The Pearl of the Orient.
The Teardrop of India
Our happy tears after leaving India…
Use whatever nickname you want for Sri Lanka, we spent two months there and we loved it. It’s tiny but again it’s landscape is so diverse and it’s people resilient and the weather just perfect. There’s beaches, hills, so much culture and wildlife. We had what I think is our best ever travel experience here when we spent the day at Udawalawe national park and got so close to elephants and loads of other wildlife there.
We flew into the capital, spent the first two days there extending our visa, catching up with a friend of Joey’s and getting woken up in the middle of the night by the police! We headed south and basically hopped from beach town to beach town as you can see on the map. Getting around Sri Lanka was so ridiculously easy. The coastal road is basically one main road so we just stood there and flagged the local buses down. We took the odd train along the coast but buses cost a matter of pennies and were pretty regular.
Heading inland after a stop in Tangalle meant a slight change in climate, to a slightly cooler one and lots and lots of hills! Ella had a more touristy / backpacker feel to it but was very beautiful and with hikes to Little Adam’s Peak and tea plantations it was worth a stop. Then came one of the most difficult physical challenges we had ever done – Adam’s Peak over near Hatton. Even thinking about now makes me wonder why on earth we thought it was a good idea. You climb over 5500 steps (which you have to do in the middle of the night as it’s too hot to do in the day time), get to the top, watch the sunrise and then climb 5500 steps down. Why would you do this?! Well the sunrise was pretty, and the mountain casts a perfect pyramid shadow onto the valley. I could hardly walk for about 3 days afterwards.
After the jelly legs it was definitely time for some culture and we headed on to find ancient towns, rocks and temples! Sigiriya is possibly the most famous sight of Sri Lanka, and it was fun to climb – we went as soon as it opened to avoid the worst of the crowds and we’re glad we did. That would definitely be a top tip of ours!
We headed to the very far north of the island to Jaffna. When we visited in early 2020 Jaffna had only be opened to tourists for 10 years and did not seem to be on the radar of many backpackers. It reminded us so much of the south of India, and in does indeed have a large Tamil population.
We need a bit of rest and relaxation after all this and headed back to Negombo for a couple of cheeky beach days before heading east to Kandy once more to a yoga retreat. We finished this the day before we were due to fly back to India.
We really loved our time in Sri Lanka and would highly recommend it. It’s an easy place to get around in terms of transportation, cost and language. There’s so many different things to see and experience and it was amazing!