Those who know me personally will understand why Sri Lanka holds a pretty special place in my heart; those who don’t will have to wait until my next post 😛 However, I am sure I’m not being biased when I say that this country should be on everyone’s ‘must visit’ list. From hiking and white water rafting to luxury hotels midst jaw dropping tea-trails, this destination caters to all travelers alike. My visit to Sri Lanka was two weeks long and split into two halves, the first being a crazy adventure with my entire family (I’m talking 15 adults and 6 kids) and the second being a luxury, chilled out honeymoon with my wife. This post will cover the first week, which started on Friday the 6th of July and ended on Friday the 13th of July… with a pretty big bang!
I will try to cover everything from when to visit, how to travel around, who to contact and finally a day-by-day blog of everything there is to do there, or at least what we were able to fit into one week. You gotta keep in mind that Sri Lanka is a big country and getting from one region to another takes much longer than you’d expect due to mountainous roads that aren’t exactly built for speed… don’t even get me started on the traffic. That being said though, we were able to do a whole lot in one week, it just means that you’ll be waking up super early and spending plenty of time napping in the car or bus in our case. If you’re already bored of reading all my blaber and just wanna download the itinerary shown below, you can Contact me; however, you will be missing out on some useful tips and details. You can also Contact me for the complete spreadsheet with hotel recommendations.
Planning the Logistics:
One of the biggest challenges I faced while planning my trip to Sri Lanka was the whole ‘when to visit’ ordeal. Unlike most other countries, there isn’t a single best month to visit. On the contrary, the weather varies significantly from one region to the other; so for example, it could be the ideal time of the year to visit the west coast, however, the east coast will be rainy and miserable… and vice-versa. The reason behind this is that the country, despite being relatively small, is affected by two separate monsoons. Therefore, before you start considering seasons, it’s a good idea to decide what it is you’re interested in; ask yourself whether you wanna be surfing, scuba-diving, hiking, white-water rafting, going on safaris, etc.
For simplicity’s sake, we’re gonna split the country into three different sections:
- West Coast
- Hill Country
- East Coast
The West Coast is known for some of the best scuba diving and surfing beaches in the country; for diving, check out Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna, if surfing is your forte, check out Weligama. However, the East Coast still puts up mean competition with beaches like Trincomalee for diving and Arugam Bay which my friends vouch for when it comes to surfing. Both coasts offer pretty much the same kind of activities but the general trend tends to lean more towards the West Coast. The Hill Country is where all the mountains and tea plantations are at. So if you’re into hiking or want to enjoy the tea plantations landscapes, then you gotta keep your eye on the weather around this region.
So now that you’ve decided where you wanna go, let’s take a look at the weather there. Rain hits the west and southwest from April/May to September and is wettest from April to June. The east coast on the other hand experiences its monsoon from November to March and is wettest from November to December. That being said, we did visit the west coast and hill country in July and had pretty good luck except for a couple of rainy days. We also noticed that it is generally rainier the higher you get so expect things to be at its worst in places like Nuwara Eliya. Not gonna lie, I was pretty worried that the rain would hinder most of our trip but our dates were not flexible, we HAD to be in Sri Lanka on the 13th of July for a pretty important event so I chose to roll with it. That being said, it actually turned out pretty well, none of the planned activities were cancelled because of weather.
Day 1: Landing in Colombo & Dealing With Traffic
Before I get into the blog, I just wanna remind you that the first week of my trip consisted of almost 16 adults and 6 children; that really affected our pace. Fortunately though, my family is adventurous and the presence of kids did not stop us from hiking and what not, it just meant that we couldn’t fit as much into one day as my friends who were traveling alone could. Don’t you worry though because I will be mentioning the things they recommended, even if I didn’t see/try it myself.
We landed in Colombo on Friday the 6th of July. It did take us an hour or so to get past passport control because someone may have entered wrong details for their sister’s visa… Maddie 😛 We also decided to buy sim cards at the airport which was a great idea. A data and local calls package costs almost $5 and the coverage in Sri Lanka is decent. This was necessary for us since we were a pretty big group and needed a way to keep in touch; however, I would recommend it to anyone since it’s always an advantage to be able to refer to Mr. Google when you’re lost or just need to know what a random word means.
