Sri Lanka – “paradise with a smile” is the strap line here at Worldwide Holidays for Sri Lanka – well it is certainly one of the friendless countries I have ever visited. Everyone is so welcoming and seem genuinely pleased that you are taking the time to visit their country.
On my recent trip, which was my first to Sri Lanka. I travelled around most of the country so I was able to experience the culture and the variety of landscapes that Sri Lanka has to offer, including beautiful golden beaches, waterfalls and lush green tea plantations.
My trip began with a night at The Beach hotel in Negombo the only 5* star in this area, perfect after a long flight. All the beautiful rooms open up onto a private balcony or terrace and the large open baths are very inviting. From here I then visited the Pinnawella elephant orphanage which is one of only 3 in the world. A lovely experience, including helping bathe the elephants during their daily bathe in the local river. Continued on to the cultural triangle area and visiting all the main culture sights including the remarkable Sigiriya Rock fortress constructed by King Kashayapa. I took my guides advice and climbed Sigiriya before breakfast at about 7am and I was the only person around for at least half hour, it was incredible.
The purpose of my trip, apart from visiting all the main sights, was to inspect some the new beautiful boutique hotels in Sri Lanka and I was impressed by all. There has been a huge change in type of hotels in Sri Lanka over the last 3 years; a fresh start has seen much investment in the small boutique hotels which offer a more personalised stay. Each is very unique and had a little something different to offer. One of my favourites was Aditya which is located on the south west coast at Hikkaduwa. A recent client said it was the best hotel in Sri Lanka. I also visited the collection of hotels by Taru Villas which are a small collection of properties located in different areas of the country and are all unique in there own way.
A favourite area of mine in Sri Lanka is Nuwara Eliya, the area is so green and lush and you are surrounded by acres and acres of tea plantations, it is nicknamed little England, perhaps because it’s so green. The High Tea Trails at Bogawantalawa is a beautiful, small collection of properties that provide many activities and walks so you can enjoy the beautiful landscape and views here.
I then descended to the lowlands stopping at Yala National Park. The variety of animals that you can see in the park during the safaris is incredible such as elephants, wild boar, a vast variety of birds and if you are very lucky leopards. You never know what you will see day to day which is half the excitement. From Yala I travelled all along the beach resorts along the south west coast. There is such a wide variety of hotels along the coast and you are spoilt for choice.
My final night was spent in Colombo where I of course had to take a ride in a tuc-tuc, an experience not be missed!
Before flying back to London I was privileged to spend time at the Cinnamon Island Alidhoo in the Maldives. This is a beautiful, picturesque island. The accommodation is wonderful here and there are many facilities on the island including a fantastic Spa. The Maldives make an excellent twin centre with Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka and Maldives surpassed my expectations and I would be delighted to discuss my experiences with you.