For such a small island country, it has a lot to offer. Whether you go for its unrivaled wildlife tourism, from watching sea turtles nest to exploring the eight UNESCO sites; relax on the pristine sandy beaches stretching along the 1,300 Km coastline, or surf along the waves of the Indian Ocean.
Prior to my trip, I had little on my agenda and didn’t know what to expect. I soon realized Sri Lanka is an action-packed destination with all you could want in a holiday or backpacking trip; beaches, culture, food, affordability, drama and surprise! The warmth of the people, salubrious climate and exquisiteness, Sri Lanka is just like its curry – you’ll want to go back for more.
We had 5 days to spend here and at first I thought we could visit all of the Island; I was wrong. There’s so much to do, we were only able to cover a bit of South Coast.
But first things first. I will try to give you a little glimpse of the island and my incredible experiences through some of my clicks.
On 28th of April, after some trouble with packing all my stuff, I was well ready to discover all about that beautiful land.
STOP 1- COLOMBO
I was told that Colombo was a gritty metropolis, congested and chaotic. Usually I’m never totally down for visiting the capital city, getting lost in the concrete jungle and witnessing the chaos, but this time, with just 5 days to spare, I decided to stay one night in Colombo. and not head straight out to the countryside. Colombo International Airport is located between Colombo and Negombo, so if you’re not interested in spending time in the capital, I recommend heading for Negombo. You can stroll down the beach and watch the early morning fisherman drift along the horizon with the sun rising overhead. Though we stayed at this beautiful Air Bnb place near Mt Lavinia .
I headed over to Mt Lavinia hotel. As I sank into my warm cup of coffee, I began to awaken my mind to my surroundings, to the picturesque sunset.
One of my absolute favorite parts of this trip was the train ride from Mt Lavinia to the Hikkaduwa. The views along the way are spectacular! I spent most of the trip sitting and talking to the locals and just enjoying the scenery. It’s a 3-hour trip and totally worth it.
Stop 2- Hikkaduwa
Time for the beach! Hikkaduwa Beach is a great way to play with the waves,to swim and walk the beach .At the end of the beach there is a hotel that has semi-wild turtles that come to take algae to eat from visitors. This area of the beach is quite calm and is a perfect area for swimming away from the surfers.
Galle is a fortified Dutch city on the south coast, surrounded by a citadel and it’s part of the up-and-coming backpacker route .You’ll fall in love with this pretty little town immediately! If not for the heat I feel I might just be in Europe: whitewashed houses, tiny boutiques (the few that dare open), bicycles leaning lazily into the shadows, and enough Dutch colonial architecture to dull you into questioning your present time and place. The town is stuffed with houses of worship of every denomination – Christian, but also Buddhist and Hindu temples and a Mosque.
Ensconced within Galle Fort, a World Heritage Site, a compact grid of tiny streets is lined with houses and businesses, giving it a feel of realism: this is a place that is lived in as well as visited.
STOP 4-Madu Ganga
The estuary of the Madu Ganga river is a coastal ecosystem of mangroves and islands. It may be one of the last remaining tracts of pristine mangrove forests in Sri Lanka. While in Sr Lanka you definitely cannot miss a chance to see it. A boat trip is a wonderful way of seeing some of the hundreds of species of plants and animals – monkeys eat fruit in the trees, kingfishers wait patiently on the banks, eyeing the water for prey.
The main occupations of the local inhabitants are producing cinnamon and prawn fishing if you take the trip in the evening you will see the fishermen in their canoes lighting lanterns to attract the shellfish into their traps.
So yes, 5 days in Sri Lanka. I would recommend more. My journey is over and now I face the apprehension of three weeks of complete unknown.