Sri Lanka: To-Do List
When in London, we dream of the Sri Lankan sunshine and evenings spent sipping cocktails, watching the magical sunsets over the Indian Ocean whilst getting a decent dose of vitamin D! Here at Ampersand, we often get asked what the first things we do when we go back to Sri Lanka are... read on to find out:
1) Eat as much Sri Lankan food as you possibly can – it is truly delicious
The Green Cabin Café in Colombo is great for simple Sri Lankan cuisine. Set in a quaint courtyard, it serves a range of Sri Lankan dishes and is popular with both locals and foreigners. If you can make it over to the East Coast of the island, Gal Oya Lodge has some of the best curries we have ever tried in Sri Lanka and always leave us longing for more. Something we also love is a cooking lesson; you can experience being taken to the market to choose the fresh local produce in the morning before you learn how to cook a range of dishes and, best of all, enjoy eating it for lunch! Ampersand Travel can arrange private cooking lessons throughout Sri Lanka – one of our favourite cooking experiences is at Ulagalla, Anuradhapura.
2) Swim in the sea every day
Sri Lanka is renowned for its stunning crescent shaped, palm tree lined beaches, and we think the best place to admire them is from the sea! The heat can sometimes be unbearable (particularly from March through to July) and there is no better way to cool down than a dip in the glorious ocean. As it is a tropical country it does rain a fair bit and swimming in the sea, in the rain, is by far the most therapeutic experience we can think of. The sea can get a little rough, so watch out for the strong undercurrents and don’t go too deep (best swimming conditions are from December to April). Ampersand Travel can offer trips to top beaches for a luxurious dip along the whole of the island’s coastline. Our favourite 3 places to stay for the best swimming beaches are:
1) Amanwella, Tangalle
2) Habaraduwa House, Habaraduwa
3) Jungle Beach, Trincomalee
3) Climb Adam’s Peak summit
Although we have already climbed the 5,200 steps to enjoy sunrise on Sri Lanka’s highest peak (also known as Sri Pada), we have a strong urge to do it again. We blame Champika, our Sri Lankan driver, who is a Buddhist (along with 80% of Sri Lanka’s population). When asked about how many times he has climbed Adam’s Peak, his answer was 30 times as it gets even more magical every time! Buddhists believe that the rock formation near the summit is the sacred ‘footprint of Buddha’. The perfect place to stay to experience climbing Adam’s Peak would be Tea Trails; it’s about a 40 minutes drive away.
4) Visit some off the beaten track waterfalls and jungles
Take the iconic train ride in the observation carriage from Hatton to Haputale and stay at The Living Heritage – we highly recommend it. It is in a completely excluded location, surrounded by jungles and tea plantations, with hidden waterfalls perfect for swimming and private picnic lunches. Ampersand can offer tailor-made trips to include this stunning train ride and stays at Living Heritage Koslanda.
5) Learn to surf the beach breaks at Weligama
Weligama is the perfect place to learn to surf and there are plenty of keen instructors who can give lessons and provide all the equipment. For the ultimate luxury surf experience stay at Cape Weligama.
6) Burn off some Sri Lanka curry rice belly by doing a cycle tour
Head to the surrounding paddy fields and low tea plantations near Galle – the Paddy Trail is a stunning and relatively gentle 12 - 30km (tailored to your fitness) cycle loop starting and finishing near Wijaya Beach about 20 minutes drive from Galle. The guide will lead you through paddy valleys and around the stunning Koggala Lake and will provide plenty of information about nature and the local environment. Stop half way up for a coconut break! Stay at Kahanda Kanda near Galle, a stylish boutique villa with ravishing tea and cinnamon plantation views.
For more Sri Lanka tips or to book your tailor-made Sri Lanka holiday contact Tamsin at +44 (0) 20 7819 9770 / firstname.lastname@example.org