Ceylon In My Heart | Sri Lanka In 10 Days

Tripoto
Photo of Ceylon In My Heart | Sri Lanka In 10 Days by Shobita Negi

It’s absurd for anyone to say that “In my head, I’m married to a country. To Sri Lanka!” Yep! You read that right. And I’m certainly the insane human to even think of a thing like that. (Hint: Call it an obsession of a lover.) Ceylon, the former name of this surreal country now known as Sri Lanka is so much more than what I thought of it while growing up, in its’s neighbouring country India. For me, it was always the land of men battling it out on the cricket pitch with India or the kingdom of Ravana. Nothing more, nothing less. Last August(now almost one year back, feels like an anniversary post. An ode to my love-land) I visited Lanka and my thoughts about this country flipped me over like a thousand somersaults back-to-back( yeah, I love a little bit of exaggeration but this post is 100 per cent legit). The experience was nothing short of magnificent.

Let me walk you through my 10 days of absolute bliss.

Day 1

Mount Lavinia

I had an early morning flight from New Delhi(03:45 am), 05hrs 20mins halt at Chennai(the downside of booking cheap flights. hey! I was on a budget trip, *pfft*), landed at Bandaranaike Int. Airport, Colombo at 01:25 pm and straight away took a shared cab to my hostel, Island Hostels Mount Lavinia which is located on 48 station road. Honestly, it was 43kms( almost an hour plus 20mins with traffic) apart but I held my patience because a lot of people suggested me to find my stay away from mainland Colombo. And I didn’t regret my decision at all. Clean and cosy bunk beds, amazing crowd to chill with, a terrace with not just a view but a pool to splash-in and the propriety so cleverly placed 1.5kms off the Mount Lavina Beach. After my check-in, a bit of quick nap & shower I headed for a grandeur dinner(Never compromise on food, even on a budget trip) to the beachside Terrace restaurant of Mount Lavinia Hotel. It is there when I was introduced to one of the most amazing beers I’ve ever had in my life, LION! As the name roars, the next 9 days Lion and I enjoyed each others company a little too much. Post dinner I took a stroll around the beach of Mount Lavinia and then walked back to my hostel as my day had to start early the next day.

Great Staff & Comfortable dorms

Photo of Island Hostels - Mount Lavinia, Station Road, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Island Hostels - Mount Lavinia, Station Road, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Island Hostels - Mount Lavinia, Station Road, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Mount Lavinia Hotel, Hotel Road, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Mount Lavinia Hotel, Hotel Road, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Day 2

Kandy

The PoA for the day was to visit, PINNAWALA ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE, Rambukkana before 09:15 am as they have a set time for bottle feeding the baby elephant(YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT, BUDDY) and I simply wanted to do that. No prizes for guessing that as a kid “Dumbo-The Elephant” was one of my favourite books. So, I went a little extravagant and had pre-booked my cab for the orphanage which was 102kms and 2hrs 45mins of a drive and YASSSSS QUEEN, I made it in time and fed the baby elephant with my hands (and just when I typed that I’m getting all teary-eyed and nostalgic), he let me pet him for a bit. I can’t even...

After spending an hour and a half I started my journey for Kandy which was another 42kms and almost an hour away.

On arriving in Kandy, my first stop was Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Now with full honesty, I’m not a religious person but I love to explore and learn about culture and history so I had to visit this temple known for guarding Lord Buddha’s Tooth. White on the exteriors, Roof coated in gold, this place stays crowded, as many devotees from all over the world come here to offer their prayers.

