Family Adventure Trip of 10 days to Sri Lanka

Tripoto
7th Feb 2020
Photo of Family Adventure Trip of 10 days to Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela
Day 1

Before the start of this trip we were actually planning which country to visit. We basically wanted something which is close to nature, beaches, wildlife and culture. There were many options such as Bali, Vietnam, Cambodia etc. however we decided to choose Sri Lanka since it included everything and eventually it was a great choice. Here’s what we as family with my kid of 5 years did in over 10 days itinerary. Have included the cost, hotels, pictures of the places and some tips to explore.

Straight from the office we decided to take evening direct flight from Mumbai to Columbo. Flight duration falls for 2 1/2 hours. I have already done our visa formalities which costs Rs.1500 per adult and free for my kid. Withdrew some LKR with my NiYo Global card which is no mark up fee card and fantastic for every traveller to any country. It provides real time information of every transaction on an mobile app converted into your home currency. We did the accommodation in Oreeka Hotel which is 7 km from the Colombo international airport. The hotel provided complimentary pick up facility and the car details were shared in advance. We reach the hotel at midnight and took rest that night to explore early the next day. Tip: we reached at midnight to have proper sleep and then to start early and fresh for the next day. Oreeka is not that expensive and provide complimentary transport from airport. Use NiYo Global card to withdraw cash at airport ATM without any charges.

Day 2

We started our day early and hotel made arrangements for packed breakfast. Before the start of the journey I had already made arrangements for Car for my nine day trip which cost me 450 USD. The driver was available at 7 am. We took our packed breakfast and went straight to Pinnawala elephant orphanage which took us 2 1/2 hours. Entry ticket for Pinnawala is 800 LKR per adult and for kid it is 400 LKR for foreign nationals. Timings for Pinnawala is at 10 AM and 2 PM. They take bunch of elephants from the orphanage to the nearby river for bathing. You can also do batting of elephant for 750 LKR for 15 minutes and click pictures. It’s a complete entertainment for kids and mesmerising to see group of elephants playing and running freely in water. We finished Pinnawala orphanage and moved to Nuwura Eliya at 1 PM.

We visited Spice Garden. Entry for the same was free of cost. We spent an hour and got information about different spices. Had a back massage with the oil produced there. One can also purchase different spices. On the way we visited Shri Bhakta Hanuman Temple which has statute of Hanumaji which has a height of 40 feet known to be the tallest statute of Hanumaji in the island. Ramboda water falls was the next wherein it is believed that armies of Lord Rama gathered in the place that we call Ramboda today. Later we visited Demora Tea Factory. Factory tour is free of cost however the trip to tea estate will cost 5000 LKR for jeep tour of one hour which is optional. We reached our hotel Gallway Heights at Nuwura Eliya at 8 PM. Had dinner and finished day two.

Gallway Heights Hotel is a boutique hotel with the charm of English country side and also has well maintained indoor games such as pool table, indoor soccer, movie watching, chess and library. They also play live music during night.

Some Elephant enjoy mud bath

Photo of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, B199, Rambukkana, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Other Elephant enjoy their bathing time

Photo of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, B199, Rambukkana, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Elephants at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Photo of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, B199, Rambukkana, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Elephants enjoying their freedom near river

Photo of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, B199, Rambukkana, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

River bathing of Elephants at Pinnawala

Photo of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, B199, Rambukkana, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Demora Tea factory

Photo of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, B199, Rambukkana, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela
Day 3

We finished our breakfast at hotel. First we went straight to Single Tree Hill. The car can reach at the top of the view point through very narrow lane. You tend to see the whole town from another level of elevation. Also, there is a beautiful stupa on the way up. One can also get a tuk tuk ride at the start of the cliff up to 2 km. Next stop was to Ashoka Vatika which is the famous mythological place where Hanumanji met Sita and gave her Lord Rama ring. Post that we went to Hakgala Botanical Garden, entry fee per adult is 2000 LKR for foreign national and 100 LKR for Sri Lankan citizen. Pricey for SAARC citizens. Don’t miss the famous rock garden section inside the garden. It will take maximum two hours to finish walking inside the park. We had lunch at Indian Summer Restaurant with a perfect location facing the Lake Gregory. Post lunch we took a break visited town of Nuwura Eliya. Evening time was for Speed boat ride which cost us 5000 LKR and rates depends on the speed of boat which you select also some horse riding for my kid. We ended the day by having dinner in our hotel.

