By Leanne Flanagan Smith
I love trips where I learn new things, and on my 15-day adventure to Sri Lanka I barely scratched the surface of this intriguing destination.
For those who struggle with the ‘Geography’ category in Trivial Pursuit, you will find Sri Lanka in South Asia. It’s an island country… go northwest and you’ll find India, or southwest and you are in the Maldives.
What surprised me:
Stone Buddha Temple (Gal Vihara) at PolonnaruwaThe amount of history in the country and the diversity of the experiences you can have – from ancient temples to tea plantations and the highlands, to the fabulous coastline and on to wildlife national parks.
There was something for everyone and it was visually spectacular.
I learnt so much about the country and its history and I suspect I only saw the tip of the iceberg.
The highlight for me:
It’s a tough call selecting one highlight anywhere, but I loved Kandy (no, not candy, who doesn’t love candy?).
Kandy is considered to be one of Sri Lanka’s holiest cities and it was the last capital of the ancient kings and rulers’ era of Sri Lanka.
There’s the revered Temple of the Buddha’s Tooth Relic, and plenty of history to absorb including the British Garrison Cemetery which dates back to 1822. Kandy is also home to Sri Lanka’s signature festival – the Esala Perahera procession.
Eat, drink and be merry!
Foodies will love this adventure, especially their time in Kandy – you will be spoilt for flavours and choice, and coffee aficionados will feel right at home.
Also, try the local food – egg hoppers. These are fantastic and are basically a coconut and rice crepe with an egg as the centre feature. Yum.
I can also recommend Lion Lager – it has been brewed in Sri Lanka since 1881 and tastes malty and natural. I know, the things I do in the name of research!
Be prepared or avoid:
Just a heads-up to BYO plenty of tissues or toilet paper with you when you visit any public or restaurant bathrooms.
I would also avoid that seven-hour transit stop I had in Singapore if I did it again. When you are ready to go, come and see me and I’ll make your trip the best it can be!
Home and reflecting
Sri Lanka might not have been my first destination of choice, but I loved it and sometimes, having no expectations makes for the most surprising of trips.
The group I travelled with made the adventure even more fun and if anything, this journey has enhanced my desire to keep travelling and learning!