I then checked-in at Clock Inn Kandy, a hostel-cum-hotel, interiors so beautifully done and painted in teal and whites, it had me at hello! Without wasting any time I threw my stuff on my bunk and headed to the city lake and strolled around in the city, stopped for lunch at one of the oldest cafes called The Empire Cafe, Gulped down more than 10 glasses of juice. Honestly, you can try out other places as well. My major hold back? I’m a lacto-ovo-vegetarian. But on the upside, they have a nice, compact but cute outdoor seating area and super friendly staff(on learning that I’m from India, he said “Bollywood aacha lagta. Movies dekhke little Hindi seekha. Iliana bohot sunder” (I like Bollywood, learnt a little bit of Hindi from watching Bollywood movies. Iliana is very beautiful) and I, like any other Bollywood-crazy fan, couldn’t hold my happiness. Guess what, I went back to the same place for dinner. Ermmm, well! Another note to make, most places shut down around 07:00 pm, there’s barely any nightlife, out on the streets or bars/clubs so, no point staying out late and instead go back to your hostel and chill with people from around the world in the common area. Post-dinner I walked back to my hostel, on my way back via the main market I stopped by the outlet by ODEL, “Luv SL” which is the best store for buying souvenirs and gifts for your loved ones and is spread mostly all over Lanka. I bought more than 40 post-cards from there(I go crazy for post-cards). On arriving at the hostel, I booked my Day-tour for the next day with my hostel management for Dambulla Caves, Pidurangala Rock & Sigiriya Rock.

Lifeline of Sri Lanka. Tuk-Tuk

Photo of Kandy, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Kandy, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, B199, Rambukkana, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi

Post Cards from Luv SL by ODEL

Photo of Clock Inn Colombo, Colombo - Galle Main Road, Colombo, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi

because drama is life.

Photo of Clock Inn Colombo, Colombo - Galle Main Road, Colombo, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi

Common-Area

Photo of Clock Inn Colombo, Colombo - Galle Main Road, Colombo, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of The Empire Cafe, Temple Street, Kandy, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Day 3

Kandy

My day started at 09:00 am with breakfast in the hostel cafe and by 10:00 am I was seated in my tuk-tuk which is also the lifeline of Sri Lanka. #TransportationMadeEasy . The first stop was the Dambulla Caves. Our tuk-tuk dropped us at Golden Buddha & Buddhist Museum, Dambulla. At the entrance of the location, I thought this is it, we have reached the caves. Little did I know that it was just a teaser. After walking through the museum and the Statue I was looking around for the caves when a tourist standing next to me told me about the “hike” for the caves. Alright then, I was all geared up, not dressed appropriately for the day (hiking/ trekking & literally monkeying on boulders to get to the top of the hill in a maxi-skirt and a pair of slippers is challenging but totes ADVENTUROUS) but, I started walking towards the caves and in no time, was I walking alongside a picturesque view and tingling breeze. And in 15-20mins, I was at the top of the hill, where sat the mysterious Dambulla Caves. Artistic Buddha paintings on ceilings, Stupas and Buddha idols are well placed in these caves. History says that the King Walagamba had to flee from Indian invaders and hide in various caves including the ones in Dambulla, which were already inhabited by the Buddhist monks. On gaining his power back as a king, he decided to turn the caves into temples.1-1.5hrs is enough to explore these caves/temples.Leaving behind Dambulla Cave Temple now was my time to head to the next location Sigiriya(23 km, 40mins). It started raining madly. But, I was determined to at least climb one of the two Rock fortresses and decided to do Pidurangala Rock hike. Why? The same view, you can see Sigiriya Rock right in front and cheaper Entrance Fee. There is no need to choose from the two. People manage to do both. Most people do Pidurangala Hike for sunrise anf Sigiriya for the sunset. The highlights to Sigiriya: Beautiful sunset, The Mirror Wall & Lion Paw. On the other hand, Pidurangala gives a 360-degree view. It’s 20-30 mins of hiking and then some jumping around on the boulders (and just while typing it all I got hit by the memory of me doing all of that in my skirt). I sat there for some time, tried absorbing as much as I could and started trailing down the hill where my tuk-tuk was waiting for me. It was a good(more than half a day) experience for me to learn new facts and beliefs about the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

My eventful day ended with me getting dropped at the main market from where I first walked towards the Railway station to check on the timings for my train to Ella the next day which runs every half an hour but only till 11:00 am (The ticket counter for the 3rd class opens half an hour prior to the train departure.) To end my day, that day I sat and drank LION and hogged a meal for 2 fully grown humans at Slightly Chilled Lounge Bar & Restaurant. Calling it a day!

