April 28, 2018
There’s so much to do and see in Sri Lanka and with only eleven days we were keen to fit it all in. We flew into Colombo (West Coast) and got out the city as soon as possible.
From Colombo, we travelled clockwise, as we wanted to get stuck into the treks and safaris first and end our travels by the beaches. After landing we jumped on the first train to Kandy. Make sure you book in advance as the trains get booked up really quickly and you’ll end up squashed in third class.
Kandy is described as the most picturesque city on the island. We only stayed for one night, as a stopover to get to Ella so didn’t get to experience that much of it. If you do stay, I’d recommend visiting the botanical gardens and the Temple of the Tooth.
The famous train to Ella from Kandy took 6 hours and is a must! The train doors are open so you can sit with your feet swinging out as you pass endless greenery and end up in the clouds.
We stayed at the Ella Flower Garden Resort, which had the most amazing views. Think Tulum vibes! The rooms weren’t amazing as they were under renovation but the views are everything. The owner is obsessed with nature so expect to find loads of bunnies and birds.
Ella is a town full of back packers with beautiful settings of endless tea plantations. There aren’t many hostels here, mainly guesthouses. Definitely hike little Adams peak for sunrise or sunset. I would also recommend staying at 98 Acres or at least having breakfast here.
Other places to see here include Ravana Ella Rock Temple, Ella’s rock (avoid in the morning heat), Dowa Rock Temple and Ravana waterfall. Another attraction worth seeing is the famous Nine arch bridge. Ella town is popular for cooking classes. I would recommend Matey Hut. For really cheap good food go to Café Chill-the upstairs chill area is like a tree house with loads of beanbags and majestic music.
Udawalawe National Park
We hired a driver to take us to the safari from Ella who then waited whilst we explored and took us to Tangalle (South coast) after. We woke up at 4am to get to the safari for 6am so we could see the animals. We saw loads of elephants, monkeys and crocodiles. If you prepare leopards, Yala is the National Park you should visit.
Dikwella and Hiriketiya beach
We stayed at the Sea Tree View, which was only a 5 min walk from the famous Hiriketiya beach. The beautiful tree houses were cute and minimalist with modern bathrooms. They have the best massages in private huts looking out to the sea view. Most people say this beach was their favorite in the whole of Sri Lanka, perfect for surfing and swimming I can see why!
Unfortunately this place was closed for the month of May so we didn’t get the chance to visit, but if you want a cool workspace with great coffee or even a place to stay, check out Verse collective. The interior design is everything.
Walking around Hiriketiya beach we stumbled upon a stunning restaurant called the Grove, started by two aussies. The lemongrass juices and fresh fish tacos were calling us! If you’ve looking for a mean brunch, the Grove is your place. For a fancier dinner Salt House is also a good option.
We stayed at JJ’s hostel for a night. All the rooms were super clean and modern. It’s also a two-minute walk from Shady Lane. This place is amazing for cheap iced coffees, smoothie bowls and cinnamon French toast.
We had dinner at Salt on the beachfront. They had fresh fish and prawns complimented with delicious chili pasta (Sri Lankans love their chili!). The vibe was great here…tables covered with fairy lights and music by the beach. Also check out Zephyr restaurant for the best burgers.
I found this beautiful hotel on Instagram called Ceylon Sliders. A Swedish couple started this place and each dish on the menu has been carefully crafted. The tuna tartar and falafel bowls are so tasty. From the detail and interior in the rooms to the rooftop yoga classes, I couldn’t recommend Ceylon Sliders anymore! Weligama beach is located just opposite the hotel. There are tons of surfing schools here where you can book hourly lessons on the beach. For cheap food and fun social vibes, check out Hangtime hostel.
We stayed in the most beautifully decorated house called the Kip. The most welcoming couple and stunning interior.
Yoga Shala is the best place for yoga (especially the Vinyasa classes). The classes take place in the jungle and you can go for a dip in the infinity pool after. They also sell delicious banana and peanut butter smoothie bowls.
Galle is famous for the Fort aka as the Dutch Fort, which withstood the tsunami, which damaged part of the coast area. Galle is full of jewelry shops and little cute souvenir shops. If you do get the chance to visit you must go to Poonie’s Kitchen and order the coconut and banana bread with passion fruit icing butter (thank me later).
The Amangalla is an amazing beautiful colonial building, which was the first hotel in Sri Lanka. Good for afternoon tea or dinner. Go to sunset drinks at the Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel, which was built by a famous Sri Lankan architect called Geoffrey Bawa, who has designed some incredible buildings around the country.
The Owl and the Pussycat do a good avocado and tuna tartar. The almond chocolate ice cream was also a dream. It’s also a hotel and they do the most beautiful quirky interior rooms.
Lots of people recommended us to visit Hikkaduwa, which is a seaside resort town. Sadly we ran out of time, but try and stop by en route to Colombo.