Sri Lanka in a week

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 and 1,2 million tuk-tuks.

Negombo beach

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 and earphones were already placed on our seats as we boarded. The cabin crew was friendly. They offered a fantastic onboard entertainment system with a wide selection of movies (both new and classics). We were serviced with food and drinks in plentiful. Really a nice airlines company.

Turkish Airline

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.

Tight schedule

As mentioned, we had a tight schedule on the island.
On the first day, we visited Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Dambulla Cave Temples.

sigiriya rock

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!

view from sigiriya rock

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.

The Golden Temple

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.

Many buddhas

Day 2 we went to Colombo. Sightseeing, shopping and heavy traffic. We were stuck in traffic jams for 2-3 hours just to get out of Colombo. Traffic was completely crazy, but still, it is an interesting city with loads of history.

The white house in Colombo
Lighthouse in Colombo

The catch

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.

Fish drying in the sun
Local fish workers
Squids
Local showing us the fish

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.

Elephant orphans home

Like a circus. Otherwise, it was a nice park where many of the elephants walked around without fences or chains on them.

Christina with elephants

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…

Elephants on the street
Elephants walking on the small street
Bading elephants

After the elephant park we went on a sightseeing tour in the city of Kandy. We stopped by the “Temple of the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha”. Apparently, they keep one of Buddha’s teeth here. We could sense how sacred this temple is to them from the locals. They sat and sang and prayed in the halls.

Sacred tooth temple

Relaxing day

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. Therefore we changed the plans into something a bit more relaxing. They were right by the way; we had been in that small minivan on average 8-10 hours each day. Therefore, this day was instead changed to a day on your own where we just had to change hotel.

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!

Food to seaturtle
Feeding the seaturtle

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.

Turtle hatchery

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.

Turtle eggs

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.

Baby turtles

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.

Beautiful sunset

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.

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