Ride for the day,

Photo of Kandy, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Dambulla Cave Temple, Kandy - Jaffna Highway, Dambulla, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Dambulla Cave Temple, Kandy - Jaffna Highway, Dambulla, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Dambulla Cave Temple, Kandy - Jaffna Highway, Dambulla, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Dambulla Cave Temple, Kandy - Jaffna Highway, Dambulla, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Dambulla Cave Temple, Kandy - Jaffna Highway, Dambulla, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Dambulla Cave Temple, Kandy - Jaffna Highway, Dambulla, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Dambulla Cave Temple, Kandy - Jaffna Highway, Dambulla, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Pidurangala Rock, Sigiriya, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Pidurangala Rock, Sigiriya, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi

The immediate next is Pidurangala Rock. The other one is Sigiriya Rock.

Photo of Pidurangala Rock, Sigiriya, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Day 4

Ella

The day started with breakie at the hostel cafe and then rushing to Kandy Railway Station. I would be honest, I was the most excited for this train journey because of the several blogs which glorifying described this journey and it lived up to all the hype and decorated words used for this experience. Moving through the lush green fields, while it drizzled ( https://bit.ly/2OHEy5E ) and made it even greener than any shade of green on the colour palette. Indeed this was by far the most beautiful train journey of my life. The statement still stays untouched. Kandy to Ella is a 7hrs 10mins ride with multiple station halts in between. Now a lot of people also, stay at Nuwara Eliya, do tea plantation tours and Adam’s Peak. With not much time on me, I had to skip that and decided to stay 2 night in Ella instead. I reached Ella station around 06:10 pm. Now, in this particular area, the tuk-tuk is your only way to explore the touristy spots and THEY know it. Therefore, they charge you double and at times even try and fool you by taking a longer route or taking rounds around the same location to charge you extra (TIP: Always keep your Google Maps handy). They quoted 1,000LKR from the station to my hostel which was barely any distance from the station. So, I walked till the town and looked around at the crazy cafes and knew it was time for me to satiate my inner food monster. I randomly picked Cafe C Ella. Amazing Margherita Cheese Pizza and freshly squeezed Water Melon juicex3(because oh-so-good). I took a tuk-tuk from the Town to my hostel, Tomorrowland. Which is hosted by an amazing man and a staff full of warm people and *wait until I scream with joy* beautiful doggos. Since the day was coming to an end I sat and chilled inside the common area, sipping LION off the cans, playing carrom and losing at it. Here, there were no bunk beds BUT personal tents (Say whaaaaa?) so, that when you wake up sunrise is right in front of you. Ah! hun, the best view of sunrise is from this point, fellas!

Photo of Kandy Railway Station, Kandy, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Kandy Railway Station, Kandy, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Kandy Railway Station, Kandy, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Kandy Railway Station, Kandy, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Ella Railway Station, Wellawaya-Ella-Kumbalwela Highway, Ella, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Ella Railway Station, Wellawaya-Ella-Kumbalwela Highway, Ella, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Cafe C Ella, A23, Ella, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Tomorrowland Hostel, Ella, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Tomorrowland Hostel, Ella, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi

HE is called BEAUTY!

Photo of Tomorrowland Hostel, Ella, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Day 5

Ella

My day started with breakfast (not a big fan of their cooking staff, but they are cute and sweet. So, I ate the eggs and the toast...ermm). Now, I had a lot of places to tick off my to-do list so, I took the tuk-tuk and straight away headed to Little Adam’s Peak. 1hr 30mins of the climb and a spectacular view awaits you. What do they say about the climb? “They view at the top of the hill is always worth all the climb”. It took me barely 30-40 mins to walk to the foothill (descends are always lovely). Next stops were all touristy. So, I covered Ravana Falls, Nine Arches Bridge, Local Tea plantations and then went to a secret waterfall (and I’m glad my host told me about this place. It was tiny but had no one bathing over there with soap on, unlike Ravana falls. There were no shops or commercials therefore, I enjoyed my me-time pretty well and then took a drop for the Town. The remaining part of the day I chilled at the cafe called “Chill Restaurant Bar”. After a couple of LION cans, I went back to my hostel to take on the carrom championship. Rest is all history.

