My mind is on constant summer and holiday mood. I am planning my winter holiday already and this year it will be Thailand. I am doing sort of a wedding travel all around the world as I keep having weddings in various cities in the world, which is awesome, don’t get me wrong. It makes the holiday choice easier. When you have a limited amount of time to go on holidays and a desire to see as much of the world as possible, choosing the next place is never easy.
Last year it was India for a while with the last week of holidays in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has exceeded all my expectations and has brought the most amazing Jurassic Park (the movie) scenes in front of my eyes. If you haven’t yet visited Sri Lanka, I highly recommend it and my three not-to-be-missed spots are here below.
Relatively small island, full of amazing nature, with awesome and kind people, but a little bit pricey, considering its proximity with India. It is not unaffordable and I highly recommend planning a trip around the country to see more of what this country has to offer: rainforest, tea plantations, national parks, elephants, water, good food.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve
This is one of the most amazing rainforests I have seen, far from any cell coverage, barely any electricity, surrounded by tea leaves and small animals: it is the best place to start your holiday, to de-connect and have a chat with nature. You wake up in a foggy surrounding, with birds and other small animals saying bonjour to you, you sip from a cup of black tea and reconsider your life so far. What can be better?
In order to get to any small bungalow you have decided to rent for your two nights in the forest, you need to cross a forest road in a tuk-tuk, driven by an experienced driver, with whom however you cannot really communicate, so you pray all the way up for a save arrival. So after a half an hour travel with ups and down, when you get to this Jurassic Park inspired surrounding, you feel extremely grateful and happy. You then decide to hire a guide tot take you even deeper in the forest to experience all this wonderful place has to offer.
Udawalawe National Park
After too much quietness, and a lack of enough animals spotted on your journey in the forest, you decide to pursue your travels further, towards a national park where you can spot the most amazing and rarest animals alive today. The Udawalawa is a great place to stop by for a three-hour ride around the park to spot varieties of birds, elephants, peacocks, water buffalos and other beautiful animals. Sadly, no leopards here.
The park is very well maintained and kept as close to wildness as possible. The rangers keep the surroundings clean and save all cubs that have no parents. The animals run freely in the park and seem very happy. Definitely not a zoo! You can also check out in the nearby the elephants orphanage where babies are kept until of age and the moment when they can take care of themselves out in the park.
After a full day spent in the car and out in the shining sun, it’s time to go to the beach!
We have chosen to spend our last three days by the beach and relax a bit after all the hard travels and the trips we’ve had all over Sri Lanka. From landing to Colombo, to the rainforest (a good 6 hours drive), to driving towards the beach via the National Park (a full day in the car, with a stop by the park), it has been a lot of back and forth, on less that optimum roads, in great heat.
No fear, trips don’t end here. If you are still feeling adventurous, you can take a tuk-tuk one morning very early (5AM) and go to Mirrissa beach, where you then take a boat to go in the deep Ocean to spot whales. Which we did. The boat trips is not an easy one and up to the end, you are sick and feel dizzy. If you are unlucky, as we were, to spot whales only from very far away, the trip does not seem as gratifying as it might initially seem. But hey, I spotted the most amazing animals on Earth and that felt pretty special!
The beach in Unawatuna is quite touristy, you have loads of terraces where you can have lunch and dinner, free chaise-longs if you order a beer. The perfect scenery to catch up on your reading and pretty much do nothing before you embark on a long trip back to Colombo to return home. Colombo is nothing impressive, a big city with many cars, so there isn’t much need to spend a lot of time here.
On your plane back, you doze off in front of the moves you have chosen and dream of a green Paradise, of the amount of tea you will drink when you get back home, the pretty pots and cups you will purchase to be able to drink this tea and the smile you will keep on your lips for a good month, until you start thinking of the next trip!
Life is good!
Text and photos by: Magda
Realised in Sri Lanka