Sri Lanka & The Maldives, the pearls of Asia
Endless beaches, timeless ruins, wildlife-filled safaris, refreshing and famous tea, flavourful food, the smiles and hospitality of the warm welcoming Sri Lankan people… During six months I lived in the south of Sri Lanka in a small village with a host family. Would you like to go off the beaten track? Take these places definitely into account.
How to get around? By tuktuk!
First of all, would you like some adventure? Rent a tuktuk yourself at Pick & Go Travels ($25 per day), Negombo! Experience the chaotic traffic with the crazy bus drivers and experience the real authentic Sri Lanka. Go for a lunch at a small authentic Sri Lankan restaurant and take a kottu or a roti. Super tasty.
If you are planning a trip to Sri Lanka for two or three weeks, there are some places you may absolutely NOT miss. Take the following places into account.
Waking up with a view
Wake up at Club Lespri, just outside of Kandy in the hill country, and enjoy the amazing views. After taking a swim in the pool, continue your journey by tuktuk – or take the train from Kandy to Haputale, which has amazing views on the way – and go for a walk to Lipton’s Seat through the tea estates where the Sri Lankan women are picking tea leaves. Do not forget to taste some of the tasteful Sri Lankan teas either on top of Lipton’s Seat or on the way to Lipton’s Seat at a tea factory, where you can get a tour for just a small amount of money.
The train track path
Walking on the train track? You can! Take the train from Haputale to Idalgashinna and walk back along the train tracks. Enjoy the amazing views and take a shower on the train track by using the small waterfalls along the road. Wait for the train to pass by and wave and smile. 🙂
Loving the hill country? Go to Ella for some great walks to Ella Rockand Little Adam’s Peak. Want to wake up in a tree house? Plan your overnight stay at Ella Ecolodge! More into a great view? Take some of the other accommodations. Most of them offer great views like Ella Paddy Field View Guest Inn for a cheap price.
Sigiriya / Pidurangala Rock
As Sigiriya has a quite expensive entrance fee ($30), go for Pidurangala Rock, where you pay more or less $3. Sigiriya is pretty touristy and plenty of people are climbing up every day. When you climb Pidurangala, you have a great view on Sigiriya and you can enjoy the view with hardly any people – just some dogs and monkeys. The climb itself takes you around 30 minutes and is quite adventurous, as the signs are not that clear and you have to climb the rocks. But once you are on top, the view is just stunning.
Into spotting some elephants after the hikes and teas in the hill country? Take a jeep safari in Uda Walawe National Park. There are herds of buffalo, sambar deer, crocodiles, masses of elephants, and – if you are lucky – some leopards.
Continue your journey down south to the desolated, beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka. Want to spot some turtles? Go to the more touristy Hikkaduwa and Tangalle, or to the less touristy Dalawela. Besides this, you can dive across glowing coral reefs, watch whales splashing in the water or learn to surf on gentle sandbars in Weligama. In case you are into a party, plan a visit to Unawatuna or Mirissa for parties with your bare feet in the white warm sand beneath the stars or a full moon.
And, go for a short stop at Koggala to spot the stilt fishermen. Some fishermen do have an eye for money, so you will be amazed at how fast they can get off those stilts and run up to you to ask for money when you even vaguely move your camera in their direction. But hey, it is still worth it to have a look at them. 🙂
The Maldives? GO!
And… Always wanted to go to the Maldives? Go ahead, you are so close now. From Colombo, the airplane takes you in an hour and a half to the stunning and magical beaches of the Maldives. And, it is not that expensive from Sri Lanka. Take a flight to Male – the capital of the Maldives – and take a local ferry from Male to the island of Maafushi, which is an inhabited island. Take into account that the Maldives is a Muslim country, so you will not be able to buy alcohol on the local islands. However, they have such a great solution for this: close to Maafushi there is a boat in the water, which is called the “alcohol boat”. So another boat brings you to this “alcohol boat” where you can drink your beers and cocktails and come back afterwards. Want to experience the idyllic Maldives? The water villas are quite priceless, but hey, there is a solution for that as well. Go to a resort island by buying a day pass! We went to Adaaran Prestige Vadoo for a day. You spend $100 but your transfer, food, and drinks are all included in this rate. And believe me, it is definitely worth it. 🙂
Guest author: Dorinda Hovenga
Natasha von Geldern
Wow some really excellent tips here! I adored Sri Lanka and would go back in a heartbeat. Thanks for the great post!