Sri Lanka maybe is the best place we’ve traveled to because of the adventures and experiences that we lived. The people are really kind and mass tourism hasn’t exploded here like in other places. In our experience, the most convenient route is start from Colombo, go to the north to Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Kandy the east cost, the south cost, Galle and come back to Colombo.
This country is for lovers of nature, introspection moments, animals (be careful with elephants, in some places they walk into the villages from the jungles… and it is not a safari tour, and elephants are dangerous animals).
Colombo was relatively interesting but to be frank nothing too special. There was a hindo temple where we did a small ritual where you walk 3 times around a sacred spot if you want to have a baby. Just for your information 😀
We took a train then and went to the centre north, Anuradhapura sacred city. It’s in architectural site full of stupas (the dome shape construction). Inside it’s completely built up, meaning that there is no empty space inside, all brick, and in the centre there is a relic belonging to Buddha.
The best thing is to hire a tuk tuk with a guide. Ours was an excellent guy, so so kind and enthusiastic about history. We went around all the town and stopped at stupas, interesting spots, of course for a dish of Biryani.
After a day in the scalding sun, we headed to Mihintale, another sacred Buddhist spot with amazing views to the jungle, giant Budhha
Then we moved to the centre, to the famous Lion Rock. The heat was Martian so it’s a good idea to go in the late afternoon so that you can also catch 360º views with sunset from the top.
In Sigiriya village you have a lot of restaurants and some craftsman’s shops but it’s really small so not a lot to do. It’s also good to relax because the hike to the top of the rock can be a bit tiring.
From there we headed to Minneriya National Park and skipped the more famous Yala because it was a bit off our route and then unreasonably expensive. We saw elephants, peacocks, buffalo and a hiding leopard or jaguar. Will never know for sure.
Don’t be surprised to get random visits like giant lizards and even something more extreme, a tarantula in the bathroom!
One impressive place was definitely the Dambulla Golden temple with its 153 Buddha statues and mural paintings in all the cave.
Nuwara Eliya was probably the coldest place on the island, we had a break from the burning heat and indulged in Sri Lankan London, that’s what they cold it. Not much to do though, besides visiting tea plantations and our favourite markets. The annoying thing was that everything cost money, like entrance to the park or the lake.
Famous blue train
Of course you have to take a ride on the famous blue train, even though it was a pain to get a place even standing and everybody wanted their instagram shot, the ride was really beautiful.
Probably our favourite place was Ella, it was the perfect weather, lush green nature, stunning views from and to waterfalls, and overall, very nice.
The bus drivers are the craziest drivers in the whole island but the good thing is you get to places and they cost nothing. And if you enjoy snacks on your ride, you can buy some chilly apple or pinapple from the vendors who squeeze their way out on crowded buses/trains.
Then we headed to the south, back to the heat but of course amazing ocean views, unforgettable swimming with turtles, walking around Galle’s nostalgically decadent Dutch heratage and just chilling in the pool with monkeys and peacocks in the background.
Where to find more information
Sri Lanka definitely was an amazing experience and we’d recommend 100% to give it a go. You can have a look at Lonely Planet’s guide, Mochileando por el Mundo, for more info.