Traffic within any of the major cities of Sri Lanka is absolutely terrible. During rush hour, it could take you well over an hour to travel less than 100 meters, so make sure you take that into account when planning your trip. By the time we got to our hotel, the sun had already set which meant no visiting any of the temples Colombo has to offer; however, there was still plenty to do in this bustling city. Since we were there during the time of the Fifa World Cup, we began our night at ‘The Bavarian’ for dinner and the game. The restaurant was absolutely fantastic, they had great steak options for my fellow steak lovers; but they also had plenty of seafood options for those who prefer lobsters, fish and shrimps. After dinner, we hopped on a tuktuk to the Dutch Hospital district where most of the city comes to life at night. It is worth mentioning that tuktuk rides are essential to the Sri Lankan experience, manage to squeeze 5 people in the back of one of those and you’re pretty much a local.
The nightlife in Colombo is unique to say the least, it is also my favorite. Forget clubs and pubs, the streets are where it’s at! In this wonderful city, bands will set up massive sound systems on the side of the road by a couple of bars and start jamming. Next thing you know, the entire street is jam-packed with people dancing like there was no tomorrow. It’s amazing too because the streets were completely blocked by this point, but every couple of minutes a car would come by, and the crowd would just make way for it without even interrupting their dance moves. It was a weird coordinated flow which I am sure wouldn’t work anywhere else in the world, the people here were just more relaxed in a way, like they realized ‘hey, the world is not going anywhere’. My favorite part was this dude in a tuktuk who came by, but instead of just driving through the crowd, he decided to stop right in the middle and join the party. He just sat there in his tuktuk dancing and swaying with the music as people climbed onto the sides. This lasted for several minutes before the people climbed back off and he just drove away… like I said, they’re just chilled out 😛
Day 2: The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
You cannot visit Sri Lanka without admiring its abundance in elephants. That being said, many people are against visiting the Pinnawala sanctuary because of moral reasons which I completely understand; however, read on a little and I might be able to change your mind; if I don’t, well you can still see many elephants in Yala or Udawalawa National Parks.
At first, I was hesitant on visiting the sanctuary myself because I wasn’t sure what state the elephants were in or whether they were treated morally. I’ve seen some things in Thailand which were absolutely horrific and I was afraid this might be the same kinda thing. Therefore, I took to the internet for some old fashioned research; moreover, I spoke to some of my Sri Lankan friends in order to get their input on things. First thing I noticed on the internet was that a lot of people were enraged by the chains that some of the elephants have to wear when they take them down to the river for a bath and swim. Another point that was brought up a lot was that the enclosures they lived in were not very large. The third and last point was about those pointy little sticks that the staff would probe the elephants with. Now at first, these things really annoyed me, and I decided I would not visit the sanctuary. However, upon looking into the matter further, I came to see things a little differently. Firstly, the chains are only placed on some of the male elephants to prevent them from lashing out and harming themselves, the female elephants or the people nearby. You gotta understand that male elephants in the wild are often pushed out of the herd because of this type of behavior, it not at all unusual. Moreover, you have to put things into perspective, these chains may look terrible to you, but to this massive animal, it’s nothing but a necklace. I realize that in other countries, chains are used to torture and trick calves into obedience and false trust, this is not the case here. As for the enclosures, I thought the feeding grounds were not too spacious but the elephants only spend a fraction of their time there, the rest of the enclosures were vast and I loved the fact that they take the elephants out to the river to bath and play. The final point is with regards to the stick they used; after reading up on the matter, I found that the sticks are used to steer the elephants into the right direction and although I know someone probing me with a stick would annoy the hell out of me, I also know that the sticks don’t actually cause them any pain. I saw all this for myself when I visited the sanctuary and honestly, the elephants seemed happy, especially when they were down at the river. All this being said, maybe I don’t actually know jack about animals, I might be 100% wrong, so if you know better, just let me know in the comments section below.
