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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Our 2 week Sri Lanka itinerary: coast to coast with children 

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After I began planning our Sri Lanka itinerary I had two standards: keep away from the monsoon and strike a steadiness between experiencing the nation’s most well-known sights whereas constructing in time to calm down.

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Our journey rolled straight on from a month visiting household within the UK and every week in Budapest, so skipping the ‘enjoyable’ half would have been a recipe for pre-teen meltdowns. 

We nonetheless managed to pack so much into our two weeks in Sri Lanka, beginning within the capital Columbo, touring to the traditional cities within the central area, happening safari, parking ourselves subsequent to the seaside on the East Coast, and returning through the tea plantations of the Hill Nation and the dominion of Kandy.

Sri Lanka is like nowhere we now have been earlier than with its lush panorama teeming with wildlife and Buddhas at each flip. Its historical civilisations left essentially the most unbelievable legacy whereas the Sri Lankans of right this moment fall over themselves to welcome you.

We skilled plenty of firsts right here too – temples, an elephant safari and dawn household swims. So Sri Lanka will all the time be particular to us.

After sharing snippets from our journey on Instagram I do know that numerous individuals are eager to listen to the main points, good and never so nice. If you’re planning a household journey to Sri Lanka then I hope this journey diary gives you inspiration on your personal journey. 

So right here we go…

Abstract of our Sri Lanka itinerary

Right here’s a fast information to our 14 days in Sri Lanka:

  • Days 1 to 2: Columbo – a whistle-stop tour of temples, the colonial Fort space and the capital’s latest attraction, the Lotus Tower.
  • Days 2 to five: Sigiriya – climbing the ‘Lion Rock’, visiting a neighborhood village by ox cart and boat, and happening an elephant safari in Kaudulla Nationwide Park.
  • Days 5 to 9: Pasikuda – 4 indulgent days of dawn swims and chilling by the pool.
  • Days 9 to 12 Koslanda – an unbelievable jungle lodge keep compete with monkeys, swimming at a waterfall and infinity pool time.
  • Day 12: a journey by way of the Hill Nation by prepare and highway to the traditional metropolis that’s house to the Buddha’s tooth.
  • Days 13 to 14: climbing the Ambuluwawa Tower in Gampola, visiting the Temple of the Tooth relic and returning to Columbo through the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya.

Not backpacking round Sri Lanka

We organized our journey ourselves, so this isn’t a bundle vacation. It’s additionally not a backpacking itinerary, which lots of people come to Sri Lanka to do.

I made a decision our route based mostly on locations I wished to go to and booked accommodations shut by by way of reserving.com.

Studying Journey Mad Mum’s information to Sri Lanka with Youngsters gave me the boldness to place collectively our personal itinerary quite than e book by way of a tour firm. Karen can be an excellent supply of data for bigger households visiting Sri Lanka as she lives there along with her household of six.

If you need some recommendation on the way to gradual journey with your loved ones I can advocate studying Travelynn Household’s Sri Lanka again packing itinerary.

Whereas Jenny and I journey a bit of in a different way, we do share a love of camper vans and she or he impressed me to e book our lodging in Koslanda. Spoiler alert: we cherished it.

Mr Tin Box lifts daughter up on his hands in the infinity pool at Koslanda

We bought round with a driver who took us to all of the websites, helped us prepare excursions and transported us between our accommodations. He was one other tip from Karen which saved us cash on hiring our personal automobile.

Once we visited Sri Lanka

We took our journey to Sri Lanka in August. That is monsoon season within the south and west. We deliberate our itinerary to keep away from this. The central area and east coast are the perfect locations to go to at the moment of 12 months. 

The Historic Cities have been sizzling however not insufferable. We began excursions early on the times we knew we have been going to be strolling so much and left the warmer afternoons for the pool or much less strenuous actions. 

