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What are our plans for Sri Lanka? Sri Lanka has always caught our imagination when we thought of vacation destinations. For a small island there is a great deal to see. We didn’t want to overlook it on our way to South East Asia so Sri Lanka will be our first destination and we will stay for four weeks.
Being at the start of our journey we wanted to ease the kids into the travel lifestyle, so the first week or so we will be staying in places at the upper end of our accommodation budget. We are going to move around from place to place a bit more frequently than we would like while there, but we want to make the most of our 30-day visa! It looks like we’ll be arriving during the monsoon season in the South West of the country, so that could get interesting.
This is what we have planned….
Bandaranaike International Airport is closer to Negombo than it is to the capital Colombo. We know that Negombo isn’t the best that Sri Lanka has to offer, however, after a red-eye flight we’ll look for a short transfer and to stay for a few nights to get the kids well rested before moving on.
We plan to head to Colombo Fort train station for the two and a half hour(ish) trip to Kandy. Kandy is the second largest city after Colombo, and is surrounded by mountains with tea plantations. Home to the Temple of the Tooth, one of the most sacred places of worship in the Buddhist religion, we hope to base ourselves in an apartment here for five to seven nights.
We’ll be taking a bus from Kandy to Dambulla to explore the cave temple and to arrange a short trip to Sigiriya (Lion Rock). We hope that the kids (and us) are fit enough to ascend the many stairs and enjoy as much of the site as possible. We will then head back to Kandy for a couple of nights.
A six (or so) hour train ride through the scenic hill country will take us to the small town of Ella, where we plan to stay for a few relaxing nights enjoying the scenery.
Tissamaharama (Yala National Park)
Three one-hour bus rides will take us from Ella down to Tissamaharama (or Tissa) where we will stay a couple of nights and arrange a tour of Yala National Park. With one of the densest leopard populations on the planet, we are hoping to catch a glimpse of this elusive beast amongst the other wildlife.
Next we plan to head along the coastal highway of south Sri Lanka to Mirrissa (possibly breaking the journey up if we think the four-hour bus ride is too much for the kids). Mirrissa is a lovely coastal town and we’d look to spend four nights here. Sadly, we will probably arrive out of season to make the most of tours that leave from here to see blue whales which is a pity.
Another bus ride will take us to the coastal town of Unawatuna, where we will base ourselves for trips to Galle, and the world heritage Galle Fort. We may even check out a canoe trip with the kids up the Gin Ganga River to view the wildlife in the mangroves.
Next we will continue up the west coast to the small town of Balapitya, just south of the all-inclusive resorts of Bentota. We can relax here and also use it as a base to visit a turtle sanctury, Hikkaduwa and to show the kids the excellent mask and puppet making skills in nearby Ambalangoda.
Finally, we head back up to the capital, Colombo, for a short stay before making our way to the airport and on to our next destination – Malaysia.
Will we manage all of that? Only time will tell so keep following our trip.