Explore the magestic island of Sri Lanka with one of our dearest, Jessica Stein of @tuulavintage. Follow her wanderlust diary here on Faithfull Travels
Forget what you expect when arriving to Sri Lanka. This beautiful island country takes everyone by surprise; from the picturesque landscapes of mountains, rice paddies and palm tree lined beaches, the thriving wildlife, the harmony of tradition and culture, to the extraordinarily warm and welcoming locals.
If your flight in to Colombo Airport arrives late in the evening like most do, make sure to book at least one night at The Wallawwa (www.thewallawwa.com). This boutique hotel is set among luscious gardens, with most of their food grown in their own garden. The rooms are spacious, staff go above and beyond and the prices are not outrageous. Spend the morning adjusting to jet lag and the Sri Lankan humidity beside the gorgeous leaf littered pool, followed by a massage in their spa.
Tri Lanka (www.trilanka.com) is one of my favorite hotels I’ve ever experienced. It is a luxury, sustainable eco lodge with living walls, luscious garden roofs, solar hot water, recycled wood and entirely local materials perched on Koggala Lake. With only 11 rooms it feels like you’re a world away from everyone. Wake to watch the sunrise reflecting over the lake and your private plunge pool, surrounded by the sounds of the jungle.
The Muslim Hotel, Kandy
The most authentic, and best cuisine in Sri Lanka is their famous curries. You can find cheap, delicious curries (and my favourite Dahl!) throughout Sri Lanka, but this was without a doubt my favourite.
Poonie’s Kitchen, Galle Fort
Not only the best vegetarian food I ate in Sri Lanka, but some of the best vegetarian food I’ve had in the world.
The Fort Bazaar, Galle Fort
The perfect spot for a group get together over a long lunch, with cute decor. You can’t go wrong with the pumpkin coconut curry soup.
Roadside Markets and Stalls
There are quite a few boutiques in Sri Lanka but the true wonders can be found at the market stalls that line the village roads. My best find was a woven basket for roughly $5 USD.
SEE, DO, THINK, FEEL
The Streets of Galle Fort
Leave yourself at least a day to wander the streets of Galle Fort. Visit the Stick No Bills poster gallery, have afternoon tea at the Amangalla and get lost down the alleyways of incredible doorways.
Safari, Yala National Park
While planning my trip to Sri Lanka I had envisioned volunteering at an Elephant Orphanage. Unfortunately once there, I saw first hand that these “Sanctuaries” were tourist traps with the elephants mistreated, while kept in chains for photo and riding opportunities. Sri Lanka is home to under 6,000 wild elephants which you can see playing happily in their natural habitat from afar while on Safari in National Parks like Yala and Udewalawe.
The most reputable organization I found while there was the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home, which was established by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation. Their objective is to rehabilitate orphaned elephant calves for ultimate release back into the wild once strong enough. You can visit the Transit Home daily during feeding times but to ensure the elephants safety there is no human interaction beside the trained staff.
Temple of The Tooth, Kandy
The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple in the city of Kandy. I spent a day slowly, quietly and contemplatively covering the beautiful grounds and lush gardens of the temple, learning of the important role the relic played in local politics.
My experience was only a taste of what Sri Lanka has to offer and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough to anyone considering. Grab your camera, backpack and get out on the village roads…
Words by Jessica Stein