The Hill Nation was cooler however dry and the East Coast was sizzling. We didn’t do a lot throughout other than calm down beside the lodge our 4 days there – however that was all the time the plan.

Our 14 day Sri Lanka itinerary

Single elephant walking through grassland in the Kaudulla National park

Here’s a daily information to the locations we skilled throughout our two weeks in Sri Lanka. We didn’t cowl a fraction of what there’s to see, so have been left very tempted to return.

Days 1 to 2: Columbo

Our flight into Columbo’s Bandaranaike Worldwide Airport landed within the night, so quite than begin our journey East we checked right into a metropolis lodge. 

This gave us a full day to discover Columbo. Though 4 hours was a lot for the children, even with a pitstop for ice cream at one in every of Sri Lanka’s prime dessert spots, Rio Ice Cream on Wellawatta Seashore.


Brass Buddha on a peacock in front of dozens of Buddhas lined up inside temple

We started our whistle cease tour of Columbo with a glance across the treasures of the colorful Gandaramaya Temple. It was the primary of a number of temples we visited throughout the fortnight and an excellent place to introduce the children to Buddhism.

For vacationers like us, Gandaramaya feels extra like a museum than a temple with an eclectic mixture of choices on show.

Glass instances are lined with vintage hearth arms, jewelry and classic Rolls Royce vehicles, whereas the flooring are strewn with statues, furnishings and random animal tusks. The a whole lot of hundreds of unannotated donations could be a curator’s nightmare. 

Essentially the most fascinating piece we admired was Sri Lanka’s smallest Buddha statue. You possibly can examine the element utilizing a magnifying glass constructed into its tiny case.

A tiny Buddha statue kept inside a glass dome with a built in magnifying glass

From Gandaramaya we took a brief stroll to Seema Malaka – the temple on Beira Lake.

It is a far more tranquil place. Or so I assumed till I needed to do a dance throughout the bridge after I realised how sizzling it had turn out to be underneath the complete glare of the August solar.

Close up of a weathered Buddha statue draped in a yellow robe

You don’t want lengthy to discover Seema Malaka. It’s far more as I imagined Buddhist temples to be – floating in a sea of calm, albeit within the centre of busy Columbo with a shopping center throughout the highway.

There was a temple right here for much longer than the mall. 100 and twenty years to be actual. Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka’s most well-known architect, constructed the present one within the Nineteen Seventies.

Independence Sq.

Ten year old walking between the stone columns of the Pavilion in Independence Square in Colombo

Subsequent up was a little bit of nationwide historical past and a go to to Independence Sq.. 

This opened in 1948 when Ceylon turned unbiased from the British Empire. Subsequent to it’s a large pavilion the place we dove for shade. It’s modelled on the viewers corridor at Kandy, which we have been to see in the direction of the top of our journey. 

Columbo’s Lotus Tower

The youngsters have been flagging at this stage so we determined to attract a line underneath our cultural sightseeing for the day and as an alternative make a journey up the Lotus Tower.

This 350-metre tower opened in September 2022 and is the eleventh tallest tower in Asia with an open air commentary deck on the seventh flooring, 244m up.

This was our greatest expense in Columbo at $20 per grownup and $10 for kids as much as the age of 10-years-old, however you get a superb view of town. There wasn’t a lot else open throughout the tower once we visited though there are many areas for different leisure and companies to open. 

The tower appears to be like implausible when it’s lit up at night time.

Colombo's Lotus Tower lit up against the night sky

The place we stayed in Columbo

Zest Metropole* is in a terrific location within the Fort space of Colombo. It’s near the seafront, the Lotus Tower and is true subsequent to the seventeenth Century Dutch Hospital the place colonists have been as soon as handled for malaria. It’s now house to bars and eating places. 

After all, near bars additionally means ‘noisy on the weekends’ but it surely didn’t maintain our ladies awake. 

Eight year old relaxing on bed in Zest Metropole hotel room

Our rooms have been fashionable, clear and had wonderful free wifi. There have been additionally views of the ocean and Lotus Tower.

