Sri Lanka was recently listed as a country to visit in 2019 by Lonely Planet and I am glad I visited it. We had spent a good 8 days in country, with a 1 year old baby in tow. The trip were smooth sailing, perfect weather, people were beautiful and absolutely warm. I know Sri Lanka has so much offer and I could go on and on telling you about the things I did but I’ve sum it up for you my top 6 things to do in the beautiful country that is Sri Lanka.
Take a scenic train ride
The train network in the country are wide, and its a great way to see the country. Deemed one of the most scenic route in the world, the one to experience is the Nanu-Oya to Ella route. You’ll pass through lush tea plantations that seemed endless, hustle bustle of a town and people hanging their laundry as you literally pass through their backyard. This route takes you about 3.5hours, but if you have more time to spare, you may extend the route and take the Kandy-Ella route. I am currently editing a vlog on the train ride plus tips so be on the look out for that.
Wake up to elephants
There are a lot of places where you can see elephants in Sri Lanka, but if you want to wake up to seeing them from your hotel balcony, Pinnawala is the place. An entry ticket to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage will get you into the actual orphanage and to the river where the elephants go to bathe everyday. But should you stay at one of the hotels located by the river, you don’t have to purchase the tickets to see the elephants at the river (but you do if you wish to enter the actual orphanage). The elephants will walk over from the orphanage to the river at about 9.30am daily so be quick to save yourself a spot to watch the elephants.
Spend a day (or two) at Galle Fort
A gated fort built by the Portuguese, fortified by the Dutch and restored by the Sri Lankans. The 52 hectares area would probably take you around 3-4 hours to explore by foot. If you don’t think you have the stamina (it can also get very hot), you can always hire a tuktuk. Better yet, stay in one of the many beautiful boutique hotels located in the fort and take your time exploring. This small colonial area reminds me so much of a mini Jonker street in Malacca, just minus the traffic. The area is beautiful with lots of history to absorb, mini streets to explore, cafes to have tea and iconic landmark to snap a photo with.
Chill by their beaches
Sri Lanka has got many beach to offer but I only visited Unawatuna, Galle. This beach fell perfectly in my itinerary because I wanted to kill two birds in one stone-to experience their beaches and Galle fort, which is just a ten minute tuktuk ride away. Unawatuna beach were lively, with shops and restaurants along the beach and endless list of activities to keep you busy during the day.
Climb the Sigiriya Rock
This ancient fortress might look mighty high to climb when you first arrive before starting your hike, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The hike was short, and that’s because the steps were steep (instead of short steps that goes around the rock). In less than 30 minutes, you would be on top on the rock taking it all in.
Indulge in their lush, colourful dishes
I was all ready to indulge in authentic Sri Lankan dishes, but wasn’t prep for the fact that it was SO spicy! and here I thought Malaysian food were spicy…theirs were…..a lot spicier. Regardless, it was so so good and colourful. They had SO much to offer. Just talking about their food makes me happy. Rice and curry would be a staple Sri Lankan order, but whenever you order that you’re in for a surprise on the cook’s version of it. Having said all that, I was always pleasantly surprised with all the food that were presented before me. Safe to bet I will be looking out for my favourite Sri Lankan resto here in KL.