite silk fabric. I guess you should try buying from here to gift your friends back in the home town.
WOOD CARVING FACTORY
Though my father works in the construction firm dealing with woods and cement, I had no idea about the different types of wood until I visited this wood factory. Get ready for a fantastic session of detailing about the wood in this wood carving factory in Sri Lanka.
They will detail the uses and advantages of woods while demonstrating some colour changing live experiments. Later on, you can shop some wooden artefacts as souvenirs. I swear they have a lot!
GEM FACTORY (Sri Lanka Travel Guide)
Fancy buying authentic gemstones? Then head to the gem factory in Kandy.
Firstly, they will do a video demonstration of gem mining from the minefields of Sri Lanka. Later on, they will take you to show jewellery making. If you are crazy about the precious gemstone pieces of jewellery, then you can lay your hands on them and grab some pieces for the dear ones back home.
WALK THROUGH KANDY STREETS
There is something quaint about the streets in Kandy. The colonial remains that yell the struggle of independence, quirky cafes that are all set you seduce you- it is always good to take a walk on these streets which will let you immerse yourself in the culture of Sri Lanka.
The lively street of Kandy is filled with bright colours, colonial remains, deep history and delicious food. It just feels so unusual to witness a whole different set of crowd pass by.
KANDY CULTURAL PROGRAM
I still don’t know how hours just passed by while attending the cultural performances of Sri Lanka. It was so astonishing to witness the traditional art forms beautifully depicted by the Sri Lankan artists.
Apart from the graceful dance performances, you will get to witness the breathtaking acrobats, mind-blowing stunts, pirouette, plate spinning, fire acts and much more during the Kandy cultural show. Make sure you reserve earlier to avoid hassles.
ENTRY: 1000 LKR
TEMPLE OF TOOTH RELIC
Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is located in the palace complex of Kandy city. Millions of tourists and pilgrims visit this temple every year to catch a glimpse of the Buddha’s tooth. However, the tooth of Lord Buddha is kept in a gold casket shaped like a dagoba (stupa), and you will get to see this casket only during certain hours of a day.
There are other small complexes and museum inside the temple which are worth visiting.
With lotus flowers, devoted pilgrims, chants, and candles, the Temple of Tooth Relic will take you to a peaceful spiritual world.
ENTRY: 1500 LKR
DAY 3- BENTOTA (Sri Lanka Travel Guide)
After breakfast, we started our long journey to Bentota from Kandy. It took more than 6 hours to reach Bentota after traffic blocks. In between, we visited the tea factory.
TEA FACTORY (Sri Lanka Travel Guide)
The tea factory in the Kandy offers a guided tour of the tea making process that culminates in tea tasting. The pretty ladies in traditional outfits will give you a good briefing about the manufacturing and tea making process.
Later on, you can proceed to the tea boutique to stuff some authentic Ceylon tea bags for your dear ones. Sampling the tea was the best experience I had which pushed me to buy some.
MADU GANGA RIVER TOUR
I find a considerable resemblance with the mangrove forests of Munroe and Maduganga.
There are multiple places in Sri Lanka where you can enjoy the mangrove tours, but Madhu Ganga stand out in the diversity of experience it has to offer.
You will get to enjoy the-
I had fish spas with small fishes before, but these fishes were so huge that they could contain my little finger on their mouth. Just joking! I was so scared to put my leg at first because the fishes were huge, but later on, my fear vanished.
However, I spotted a mini crocodile while I was doing the fish spa. The boat guy used to put the fish food on my leg side so that all fishes will come to my side. How crazy was that!
The boat took me to the cinnamon island owned by the local planter, where a cup of cinnamon coffee welcomed me. Later on, they explained the story of cinnamon from soil to stick.
An old lady was there to lively demonstrate how the Cinnamon roll was made, which urged us to buy some fresh cinnamon products. Guess what? 90% of the world’s highest-quality cinnamon comes from Sri Lanka. So I had my fresh share of Cinnamons from Cinnamon village.
BOAT RIDE: 300 LKR. Have to pay extra for spa and cinnamon village visit.
Before going into the detail of this place, let me tell you something very serious. I have seen a couple of turtles born with genetic disorders in the hatchery (born without eyes, handicapped). These are all because of how humans deal with nature, as explained by the guide.
“Whenever school kids visit the hatchery, I advise them not to litter/ throw plastic on the water,” said the guide from the hatchery.
The turtle hatchery will explain everything from the egg to the adult turtles. They will show eggs, hatching process and the tiny turtles playing on the water. You will also get to see rare white turtles as well.
CHECK-IN- THE PALMS
The Palms Beruwala is an astonishing property next to the Indian Ocean. This Sri Lanka Travel Guide recommends a stay in The Palms
I really loved the green outdoors with the pool and gardens. We spend our later evening watching the blue ocean and playing in the pool.
The resort also offers the opportunity to do water sport activities such as river cruising, windsurfing etc. But we reached the property very late to do all those activities. However, we have managed to spend the time lingering inside the resort.
There are three eateries in the resort in which fisher man’s wharf is seafood bliss. Food served to us were really delicious. The buffet was packed with Sri Lankan and Indian cuisines. However, the crab curry stole my heart.
DAY 4- COLOMBO (Sri Lanka Travel Guide)
COLOMBO CITY TOUR
After 2 hours of drive from Bentota, we reached the very famous capital city of Sri Lanka, Colombo. Since we had to catch flights afternoon, we just had a quick visit to the iconic spots in the Colombo city.
Colombo is a buzzing capital that reflects all cultures and shades of this country. The stunning architecture of the city portrays the long-gone British era.
DRIVE THROUGH THE COLONIAL BUILDINGS
The city boasts some spectacular collections of colonial buildings. We had a drive-through these old dutch and British buildings, which are now government buildings. From the President’s houses to the embassies and other government/ non-government buildings, we had a drive-through almost all the structures with a colonial touch. Our guide was keen to explain the background of each building.
And we stopped for-
Colombo Lotus Tower
This symbolic landmark of Sri Lanka is currently the tallest self-supported structure in South Asia. The tower looks impressive in the middle of the city.
How can I not stop here for a photograph?
We spend our leftover currencies at this marvelous souvenir shop. If you want to see what I brought from Sri Lanka, comment below!
- Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee
- Clothing: Be respectful while visiting temples
- Drink sealed bottled water
- For visiting Sri Lanka, one must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)
Where to stay in Sri Lanka?
Palms Beruwala is a fantastic place to stay in Bentota Sri Lanka. You can also check Air BnB for stays.
We opted for Mount Blue to stay in Kandy and was very much satisfied.
What to eat in Sri Lanka?
Never forget to try Sri Lankan meals and crab curry. They also have some delicious desserts.
You can watch this below Sri Lanka Travel Guide video as well
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