So here it is – finally – my blogpost about Sri Lanka ♡ as some of you might have read under one of my instagram posts, Sri Lanka is like a second home to me. This was my 9th time on this beautiful little island in the indian ocean and it wasn’t the last time. Since I have always traveled there with my parents, since I was less than a year old, my sister, my cousin, our friend and me wanted to do something different this time and decided to go on a big adventure. Before the trip started, we worked out a good travel route together, including all the spots we wanted to see within our almost one month long journey.
We started in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, and stopped to visit our family for dinner. We took the night train after that (most awful thing I ever decided to do – don’t do it!!!) to Trincomalee in the north of the island. The train was so dirty, cockroaches hanging from the roof and the toilets looked like everybody in sri lanka pooped in there (sorry for telling you) and I couldn’t sleep for the whole 9 hour train ride (yes! 9 hours because the trains are sooo slow). From the train station, we took a tuk-tuk (sri lankan taxi) to Nilaveli, where we pre-booked 2 nights at the “Hotel Coral Bay“ for about 40€ a night with breakfast…let me tell you: the nice pool is not worth it. Prices in the north of Sri Lanka are way higher than in the rest of this small country. We relaxed the first day and enjoyed being at the beach..after lunch we noticed, that the food at the hotel was crappy as hell and that’s something I have never had in Sri Lanka. We booked our boat to Pigeon Island National Park for the next day, a really small island with a beautiful reef around, where you can swim with wild turtles and sharks, and then went to bed.
• Nilaveli / Pigeon Island
Nilaveli is a really small town in the north of Sri Lanka – there’s not much to see but our day trip to Pigeon Island National Park was definitely one of my highlights. The beach in Nilaveli is nice, but not as nice as other beaches. Because the northern part of Sri Lanka isn’t very touristy, prices there are quite high and the food…let’s not talk about it, because normally food in Sri Lanka is ah-mazing ! but not here.. so the only thing why I really really recommend you to take the long train ride to Nilaveli is Pigeon Island. You can take a small speed boat for around 20€ (including snorkeling gear, some fresh fruits, sri lankan snacks and water) and it will probz take you about 20mins. The island itself is surrounded by a beautiful reef and the clearest water ever. Just jump into your bikini and grab your snorkeling gear and explore the beautiful ocean. We saw so many reef sharks and it was amazing. The sharks were actually a little bit shy (the bigger ones) but there were baby sharks close to the beach and they were curious..it was an amazing experience. We also saw some barracudas and a beautiful big sea turtle! and the reef itself is just gorgeous. We also went to Trincomalee town and had dinner there..the dinner was really nice and it was the sri lankan food I’ve always known, but actually the whole drive to get to this town was really unnecessary, because there’s not much to see.
Our next stop was the old temple ruin town of Polonnaruwa. We took a tuk-tuk from nilaveli to the Trincomalee train station, hopped into the early morning train and then went to our guest house, after we arrived. We stayed at a small guest house called “Manel Guest House“ for about 20€ a night, including breakfast. After we arrived, we rented some bikes from our host and started cycling towards the ruins. Polonnaruwa itself is nice to see, but one full day is definitely enough. The entrance fee to the ruins is actually quite expensive for asian standards (about 20€) but you can get in there with your bike…locals (of course) don’t have to pay. The big buddha statue and the old temple ruins are really beautiful, but I wouldn’t really go there another time, because you have beautiful temples and buddhas all over Sri Lanka. We organized ourselves a driver for the next day.
• Sigiriya / Herbal Garden / Kandy
The next day was a busy one. We first stopped at the Sigiriya Rock – a beautiful, about 200m high rock, where you can “climb“ up. I love this place and I have been there everytime I’ve been to Sri Lanka. Sadly, before we even climbed / walked up, I had to cry, because I saw so many sick dogs in really bad conditions.. I wish I could’ve taken them with me. After we finished our hike up and down, we got back into the car and went to a really nice Herbal Garden, where we learned something about all the sri lankan healing plants and we got a really good foot massage. Our last and final stop for the day was Kandy. Kandy is one of the places I kind of grew up, because our family used to live there, so it was really nice to be back. We went to have dinner and we found this vegetarian fast food shop, which was soo good ! After that we went to a bar, had a couple of drinks and went back to our Hotel. Sadly I don’t remember the name of the Hotel, because it was a really nice one and close to the Kandy lake, but my friend Julia booked it over her phone – maybe I can find out what the name was.
On the next day, we went to the beautiful temple of the tooth, Sri Dalada Maligawa, and after that to the Botanical Garden – both places are definitely a must see in Kandy!
• Hatton / Adams Peak or Sri Pada
We took the train on the next morning to Hatton, a small town in the mountains, close to the Adams Peak / Sri Pada, where we wanted to hike up. We stayed at a cute room in a familys house, had dinner with them and went to bed really early, because you start hiking at about 1am in the night (!!!) to be at the top of the 2.500m high mountain. Sadly, we hiked up on the weekend, because there were way to many drunk and drugged teenagers hiking up with us. The hike is really dirty and if you go on a busy day, people will get on your nerves. We hiked up so fast, that we decided to include some more tea-drinking stops. Don’t get me wrong – the hike will really give you sore legs – but you just want to get to the top, to see the amazing view. I’m so sad, because close to the top, there was so much traffic, that we couldn’t reach the real top…nothing was moving. The sunset was amazing, even though we weren’t at the highest point and the view was breathtaking! This hike could’ve been so much better, if there wouldn’t have been so much trash and drunk people, but it was still worth it. We had some Tambilly (sri lankan king coconut) on our long way down and were glad, when we got back into our beds, after the 6 hour hike.