Tea Plantation

Photo of Tomorrowland Hostel, Ella, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi

Secret Waterfall

Photo of Tomorrowland Hostel, Ella, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi

Adam’s Peak

Photo of Little Adam's Peak, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi

Ravana Waterfall

Photo of Ravana Falls., A23, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi

Ravana Waterfall

Photo of Ravana Falls., A23, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Nine Arches Bridge, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Nine Arches Bridge, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Chill Restaurant Bar, A23, Ella, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Day 6

Next Stop: Yala (109km, 2hr 30mins)

Now what I had in mind was that, towards the end of the trip, as I'd get closer to the water bodies, I wouldn’t mind spending a little over my budget. I was nowhere near the waters but I had booked Cinnamon Wild Yala, Tissamaharama (burned a hole in my pocket, not a good choice for backpackers/budget travellers). But hey, the luxury does spoil you, TeeHee! The luxurious resort and their terrace view, The Beach Chalet, the walk around the nearby lake, crocodiles sunbathing 10 feet away from you, peacocks running around their half-marathon, everything about this place was giving me vacation goals. I enjoyed my swim in their pool and then the delicious risotto to end my day.

Photo of Hambantota, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Cinnamon Wild Yala - chargenet, Main Entrance Road, Palatupana, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Cinnamon Wild Yala - chargenet, Main Entrance Road, Palatupana, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Cinnamon Wild Yala - chargenet, Main Entrance Road, Palatupana, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Day 7

Galle

The day started at 04:00 am. My bags were packed and I was ready to goooooo, I checked out as I had my Morning Jungle Safari booked and was supposed to take the bus to Galle soon after the end of Safari. We reached the Yala National Park at 05:00 am. It was a group of 6 people, we drove through the National Park through and through to spot Bears and Leopards for almost 6-7hrs. What did we spot? Elephants and crocodiles (that can be easily seen everywhere in Lanka. Minus the  Crocodiles but I've had an overdose of them the day before). Such disappointment. Much heartbreak. On the upside, the National Park is pretty cool. They have a beach to themselves and that too a beautiful one. So, +1 for that. The safari ended by 12:30 pm and the tour guy dropped me at the bus stand from where I hopped in a bus that took me straight to Galle (pronunciation: Gall of Gallbladder. Okay that wasn’t needed). 90kms and 1.5hrs of the bus ride and I was in the gorgeous Dutch town of Sri Lanka. The whole city is built in a super colonial pattern and the Dutch, Portuguese and British Architecture throw the classic aura around like confetti. A small city that you can cover on foot gives you the famous Galle Dutch Fort, The Lighthouse, National Museum and some real fine cafes to eat at. My personal favourites were Pedlar’s Inn Cafe & Restaurant and Calorie Counter, both on Lighthouse Street which was 2 mins walking from my stay, Pedlar’s Inn Hostel.

4:30 am pick-up for Morning Safari

Photo of Yala National Park, Hambantota, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Yala National Park, Hambantota, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Yala National Park, Hambantota, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Yala National Park, Hambantota, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Galle, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Galle, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Galle, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Galle, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Galle, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Pedlar’s Inn Hostel, Lighthouse Street, Galle, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Pedlar’s Inn Hostel, Lighthouse Street, Galle, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Pedlar’s Inn Hostel, Lighthouse Street, Galle, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Calorie Counter, Lighthouse Street, Galle, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Day 8

Hikkaduwa

After breakfast and check-out from Pedlar’s Inn Hostel, I walked to the railway station which was 10mins away. Started at 10:00 am and at 11:40 am I was in Hikkaduwa. My hotel Coral Rock by Bansei was 10mins off the railway station and located at the beachfrooooooont! The happy girl got happier. (

So as my vacay was nearing its end I went to the beach and just swam and sat over there till the lights went down and then walked to the local shack around Hikkaduwa to sip my LION and celebrate a week full of events at “Top Secret”.

