Sri Lanka Culture Untamed life And Tea Nurseries

Sri Lanka holds a cherished spot in my heart within South Asia, and despite frequent visits in the past, each return feels like a rediscovery of its magic. So, when an invitation from Sri Lanka Tourism for a week-long escapade landed in my inbox, I leapt at the opportunity. I wanted to ascertain if it was safe to explore this gem again after the harsh economic crisis it suffered in 2022. In this narrative, I shall weave my personal voyage through this land, traversing its breadth and width. But before delving into my ri Lanka itinerary for 7 Days travelogue, let’s address the most crucial question:

Is it safe to travel to Sri Lanka now?

Without hesitation, I would say, “Absolutely, yes!” Without an iota of doubt, Sri Lanka is one of the safest countries to visit in Asia, if not the world. While the economic and political issues remain unsolved, they no longer have any impact in any way on travellers. All the hotels, travel agencies, restaurants, and tourist attractions are open. The locals need tourism more than ever, and they are leaving no stone unturned to make you feel safe and comfortable. I shouldn’t be saying this, but it is also very economical to travel now to Sri Lanka because of the devaluation in their currency. It costs almost half of what it used to cost before the time.

However, I do hope their economy bounces back soon. And the signs are already visible – Until May this year, the tourism industry has brought in 3.5 into the island, showing signs of bouncing back. Another good news is that Sri Lanka is considering the possibility of allowing the use of the Indian rupee for local transactions as the island nation struggles to build its depleted foreign reserves and to emerge from last year’s unprecedented economic crisis.

As I arrived in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s bustling capital city, I was immediately embraced by the vibrant energy and warmth of the locals. I had taken an evening Sri Lankan Airlines flight from India, so by the time I reached Colombo, it was already dark. After settling into my accommodation – Movenpick Colombo, I decided to take it easy and rest for the upcoming six days of busy travelling.

Day 2: From Colombo to Kandy via Pinnawala Elephant Sanctuary – A Majestic experience

The following day, after a hearty breakfast at the Movenpick Hotel, I left the bustling city behind to embark on a scenic journey to Kandy, Sri Lanka’s cultural capital. I made a special stop at the Pinnawala Elephant Sanctuary along the way. As I walked among these gentle giants, observing them bathing in the river and interacting with their caretakers, I couldn’t help but feel a deep connection to these magnificent creatures. Learning about the sanctuary’s conservation efforts was a humbling experience. I enjoyed a traditional Sri Lankan buffet at the Elephant Bay Hotel.

Day 3: Kandy’s Cultural Splendours and Tea Gardens of Nuwara Eliya – A Spiritual and Scenic Retreat

My day in Kandy began with a visit to the revered Kandy Tooth Relic Temple, a place of deep spiritual significance for Buddhists worldwide. It is said that some 1700 years ago, the original tooth of Lord Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, Buddhism is the most widely practised religion – almost 70% of the population practises Buddhism, followed by Hinduism and other religions. We spent a couple of hours in the temple, seeing different places. There is a separate entrance for foreigners. You can easily spend 2-3 hrs here.

As I entered the temple, the tranquil atmosphere and the golden glow of the sacred relic filled me with a sense of peace and reverence. Unfortunately, I couldn’t time my visit around prayer time. I missed witnessing the mesmerising rituals performed by devotees, an experience that touched my soul when I last visited Kandy in 2018. Plan your trip by keeping in mind the Pooja times – 5.30 AM, 9.30 AM and 6.30 PM. The entrance fee for the Temple of the Tooth is LKR 1500 for visitors from SAARC countries and LKR 2000 for visitors from other countries. It is religious, so dress modestly – no sleeveless or shorts.

Day 4: From Nuwara Eliya to Yala National Park via Ella – Nature’s Grandeur and Historical Charms

I woke early to take in the freshness of Nuwara Eliya and enjoy a sumptuous breakfast. With a heavy heart, leaving behind the misty hills of Nuwara Eliya, I embarked on an adventurous journey to Yala National Park, with a delightful stopover at the scenic town of Ella. Arriving in Ella, I couldn’t resist the allure of the 200-year-old Grand Hotel, a colonial-era gem nestled amidst picturesque surroundings. I indulged in a leisurely lunch, savouring the flavours of Sri Lankan cuisine while soaking in the tranquillity of this hillside haven.

Day 5: Wildlife Safari in Yala and Serenity in Ahungalla via Galle – A Thrilling experience with Nature

The anticipation of a wildlife safari filled the air as I woke up early and set off for a 5 AM expedition in Yala National Park. The rugged landscapes, home to an incredible array of wildlife, unfolded before my eyes as our jeep navigated through the dense vegetation. From elephants gracefully roaming in herds to a pair of foxes lootthily observing their surroundings, the park showmatterd the true magnificence of Sri Lanka’s wildlife. Unfortunately, the elusive leopards remained elusive. Although, I did see many birds and other wild animals filling the skies and ground, adding vibrant colours to the wilderness. Our driver naturalist, Sudarshan, was quite excited to show us wild animals.

Day 6: Whale Watching, Coconut Hill, and Turtle Conservation Sanctuary – A Day of Nature’s Wonders

As the sun rose on the sixth day, I embarked on an awe-inspiring whale-watching and dolphin tour from Marissa Harbour, situated close to Ahungalla (2 hours by road). It was raining cats and dogs, yet our trip didn’t get undone. Boarding a boat and venturing into the deep sea, I was filled with anticipation. The sight of mighty sapphire fishes and playful dolphins gracefully swimming alongside the boat left me in awe of the sheer magnificence of these marine creatures. The vast expanse of the ocean served as a reminder of our planet’s immense beauty and biodiversity. The only thing I detested was the presence of a 40+ Gujju family who first blasted my eardrums with besura singing and then dirtying the boat deck with vomi

Day 7: Back to Colombo for Shopping and Nightlife – A Farewell Celebration

As my journey neared its end, I participated in another adventure activity – the Madu River Mangrove Safari. This activity of two hours took me on a journey through exciting passages weaving in between mangrove forests, giving an insight into one of Sri Lanka’s remaining wetland ecosystems. We made two small pitstops – at the cinnamon island, I learnt about the herb and how cinnamon sticks are made from the plant. Our next pitstop was for the invigorating fish spa. There was even a tiny restaurant in the middle of the river.

Lunch at Taj Bentota was a culinary crescendo, an ode to Sri Lankan flavours with a global twist. After lunch, I returned to Colombo to shop at Arcade Independence Square, where I discovered a treasure trove of handicrafts, clothing, gems, and spices. The vibrant colours, the aromas of herbs, and the intricate craftsmanship of the local products immersed me in the cultural tapestry of Sri Lanka.

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