View from Hotel room of Galway Heights

Photo of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Stupa at Single Tree Hill Point

Photo of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Temple of Single Tree

Photo of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Ashoka Vatika where Hanumaji gave ring

Photo of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Hakgala Botanical Garden - Rock Garden area

Photo of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Tall trees in Hakgala Botanical Garden

Photo of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela
Day 4

We got up early at 7 am and went to Gallwaysland National Park which is 500 m walk from our hotel. Entry ticket is 1800 LKR per adult and for kids it’s free. It’s a beauty of nature trail which is divided into two parts with a stretch of 1 km walk each path. It’s a dense forest sort of walk and really safe with tall trees and fresh oxygen. They have barking deer and birds in natural habitat. It will take maximum two hours to complete both the parts. Post breakfast in the hotel our driver picked up and we went to Lovers Leap. It’s one of a kind of waterfall which has no defined path. We started through dense teagarden where we were joined by a young chap who helped us reach at the start of the waterfall and thereafter insisted us to climb the waterfall all the way up. It was such a great experience and adventurous climb with no road way and we had to do hiking trekking without any support and reach on top of the hill. The return is through other side and need to cross some water paths. It took us three hours to reach back to the car which was stationed down. It’s not possible for kids to climb all the way thankfully we left our kid with the driver who was sleeping patiently. We gave tip of 1500 LKR to that chap. We had lunch at Hotel Grand Indian Restaurant and the food quality is excellent. Its just outside and opposite to the Grand Hotel. Post lunch we went to Moon Planes National Park. The cost for full Jeep is 2000 LKR with entry fee of 400 LKR per adult and for kids it’s free. This park is unique where we visited during sunset time and the jeep drops you at one of the location from where you can see 360° view of the mountain range. Its an awesome scene of mountains range and you being in the centre. Evening time around 6 o’clock went near the Lake Gregory and did cycling where they have a particular path near Lake. Cost per cycle is 200 LKR. It was the closing time so one tip is to go a bit early so that you can see the entire lake during the sunset time. Beauty of cycling beside the lake is altogether different experience. There is also play area near the lake where one can spent time. Returned back to the hotel had dinner, played indoor games and rested our day.

Tip: if you have one extra day you can plan for Horton Plains National Park which is 1 1/2 hour away from Nuwura Eliya. One needs to hire separately jeep to reach there. Along with plenty of wildlife, a cliff know as Worlds End is a top attraction at this park. Also there is Baker Falls inside the park. We dropped that since there is approx 10-12 km walking and difficult for my kid.

Gallwaysland National Park

Photo of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Baby Barking Deer in Gallwaysland National Park

Photo of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Nature trail at Gallwaysland Park

Photo of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Lovers Leap at the start

Photo of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Lovers Leap once you reach at the top

Photo of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Moon Plains National Park

Photo of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Mountain range at Moon plains

Photo of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Wildlife at Moon Plains

Photo of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Peacock in flight mode at Moon Plains

Photo of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela
Day 5

Early morning I went alone for exploring some of the photography journey nearby Hotel. It’s surrounded by tea plantation, lake overview and got some amazing photographs. Post breakfast we checked out of the hotel and left our memories of Nuwura Eliya. I was seeing the Lake Gregory, Ashok Vatika and Botanical Garden while we took the last round on our way to Ella. Nuwura Eliya to Ella is maximum two hours drive. We checked in at Ella Nature View. There are plethora of hotels and difficult to exactly locate our hotel. After checkin we were ready and left for Ravana Falls. On the way we had our buffet lunch at Ella Mount Heaven which was facing valley and green hills. Post lunch we visited Ravana Waterfall. Entry to the waterfall is free of cost.We did continue our adventure while climbing the waterfall all the way to the top. Very few of the visitors actually try to reach the top. Once you reach at top you witness foreigners relaxing themselves by listening to music, reading books or playing board games. Once we completed the climb down from Ravana waterfall we took our car and went to Ravana caves. You need to hire a tuk tuk which takes 600 LKR from bottom and take you up to the starting point of the Ravan caves. Entry ticket is 150 LKR per adult. Its a 650 steps climb through the nature and you reach the caves which is now been enclosed. The best part is the breathtaking view all the way when you climb those steps. Nearby there is an ancient temple of Lord Buddha which has a history behind it which is good to hear from the locals nearby. We returned to our hotel and took some rest. At 7 PM we took tuk tuk and went to the local town of Ella. Tuk tuk cost 300 LKR one way and is available at phone call with the hotel reception. We had our dinner in Ella town. We did local shopping in Ella town which is a small lane of half a kilometre and return back through tuk tuk to our hotel.

