If you asked me six months ago what I knew about Sri Lanka, I wouldn’t have had a lot to say. However if you ask me now, I have plenty to say and share about this beautiful country!
From their green countryside to their breathtaking beaches, and their sunny blue skies to their magnificent sunsets. Every day was filled with a surprising new adventure!
Akurala beach & Horton Plains
I was in Akurala, a little heavenly place in the south of Sri Lanka, precisely in between Hikkaduwa and Ambalangoda. I stayed there for a week and that’s where I volunteered to work with sea turtles. It was an amazing experience as I learnt a lot about their environment. I still remember my first encounter with a sea turtle. As my husband says, it was love at first sight for me 😊. I wasn’t able to take pictures of the turtles at the beach at night because camera flash and lights disturb nesting turtles. However, I have a few pics from the sanctuary.
A turtle at Sea turtle Sanctuary in Kosgoda
People – Kind, caring, and in love with nature
The locals are really kind. They are genuinely welcoming and always offering assistance. You always have people smiling and saying hello, waving at you, telling you “welcome to Sri Lanka” or “Sri Lanka is paradise”. It’s so nice to see kindness and generosity everywhere you go. It’s no surprise that Sri Lanka is the eighth most generous country in the world according to CAF World Giving Index.
A few local families were telling me their harrowing tales of how they survived the tsunami in 2004 and how they had to start their lives from scratch. It was heartbreaking, however they continue to have a positive outlook on life and keep their faith strong.
The TMR team and I on my last day in Akurala.
Food – mixed feelings.
A lot of my friends have asked me if it was like Indian food. Hmm…I’d say sort of.
Although the main dishes are curry and rice, it’s very different from the Indian saag and rice most of us have come to know. They use more fresh coconut in their food, which makes everything taste delicious. Their fresh seafood dishes are mouth-watering.
They have a variety of vegetarian curries, daal (lentils) and coconut sambol, all of which taste divine.
In my banana leaf plate, you can see white rice, red rice with daal, aubergine, jack fruit curry, coconut sambol and some pappadums.
The local cuisine was delicious however, some dishes were a little too spicy for my palate.
Overall, for a pescatarian like me, it was heavenly!
Places I visited
We went on a river safari and made our way to cinnamon island! Yes, there’s an island with cinnamon trees everywhere.
Many spices are grown in Sri Lanka, here’s some pictures of a herbal garden that I visited on one of the weekends. The locals introduce you to a variety of herbs and spices, explaining their benefits.
Here’s a picture of a lady making cinnamon sticks
And here’s the same lady using coir/coconut fibre to make a rope
This is a video to show how she’s using palm leaves to make a roof
I’m just amazed and impressed to see how much natural material is used and recycled to avoid wastage.
Horton plains: not only does it have jaw dropping views, it’s also a plastic-free park. Yep, not a single piece of plastic was to be seen anywhere!
It was 6am when we reached Horton plains to see the Worlds end. It was cold and foggy, reminding me of England. We made our way to the entrance where our bags were checked to ensure we were carrying no plastic. They had paper bags to exchange with plastic ones and the park had faucets in most places for fresh drinking water so no need for single use plastic bottles. The initiative was very impressive.
As the sun was rising, we entered the lush, green park. It was tranquil listening to the birds singing and water flowing.
It was a great way to reconnect with nature. (Plus the added bonus of no phone signal)
The circular trail was easy to navigate and took approximately two and a half hours. You get to see the breathtaking World’s End, which has a drop of 870m, Little World’s end with a drop of 270m and finally the spectacular Baker’s Fall.
That’s me admiring nature at its best at the World’s End
When in Sri Lanka, have many cups of different types of tea. You won’t regret it.
Tea/Chai, the highlight of my trip too 😊☕️
Continuing this journey
Driving from Ella to Galle via the scenic south coast was wonderful. We stopped at Mirissa for stick fishing. I still don’t know how fishermen keep their balance so well.
After this adventurous weekend, I spent a day in Hikkaduwa, another day in sunny Bentota and my final two days in Colombo.
As a solo traveler, I never felt unsafe at any time and I met some wonderful people during my trip. Sri Lanka was more than what I expected and I loved every moment there. This experience is something I will cherish forever.
I would definitely recommend anyone with the spirit of adventure to visit this beautiful country. My only regret is I wasn’t able to visit Sigiriya and Adam’s peak! Hopefully, next time 😊
Sthu-thi (thank you in Sinhala)
Thanks for reading my article! Don’t forget to like and share xx