Hiding in plain sight, Sri Lanka is a treasure island. The treasure, however, is aesthetic… glorious infinite shorelines, the glee of plunging into the clear blue ocean, leisurely basking in the sunshine, getting engrossed in the timeless ruins of ancient cities trying to relate it to the mythological folklore, cordial hosts, oodles of wildlife and a cup of refreshing tea while watching the sun drowning into the heart of ocean at sunset.
That’s what a trip to Sri Lanka is all about.
The first destination was Bentota, a destination at the south coast. It’s around 120 Km drive from Bandaranaike International Airport to Saman Villas in Bentota – our sojourn for comfy stay over a couple of days. A little about the place: opulent premium villas, with a long extended pool with sun-deck style patio overlooking the bay. Besides the relaxing ambience and excellent hospitality, Saman Villa is renowned for its authentic Sri Lankan recipe as well as multi-cuisine serving in pure vegetarian variety. Trust me it’s a hard catch when travelling abroad.
The myriad charms of usual tour plans Include:
- Magnificent beaches across the vast dazzling shoreline.
- Galle, famous for its amazing Dutch streets and chill environment.
- Hill slope country village of Ella.
- Wildlife safari at Udawalawe National Park.
- The Great Basses lighthouse on rocky coast.
- Climb up Little Adams Peak for a sanguine sunrise.
- The scenic rail tour from Ella to Nuwara Eliya.
- The alluring Gregory Lake in Nuwara Eliya.
- A glimpse of tea plantations and fresh brew at tea estate.
- The famed Lake Kiri Muhuda and famous tooth temple at Kandy.
- The Golden Temple and Spice Garden of Dambula
- UNESCO world heritage site the Lion Rock at Sigiriya
- The Negombo Lagoon in the west.
Ella – a mix of serenity and sightseeing
Prepare your senses for an overwhelming odyssey of Sri Lankan countryside. The Ella gap and the waterfall that rumbles from between the crevices of two mammoth mountains is not just a picture perfect treat to the eye and idyllic spot for photoshoots, but you can actually play and splash in the cool natural waters. It’s an easy climb and also there are specific spots that are less risky to get drenched. Next comes the safari at Udawalawe National Park, comprising portions of both wet and dry land is home to various species… elephants are the major attraction, further, rusty spotted cat, golden jackal, sambar deer, Asian palm civet are some of the other inhabitants of this wildlife sanctuary.
Don’t be over optimistic, you might just caught site of elephants far and some rodents or wild hare crossing the red-earthen road that proceeds spiltting the lush grasslands on either side. At night catch the spying spotlight from the Great Basses lighthouse revolving around as if dancing to the tunes of the sound of waves striking at the bouldered shore.
To me it was mesmerizingly eerie… reminded me of the scene from Hollywood movies before someone sulking in the shadows would jump out and grasp you.
Nuwara Eliya – the tea country of central highlands
The Rail journey from Ella to Nuwara Eliya is one of a kind and if you’re an ardent fan of vivid and charismatic landscapes you need to take this rail route. If you ask me personally, I was feeling like I’m on-board the Hogwarts express… except the fluffy white clouds everything looked similar
We checked into the Grand and enjoyed the hi-tea hosted by them; it was amusing to be a part of it. The Gregory lake, splendid foliage around it and the victoria park was nice to stroll through. The grand visit to Damro Teaestate and Blue Fields TeaEstate was wonderful and invigorating… a complementary Black Tea (BOP) Single Ceylon and bought tea cakes for 200 LKR to have along with doubled up the pleasure.
Did I tell you Nuwara Eliya means “new England” in the regional dialect of Sri Lanka.
Spare yourself the 1200 steps up climb to the Legendary Lion Rock – UNESCO world heritage site at Sigiriya, It’s definitely beautiful but my suggestion to anyone who isn’t willing to take that much pain for photography. I was totally drained with this expedition. The stay at Fresco Water Villa was regal and rejuvenating.
The trip concludes with a visit to the Nagombo Lagoon as I bid adieu to the wondrous land of Sri Lanka. Intrigued by the esteem of travels to yonder lands – our view gets blurred and judgements muddled as to side-line the wonderful places that lie right within our reach…. I pondered over this feeling all the way back home.
Crescent beaches overspread with golden sand fringed by towering coconut trees – that’s how everyone defines the eternal sunny sea shores of the splendorous island country, Sri Lanka. The true essence of the land is, however, in its diversity; the terrain ranges from central highlands that gradually slope down to meet the coastline at the edges through the emerald stretches of dense forest across plains and plateau. The description might not be sufficiently enticing but the panoramic scenes and the wildlife watching tours along with the warm welcoming hosts will surely get you besotted with this underdiscovered destination.
Thanks to our super-cordial guide friend Krishna who we befriended during out taxi and Tuk-Tuk tours for taking us to places that weren’t in our itinerary initially… without him we’d have missed out a lot.
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