Nuwara Eliya Tea plantations during early morning

Photo of Ella Nature view, Ella, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

View from room of Ella Nature View Hotel

Photo of Ella Nature view, Ella, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Ravana Waterfall

Photo of Ella Nature view, Ella, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Ravana Waterfall

Photo of Ella Nature view, Ella, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela
Day 6

We started our day at 7 am with packed breakfast from the hotel and visited to Little Adam’s peak. It’s a 2 to 3 km walk from the starting point all the way up to the peak. The best part of starting early is that you get less crowd and get to see the golden hour light falling on the mountains. Once you reach at the first peak there are two more peaks within gap of 500 m each. While returning you will find adventurous activities carried out by Flying Ravana Adventure Park such as zip lining, ATV, quak bike rides, abseiling, archery, etc. We returned from Little Adam’s Peak and got into our car and went to 9 Arch Bridge for which you need to take tuk tuk which cost 600 LKR from its starting point to a particular location from where you have to walk down for 500 m. There are specific train timings when the train crosses the bridge and we miss the sight of the train by 10 minutes. Lot of picture taking opportunities lies on the 9 Arch bridge and the famous tunnel. Climate of Sri Lanka is such a tropical that Nuwura Eliya was winter and Ella we witness rainfall. Our driver told us that the climate of Sri Lanka changes every 100 kms. One tip is to always see the train timing and you can very well cover Little Adam’s Peak and 9 arch bridge and return to your hotel around 10/10.30 and have breakfast in the hotel. We decided to have our lunch at Cafe Chill in Ella town which is by far the most happening cafe and not to be missed. Burgers, Pasta and homemade ice cream are the best. Post lunch we went to our next location for another adventure. It was a 30 minute car drive from Ella town to Ella waterfalls. Once you reach the start you will require a tuk tuk which will cost 500 LKR which took us 2 km on top. After that it’s 500 m walk inside the nature and you will reach one of the best unnoticed waterfalls of Sri Lanka. There were no one inside the waterfall and it was like private waterfall inside the nature. Although Sri Lanka is a safe country but one should always be watchful. Me and my son decided to take a dip inside the waterfall and enjoyed the nature to the fullest. It was all safe and one of the best Waterfalls of Sri Lanka. We returned back to our hotel and decided to go for dinner at the same Cafe Chill in Ella town and it was waiting time for us. The town is happening and we stroll through the small town, returned and rested our day.

On the way to Little Adam’s peak

Photo of Ella, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Nine Arch Bridge

Photo of Ella, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Nine Arch Bridge and it rains

Photo of Ella, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Homemade Ice cream at Cafe Chill Ella

Photo of Ella, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Ella Waterfalls

Photo of Ella, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela
Day 7

The day started early again for me for some photography journey. Post breakfast at the hotel we checked out and went straight to Yala which took us three hours to reach. We checked in to our hotel Ekho Safari Tissa. Afternoon time we went for safari at Yala National Park. Our driver had already arranged jeep which cost us 7500 LKR. The ticket cost for Safari is 7800 LKR. This National Park in Sri Lanka is very different as compared to India, where it is more of an open field unlike tall trees. Safari starts at 2 pm and ends at 6 pm. We witnessed leopards but it was far from site sleeping on tree. All the jeeps lined up to see the leopard and it sometimes take waiting long time. There are lot many birds and animals to have sightings and also a beach which is located inside the national park. Tip: avoid the sighting of leopard if they are sleeping on a tree because it is very difficult to see them that far distance with naked eye. In doing so you miss lot of time waiting in que which could be used seeing other beautiful animals in the park. We returned back from safari ride and enjoyed the rest of the evening by swimming inside the pool of the resort. Our dinner was included in the hotel booking and that was more of Sri Lankan buffet.

Black and White Magpie Robin Song Bird

Photo of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Early morning bird capture from Ella room

Photo of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Ella Nature View

Photo of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Just outside Ella Hotel.

Photo of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Some frames to capture

Photo of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Rains in Ella

Photo of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Yala National Park Entrance Ticket

Photo of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Couple of Black Headed Ibis

Photo of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Play time for birds in Yala National Park

Photo of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Close up in Yala for Indian National Bird

Photo of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Green Bee-eater in Yala

Photo of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Flycatcher in Yala Safari

Photo of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Yala National Park

Photo of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Mother and baby Elephant in Yala

Photo of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Crested Hawk Eagle in Yala

Photo of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Grey Heron in Yala

Photo of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Painted Stock Birds in Yala

Photo of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela
Day 8

We did one more round of swimming, photography and thereafter our breakfast in the resort and checked out at 12 noon. We went straight to Mirissa and checked in Triple O Six. Took us two hours to reach Mirissa.