If you are traveling with kids, then I strongly recommend you include the Pinnawala Elephant Sanctuary in your plans, if not, then it really just depends on your personal interest to get close and personal with these majestic beasts. The sanctuary itself did not interest me all that much but the river bathing was absolutely awesome. The elephants only go out to the river a couple of times per day though so make sure you check the timings of the season you’re visiting in and plan accordingly. Another thing you should consider is that the road down to the river is pact with souvenir stores, so dedicate some time to do your shopping here.
Secret tip: Some of the souvenir stores can actually exchange your dollars at much better rates than those found at the airport, banks and exchange offices. The currency they provide you with is legit too. Just ask around and they’ll take you to the guy with all the cash 😉
Once you’re done with the elephant sanctuary and souvenir shopping, your driver should head to the famous city of Sigiriya. With all the crazy traffic and scenic stops along the way, you’ll probably get there just in time for dinner. Spend the rest of the evening relaxing by the pool or even spoiling yourself with a massage. It will be an early morning though so make sure you get enough sleep tonight!
Day 3: Sigiriya & Kandy
If you’ve already done any research about your holiday in Sri Lanka, then you probably already know that Sigiriya is a must-visit. However, most of you will miss one of the main reasons to visit this heavenly city. Websites and itineraries state that climbing Lion’s Rock is the main attraction of Sigiriya, and is the most important thing to do there, I beg to differ, and for very good reasons.
I just wanna start by saying that I am not discouraging anyone from climbing Lion’s Rock, the view from the top was definitely worth the journey; I am however trying to present you with a bit of a reality check. I will get into the main advantages and disadvantages of Lion’s Rock in a minute but for now, let’s talk about my favorite hike in Sigiriya.
While most people wait until 7 AM in order to walk up Lion’s Rock, I recommend you get up well before sunrise and drive north to Pidurangala Rock. There is a fee of $20 that you’ll have to pay to access the trail but no time restrictions. There are no queues here and you won’t run into many people on the way up which is great; however, you will be passing through a temple so be ready to cover up to your knees if asked. The entire hike is around 40 minutes only, you can probably even finish it in 30 if you rush. The first 20 to 30 minutes of the trail are pretty much just rock stairs; things do get a little bit more interesting during the last 10 minutes as scrambling over the rocks is required. This hike will take you to the very top of Pidurangala Rock, a large open space from where you have an awesome view of Lion’s Rock. Keep in mind that although the scenery is amazing from Lion’s Rock, you won’t actually be able to see it at any point during the climb up. This is actually your only chance to get the perfect picture of Lion’s Rock standing strong amidst Sri Lanka’s forest paradise. When you’re done watching the sun rise and snapping photos of Sigiriya’s most well-known attraction, head back down the same way you came and return to your hotel just in time for breakfast.
You might be tempted to lay back and maybe chill by the pool after breakfast; however, I’m sorry to say that if you want to experience Sigiriya to the fullest, there will be no chilling here. You’re already all dressed up from the sunrise hike so there is no need to get changed. After feasting at your hotel’s breakfast buffet, take a tuktuk down to the all famous Sigiriya Rock, or Lion’s Rock. This massive, rock fortress stands nearly 200 meters high. According to an ancient chronicle, the site was selected by King Kasyapa, who ruled from 477 to 495 CE, for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colorful frescoes. As you climb the rock, you’ll come across a small plateau about halfway up the side; there you’ll see the enormous gateway which was built in the form of a lion. Make sure you make it all the way to the top of the rock though as the views from the other side are absolutely breathtaking.
Yet another underrated activity which Sigiriya has to offer is the Village Tour. This three hour, family friendly adventure involves taking an oxen cart and catamaran to get to a local village, meeting its inhabitants and then walking a mile in their shoes by learning how to farm and make several products out of fresh coconuts. My nieces and nephew loved this tour; however, it is also worth mentioning that the older members of my family along with my friends also had a blast. So I was very shocked to find that this tour is not advertised or even mentioned on most blogs, which is a shame!
After completing the Village Tour, start your three hour car journey to Kandy. Although they’re not that far apart on the map, it is the terrible traffic that stretches out this ride, make sure you avoid rush hour since getting stuck in that pretty much means you won’t be moving for at least an extra 40 minutes. To make the drive a little more interesting, ask your driver to stop at one of the countless fruit vendors on the side of the road, you’ll have an endless variety of Asia’s exotic fresh fruits to choose from but make sure you bargain a little before buying anything.
