What to pack:
Lots of loose light coloured clothing! For most of the temples in Sri Lanka you have to cover your shoulders and legs and also often you have to take your shoes off which can get hot on your feet. Then all of the usual Asia essentials – mosquito spray, a hat, lots of sun cream. First things I pack are my camera and passport! I would also say a good pair of shoes for walking, there are so many amazing hikes in Sri Lanka.
Where to stay:
I have gone for a mix of accommodation. In Colombo I stayed at the Jetwing Hotel which has the most amazing rooftop pool overlooking the whole city. Usually I stay in hostels though, as it’s a great way to meet people. And it makes excursions cheaper if you meet enough people to fill a car and split the cost of transport and activities. In Kandy, I stayed at the Theva Residency, a beautiful small hotel set up in the hills. Then down south we stayed in two amazing hostels by the beach – Spindrift in Weligama and Hangover Hostel in Mirissa. Then we finished our Sri Lanka trip with Hotel Tri – a beautiful hotel surrounded by the jungle.
Where to shop:
There’s a big shopping mall in Colombo called Odel if you want to shop, but otherwise Sri Lanka is not like Thailand there aren’t that many places to buy souvenirs and most markets are mainly for local people and don’t really have the usual tourist elephant trousers!
Where to sightsee:
There are so many amazing places to visit in Sri Lanka! I have been twice before and still this time I am seeing new places.
Here is the order of my trip:
Colombo – I would say maximum two nights here
Dambulla – Rock Cave Temple
Near to Dambulla – Polonnaruwa which is an ancient city
Pidurangala Rock for sunrise – overlooking Sigiriya
Kandy – Temple of Buddhas Tooth
Then take the train from Kandy to Ella for the most amazing views!
Ella- so much to see here:
Sunrise at Little Adams Peak
Nine Arches Bridge
Then Diyaluma Falls is an amazing hike and when you get to the top you can jump into the waterfall rock pools!
Ella’s Rock – another amazing hike with stunning views at sunset
Weligama – so great if you want to learn to surf!
Where to eat:
Some people are scared of street food in Asia but I have eaten at all sorts of places in Sri Lanka, the food is so delicious! Zam Zam in Weligama is delicious! A very small Sri Lankan restaurant with amazing cheap curry!
Where to drink:
Sri Lanka has the most amazing King Coconuts. Make sure you try at least one! Other than that, Ella has a few bars and Weligama has good nightlife but on full moon days (called Poya Day) you won’t be able to buy any alcohol so bear that in mind if you want a drink.
Where to dance
Weligama and Mirissa have plenty of beach bars and places to dance! There is a light beam that comes out of the bar with the best party on that night so just follow the light!
Where to photograph:
Everything is photogenic here I think! I tried to capture the hustle and bustle of Colombo with a long exposure shot so that the people are blurry as they rush past while I stood in the middle of the road to show the contrast and how busy it is. Other than that, go to a national park. Udawalawa was amazing and so many elephants to photograph. Every incredible sunset is also impossible not to photograph!
Best time of year to visit:
December! April now is the hottest month which is fine if you don’t mind being a bit hot and sticky the whole time. There are also better times to go surfing to so be sure to check before hand!
Best off-the-beaten-track gem:
Diyaluma Falls is quite a hike up but so worth it. Be sure to get a guide as it’s not easy to make your way up through the trees!
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