The Oasis Of Sri Lanka


Known as the island of a thousand names, many say that Sri Lanka is a wildly unexploited paradise with still much to discover. It seems that it still has a few years left to stay pure and unspoiled, but if visiting it is part of your plans, don't take long to travel there if you don't want to discover it when it has already become an amusement park for tourists, as it has unfortunately happened to Thailand or Indonesia.

Located in the heart of the Bay of Bengal, the country is organized into nine provinces and 24 districts. In ancient times it was known as LankaLankadvīpaSimoundouTaprobaneSerendib and Selan , until during its colonization the island took the name of Ceylon, which was continued to be used later, but it was its particular shape and its proximity to India that they made it known to this day as 'the tear of India '.


Dambulla Temple (Sri Lanka)


Deciding when to visit Sri Lanka is decisive, since the monsoon season is continuous throughout the year and every six months it changes sides of the country. If you travel there during the European summer (July, August and September) and you want to avoid constant rains every day, one of the most common , easiest and most recommended routes to get to know and travel the whole country is Colombo, Sigiriya, Pinnawala, Dambulla, Polonnaruwa, Kandy, Ella, Arugam Bay, Yala, Mirissa, Galle and finally back to Colombo (or Negombo).

If when you arrive in Sri Lanka you do not have a guide to pick you up, it is best to take a taxi outside the airport since within the transport services will not let you haggle over the price and are much more expensive. Once on the road and after a few kilometers you will discover Colombo -its capital-, which although initially does not have much charm, it is worth spending a day there to walk through its streets, observe its people, discover some interesting places such as the well-known decoration shop and Paradise Road restaurant, located at 213 Dharmapala Mawatha, and / or rest one night before embarking on the adventure.


Tuk tuk driver in Arugam Bay (Sri Lanka)


The Hangover Hostels, well known in the city, are always a very good option for travelers who do not want to spend a lot of money, but do want to sleep in a comfortable and clean place. Something more modern is what Ozo Hotel offers where you can also enjoy fantastic views of the entire city in its rooftop-barwith pool; and a little more luxurious, but with a good quality / price ratio, you will find it in the Cinnamont Grand hotel, which apart from being an excellent hotel, keeps inside the Lagoon restaurant (listed as one of the best fish and seafood restaurants throughout Asia).

On going

As soon as you leave the capital, and after a few hours on the road, you will arrive at Sigiriya where, among other attractions, it is possible to visit the fortress in the rockNot far away is the town of Pinnawala, known for its elephant orphanage and the Millennium Elephant FoundationGoing to these enclosures where they take care of young elephants that have lost their family will be the perfect opportunity to know in depth their way of life, as well as the way they take care of them until their adult stage -for example, to wash them they use a hard coconut shell that for its thick layer of skin is nothing more than fun tickling.


Minneriya National Park


The route continues to Dambulla where you will live the wonderful experience of doing a 4x4 safari in the Minneriya National ParkThere you will enjoy an unprecedented fauna and flora and you will be able to observe the wild elephants that live in total freedom. And since you are here, do not miss the opportunity to visit the Dambulla cave temple, do an Ayurvedic treatment in one of the many centers in the area, visit the Dambulla fruit and vegetable market and, if you wish, stay afterwards. at the wonderful Jetwing Vil Uyana, a beautiful boutique hotel surrounded by mangroves and situated literally in the middle of nowhere.


Banana seller at Dambulla fruit and vegetable market


The next stop on the way is almost mandatory, not only because of the history and cultural richness it houses, but because you are about to visit the holy city of Kandy. This ancient town is located on top of a mountain and is the natural entrance to a lush region of plantations of the famous Celán tea, gurgling streams and a chosen location where the well-known Perahera Festival is held every year in August: a unique religious event in the world where elephants, musicians, fire dancers and other surprises parade for four hours. (It is advisable to reserve a chair online to watch the parade and avoid standing all the time).

But apart from the festival, Kandy is known for being one of the oldest cities in the country, so in addition to enjoying strolling through its ancient streets, you can admire its architecture, discover its history, go shopping , visit local food markets and visit the Sri Dalada Maligawa or temple of the Buddha's ToothIt is the most important in the world of all those who honor Buddha, and it houses one of the most valuable relics of Buddhism: the authentic tooth (left canine) of Buddha, 2.5 cm, which attracts thousands of devotees every day followers of this religion and tourists from all over the world.