When you finally get to Kandy, you can visit the botanical gardens, the spice gardens, take a boat ride down Kandy lake or maybe just stroll down the bustling roads of the city and opt to buy some more souvenirs. However, no matter what you choose to do, DO NOT attend a culture show. Perhaps we just got unlucky and watched a crappy one, maybe there are others that are pretty awesome… I highly doubt it though. The show we watched was sold out and at a pretty decent theatre so I don’t imagine others will be any better to be honest. I feel bad saying this, and if you attended one that’s better please do comment below with your recommendations, but I just hated the dance so much. All the introductions were given in Sri Lankan, even though the entire audience was foreign, so nobody understood the plot or content of the performance; everyone was either asleep, distracted on their phones or holding in laughter. Unfortunately, I am not only speaking for myself, my entire family of 20 members along with my friends (3 groups of 2-4 people) also shared the same opinion. Once again, if you attended one that you loved, please do share your experience in the comment section below!
Day 4: Nuwara Eliya & It’s Picturesque Tea Plantations
I know you’re probably hating on me because of the lack of sleep but this is just what it takes to cover a country so rich with touristic attraction in one week. This morning is no different, Nuwara Eliya is possibly my favorite city in Sri Lanka with an abundance of natural beauty so make sure you hit the road out Kandy as early as possible.
Now here is a little tip that is not included in the itinerary, just to make you feel like reading this entire blog was worthwhile after all! On the way to Nywara Eliya from Kandy, ask your driver to stop by the Ambuluwawa Tower. It shouldn’t take you too long to climb up to the top of this magnificent structure but the views are very rewarding. You will also enjoy a slight ‘breeze’ up there 😉 I was surprised to see that this attraction is not mentioned in many blogs out there which is a real shame; however, that also means that the place isn’t infested with too many tourists so you can enjoy your little escape.
When you finally get to Nuwara Eliya, start off by visiting the Glenloch Tea Plantations where they’ll introduce you to the process of making tea. Here, you’ll get to watch the pickers work their way through the endless plantations before learning how the machinery in the factory work tirelessly to create the product we all learned to love and enjoy… especially the British. Visiting tea plantations is not only educational, it’s also one of the most picturesque sights in the world. Make sure you get your share of pictures standing midst the stretching fields of tea… just try to be a little creative with your poses please. If you have more time in the area and you cannot get enough of tea plantations, you can also visit the Ceylon Tea Trails for a little more of a ‘upscale’ experience. These hotels are certified by none other than Relais & Chateaux so you can expect nothing but the best. You’ll be spoilt with a butler, a chef, all inclusive service and exquisite sights. I’ll be talking a little more about the luxurious side of Sri Lanka traveling in my next post though.
Besides the tea plantations, there are several things that you can keep busy with in Nuwara Eliya so it all depends on what you prefer to do. You can take a boat ride on Gregory Lake, stroll through Victoria Park, walk to St. Clair’s Falls or even hike along the Horton Plains to World’s End if you got the time. If none of these options really interest you and you prefer to do something a little more low-key, then feel free to enjoy your time walking around the city which is different to most others in Sri Lanka. Nuwara Eliya still has that European, Portuguese vibe which will be very apparent to you when you visit places such as the Post Office here. Finally, do some shopping at the markets before having dinner by the River.
Day 5: Let’s Hang Off a Train for Three Hours to Ella
You’ve got a train to catch and one more attraction to see in Nuwara Eliya before moving onto my second favorite and close runner up for favorite city in Sri Lanka, so make sure you wake up nice and early yet again. Take a tuktuk down to Ramboda Falls first thing in the morning before the place gets bust with tourists and local street vendors or just people opting for a swim in the fresh waters of this waterfall. If you’re longing for a little adventure and adrenaline, you could make your way down to the water for a swim. Be very careful though because the rocks are slippery and one wrong step can send you tumbling down some very rapid streams. It’s worth mentioning that unweary tourists have died in accidents here before so it’s always wise to speak to your guide or driver before attempting this. Head back to your hotel for a quick shower and change of clothes and then check out of your hotel and make your way to the train station… this next part is interesting to say the least.
