Beaches, mountains, temples - Dec 24 - Jan 8, 2019
We had a great trip that was really well planned by Shalindra. Our itinerary was a mix of active days and optional rest days where an activity was suggested or you could relax and chill out (we generally opted for the latter on those days). Ossie was a first-time driver and he did a great job. He knew the roads (and shortcuts) around the place and he had a great sense of humour – we had some good, funny chats between the three of us. We travelled from Colombo to Tangalle to Yala National Park to Ella, then Kandy, then Sigiriya then to Colombo and out.
The highlights were the wildlife at Yala National Park and visiting a 2000 year old monastery there. Driving back from the park we were confronted by a 'tusker' – a somewhat angry bull elephant with tusks (wow). Our 'glamping' accommodation nearby was also fun – they also had great lunches. The wildlife around our Yala accommodation was simply extraordinary – so many birds and flowers. We enjoyed walking around Ella and seeing the amazing views there, and Sigiriya did not disappoint – a great climb up the rock and an amazing glimpse of some of Sri Lanka's ancient history at a very memorable location. I really enjoyed the gardens and grounds at the base of the rock. An old monastery at Dambulla (en-route to Sigiriya) was a memorable visit too, with five rooms of ancient Buddha statues and paintings. Cruising around a large lagoon the day before climbing Sigiriya was a also a wonderful experience, finished off with a fantastic traditional Sri Lankan meal where all the various ingredients for the curry were explained to you –then eaten (!)
We had a mix-up at one hotel, but Shalindra was able to step in and quickly resolve the matter –this was most appreciated. All up: a very memorable trip that will stay with us a long time.