Photo of Galle Railway Station, Galle, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Ceylon In My Heart | Sri Lanka In 10 Days by Shobita Negi

View from the room.

Photo of Ceylon In My Heart | Sri Lanka In 10 Days by Shobita Negi
Photo of Ceylon In My Heart | Sri Lanka In 10 Days by Shobita Negi
Photo of Ceylon In My Heart | Sri Lanka In 10 Days by Shobita Negi
Photo of Ceylon In My Heart | Sri Lanka In 10 Days by Shobita Negi

Hikkaduwa Beach

Photo of Ceylon In My Heart | Sri Lanka In 10 Days by Shobita Negi
Day 9

Bentota

Wanted to try more shacks so started my day at Mambo’s for breakfast and straight away left for my last destination in a tuk-tuk from there. 47mins of breezy tuk-tuk ride and I landed in Bentota.

Stay for the day, Avani Bentota Resort. I pretty much did the same thing on this day. Took to the pool and then took advantage of the resort being on the beachfront. Stayed the whole day on the beach, relaxing and feeling lucky about being in this country and realizing how 10 days were NOT enough to have it all but more than enough to fall in love with Lanka. ( https://bit.ly/2yRAbu5 )

I mean, I missed/skipped a lot of places from Mirissa to Unawatuna, Arugam Bay, Nuwara Eliya, Tangalle, Weligama, Trincomalee, Nilaveli, Dikwella, and kill me already. I know the next time I’m visiting this beautiful country, I am going there for a good 1-month-long break.

Photo of Avani Bentota Resort, Bentota, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Avani Bentota Resort, Bentota, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Avani Bentota Resort, Bentota, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Avani Bentota Resort, Bentota, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Avani Bentota Resort, Bentota, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Avani Bentota Resort, Bentota, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Avani Bentota Resort, Bentota, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Day 10

Colombo

Sadly, my journey had to end here But just before I could sulk, I made sure I go and chill at the Bentota Beach, one last time and then had the most amazing breakfast EVER and yes I ate for two!

As I headed to the airport BUT before I did so, I went to the post-office in Bentota, which was 5mins walk from my hotel, mailed all the post-cards with love notes for my people. There is something so special about postal love. It may be out of fashion and no matter how obsolete the idea sounds, I still think it’s such a beautiful way to tell someone that you love them.

Cut the mush, back to check-out and tuk-tuk ride to the airport and there I was, not ready to leave but in no condition to stay back. Hence, left my heart in Sri Lanka. Only to come back again.

Photo of Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), Canada Friendship Rd, Katunayake, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi

That's my first serving ONLY.

Photo of Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), Canada Friendship Rd, Katunayake, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Bentota Beach, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Bentota Beach, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi
Photo of Bentota Beach, Sri Lanka by Shobita Negi

FEW TIPS:

*Most places are well connected via railways and buses. Know your timings well in advance.

*While visiting religious places make sure your knees are covered (goes for all genders).

*The country is very safe at all hours of the day so that is not a big concern.

*Always buy 3rd class train ticket for the best experience.

*Tuk-Tuks might charge extra and try to fool you so always have your GoogleMaps on you.

*It’s advisable to have a local SIM on you.

I hope you enjoyed reading my love-story(do comment and tell.) Also, comment below if you've done Sri Lanka the other way and I shall make notes for my next visit.

Ayubowan // Namastey

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10 Comment(s)
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It was an elaborative insight into your Sri Lanka trip. Throughly enjoyed reading it. Keep up with your travels and keep sharing your experiences.
Sun 08 04 19, 12:59 · Reply · Report
Awesomeeeeee.
Fri 08 02 19, 23:44 · Reply · Report
Reading all of y'all comments made me super happy. Keep the love flowing. Thank you so much! ❣️
Fri 08 02 19, 21:41 · Reply · Report
This is so wonderfully put together. Amazing blog. Definitely waiting for your next blog.
Fri 08 02 19, 19:25 · Reply · Report
Aap toh ho best East or West
Thu 08 01 19, 05:05 · Reply · Report
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