The scenic train ride from Nuwara Eliya to Ella is certainly on almost all Sri Lankan itineraries but there are a few details that these itineraries fail to mention. I ended up on that train with my family, which includes babies, children as young as 4 and as old as 10 and seniors older than 60, it wasn’t a pleasant experience for everyone so I thought I would warn those who are so kind as to read my blog:
- Train timings can be found on this website Train Timings
- You cannot book tickets in advance on the website, your guide may be able to purchase a couple of tickets for you in advance, although that is also unlikely
- There are three classes on most trains, first class tickets are very limited. Here you’ll have relatively comfortable seats and a pleasant journey for those who like their personal space, although it is not the true Sri Lankan train ride experience. Second and third classes are pretty much the same, the carts are crammed with as many people as they can possibly fit; I mean it, you won’t be able to move a muscle the entire way
- So your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to somehow make your way through the second or third class carts to one of the train’s doors, that is how you’ll get to absolutely love this experience. The doors remain open the entire time so you can either sit with your legs dangling off the side or lean out over the railway while hanging onto the door for dear life; either way, you’ll enjoy the scenery and breeze more than anyone else
- The train stops often, when it does, everyone comes storming out for a little stretch and friendly conversation. That being said, do not get too comfortable because you’re not gonna get a timely warning before the train starts moving again. At one point, I was stood outside bragging to Ramin, Victoria, Fadya and Motassem about how comfortable life was up in first class when I noticed the train had begun to move. Funny thing was, we were by their carts so it was easy for them to jump back on, I on the other hand had to run back to first class which didn’t really happen, I ended up hanging off the conductor’s wagon with the doors closed while passing the camera over to Fadya so that I don’t fall off… karma works real fast sometimes
Note: Although I was riding first class with my family, I barely spent any time on my seat up there; instead I was hanging off the side of the cart with my camera, snapping away at the scenery that we came across. Despite being in first class, my family didn’t enjoy the train ride as much, especially since one of my nieces was sick during the first 30 min. They would’ve preferred to take that journey by bus, so that is something you might want to consider.
You should get to Ella at around 1:30 pm, check into your hotel and then head out for some lunch. Keep in mind that this is a very hipster like, vibrant town filled with a diverse crowd of mountain climbers, hikers, honeymooners and families; so there is pretty much something for everyone. Head down to Ella’s main road which is bustling with a wide range of cuisines; we dined at 360 Ella and were quite impressed with the food. I did find though that service in Sri Lanka was generally very very slow; didn’t matter whether we were in a crowded restaurant like 360 Ella, or the only ones there, like some of the random places we stopped at on the way from one city to the other, food orders would take up to an hour and sometimes even longer to be served. I remember stopping for late-lunch at a 5* hotel between Sigirya and Kandy, the main restaurant wasn’t serving dinner yet so we had to opt for ‘quick’ sandwiches instead, it took them a little longer than hour to serve us beef burgers and fried chicken sandwiches. Sad thing was, this wasn’t even gourmet, nicely cooked food, it was all frozen packet kinda stuff. It is possible that this only happened with us since we rolled in as a group of 20 hungry mouths, but we did face similar issues ordering 3 large pizzas at Pizza Hut, so don’t think that’s the case. Anyhow, if you feel like you had a different experience with the services there, do let me know in the comment section below, if you feel like they were also extremely slow and want to rant about it a little, well the comment section is also all yours!
