The memories of my trip to Sri Lanka are still quite fresh in my mind. There’s no other winter sun holiday destination that is so green and blooming with avocados and king coconuts. And not to forget, Sri Lanka is also one of the producers of the world’s finest tea.
Winter is coming!
Starting December, tourists begin to rush in as it’s one of the best times to arrive and holidays can stretch all the way to a month for those who come all the way from Europe or the United States.
Take a road trip starting from the capital Colombo, via Kandy and ending at the beautiful Ceylon Tea Museum. It covers some of the best sights and attractions the country has to offer.
Sri Lankan currency is known as Rupee and is a closed currency, which means it can only be purchased and used within the country. US dollars are widely accepted everywhere and can be exchanged for good rates. Although there are no foreign currency import regulations an amount of US $15,000 or equivalent should be declared at the airport.
A daily budget of $25 will get:
- A 3-course meal for 2 at a mid-range restaurant for $13
- A fast food meal for $5
- One way ticket for local transport for $0.12
- Taxi start and 1 km tariff for $0.31
- International release movie ticket, per person $4
It?s pretty easy to find great hotels at affordable prices. In Colombo, consider Shangri-La Hotel for $400 per night for a two bedroom apartment, Fairway for US $168 for a family room or Rococo Residence for US $185 per night. In Kandy, the best hotel I?ll recommend The Grand Kandyan for US $283 a night for the presidential suite because everything else will just be a slight walk away. All the above options accommodate a family of 4.
Buses are the most affordable mode of transport within cities and a fare starts just at $ 0.074. If you want to get a glimpse of the natural beauty of Sri Lanka then opt for a train ride. For a single adult, fares for a Rajadhani car are the max US $9 (one way), $4-5 for 1st class seats and $3-2 for second and third class seats, per person. The fare is half for kids under the age of 12 and children under 3 years ride free.
For privacy, hire a car service through your selected hotel. You can choose to be accompanied by a driver or drive solo. For those who have never seen one, a tuk-tuk (three-wheeler) ride will be a lot of fun. Fares start at $0.25 per kilometer.
An important point to remember is that the country is heavily trafficked and city to city roads are based on a single lane, which makes road trips longer than expected. Fast driving is not allowed to avoid mishaps and accidents.
Top things to do in Sri Lanka
Located at a distance of 107 km from Colombo is the renowned Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage which is home to around 100 semi-wild Asian elephants and it is a sight to behold. The orphanage not only holds live baby elephant feeding shows, elephant back rides, bathing in the nearby lake, and tourists are also allowed to touch and take photos with the giants. Tickets for SAARC countries are $5 and $16 for all other countries
Take the kids for a joyful morning or afternoon to Viharamahadevi Park (Victoria Park) where they can spend hours in the huge playground, enjoy toy train and horse rides. There’s also a mini aquarium and a wobbly bridge over a small lake where they can take a boat ride.
Tooth Relic Temple
In Kandy, visit the Tooth Relic Temple, which is one of the most sacred Buddhist temples and is said to house an actual tooth of Lord Buddha. Keep in mind that ladies are not allowed to cover their heads inside the temples, so if you wear a scarf you’ll need to take it off.
Ceylon Tea Museum
Only a 15-minute drive from Kandy is the famous Ceylon Tea Museum where you’ll be welcome by widespread tea farming which is an amazing sight to witness. Museum entrance fees are usually from $4 to $7 depending on your tour package. Fees include a guide who’ll inform you about the history and present time tea plantation, different types of tea, and more.
You’ll also be served a hot cup to try. If you have a strong sense of smell I suggest skipping this one as the museum has a very strong tea fragrance.
Alternative things to do
- Witness beautiful dance styles and walk on fire in one of the cultural shows held at 7 Sangamitta Mawatha, Kandy. Tickets cost around $7 per person.
- 26Kms from Kandy is Mawanella which is home to several botanical and spice gardens. Here you’ll learn about the extensive use of spices and herbs for various reasons as well as make purchases.
- Shop at Majestic City shopping mall on Galle Road and Odel at 5 Alexander Place on Lipton Circus, Colombo.
- For a taste of the local cuisine, check out Table One at Galle 1 and Chutneys at Cinnamon Grand Colombo for Indian delicacies. For food on the go check out Burgers King at Malay Street and The Chaat Kade at 78C W.A Silva Mawatha, Colombo. All these restaurants serve halal food.
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Winter Holiday Beach Vacation
Sri Lanka is a natural paradise which screams greenery throughout. I?d call it the land of golden soil and I could find no patch of land without a harvest. If you enjoy the sun, sand and natural habitat then there?s no better place to be at this year.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post.