To describe Sri Lanka in the best possible way, I would use words such as nature, experiences and great adventures. 22 million people, 6.000 elephants
1,2 million tuk-tuks. and
I experienced a small week on the southwest part of the island from Negombo to Galle in the end of September. This is not the ideal time to visit as the ocean is rough and it is quite windy. The best months would have been from November to March. Nevertheless, when the opportunity was there, you grab it, right?
The charm of being a travel agent is to test and try as many hotels and get as many experiences as possible during the stay, so we had an action-packed schedule and every night was spent in a new bed in a new hotel.
Our flight to Sri Lanka
We flew with Turkish Airlines from Copenhagen via Istanbul. The flight had two destinations: Male on the Maldives and Colombo on Sri Lanka. We quickly had to touch down on the Maldives before continuing.
It was a pleasure to fly with Turkish Airlines. Blanket, pillow
We had two nights in Negombo. First on Jetwing Sea, which is a nice 4-star hotel and then on Jetwing Blue, a very nice 5-star hotel. After that, we had a night on the nice 5-star Cinnamon Bey in Beruwala. One night on Citrus Hikkaduwa, which is a 3-star hotel in the city of Hikkaduwa. The final night on the 5-star Jetwing Lighthouse in Galle.
Sigiriya is a giant rock where a king some thousands of years ago decided to build his palace on the top. There were about 900 steps up to the top. You are about to give up several times. The view from the top is amazing and worth all the effort!
With the different ruins both on and around the rock, you can really sense how magnificent the place must have been back then. After the visit to the Sigiriya rock, we moved on to Dambulla Cave Temples. A giant golden Buddha, who sat and greeted the many tourists, met us.
We had prepared to dress in a bit longer gowns – it had to cover our knees and shoulders. On the way to the cave temples, we walked on a very steep path. Very playful and curious monkeys running around us.
The cave temples were very fascinating. Buddha statues were either lay, sitting or standing in all shapes and sizes.
Day 2 we went to Colombo. Sightseeing, shopping
During the day, we also went to the beach. Not to sunbathe but to experience how primitively they work with fishing. Women placed small fish one by one on large pieces of hessian on the sand, or they turned fish already lying there. There were both fish and octopus drying in the sun.
Orphanage for elephants
Day 3 we went to Pinnawala orphanage for elephants. When arriving it seemed like any other zoo with lots of schoolchildren and tourists. It was a bit disappointing to see how they walked around the stage with two young baby elephants and gave them a bottle.
Like a circus. Otherwise, it was a nice park where many of the elephants walked around without fences or chains on them.
My highlight was when the many elephants came walking down the small street outside the park. Alongside it was souvenir shops and restaurants. They passed down the street to reach the river to swim and bathe. That was a lovely sight…
After the elephant
On day 4 we had planned a visit to Udawalawe National Park. I had really been looking forward to it, but my co-travelers felt they had spent enough time in the minivan.
I had the great pleasure of experiencing two giant sea turtles first hand. I tried to feed them as they approached the beach. Quite a fantastic experience!
On the final day before departing home, we drove through The Dutch Fort in Galle. Really a nice and calm place with a good and interesting history. After that, we went on to visit a turtle hatchery and aid center.
A fine small place where they collect eggs from five different turtle species. When the eggs hatch, they place the small turtles in seawater tanks. They stay there for a couple of days so they can grow strong and remain healthy.
We were supposed to release the small turtles back into the sea, but the lot had just been hatched during the night. They were too young to be released which was a shame really.
The center also had older and larger turtles, which had been saved or aided in some way. If you are in Galle, I recommend you go past the Turtle Hatchery and see if they have just had some baby turtles hatch. Arrange to return and help to release them back into the world. Admittance is only 3-4 USD so definitely affordable.
We had to depart from Sri Lanka in the evening and the short visit was over. It had been some interesting days with lots of experiences. I am sure Sri Lanka and I will meet again.