• Ella – Tissamaharama – Yala National Park
After sleeping for a couple of hours, we got back to the train station and took a train to the beautiful town of Ella. The train ride is so worth it – don’t go there by car! You’d really miss out on some amazing views. Sadly we didn’t plan to stay in Ella, because we wanted to get to Yala National Park. From the train station in Ella, we took a driver and started our trip to Tissamaharama, where our villa was waiting for us. On the drive through Ella, we saw an amazing landscape and a waterfall – wish we would’ve stayed there for one day! But still… we arrived in our beautiful villa in Tissa: “Jacana Villa Yala“ ♥ the most amazing secluded villa.. We relaxed, bought some food to cook and enjoyed to relax for the first time after a couple of days.
On the next day, we went on a safari tour to Yala National Park in the early afternoon. Yala is an amazing national park, where you can see wild leopards, elephants, crocodiles, mongoose, wild boars, monkeys (ok monkeys are not very rare in sri lanka) and many many more animals. We saw so many animals in the two tours we did, while staying at “Jacana Villa Yala“ – I wouldn’t have dreamed about that before. We saw at least 15 wild elephants, including a lot of babys and a leopard from really far away, crocodiles, wild boar mummas and their babys, turtles, different kinds of birds, deers and so many more animals! Don’t miss out on Yala if you are ever in Sri Lanka! I’ve never been there before and just thinking about our safaris and our stay in the villa warms up my heart.
After so many adventures, we were ready for some relaxation and beach time. We went to Tangalle, to the “Palm Paradise Cabanas“, the place where my cousins parents had married a long time ago. All of us 4 shared a bungalow for about 100€ a night, including breakfast and dinner, so about 25€ per person. The bungalows are really cute, the interior is basic but you are right in front of the beach with palm trees surrounding you and the owners are the coolest people ever. They have known us since we were babys and we hung out with them every night. The cabanas are located at the beautiful “Goyambokka Beach“ and for me, this is the most beautiful beach in Sri Lanka. We really enjoyed relaxing, tanning and having fun at the beach for our 3 nights stay.
• Mirissa / Sinharaja Rainforest
Our friend Julia had to leave Sri Lanka and get back to work after Tangalle, so from this day on only three of us were left. We took a bus from Tangle to Mirissa, where we stayed in the “Sunbeam Beach Resort“ for 30€ a night in a family room (including breakfast, all in all 10€ a night p.p). I wouldn’t recommend you to stay there. The rooms were ok, but the whole hotel smelled like dead fish and we didn’t feel really safe there. The beach in Mirissa is ok..not super special but it’s a nice beach to go surfing or go playing in the waves. For dinner, you should definitely not go to the beach restaurants, because they are not good – but as always, the ones on the street are fine. We chilled at Mirissa beach for 2 days and then we planned a day trip to “Sinharaja Rainforest“, which is about 2 1/2 hours away from Mirissa. I was sooo excited for this trip, because I knew, that I was going to see a lot of snakes there – and I love snakes. Each of us payed around 20€ for the driver to get there and another 15€ for the entrance and the guide (fun fact: our driver overslept and was still drunk when he picked us up). The rainforest fulfilled my expectations ♥ it was beautiful and one of my highlights of our whole trip. We got followed by a group of cute dogs, while trekking through the jungle. You had to watch every step you made, because there were A LOT of SNAKES ! We saw at least 3 really poisonous pit vipers, 5 green vine snakes (not dangerous for humans), one small brown snake (we didn’t see her head, so we couldn’t find out if she was poisonous) and another snake in the waterfall, next to my foot. You can see lots and lots of reptiles and birds in this rainforest, the only thing that was really annoying, were the bloodsucking leeches..Eventhough I was the only one, who followed our guide through the bush, when he saw a snake, I didn’t get a leech once (but I had to get rid of some of them on my shoes). If you are afraid of reptiles, you should avoid this rainforest – if not, you shouldn’t miss out on it.
After three days in Mirissa, we took a train to Hikkaduwa, the place where I’ve spent most of my family vacations. We stayed at the cute guest house “Top Secret / The Harmony“. It costs around 13€ a night for a small room and the rooms belongs to a really nice beach restaurant / bar with amazing beach beds. We enjoyed our last week in Sri Lanka with a lot of good food, swimming and long beach walks. If you walk a long the beach a little bit, there’s one spot where you can see up to 5 sea turtles every day ! I also got my tattoo in Hikka, from my new french friend, who owns a tattoo studio in Thailand and France (Loco Tats). On one day, I decided to take a long walk by myself and I walked for a long time, until I got to some rice fields, where I saw some huuuge monitors and some small snakes… Hikka is just the perfect place to relax, go surfing and go out.
After one week in Hikkaduwa, we left to Colombo for the last day. Never (never never never) take the early morning train to Colombo! It will be so crowded, that some locals will hang outside of the train to get to work in time! We went to our families house and had a good last day shopping and hanging out with them.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post
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