Exploring SriLanka was my most adventurous trip yet. The jewel shaped country in the Indian Ocean has some stunning landscapes guaranteed to take your breath away.The spicy food, the vast amount of fruit stalls you pass by from one location to another. And most recently, Lonely Planet named Sri Lanka as one of the top destinations for 2019, but why? I'll tell you.
Before before seeing all this, I didn't know what to expect. In fact, I was so confused with my itinerary, I just closed my eyes and hoped for the best. My stay in Sri Lanka lasted 7 days, covering Colombo, Yala Safari tour, Kandy, Sigiriya, Tea-plantation, elephant orphanage, turtle hatching and the list goes on. Hiring a tour guide was the best thing ever and while assuming I could hire a car and drive from one location to another, I'm glad I took the right decision.
Some might suggest that travelling around Sri Lanka is easy. Don't get me wrong, it can be if you pre-planned your way round however, like me a last minute kind of person, a tour guide saved me tons of travel time and effort!
But here is a run down of the locations I visited.Let's begin.
1. Little Adams Peak
The trek lasted around 2 hours depending on how slow you are walking. Like me, I wanted to capture the magnificent landscape views which which overlooked the bright green hills. You do need some hiking books and lot's of water to stay hydrated and whilst the trek seems totally awsome, overlooking the edge of the cliff can seem a little scary. But if you're and adventurer like me, I guess adrenaline is you're thing. The weather was warm and just right for the trek and with a simple route to follow amongst other tourists or even your tour guide, it's hard to get lost.
Trek Time: 2 hours (hiking up and down steep hills, steps and rocks)
Equipment: Nikon D70, Go Pro Hero 5, hiking boots, backpack and light clothing.
2. Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
The elephant orphanage in Pinnawala was the first destination I visited on route to the hotel. I was super tired from the 2 hour drive from Colombo airport however, once we arrived I was ready to explore and see these elephants cross my path and I was not disappointed. The elephants are well looked after and fed and to see the elephants amongst their natural habitats, the feeling of being in Sri Lanka really kicked in.Witnessing baby elephants amongst their parents and being able to feed them was something I longed wanted to do. The orphanage consists of elephant feeding, bathing and some local shops and restaurants for a quick snack along the way.
Duration to Elephant Orphanage: 2 hours from Colombo
During during the visit: 2 hours or more depending on feeding, bath time.
Ticket Price: £10
3. Sigiriya 'The Lions Rock' Fortress
The Lions Rock. Located near the town Dambulla, King Kasyapa built his palace on top. So why is this named the 'The Lions Rock'? About half way up towards the top, King Kasyapa built a gateway in the shape of a lion (according to Wiki). But i'm here to tell you about my experience. With this being one of world heritage sites, it was only right for me to experience what the fuss was all about. I can assure you, I was not disappointed (take a look at my pics below). The climb up the steps took around 1 hour due to many tourists queuing up. Once we got to to the top, The view was breath-taking! You can overlook the natural green forests that surround the heritage site whilst glancing at the ancient steps that lead to the top. If you're creating and itinerary right about now, then you must have this on your list!
Duration : 3 hours or less depending on queue.
Ticket Price: £24
4. Epic Train Ride From Nanu Oya to Ella Train Station
Ever wondered how they capture those amazing train shots when glancing dangerously out of the carriage?Well now you know. This icon train ride is one of the popular tourist trips exploring the mountains, vast green landscapes, numerous tea plantations and more. The journey lasted 2.5 hours and tickets were pre-booked. Along the way you begin to see the real suburb life of locals harvesting, planting and getting on with their local day to day activities. I'm not going lie, this was an epic ride! The carriage was filled with tourists sitting back enjoying the ride whilst the keen adventurers were waiting in line to secure key spot at the doorway of the carriage in order to witness the outside beauty. I grabbed my chance and boy was I not going to move! Carrying my Go-Pro gripped tightly with a hand strap, I manage to record some epic video footage which gives viewers a first persons view of moving train (check out my youtube channel).
Duration : 2.5 hours
Ticket Price: £8
5. Tea Plantation - Bluefield Tea Garden in Nuwara, Eliya
Back in the UK, we are known for drinking tea, lots of tea. Now whilst this might seem a cultural activity in the UK, in Sri Lanka, it's their prime resource and way of life. There are many other tea plantations, but as part of my itinerary I visited the Bluefield in Nuwara Eliya. The drive up towards the tea plantation consisted of numerous weather changes and whilst we drove up to the highest peak, I began to see bright green tea leafs and locals selling fruit and veg. This destination was the hub of natural organic tea due to the weather climate providing the right temperature and growing conditions.
Once inside the tea plantation, we had a guided tour of the facilities and process in which they make the tea. The guide then provided us a tea tasting session consisting of Pure Black Ceylon Tea and then White Tea. Let me tell you something.What you taste in your local shops compared to the natural organic tea fresh from the plantation, it is incomparable. The taste is rich and hits you straight away with a fresh feeling. It was a great experience being able to witness how tea was created and the final results.
Duration : 1.5 hours
Ticket Price: Free
Other locations visited:
Turtle Hatching Hikkaduwa
Kandy City Tour
Click here to see the full Sri Lanka Gallery
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Now, go! Make sure you visit Sri Lanka and remember to take some awesome shots along the way! I will be creating a blog on what accessories I use to whilst i'm out exploring and which hotels I have stayed at so subscribe below and be on the look out when I post this!