Evening at around 5 PM we went to the secret beach in Mirissa. The car reaches a certain point and from there it’s 500 m walk down towards the beach. It was one of its kind of sunset and the beach is crystal clear and we went swimming in the beach. The beach is very less crowded as compare to the Mirissa beach and you can easily count number of people. After returning to the resort we went for swimming inside the pool of hotel. We had our dinner in the resort. Our suite room was on the top floor with stunning direct view of coconut tree hill from the balcony.

Tip: From Yala while returning one can also visit Bundala National Park which is a bird sanctuary within 30 minutes drive.

Room view from Ekho Safari Tissa Hotel

Photo of Mirissa, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Tissa Lake backyard of Hotel

Photo of Mirissa, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Secret beach at Mirissa

Photo of Mirissa, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Evening at Secret Beach Mirissa

Photo of Mirissa, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela
Day 9

We started our day at 6 AM and our driver took us to the Mirissa port for whale watching activity. Ticket cost is 50 USD per adult and 30 USD for kids. It’s one of the unique experience for those who have not done whale or dolphin watching before. The boat has upper and lower deck where the upper deck is shaky and the lower deck is stable. One can easily go and shift to the upper deck. They severe fruits and rolls in Breakfast and washroom provision is there inside the boat. They also provide tablets which is safe to take to avoid vomitting. We saw whale shark just near to our boat. The cost for the ticket is bit pricey but one can experience such activity. We returned to our resort at 10:30 AM and checked out from the resort at 12 noon. We went to the famous Coconut Tree Hill which is just opposite and walking distance near to our resort and is picturesque. Tip: one can even try snorkelling which is also carried out in the nearby beaches with all the gears and a trainer for 10 USD. Mirissa to Galle is one hour drive. We checked into our hotel Yara Galle Fort and the climate changed again and it was raining. Fortunately the rains stopped after half an hour and we went for a walk around the Galle beach and Fort area. There are many cafes and coffee shops facing the beach which has one of the best sunset spot you can witness in the island. There is this famous lighthouse near the Fort which is established in 1938. We started missing Mumbai food and there is one small outlet name – Bombay Brasserie restaurant which serves Vada Pav, Biriyani and other Indian cuisine. Advance reservations is ideal since it is a small outlet and it will certainly satisfy your craving of Mumbai food. Late night you can stroll near the Fort area which has unique antique shops and ice cream parlours. People also prefer staying in Mirissa and then visit Galle in afternoon for couple of hours to see the Lighthouse, Fort and Sunset and return to Mirissa. However I would suggest to stay in Galle Fort area because it reduces the travelling time and you can feel the culture of Galle area and have night walks near those lanes. There are lot of shopping opportunities near Galle Fort but they are bit expensive. After having dinner, ice cream at Gelato and those walks in lane we returned to our hotel and rested our day.

Whale watching in Mirissa

Photo of Galle Fort, Galle, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Room view from Triple O Six

Photo of Galle Fort, Galle, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Coconut Tree Hill

Photo of Galle Fort, Galle, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Sunset at Galle

Photo of Galle Fort, Galle, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela
Day 10

We had our breakfast in the hotel and checked out early since this was our last day in Sri Lanka and we wanted to cover shopping as well. From Galle we went to Sea Turtle Hatchery & Rescue Centre at Hikkaduwa which was 1 hour away. Entry ticket is 1000 LKR per adult and 500 LKR for kids. One can also pay additional 500 LKR and release one baby turtle into the sea. Sri Lanka is famous for its Gems and Stones. We went to one of the gems factory and saw how moon stones are extracted and purchased one. You can bargain and try to get the price which is within your budget. They also provide certificate of purity. We reached Colombo at 5 PM and visited the famous Odel shop. It is one of the branded shops which is like a mall in itself. We also visited House of Fashion which is a must visit since you get branded clothes at a very reasonable price. We finished our shopping at 7 PM and reached airport at 8 PM to catch our 11.30 pm return direct flight to Mumbai. It was time to say Goodbye to my driver and those lovely moments in Lanka from the very first day we landed to the same airport.

At the end I would like to conclude that it was one of the most memorable trip which we rightly planned of wildlife, nature, waterfall, beaches, mountains, history and also different weather conditions all in all in one country and would return to Sri Lanka as there is so much natural beauty to look out and complete the rest of the unfinished journey. Some of the pictures and videos of Sri Lanka also captured in my Instagram account @ameetkela.

Baby turtles at Turtle Hatchery

Photo of Colombo, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela

Oldest Turtle at Turtle Hatchery

Photo of Colombo, Sri Lanka by Ameet Kela