9 days only? Yesss! Couldn't afford more days, but there is a good reason for that - I'll explain it and the end... but hey, I could make myself a picture of Sri lanka! How cool is that?! :) See my 9-day travel itinerary below and let me know what do you think!
Sri Lanka - Travel Itinerary
From Switzerland to Midigama - the Surfers' Paradise
After arriving in Colombo, I immediately rushed to the South of Sri lanka to meet my friend Mateja who has already been surfing in Midigama for a week. It was about a 4-hour drive with a personal driver (a common way of travelling in Sri lanka), which costed as much as 60 EUR. I could have also chosen a much cheaper way - to go by train or bus (only a couple of Euros) but with all the travelling from Switzerland, I was tired and wanted to arrive to Midigama as soon as possible. When arrived, I was surprised by these incredible beautiful beaches with lush vegetation, brown-coloured sand and turquoise water (yesss, I love this colour :P) Have a look:
Mateja and I went for a fresh pineapple juice at the hotel and bar called Rams. The best thing of it was probably the location itself. Great beach vibe with hammocks and a scenery for a perfect postcard! :=)
A couple of hours later, after visiting Mirissa (see the section below) we were rewarded with an awe-inspiring sunset over the Midigama beach! Priceless!
My friend and I stayed at the Asanka Surf Camp. It has a top location and comes with a great atmosphere. Also the served food is very delicious! Nonetheless, the rooms are basic and not the most comfortable out there.
Mirissa - A Beach Resort
My first day already included a trip to Mirissa. It was a 15-minutes funny bus ride to the most touristy part of the Southern coastline of Sri lanka. Once there, I was unfortunately turned off by the many tourists on the beach but after a bit of strolling further, some amazing beaches with less tourists followed.
I was thrilled to see the small island which was just a few steps from the main coast of Mirissa. It provided great views over the nice surroundings. Very recommendable, if you find yourself in Sri lanka!
Udawalawe National Park - Wildlife
Sri lanka has a rich wildlife - I was happy to attend a safari at the Udawalawe National Park, although it is not as famous as the much bigger and crowded Yala Park. It was a tough day since we had to wake up at 4:30 am and drive 3 hours to the entrance of the park. Then, our group was invited to enter a safari jeep (woohoo) and begin the epic journey through the observation land. On our safari, we encountered some Asian elephants, many peecocks, two lizards, a bunch of Asian buffaloes, colourful birds, but also funny monkeys!
Although, we didn't see a half of the animals as Jerry and I saw in Kruger Park, South Africa, we were happy that we went for it! The animals and also the landscape were impressive and the whole day turned out to be a great adventure.
Tangalle - Another Beach Town
On our way back to Midigama, we stopped at one of the beaches of Tangalle. It was well worth it, as the beaches were incredibly gorgeous! Tangalle might be also a great vacation spot if you're planning to spend a few days at the coastline in Sri lanka!
Galle - the Bohemian City
On Day 3, I did a bit of solo travelling, as my friend had some important errands to run in Jaffna. So I decided to visit Galle alone. It is a nice beach town on the Southwestern coast of Sri lanka. After a 30-minute tuk tuk drive, I arrived to this town. After walking around the small and narrow streets of Galle, I became a huge fan of the various souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants in the cute center. I had a very delicious vegetarian kottu in one of the Galle's restaurants and a great cup of coffee in the Lavazza cafe! I loved my time there. Hopefully, I will return to Galle one day and spend some more days!
Midigama to Colombo
Day 4 was spent for travelling - Starting in Midigama and driving 4 hours to the capital city of Sri lanka - Colombo. My friend came back from Jaffna, so we met again in Colombo, in the hotel CityRest Fort (recommendable!). After sipping some awesome cocktails just a couple of steps from the hotel, we went to bed early in order to have a good rest before the train ride to Kandy.
From Colombo to Kandy - the Spiritual Centre
It was early in the morning, when my friend and I had to take the train from Colombo to Kandy, a religious and historical city in the Central part of Sri lanka! For a second, we almost thought we won't be able to take the ride, as there was a long queue at the ticket office. Kandy is a famous destination among travellers, so if you're planning to visit it, make sure to book the train tickets in advance! Obviously, we didn't do it, but we were fortunate and got seats! It took us about 2.5 hours to reach Kandy. The train ride was beautiful though!
In Kandy, we payed a small amount to enter the Buddhist Temple of the Tooth - this is a place where many Sri lankan people gather and pray to Buddha. We had the chance to observe the spiritual rituals and get a glimpse of the religion proceedings in Kandy. The truth is, Mateja and I weren't a big fan of the city center itself, but the visit to this temple was a great experience.
After visiting the temple and observing the spiritual rituals of local people, we went for a stroll around the artificial lake in Kandy, called Kiri Muhuda resp. the Sea of Milk. Nice but nothing special.
We went for a homestay experience in the Kandy's hills. Our stay was at Onalies. The owner and our host was a very friendly, open and talkative woman who grew up in Colombo. She offered us a great cup of coffee and in the evening, she showed us the baking process of Sri lanka's typical food called rotti.
Train Ride from Kandy to Ella
The Day 6 started with an epic 7-hour train journey from Kandy to Ella. The ride was very picturesque, indeed, as it belongs to one of the most beautiful train rides worldwide. We passed many tea plantations, misty forests and rice fields. A trip worth taking!
Ella - a Destination for Hikers and Tea Lovers
After the loooong train journey, we were happy to strech our legs again and arrive to this amazing town called Ella. We stayed at one of the best places in the town, called the Tunnel Gap Resort. It is surrounded by tea plantations and hills. After a delicious dinner - an amazing vegetarian kottu - we went to bed to fill up the energy for the next day.
Visiting the Tea Factory and Hiking the Little Adam's Peak
On the next day, we went for a scenic 3 km walk to the tea factory, located at one of the Ella's hills. On our way, we evidenced tea picking by local women. A great snap!
Visiting the tea factory was a good choice. We learned about the production of Sri lanka's black and green tea and were taken on a tour around the factory. At the end, we could taste different sorts of black tea. Definitely a nice experience!
What is more, there is a spacious balcony in the tea factory, from which you can enjoy some nice views over the hilly landscape!
After the tea factory we took a hike to Little Adam's Peak. It was a 30-minute scenic hike. At the top, we were rewarded with great views over Ella, the majestic mountain Ella's Rock and it surroundings. The majority of the hike was easy, maybe the last few steps were a bit steep but no big deal! :P
Long Journey from Ella to Colombo and Back Home
Well, this was it, I had to end my trip by taking another 9-hour trip from Ella to Colombo and afterwards driving to the airport. Mateja went back to the South for one day before she went on to Singapore.
In a Nutshell...
Visiting Sri lanka was a great choice! I enjoyed the most of the time, with some exceptions when I got scammed or wasn't satisfied with the price-performance ratio of the offered services. But in general, I found it a very interesting country to explore in terms of culture, nature and food. As I had only 9 days to spend on the island, I didn't manage to visit the famous Sigiriya Rock, the Turtle Hitchery, Nuwara Eliya and many great places in the Central part of the island too. I would be really thrilled to see these places too! However, there was a reason, why I had only 9 days in total - I'm starting a new job in Economics. I see it as a great opportunity to develop my skills and knowledge. It is all about learning new things, right?! :)
Have you visited Sri lanka? What was your favourite part? Let us know in the comments below!