Days 3: journey to Sigirya 

The following morning we set off by way of Columbo’s melee of morning site visitors for a 4 hour drive to our second base not removed from the traditional palace of Sigiriya. 

Outdoors Columbo we bought our first glimpse of Sri Lanka’s lush inexperienced panorama. We handed coconut palms, banana timber and white homes with terracotta tiled roofs.

After an hour we joined the highway North to Kandy after which in the direction of Sigirya. The cities alongside the way in which have been bustling with individuals promoting battery operated toys, fruit and Buddha statues on the aspect of the highway. 

Households of 4 whizzed previous us on single mopeds and I amused myself studying every tuk tuk’s bumper. ‘Clever is pace’ and ‘off highway specific’ have been among the many laminated messages.

Regardless of the guarantees, you don’t get anyplace quick on Sri Lanka’s roads. However there’s all the time one thing happening.

Not lengthy earlier than we reached our subsequent base we noticed monkeys, which was fairly a deal with for our ladies who haven’t seen them within the wild earlier than.

After which an elephant crossed the highway. Minds have been blown. It was all a really surreal introduction to the unbelievable wildlife we have been to see throughout this a part of our Sri Lanka itinerary.

Day 4: Sigirya and Dambulla

I’d initially deliberate simply two nights keep close to the UNESCO World Heritage Website of Sigiriya, however realised the world was value at the least three if we’re to proceed on our mission to not push the children too onerous. 

Even so, we have been up at 5am on day 4 so we may climb Sigiriya rock.

Sigiriya – Sri Lanka’s Lion Rock

Family pose with Sigiriya rock in background

Sigiriya is a captivating place each from a geological and historic perspective. It stands proud within the jungle panorama as a result of it’s the magma plug of a volcano that eroded away greater than two million years in the past.

Nearer to fashionable instances – a mere 1,600 years in the past – the Sinhalese King Kashyapa determined to show the rock right into a palace advanced full with a crocodile-filled moat, swimming swimming pools and fearsome fortifications.

Giant Lion's paws either side of brick steps at the entrance of the Sigiriya rock palace complex
Black Hornet hives can be seen clinging to the side of Sigiriya rock
The rock’s scariest defenders right this moment are hornets that nest on the cliffs and pose an actual threat to guests if they’re disturbed by an excessive amount of noise.

Not lengthy after constructing his new capital King Kashyapa misplaced energy to his brother and dedicated suicide. Buddhist Monks took over the rock and it later fell into disuse.

You possibly can learn extra concerning the rock’s historical past and see a few of its vibrant frescos that stay right this moment on the Nationwide Geographic web site

Covered frescos on side of Sigiriya with view of the jungle below
It’s not attainable to take footage of the frescos however you possibly can climb a spiral staircase for a glance behind these covers. The monks who moved to the rock after it was deserted couldn’t attain this ledge so the marginally risqué art work survived.

Practicalities of visiting Sigiriya

Whereas planning our go to I’d learn that the perfect instances to climb the rock have been early morning or night to keep away from the most important crowds and being caught within the solar. There isn’t any shade as you ascend the steel steps drilled into the granite or on the palace ruins on the prime. 

Family walking down the metal steps at Sigiriya with views of the jungle below

I used to be ready for a troublesome climb but it surely was a lot simpler than I had constructed it as much as be. There have been nonetheless complaints from the children, clearly.

In case you have a concern of heights it could be extra of a problem because the steps hang around over the aspect of the rock.

On the prime you possibly can see the define of the palace and 360 diploma views of the plateau that surrounds it. 

Family at the top of Sigiriya ancient palace complex with views of the jungle below

The ticket workplace opens at 6.30am however our Mates of Sigirya information advised us it was attainable to climb the rock from 5am. A lot of individuals come for dawn.

