Our Top Picks...
SHANE: Ahangama Beach area
Sri Lanka lacks a 'party' scene with most establishments being restaurants that serve alcohol. Ahangama beach area however is flooded with bars and tourists and is the perfect place to chill out, soak in some rays and knock back a few drinks before suiting up for a night on the town.
Ella is a little traveler haven in amongst the peaks and nature, with a bit of a laid back vibe. Less touristy than the beach area in the South, it still provides more nightlife options than most other small towns you will visit. It is also the starting point for hiking Adam's or Little Adam's Peak.
BECKY: River rock pools and rice field walk near Belihul Oya
Belihul Oya is a very small town and there isn't much around, but if you are passing by it is a beautiful place to stop and relax. The rock pools are a small river that locals use to cool down. The rice fields nearby are one of the most picturesque settings I have ever seen, with the lush green covering as far as you can see.
SHANE: The End of the World hike
Rugged terrain, incredible views and a hike that'll get the heart pumping. The view from the 'End of the World' is worth the hike alone but add in water falls, wildlife and rolling green valleys and it's a day well spent. Especially for the photography enthusiast.
Note: Leave your armour, shield and sword at home despite the daunting name this is not where you will find the elusive Kraken.
SHANE: The street food
As a self proclaimed yet easily impressed food connoisseur Sri Lanka street food was right up my alley*. Fried and meaty, fried and sweet or just plain fried. Whether you're looking for a snack or a meal from local street vendors you'll walk away sastified and as full as your wallet thanks to the incredibly cheap prices.
* Pun intended
BECKY: Bike ride through Polonnaruwa ancient city
There are so many different sites to see and explore in this ancient city. The added bonus for me was seeing puppies and baby monkeys everywhere. Hiring a bike is highly recommended so you can go at your own pace and travel from one area to another more easily. Just make sure you don't take a photo with or turn your back on any of the Buddha statues, as this is disrespectful.
BECKY: Lion Rock- Sigiriya Rock Fortress
The size of this rock is incredible and so is the view from the top. I was surprised to find such a large living complex area on the top. I can't begin to imagine how they would have carried supplies to the top. Even on a rainy day it was well worth the climb.
#1- Our Favourites
SHANE: Lion Rock- Sigiriya Rock Fortress
A stand out highlight, this incredibly unique sight offers as many 'wows' as anywhere else I have seen. The walk towards Sigiriya Rock captivates your imagination and you can't help but picture what the impressive sight would have been like in its prime. Surrounded by thick vegetation that seems to go forever the higher you climb the more impressive it all seems. Once at the peak, where ruins of an ancient palace remain, you can take in the full 360 degree view. Exploring the remains is fun and interesting with plenty of picture opportunities. A must do.
I loved this site. With three major focal points once you ascend the stairs- the rock, the giant Buddha and the stupa- each one provides a different and unforgettable view. Revered as the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, this site is a must visit. We were lucky enough to get dropped off at the mid level parking lot so we didn't have to climb all 1840 stairs to get in...there are plenty more to climb once you get to the top!
And our least favourites...
Yes, Kandy is one of the largest cities in Sri Lanka and you will probably spend at least a day here. There are some major tourist things to see but be prepared for crowds and a lot more people. With so much else to see around the country, get in, see what you need to see and get back out into the more natural beauty elsewhere.
SHANE: Elephant jeep safari- Hurulu Eco Park
Overcrowded is the only way to describe this 'safari'. At the first hint of anything large and grey, guides throw caution to the wind and will literally put themselves between a rock and a hard place. With so many 4WDs in the park at once, elephants are quickly surrounded once spotted. Pictures are hard to capture without jeeps and people in the fore/background. Then when you have taken in the sites and smells (mostly of exhaust fumes) getting out is the next battle as the drivers box each other in and make it a nightmare for groups to leave. Would not recommend.
© 2RAVEL 2016