Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to.
It’s a mix of everything from the sandy beaches, green mountains, forests and safaris.
I went to Sri Lanka for my first Christmas away from Ireland with my boyfriend. We were coming from Kuwait, the tropical climate was a refreshing change from the dusty air of the desert.
Here are some tips, our itinerary and my favourite spots:
- Hire a driver for some parts. Sri Lanka has so many different areas to travel around. Buses and trains are also another really nice way of traveling and seeing the country.
- I was eaten alive by mosquitoes. If you’re prone to bites, make sure to get mosquito repellent cream.
- The country has a lot to offer, so travel around.
- Try not book accommodation in advance or even just not the whole time. You can usually bargain the price and it’s nice to be able to move around with no restrictions to places due to already booking accommodation.
- Drink plenty of coconuts!
Overall we spent two weeks in Sri Lanka, many friends had been before so we got good advice with where to go and what do.
Our trip started with flying into Columbo airport – we booked a driver to bring us to Negombo for two nights.
Next stop was Dambulla. It’s a few hours away so we got the driver again. We stayed in the Heritance.
Heritance Kandalama Hotel – Dambulla
The Heritance is such a relaxing and beautiful hotel. The vibe was very chilled and the whole place had a calming spa feel to it.
It’s worth spending two days here to really relax by the lake, swim in the amazing pools. There is also a spa where you can get massages etc. Although it’s pricey this place is worth it. The room alone is amazing with the shower and bath, the views.
From there we got tuc tucs to Sigiriya. In Sigiriya we stayed in a tree house at “Thick Forest”
5am start to see the sunrise and climb a mountain. You can climb Sigiriya rock but one of the locals advised us to climb the mountain beside it.
We got the bus from to Kandy. Stayed there for two nights. Went to tea factories, spice gardens, Temple of Tooth and the Elephant Orgaphage while in Kandy.
Pinnawala Elephant Orgaphage:
The orphanage was originally founded in order to afford care and protection to many of the orphaned wild elephants found wandering in and near the forests of Sri Lanka. It was established in 1975.
Although it’s sad to see some elephants chained, a lot are let free which is an amazing site to see.
Sri Lanka has so many wonderful places to go and things to do. One of our plans was to do a train ride from Kandy to Ella . We didn’t book our train tickets in advance, and due to it being peak season, ALL the trains out of Kandy were sold out. This and Adam’s Peak is something I would do if I went back.
Tip: Book train ticket in advance if going during peak seasons!
So we got the driver to bring us to Matara. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend going to Matara. We didn’t have a great experience there with our accommodation and we didn’t find much to do so we got a tuc tuc not too far away to Weligama and Merrisa.
We spent Christmas here on the beach rented a moped. We booked a surf instructor to teach us how to surf for the day – worth it if you manage to stand up!
At this stage we were traveling up the coast heading towards Colombo airport. Next stop was Galle which was nice. Staying closer to Unawatuna would have been better. It’s a beautiful beach, with funky bars, shops and restaurants. A beach to hit before Hikkaduwa.
Last stop was Narigama and Hikkaduwa We spent most of our time here to partying , chilling out on the beach, surfing or scuba diving.
Hikkaduwa and Narigama
The most amazing sunset I have ever seen. No filter needed for these sunsets.
And on that note, here’s a hilarious and brilliant song my friend Ciaran Bradley wrote on his way to Hikkaduwa! This is all you need to know…
*all photos are my own*