I am back from holidays in Sri Lanka. I did not really know the country prior to deciding going there. It was kind of an in between to meet my girlfriend somewhere close to France & Singapore. Ok, it is indeed much closer from Singapore but still, there are not so many countries in which you can go Asia, during European summer time. Most of them are experiencing heavy rain and monsoon.
If you also try to go exactly in countries between France and Singapore, you will probably end-up somewhere around Kazakstan. I am sure, this is a wonderful country to visit, but unfortunately it is hard to reach from both Paris and Singapore.
So we decided to go Sri Lanka, and well, that was a great choice. Probably the best 2 holiday weeks I got, ever. Not only the country is small enough to travel from west/east/south quite easily, but the variety of landscapes you can find is quite impressive. You can, altogether, enjoy sunny beaches, travel around archeological sites, spend some time in the mountains, and finally enjoy a day in the main city: Colombo.
What to do in 2 weeks
We have met many backpackers, like us, during our trip. Most of them were also in the country for 2 weeks. Some stayed there for 3 weeks and a few even 4! I am pretty sure the good timing is somewhere around 2 and 3 weeks. Our journey was roughly planned but we could definitely have enjoyed better if we have stayed a little longer. At the end, it felt like we where rushing. So wether you pick better, the places you absolutely want to see, or you stay longer :D
Here is the journey we followed. If you are also planning to visit those places, I have added a link to each guesthouse/hotel we stayed:
- Arrival at Negombo (spent a night there just to recover). Was probably an over killed expense to stay at this jetwing beach hotel, but well if you want to stay one night in a 4 star hotel, well this one is really nice,
- We left for Anarudhapura the next morning, where we stayed 2 nights. Milano tourist rest, is a good choice to stay,
- Then we headed to Trincomalee by Bus, but we stayed at Nilaveli, also for 2 nights. Apparently the place is growing in attractivity, so do except to pay more than the average guest house for an average service. Though they do a good rice & curry, but for everything else it seems that the staff, just discovered recently how to handle tourists,
- Then we went back to the island historical heart in Polonnaruwa, where we stayed one night at the lake hotel, and another at the guesthouse Thisara, both are really good choices ( the first has a pool next to the lake!). I would advice you to go to the Thisara guest house, the family that handle it are really available to help and the place itself it really enjoyable, next to the paddy fields. One advice: bring a good mosquitos repellant, as you will meet many of them,
- Then we took a Bus to Sigiriya (no need to stay overnight; has there isn’t much to do otherwise),
- After a long bus ride, we arrived at Kandy for one night at Mango Garden (which I don’t exqctly recommend, except for the really good breakfast and restaurant),
- Then we took a nice train to Nuwara Elliya. Probably the best guest house we encountered in our trip: King’s Fern Cottage, both a lovely place and quite inexpensive,
- Then we headed to Ella, at Sitas Heaven, if you are a food lover, I would advice you to do a stop-over, or if you enjoy trekking in the mountain, that should be the place to go as well. It is a touristic place, so expect to meet a few Chinese tourist buses,
- We next travelled with some other guests, from the guesthouse, to split the price of the van to reach Tangalle: a south beach place, famous for surfers. Unfortunately it was the monsoon season in the south, but the harbour is nice to see. We stayed at Frangipani Beach Villas, probably overpriced…
- Then we travelled with a « luxury » bus to Galle: the historical Dutch fort. We found a really nice guesthouse, the host is doing a damn good Sri Lankan breakfast, so don’t miss out! Thenu Rest House,
- Finally our journey last at Colombo. A city for which I heard many things, but was more enjoyable than I thought. Give it a chance, I think many improvement are being done, to make this city a great spot to visit. Regarding the hotel it was a poor experience, so better keep in mind the name to remember NOT to go there: Alfred Court Hotel.
- In order to be in time for our flight we stayed another night at Colombo, in the Silver Sands Hotel. Quite good, nice breakfast and next to the beach.
I hope this quick journey will help you plan yours. If you have the chance to visit Sri Lanka, I wouldn’t miss the opportunity!