Perahera Festival, Sri Lanka


Continuing with our route, the next destination is Ella, a town where it is preferable to arrive with the famous and ancient Sri Lankan red train and live the wonderful and unique experience of traveling through the mountains. If you decide to do the tour on rails, do not forget to bring enough food and drink with you, since it lasts many hours and makes many stops, but always without enough time to get off or buy anything.

Once in Ella, whenever you can, stay at the wonderful 98 Acres Resort Spa and prepare to be amazed by the views from your private chalet when you wake up. Nestled amid breathtaking scenery, also known as the 98-acre Tea Estate, this boutique hotel is just an eight-minute walk from the Demodara Bridgeand 700 meters from Little Adam's Peak, which can be climbed on a hill. nice walk or light trekking.


Sri Lanka Red Train


The beach

And after a day or two in the mountains, it is time to head to the beach to the small town of Arugam Bay, a paradise on earth for athletes and especially surfers who will discover something like Sri Lankan California, with its beautiful endless beaches and waves and fun tuk tuk rides to move from beach to beachWhen you arrive, do not stay with the first appearances and let yourself be surprised by the place. In 24 hours you will feel at home and want to stay for at least a week.


Tuk-tuk in Arugam Bay to go to the beaches (Sri Lanka)


From this humble coastal town, we recommend looking at the Seahorse Inn; try the Hakeem restaurant, located on the edge of the main street, well known for its delicious curries, fresh rotis ( Thaibread) and fresh fish barbecues; relax on the beaches and surf the best waves at Pottuvil Point, Whiskey Point, Elephant Point and Main Point (this last corner has the Upali Beach, an eco-resort on the seafront).

After a few days of relaxation in Arugam Bay, the drive continues if desired with a technical stop in Yala for those who want to do another 4x4 safari in Yala National Park before reaching MirissaThe latter is a coastal city where you can continue to enjoy more beaches, restaurants on the sand, local food and spectacular boutique hotels such as Casa Colombo Mirissa, which will leave you speechless both for its careful decoration and for being located on the seafront.


Augam Bay Beach


And after Mirissa, it is the turn of Galle, another of the cities that you cannot miss if you travel to Sri Lanka. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988, and although it was greatly affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, it now breathes majestically and fully restored.

The city maintains great influences from its belonging to the Dutch colony and as a consequence you can still enjoy the remains of the architecture of that time in the Old Fort. Undoubtedly this is the oldest area, but in it you will also find many souvenir shops, precious stones, decoration and also spectacular restored luxury hotels where it is possible to stay, go to dinner or simply visit them such as The Fort Printers, Fort Bazaar Hotel, or the Galle Fort Hotel. And for those who do not want to give up luxury but like a more modern touch, they can stay at the boutique hotel Villa Amma Erna located on the outskirts of the city, which will delight travelers who love Scandinavian minimalist design.

Travel tips

• A visa is required to enter the country, but it is easy to get it online. It costs $ 30 and is valid for a maximum of 30 days .

• The official currency is the Sri Lankan rupeeIt is possible to withdraw it at all banks and ATMs with a commission, although it is advisable to change something at the same airport when you enter the country.

• You do not need to be vaccinated to travel to Sri Lanka.

• Almost all hotels and restaurants - no matter how simple - tend to offer free Wi-Fi.

• The price difference between locals and tourists is exaggeratedThe foreigner can even pay up to four times more. You have to be attentive.

• Be careful with water, fresh fruits and vegetables. It is very easy to get diarrhea and / or tummy aches during the trip.

• If you go to local restaurants, eating is cheap . Be sure to try the rotis and curries in their hundreds of varieties.

• If you are celiac or allergic to milk (lactose, casein ...) you have it quite complicated . Although they basically cook with vegetable coconut milk, traditional Sri Lankan food uses a lot of wheat and milk from cows, goats, buffalo and their derivatives.

• Women traveling alone will not have any problem , but it is advisable to wear a little more covered before entering religious temples and Muslim areas to avoid misunderstandings.

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