Amidst the huge pile of laundry (courtesy : vacation😂) waiting to be done , I couldn’t resist penning down my thoughts about the beautiful vacation we just had at Srilanka!! ‘World’s best things come in small packages ‘- this holds good not just for people but countries as well! A small country but leaps ahead in terms of warmth and hospitality. While planning our trip we decided not to limit our itinerary just to beaches but also hill stations, places of history and of course wildlife.
Our first stop in Srilanka was the vibrant and popular beach town of Bentota. Contrary to popular belief there is much more to this city than just beaches.
Turtle conservation project is one of the biggest wildlife projects undertaken by the government as well as several local agencies.We decided to visit one such hatchery. Here we had the experience of holding turtles as young as 1 month old to the ones which were 3 years old! This place serves as a home to injured turtles only.
After an informative session about turtles we decided to go for a river safari on the majestic Madu river. The river is vast and the 60 minute boat ride is lovely. It includes a stop at the Cinnamon isle – as the name suggests, is a place where cinnamon is made right in front of you. It also includes going through the dense mangroves.
If lucky you can also spot rare reptiles and we were lucky to spot a giant monitor lizard camouflaged so brilliantly in the branches of the twining mangroves.
We decided to take a quick afternoon siesta before we hit the Bentota beach. Owing to the paucity of hotels ,home stays are highly evolved in Srilanka. The bungalow we stayed in Bentota was beautifully furnished , had a fish tank , lots of playing space ( important for all moms travelling with kids!!), a swimming pool and excellent hospitality.
Sand, sunset, glorious waves and hours of beach fun later,we hit the bed happy and tired.
Our next stop was intended to be the hill station of Nuwara Eliya but we decided to do a little detour and stop by at the Pinnewala Elephant orphanage. The wild elephants are not domesticated and are not harnessed which is a satisfying sight for animal lovers❤️❤️
We reached there at around 2 pm and so had the chance to see them go for a bath. On came the sprinklers, elephants -big,medium and small and what an absolutely delightful hour of pure jumbo fun!
After this unexpected stopover we continued our journey towards Nuwara Eliya.
4 more hours, numerous tea plantations and strawberry fields later we reached the populous town of Nuwara Eliya situated at a height of 6000 meters above sea level.
The next morning was chill at 18^C. We began our day with a visit to the Botanical gardens. Honestly, this can be skipped since India has many such places (Lalbagh@bengaluru, Mughal garden@Delhi and Shalimar Bagh@ Srinagar).
The place we went to next is what made up for the time lost at the gardens.Tucked away in the lesser known town of Badulla and situated at a distance of 35 kms from Nuwara Eliya is this hidden treasure – the Dunhida waterfalls.
The trek to the waterfalls is long and has little shops selling boiled corn, ice creams and other snacks all the way. The path leading up to the waterfalls is well laid and has railings where necessary. Certainly worth a visit!
Arugam Bay was the last destination in our Srilanka itinerary. The drive from Nuwara to Arugam Bay is stunning and words fail me to recreate the scenic drive we had. Cloud kissed mountains, deep green valleys , smooth roads and fresh air made it feel like heaven, literally!
On our way to Arugam, we stopped at the town of Ella to freshen up and our taxi driver just casually handed me over the tourist spots in Ella. One such spot caught my attention- the cave where Sita was held captive by Ravan (ramayan – Hindu mythology). Filled with curiosity we decided to visit the cave. The cave is situated at the end of a treacherous 600 odd step trek. There is nothing much to it apart from mythological evidence but the trek and the view are both breathtaking .
Post our little adventure we resumed our journey towards Arugam bay. The last 25 kms of the journey is through the jungle and the chances of spotting wild elephants are high.
We reached Urani , a small town 2 kms off Arugam Bay and checked into our resort – Paper moon Kudils. This resort was the icing on our cake during the Srilanka vacation. A superb property Which extends into it’s own private beach as well. Pure bliss for 3 days. The property, the people, the location will leave you spellbound.
On the second day of our stay at Arugam bay, the locals recommended a different kind of a safari to spot wild elephants -a lagoon safari. Unlike regular safaris in open jeeps, this one was in a boat in a lagoon. We were lucky to spot about 6 elephants enjoying a snack and bathing in the water.
Arugam bay was the jewel in our Srilanka trip and has given us memories that will last for a life time.
The one important factor which allowed us to cover so many different places across Srilanka were the brilliant roads. In the 7 days of road travel, I didn’t come across a single pothole😳.
A highly recommended holiday destination , so block your dates and start planning NOW!!!