The events that took place in Sri Lanka on the day of Easter were absolutely heartbreaking and abominable. The suicide bombers killed innocent people for no reason. Many beautiful families were shattered in seconds. At one moment they were praying and next they were gone. I wonder where are we headed and how cruel humans can be. Raising no questions on faith or religion, I often wish to ask God, why din’t he save his children who were praying in his house. Why not? Shouldn’t He revoke such heinous acts of the demons in the body of humans? But then I think, he wants humans to solve their own problems. Hatred and bias based on religion is our own mess and we will only have to put an end to it. I am not sure how but the best we can do now is stand with Sri Lanka and not stop visiting it. We must defeat terrorism with our love for travel.
Let us not stop traveling to Sri Lanka
I wrote the below article around my experience in Sri Lanka for a particular brand that I had used during my trip. Just two weeks ago, they wanted me promote them through this write-up but now they have changed their marketing plans. Well, good for them but that is not going to stop me from posting it on my own blog sans their mention. I know there has been a terror, the killings have been scary and no doubt,it will have its impact but we must talk about positive things to make it short-lived. We can’t let a handful of terrorists ruin the tourism of a country. You may have changed your plan now, but do visit Sri Lanka soon. If given a chance, I would love to go back again.
Simplicity is contagious
Ever since I had my New Year holidays (2018) in Sri Lanka aka ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’, I have only had good things to say about this cute, little country. It was a ten day trip for me and it left me relaxed and entertained. The simpleness of the country and its people was impressive. The cultural charm, non-pretending towns, gorgeous beaches, soul-pleasing landscapes, tropical climate, helpful people and breathtaking train journeys made for a wholesome and lovable character. When it comes to Sinhalese, Buddhism, Ceylon, architectural gems, UNESCO world heritage sites and turbulent past of the country, there is lots of history and storytelling to be unearthed. For Indians, the Ramayana connect is an interesting value addition. And for the tea connoisseurs, it is a paradise.
There isn’t any perfect itinerary! Period.
There isn’t anything like a perfect Sri Lankan itinerary but based on my personal experience, I would recommend a day or two in the capital -Colombo, a ride on the Sri Lankan train (if possible more than one) and trying out local delicacies like egg hoppers, Kothu and Crab curry. Hubby and I began our journey from the capital city, Colombo and did not buzz ahead until we had indulged in its street art, food tours, local temples, national museum and the oldest market of Pettah. For the remaining eight days, we did Nuwara Eliya, Wellawaya (near Yala), Mirissa, Welligama, Galle and Negombo. Our Sri Lankan sojourn is memorable to me for I had worked out an amazing itinerary, great offbeat experiences and a very personal New Year celebration in Welligama.
The Gorgeous Gregory Lake
As the train glided through the rolling tea estates and reached the Nona Oya (a few miles from Nuwara Eliya) station, we knew why British settlers had chosen it as a perfect holiday destination. This hill country is blessed with cool breezes, eternal charm of tea estates, gorgeous Gregory Lake, native birds and calming ambiance. In our two days stay, we did not miss a boat ride on the lake, a stroll in the picturesque Victoria Park (named after Queen Victoria) and a visit to the antique building that houses the Nuwara Eliya Post Office. As far as the stay is concerned, we had booked a cozy home-stay overlooking the Gregory lake.
Nature in Wellawaya
We bid goodbye to the hill country to head towards the dry plains, closer to the Buduruwagala carvings. Wellawaya made for a beautiful stop between Ella and the famous Yala National Park. The plan was to hit an offbeat path and add some interesting experiences to our itinerary. While we did succeed, we also discovered some of the hidden hiking spots, Nine Arch Bridge, waterfalls and Little Adam’s Peak. Last but not the least, we reached our rustic and rural jungle resort and dared to spend the night in an open room which overlooked a lake. This was an authentic experience in Sri Lankan wilderness.
New Year Eve Partying in Welligama
If you are seeking a quiet and deserted beach location to spend a special occasion with your loved one, choose Welligama over the popular Merissa. There is enough to keep you in the holiday-mood for a few days. Welligama is party to everything serene and tranquil. We had one of the best room views on a clifftop overlooking the stunning Indian Ocean. The night before the turn of the calendar was spent in digging the culinary delights of Sri Lankan cuisine and enjoying the light works organized by the five star hotels. Don’t miss this cape for its undiscovered beaches and amazing surf breaks.
Whale Watching in Mirissa
I jumped at the chance to see whales in Sri Lanka and had already booked a trip with my hotel owner. There are many tour packages available but I request you to be careful while choosing an ethical tour company. No doubt, it is once in a lifetime opportunity to see the blue whales in flesh but we actually disturb them by entering in their territory. The best that you can do is that when you book your tour, be sure that your company adheres to the norms provided by WDCS (Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society). This is our small contribution towards responsible tourism. Without spoiling it for you, I would say this was worth the splurge. Pre-booking is advisable because it gives you time to choose the best, saves you from paying in cash and confirms your spot.
Sunset and more in Galle
No trip to Sri Lanka seems complete without a visit to Galle and its fort. This walled city with thick ramparts has a lot of history in its belly. From the Dutch to East India Company, each of them have left impressive footprints in here in the form of architectural delights and great city planning. This place definitely calls for a day or two. After exploring the lovely streets, fashionable shops and local food in the day, we walked to the popular lighthouse and watched the sunset over the Indian Ocean in the evening. If you are fond of boutique hotels and artsy cafes, this is the place for you.
For the next trip
During the last trip, I couldn’t plan a route through UNESCO world heritage site of Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa due to constraint of time. While Sigriya is a giant rock from the 5th century that served as a fortress, Polonnaruwa is popular as second oldest Kingdom of Sri Lanka. While these two are high on my list, his is not all. I would also love to go for a wildlife safari in Yala, cover the royal cave temple of Dambulla, live in the city of Kandy and spend a couple of solitary days in the beach towns of Unawatuna and Hikkaduwa.