Sri Lanka, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean

Sri Lanka is a destination that I have wanted to visit for a very long time and I was certainly not disappointed. There is more to Sri Lanka than just beaches, it offers a rich variety of sights and sensations.

Sri-Lanka-holiday-destination005After a 12 hour flight we landed at Colombo where we were transferred to our first hotel. The Wallawwa Resort is nestled amongst three acres of magnificent gardens and has just 17 rooms. It is an old colonial manor house and has been lovingly restored. There is a spa, fusion restaurant and lovely pool. With it only being 15 minutes from the airport, it is a great place to start or end your visit to the island.

After breakfast we travelled for 2 hours to the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. It is a unique orphanage where the tiny tots weigh 60kg or more! The orphanage feeds, nurses and houses young elephants that have been abandoned or lost. When we arrived they were bathing in the river, having a fantastic time playing and cooling down by spraying each other. It was a wonderful sight, we could have stayed and watched them all day but we had to move onto Habarana were we stayed at the Cinnamon Lodge.Sri-Lanka-holiday-destination

The next morning we visited the Elephant Corridor Resort located in Kimbissa, four kilometres from Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Constructed on a plain between Minneriya and Sigiriya National Parks and built with minimal disruption to the ecosystem, wild elephants are free to walk up through the open lobby or along the pathways of the hotel. The 22 suites are scattered throughout the property and each have their own private plunge pool. There is a spa as well as a variety of activities including nature walks and horse riding. Alternatively you can just relax and enjoy the serenity and seclusion of this luxury retreat. I would really love to stay at this resort as I think it would be amazing to see the elephants walking through the grounds of the hotel.

Sri-Lanka-holiday-destination002From there we went to Sigiriya, the great rock fortress and UNESCO world heritage site. Built in the 5th century it is one of Sri Lanka's most recognisable landmarks and rises 200 metres over the surrounding plains. We climbed to the top via the old stairway, stopping to rest several times on the way up. It is a very popular place to visit and you have to be patient as the walkways are narrow so in places you can only go in single file. However your patience will be rewarded as the views from the top are breath-taking and definitely worth the effort.

Next we went on an open top jeep safari in Minneriya National park. Set a round a 3rd century reservoir, Minneriya is home to large herds of wild elephants as well as leopards and sambar deer. There are huge flocks of birds that come to fish in the shallow waters. The parks' location means it can easily be combined with Sigiriya and the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. It is largely unspoilt and was an incredible wildlife experience.

The following day we headed to Kandy, a lovely exotic city and UNESCO world heritage site. Encircled by hills with a tranquil lake in the centre, it is the site of the renowned temple that enshrines the Tooth Relic of the Buddha and home to the Royal Botanical gardens. The area is also the centre of the island's handicraft and jewellery industry.Sri-Lanka-holiday-destination004Sri-Lanka-holiday-destination003




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