Sri Lanka means “resplendent land”, which is the perfect way of describing this breathtaking and colorful country.
I flew from Dubai to Sri Lanka, it was only a 3 hours flight and you have so many different low budget options. Our first stop was Colombo, where we only spent one night before starting the journey. Everyone had different saying about Colombo, but the majority had told us not to spend so much time there because it’s basically just a crowded city, and Sri Lanka had so much more to offer.
One important thing to consider is to find a driver for your entire trip. You should agree the price in advance and the different stops. This will make your travel so much easier, and transportation is key if you want to explore as many places as possible.
Our first stop was Bentota. A small coastal town located in the Galle district, where you’ll mainly see locals. We stayed at Shangri Lanka villa, a beautiful colorful villa surrounded by nature. We spent the days relaxing by the pool, taking tuk tuks to the beach, and strolling around the town to buy fruit and vegetables. Bentota was beautiful but definitely not my favorite in terms of scenery and vibe. If I had to do it again, I would have chosen Mirissa instead, known for its laid back atmosphere, beautiful beaches and surfer culture.
The next stop was Unawatuna, in the southern part and around 70km from Bentota. It’s famous for its beautiful beaches and corals. What I really liked the most was all the restaurants and cafes that were right on the beach, and the very chill island vibe to it. I felt like I was somewhere exotic and relaxed. We stayed at Nature villa, a cute place with the basic necessities nothing really fancy but a nice place and close to everything.
We would spend the days relaxing by the beach, eating vegetarian food, and shopping sri Lankan clothes (take a look at the blue skirt I bought further down :))
Third stop was Ella; a small town approximately 200 kilometers of Colombo. I don’t even know how to start describing Ella. It was exactly the meaning of Sri Lanka resplendent.
For a change we decided to live in a beautiful tree house surrounded by nature. The experience was fantastic, living in the middle of the forest, sleeping to the sound of the birds and waking up to the sound of the monkeys. Although, I was scared a few times and we also forgot to shut the light once which attracted a crazy amount of bugs, I still really enjoyed it and felt at peace. We spent our days exploring the Ravana falls, hiking Adam’s peak and wandering around the town. If you are looking for nature, spectacular view and beautiful scenery this is the place to be. I must admit I could have stayed a little longer
Before heading back to Negombo, we made a short stop on the way. Kandy is very famous for the tea plantations and beautiful nature as well. Sri Lanka is very famous for their tea, so if you love tea you must visit a tea plantation and experience the life cycle of tea. They have so many tea options to buy, the perfect gift to bring back home. We stopped at one of the many tea plantations along the road and met these beautiful women who spend their days collecting tea leaves.
Another stop that we made, which I actually wouldn't recommend was the elephant orphanage. It was such a traumatic experience seeing these poor elephants being an entertainment for us. They were all terrified, while 100 of people were taking selfies with them.
Our last stop before flying back to Dubai was Negombo, which is also closest to the airport. I must admit I really loved Negombo and it was a perfect way to end our holidays. Throughout our trip, it was sometimes difficult to find decent food, and even the places we choose to stay at were not the most luxurious ones. It was a different experience but most of the places we visited were small towns and sometimes we craved something that wasn’t necessarily available. Negombo is larger, and had plenty of different options in terms of food, shops and things to do and see. We stayed at Pledge 3, the perfect boutique hotel. The rooms were good size, the place was clean and the restaurant offered plenty of choices. Everything we craved and more was available.
A few tips:
- consider the weather if you want to hike the Ella peak. The weather changes a lot, so do it one day before.
- make sure to agree the price with your driver in advance
- the beaches in Sri Lanka are not the most beautiful, so don’t just focus on the coastal area, explore the middle of the country.