I just returned home from the beautiful Sri Lanka. A full two weeks there allow me to wholly recommend this majestic country. Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) is a tiny island nation south of India in the Indian Ocean. It is a land of rainforest, wildlife and endless beaches. Its ancient Buddhist ruins are dotted throughout the country including the 5th-centurycitadel Sigiriya, with its palace and frescoes, and the sacred city of Anuradhapura. Its flavorful cuisine and friendly people make this a wonderful destination for both history buffs and those who desire beach and hiking activities.
Only a 1 ½ hr flight from the Maldives, it is a great combination for anyone wishing to relax, tour, and experience many different cultures. The Portuguese, Dutch and British all influenced Sri Lanka – they all once had a large presence in this tiny maritime hub.
The train ride from Kandy to Hatton to visit the tea plantation was one of the most beautiful train rides in the world, through jungle and green forests, with great views of many waterfalls and greenery. Staying on an actual working tea plantation in these converted mansions was like being in one’s own home. With 6 large rooms, all with ensuite baths, the Tea Trails hotel (a Relais and Chateaux property) has a large living room and a full staff with all meals and drinks included. There is hiking and biking from the property as well as kayaking and rafting nearby. One can be as active or lazy as one likes! With a full kitchen staff and butlers to service 12 people, the service was not lacking.
The towns of Kandy and Galle were my favorite with a lot of small villages in between. They offer great antique shopping and a glimpse of their urban areas. Kandy is famous for its beautiful wooded valley overlooking a vast lake. The palace with its shrines to Buddah and his famous Tooth Relic is one of the major sights in Sri Lanka.
Galle is the southernmost city on this island, famous for its stilt fisherman and water sports. Known for one of the worlds’ best places to surf, one needs the water for the reprieve of the heat! There is always a gentle breeze, but the heat and humidity make it necessary to be near a beach. The Cape Weligama resort is comprised of many little bungalows and is a 5 star amazing property, great for families, water sports or biking enthusiasts. The dining there is yummy!