Anyway, lunch at Ella, when we were done with that, we took a couple of tuktuks to the famous Nine-Arch Bridge. We split into two groups, the children and the seniors went straight to the bridge while the rest of were dropped off a short 15 minute trek away from it, the tuktuk will know the location I’m talking about. The advantage of the latter is that you get to enjoy a nice and easy bushwalk which takes you through different vantage points of the bridge, you just won’t be able to capture this structure the same if you drive straight to it. The trail will lead you to the opposite side of the bridge and the crossing is quite interesting because of notoriously dangerous creatures that made this spot their home and before your thoughts go too wild, I’m talking about bees. Now you’re probably thinking to yourself, what a dramatic way to introduce a couple of beehives, but believe me guys, these little bastards are aggressive as hell! There are a few hives right at the middle of the bridge, attached to the underside of it and every once in a while, something will vex these guys, sending them out to unleash terror and hell amongst the tourists 😛
He’s probably just exaggerating for a dramatic effect you say? We happened to be there during one of those times and believe me when I tell you, the military actually showed up to control the situation! Personally, I found it funny as hell, every couple of minutes you’d have a tourist sprinting across in pure panic while the locals surrounded him or her, usually a her though 😛 with burning branches as soon as they got to safety (the smoke repels the bees). What killed me though is how the locals reacted to the entire ordeal, the bee stings don’t actually affect most of them as they are used to it, but it’s the ‘white’ people (that’s how they explained it) who can get seriously hurt and often hospitalized if they get stung enough times, so while the tourists ran and screamed, the Sri Lankans calmly shook their heads in disapproval, stating that the commotion would only irritate the bees even more. It is also here that Victoria tried to murder me, and for what, because Ramin and I made a few jokes to annoy her earlier on the train ride! A bee flew by her face so she waved the thing straight into my beard, I swear it was in there for like a minute before Luky managed to fish it out, damn near death experience right there! 😀 Ok now I’m exaggerating a little. Anyway when you’re done people watching, you can either take a tuktuk back to town or continue on the same trail which takes you to more scenic spots on the opposite side of the bridge this time. Once again, I prefer the second option, it’s a different walk with different scenery, it’s around 20 minutes long and requires minimal fitness.
All things considered, you’ll probably be back at your hotel in time for dinner so freshen up a little and feast! If you’re not interested in the food your hotel has to offer, you can always head back down to Ella’s main road for a wider range of cuisine options. We had dinner at Chill Café Bar that night, the food was good, the music was cool and we loved the overall vibe of the place, it was very… chilled out. If you’re there during the busy season, it may be a good idea to call ahead and reserve a table, especially if you’re a big group.
Day 6: Little Adam’s Peak & the Endless Journey
Today, you can either wake up ridiculously early and attempt to hike up Little Adam’s Peak for sunrise or wake up early and head out for the hike after breakfast. Obviously, we went for option 1 because apparently, we hated sleep on that trip. The entire hike shouldn’t take you more than 3 to 4 hours, that’s including stops and chilling at the summit. The initial climb will take you around an hour so if you’re trying to catch sunrise, make sure you plan accordingly. I’ve always been an advocate for loop hikes as opposed to going up and coming down the same way, I like to experience different scenery even if it lengthens the journey a little. If you feel the same, then start the hike up using the trailhead located right next to Ella Flower Garden Resort but descend using the alternative path which can be found at the 98 Acres Resort & Spa. If you decided to take my initial advice and book your trip with Luky, he knows exactly where each trail is located and will have no problem showing you.
It’s also worth mentioning that if you are not travelling on a budget, then you should definitely consider booking a night or two at the 98 Acres Resort. Their chalets looked gorgeous, the infinite pool rocked an awesome view and they even have a helipad so you can turn up in style 😉 You can easily spend a few more days in Ella without running out of things to do, the place is an adventure and hiking haven so consider this option if you have the time. We kinda had to get to Galle though, so a day in Ella is all we had.
The journey from Ella to Galle is a long, tiresome and boring one so I included a game drive in Udawalawa National Park on the way, to sort of break up the day a little. The game drive could be really nice, if you just ask them to cut its time in half. During the first hour, we saw a family of elephants and were even lucky enough to see a baby calf running across the road to catch up with his mother. The ranger informed us that the park is home to elephants, water buffalo, bears, crocodiles and many more animals; unfortunately, we didn’t see any bears during our visit.
You’ll eventually end up at a small lake where the drivers will allow you to get out and stretch your feet a little, it is also here that you’ll spot countless crocs resting in the muddy waters on the sides of the lake. This would’ve been the ideal time to end the tour; check out the lake, walk around a little, and then hop back in the safari cars and head out; unfortunately, this is not what happened. The drive extended for another two hours after this, and to make matters worse, we only saw peacocks and water buffalo during that period. In conclusion, I do recommend a stop at the National Park, it is a great place to spot several elephant families in their natural habitat; the lake was also really nice. In terms of breaking the journey to Galle in two, the visit also served quite well. However, I strongly urge you to speak to your guide and the ranger prior to the game drive to arrange for a shorter tour, one that ends after the lake visit (you may opt to stay longer if you don’t get to see any elephants during the first half of the drive).
