Colombo, Sri Lanka. After finding a fantastic online promotion we had our first taste of a long haul flight in business class and on none other than Emirates airlines… What a great experience!
Our journey started with a 24 lay over in Dubai which gave us enough time for a look around the city and a good nights sleep making us feel fully refreshed for the second leg to the capital (Colombo).
With just under a week here but so much to see, we did have to ruthlessly plan our trip beforehand with what we wanted to see and what we would miss out on. We opted for staying mostly central in the mountainous rainforest region for an abundance of stunning scenery, wildlife, tea plantations and ancient ruins. This did mean we didn’t get to visit any of Sri Lanka’s famous beaches but with this trip still regarded as one of my favourites ever, I think we made that right choice overall. I certainly have no problem needing a reason to come back to this amazing country to see anything we missed out on.
With a lot of miles to cover and the surprisingly low cost, a private driver was the only way get around. Staying with us for the full duration, hopping from hotel to hotel and sharing his local knowledge, Sarath became a real highlight of our trip.
Leaving Colombo we started by exploring “The sacred city of Anuradhapura”, the first capital of Sri lanka and a sacred Buddhist site with well preserved ruins and lots of monkeys.
Another ancient ruin that we visited was “The Sigiriya Rock Fortress”, the ruins of a fortress built on a 660 foot rock, believed to have been built by King Kashyapa and considered to be the 8th wonder of the world, an absolute must see!
A downside to being driven everywhere is having to stick to the roads when there are characterful old trains that weave their way up and over the mountains and around the stunning landscape. Not wanting to miss out, on one of the days we asked to be dropped off at the train station and rode one of the most scenic train routes in the world Nuwara Eliya to Ella. It was the best and worst train journey of my life. Lasting about 3 hours, the first 2 were horrendous, it was packed to the brim, mostly with locals, without a spare inch of space. Even being from London and used to the tube at rush hour, the invasion of personal space here was something I couldn’t have imagined. Just as every muscle in my body was about to shut down after being forced to hold a stress position for what felt like an eternity, a remote stop in the middle of nowhere seemed to clear a large number of people and we were able to experience the last third of the journey with some much needed breathing space where we could finally enjoy the trip hanging from the open doors and take in the truly spectacular views.
Sri Lanka is a real gem and there’s still so much more of this amazing country to see, we’ll definitely be back! Before heading home we went a little bit further east to Singapore for a couple of nights of luxury in the Marina Bay Sands hotel. What a trip!
See my video and all of my photos from our trip below