What a wonderful country Sri Lanka is – it has surpassed all of my expectations, even though I had been there before, I hadn’t really seen the real Sri Lanka.
I was accompanied for the 3 weeks we spent there by my husband, who is always good to have around as he is an excellent photographer – and does occasionally carry my bags! The first five days were spent on the West Coast doing hotels inspections each day, I was incredibly impressed by the standard of hotels we saw as well as the fantastic coastline where they are situated. We saw a great variety of hotels (from the boutiques to the larger and grander like the Vivanta by Taj in Bentota) all of which had grounds abutting the beach with beautiful tempting swimming pools and sun bathing areas. We also got the chance to go to Udawalawe National Park with great sightings of groups of elephants and other wildlife and bird life. A journey we took to Sinharaja Rain Forest I would really only recommend to the most ardent bird watchers for the huge diversity but it also has absolutely breathtaking scenery.
The second part of the trip was a classic tour which many of our clients/friends have done in the past. It gave me a real insight into how to put together future trips to make sure that everyone sees as much as possible without getting too exhausted. We started in Negombo at the Jetwing Blue which is a great place to begin as you arrive at the airport from cold damp England and within an hour you are sitting with your Gin & Tonics on the beach – heaven.
Our first road journey took us to Habarana to stay at the Cinnamon Lodge which is right in the middle of the Cultural Triangle as well as close to National Parks so you need at least 3 days here to make sure that you see it all as well as the opportunity to have an elephant ride!!!
Then onto Kandy where we stayed for just one night in the Mahaweli Reach Hotel, I think I would recommend that people stay here for 2 nights as we found it all a bit rushed. Sites to see here are the Temple of the Tooth Relic and the Royal Botanical Gardens and even take the chance to sit by the pool. From Kandy we travelled to Nuwara Eliya which is one of the old Hill Stations created by the British to escape the heat. Winding roads through beautiful Tea Plantations with the occasional water fall makes it an incredible journey. On arrival you immediately feel the drop in temperature but as soon as the sun comes out it is warm again. An afternoon round of golf with our own caddies was an experience not to miss. Then an early morning walk on the Horton Plains was a fabulous excursion; quite manageable for most people and definitely worth the effort.
Then onto Yala National Park where we stayed in the brand new Jetwing Yala Hotel and managed to get two safari rounds in despite the lack of time – and in both visits we saw Leopard which as you can imagine was absolutely fantastic.
Last stop was the historical port of Galle where we spent the last two nights in the Jet wing Lighthouse and just couldn’t believe that this wonderful trip was coming to an end. We squeezed a Whale Watching boat trip into our tight schedule and actually saw at least 3 blue whales – what a magnificent sight. We spent the early evenings and early mornings with the windows open just so we could hear the surf pounding on the rocks – not really wanting to leave this enchanting Island.
So please do get in touch if you would like to me to put an itinerary together while it’s still fresh in my mind I would be more than happy to talk to you at any time during 2014.