After the National Park stop, it’s just a long stretch to Galle but you can always ask your driver to stop at a restaurant or hypermarket along the way if you want to stack up on snacks and drinks. By the time you get to Galle, it’ll be pretty late and you’ll be very tired; spoil yourself to some room service and call it a night. If you still have some unspent energy though, you can either dine at one of the restaurants in the Galle Fort or take a tuktuk down to Unawatuna where numerous restaurants and bars are lined up on the beachside, seafood is a great option here.
Day 7: Life is a Beach in Galle
You’ve had a long week full of early mornings, long drives, extended walks and late nights, now is your time to kick back and relax a little. Take a tuktuk to Unawatuna and spend the rest of the day at the beach. You can take part in different watersports such as wakeboarding or waterskiing. If you’re looking for something a little less technical, try out the slingers or banana boat. If the sea conditions are just right, you can also sign up for some surfing lessons but make sure you ask someone on-shore to get those ‘bay watch’ photos of you as you attempt to ride those waves, in reality, you’ll end up with tons of hilarious bail pictures. If the season permits it, you can even try out scuba diving and whale watching. For those who are looking to become certified PADI Scuba Divers, Sri Lanka is a relatively cheap destination to get that crossed off your bucket list. When you’ve done all there is to do, spend the rest of the day just sunbathing and enjoying the sounds of the crashing waves. You can have a hefty, seafood lunch at any one of the restaurants at Unawatuna whenever you feel like it. After watching the sun set into the Laccadive Sea, head back to your hotel for a little while before going out for dinner. If you’re in the mood for a fancy, delicious meal, then I strongly recommend the dinner buffet by Aditya Hotel. Not only do they have an infinite variety of dishes, but you can also rest assured that each choice is tastier than you could have imagined.
Day 8: The Big Day
Remember when I said we had to leave Ella because I ‘kinda’ needed to get to Galle? Well Day 8 is the reason I needed to be here, it’s the reason I came to Sri Lanka in the first place and it’s the reason my entire family and many of my friends flew here with me… Day 8, more precisely July 13th2018, was my wedding day. Why Sri Lanka you ask? Well to be completely honest, it all started when I saw a photo of someone I knew, rolling into their wedding on an elephant, it was at that moment that I realized, I wanted that entrance. Unfortunately, we later found out that my wife wasn’t going to be able to get on the elephant because of her dress, so we had to cancel the entire thing… of course not, I still had my elephant entrance on my own! As per the wedding speech of one of my closest friends, John Judeh, ‘Yousuf just had to enter his wedding on something as big as his ego’. In my defense though, it’s actually Sri Lankan tradition for the groom to ride in on an elephant alone. Seriously though, I’m a huge advocate of destination weddings so if you’re considering having one, do it! Check out my ‘Seven Reasons You Should Have a Destination Wedding’ post for more details on why it’s your best option.
Now if you’re wondering what you should be doing on your eighth day in Sri Lanka, the answer is clear, crash a destination wedding, they’re awesome! Otherwise you can spend the day discovering the Galle Dutch Fort and its fortifications, visiting the Galle Fort Lighthouse or go to see the Sea Turtle Farm.
If you didn’t get enough of the beach life yesterday, then I suggest you check out Dalawella Beach today… and try not to make a fool of yourself when attempting the swing there. Really though, you should crash a wedding.
This concludes my 8 day Sri Lanka itinerary. As promised though, there will be a second post covering a completely different side of Sri Lankan travel. After our wedding, Maddie and I also spent our honeymoon there but we wanted to grasp the luxury for a change and chill out after the hectic week we had leading up to our big day. If you guys enjoyed this post and found it beneficial, please like it, comment below and subscribe to my blog. You should also share this with your friends and family so that they too can Grasp the Adventure!