A longtime friend said to me, I am an old soul (well I guess she was right but not exactly…). I am just “predictable in my predictability…” I love to wander and follow my soul, so this Christmas, I picked Sri Lanka.
Travelling is a pleasure, yet fulfilling in many ways depending on what’s on the agenda. Are you looking for relaxation or an adventure? Sri Lanka is definitely the destination to be considered.
- Tropical climate yet moderate warmth
- Beautiful coastlines with golden sandy beaches
- Unspoiled landscapes and varied wildlife
- Glorious history and rich cultural heritage
- Sri Lankan people and their hospitality
After I booked my flight, I wanted to experience what most people do..train ride between Kandy and Nuwara-Eliya. But 4 nights in Sri Lanka are never quite enough to travel in between Central and Southern Province. I chose to head West ~ Kalutara District, approximately 1.5 hours from Colombo. Western Province has a lot to offer such as temple and museum visits, river safari, sunset cruise, whale watching, tea plantation tour and water sports. I did…none of these but…
Lunuganga Estate.. It is the country home of the renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, a lawyer turn architect in the early 1940s. Since his death in 2003, this estate has been managed by a group of his close friends who form the Lunuganga Trust. The gardens are open to the public and the buildings are run as seasonable country house hotel. Only small private tours by the estate guide are allowed during certain time. Do check the schedule before you make a trip down. I’m glad that I get to explore the work of Asia’s best-known architect, walking through the elegant gardens, cinnamon plantation, lily ponds, experiencing one of the best views over Deduwa lake and discovering some of his great collections such as the six legged chairs and lover’s chair.
A day trip to Galle Fort…Galle is a small capital city and Dutch colonial town located in the Southern Province. The Southern coastline was badly damaged by the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. Traveling by car from Kalutara to Galle, you can do a quick stopover at Hikkaduwa and the Peraliya Buddha Statue before arriving at the fort. This buddha statue was build close the the railway track where more than 1,500 passengers were killed during the tsunami.
I managed to spend some time at the historical part of the city, Galle Fort. It was first built by the Portuguese and Dutch made the fort into the size it is today that houses administrative offices up till to date, churches, mosques and temples. Strolling through the narrow streets, you will also find cafes, restaurants, art galleries and a few shops. The fort protected Galle from Tsunami in 2004. While other seaside town were ravaged by the tsunami.
Madurawala Eco Village.. the first Community Based Ecotourism Project in the Kalutara District. When I asked hotel concierge about this eco village, no one knows where the exact location and the name. They told me to book a hotel car due to bumpy rides along the way, but I ended up getting on a Tuk Tuk instead (another tick on my adventure list). During our 45 minutes ride, driver Philip and I lost our way in a rubber plantation but the local villagers were helpful pointing us to the right direction. Phew, we arrived safely after a scenic route….! And, I brought 30 brochures back to the hotel so that they can help promoting this village to other guests.
This project is driven by Rev. Hatiyalwela Chandananada, a erudite Chief Incumbent of Sri Sumangala Temple to promote people-friendly tourism with a view to assure social benefits to the community loving around this rural area. I met 3 interns who showed me around and I was invited for a cup of tea after the tour. Before I left, Rev. told the interns that he would like to give me his blessings and so he said his prayers and tied a white flower knot on my wrist. I wasn’t sure if the same ritual is being offered in other hotels upon check-out but I received another blessing before I depart, and this time, yellow threads.
The R&R and more Rs.. I didn’t do much on my first and last day but sunbathing (and repeat) in a private beach ~ My kind of place for Relaxation, Rejuvenation and self Reflection.. Just Rest and be thankful!
The island of Ceylon is full of history, nature, culture and arts ~ one visit is not enough. I hope to come back one day, to experience the exotic wildlife and the breathtaking panoramic views in the Northern and Central Province of Sri Lanka…..
Spur-of-the-moment is the best kind of adventure..