When you plan to do that your self it’s finest to examine upfront as it could solely be attainable throughout the peak vacationer season and also you’ll have to purchase your tickets the night time earlier than.

We arrived at 6.30am and have been up and down the rock by 8.45am.

Dambulla cave temple and Golden Buddha in Dambulla

People mingle in the shade in the courtyard outside the Dambulla

It was nonetheless early within the day and regardless of some grumps from the children, we determined to go to Dambulla earlier than lunch.

The Dambulla cave temple is definitely a collection of temples constructed at totally different instances in pure or artifical caves within the hills above Dambulla. Sure, we made the women climb one other hill!

However they shortly perked up after they noticed monkeys hanging across the ticket workplace. 

The climb as much as the temples is brief however steep with small relaxation areas the place you possibly can admire the view. In the course of the climb there are wafts of incense and girls promoting lotus flowers so that you can supply to the Buddha once you reached the highest.

We arrived at 10.15am had a really rushed tour with one of many temple guides. We solely realised why after we’d handed over our money. The temples shut between 10.30am and 10.45am, so he wished to point out us round shortly and discover another clients when the temples reopened. 

However to be honest, the children would have fortunately regarded in a few the temples and left. As superb as they’re, one reclining Buddha was merging into the opposite for the children by mid-morning.

They have been far more excited by the monkey households that trotted previous us as we descended again down the opposite aspect of the hill to the entrance of the Golden Buddha Temple.

Golden Buddha appears to be sat on top of the Buddhist Temple at Dambulla

We determined to admire this from the surface solely and have been again at our lodge by lunchtime with a complete afternoon to dedicate to the pool. 

Day 5: Hiriwidunna Village and Kaudulla Nationwide Park

It wasn’t simply the ten.30am begin that the children cherished about right this moment. They declared it to be their favorite day of the complete journey. 

I’ve made a psychological observe that wildlife, meals and a number of other modes of transport are the mandatory components for a niggle-free time out.

Hiriwidunna Village tour

Our driver really helpful a tour firm that would take us to go to a neighborhood village and an elephant safari. The village hadn’t been on my bucket record however the safari most positively was, so we went with it.

Two ox and their driver pull a cart through padi fields

We started with a tuk tuk experience into the jungle the place we picked up an Ox cart experience by way of wadi fields to an estuary of Hiriwidunna lake which we crossed by catamaran to achieve the village. The ladies have been already loving this tour.

On the village we met two pretty girls who confirmed us the way to make coconut roti (I’ve since tried to duplicate them at house however I’ve at lot of labor to do) and the way to dehusk rice to make flour.

We additionally bought a tip on the way to encourage the mango tree in our backyard in Oman to fruit. Fingers crossed for subsequent 12 months!

After the village we boarded one other canoe catamaran for a wildlife watching cruise across the lake. We noticed little or no wildlife however our information entertained us by making us all hats from lily pads.

The Tin Box family say in double kayak weather water lily hats

We accomplished our go to with a Sri Lankan curry lunch at one other household’s house. Our host was nicely versed in stating the much less spicy and extra fiery dishes.

It was all scrumptious and a beautiful expertise for us all to search out out extra about how conventional dishes have been made utilizing components from the forest and close by lake.

Kaudulla Nationwide Park elephant safari

Our tummies full, it was time to go on our first ever safari.

I’d initially deliberate on visiting Minneriya Nationwide Park however we have been suggested there weren’t many elephants regardless of it being migration season. As an alternative we hopped in a jeep and travelled only a bit additional away to Kaudulla Nationwide Park.

It appeared that everybody else had the identical concept as once we arrived there was an hour lengthy anticipate tickets to enter the character reserve.

Jeeps queued outside the entrance to Kaudulla National Park

Fortunately our tour information was the one who joined the queue whereas we waited within the jeep.

However the pause was completely value it. Contained in the reserve we noticed extra elephants than we may rely in addition to water buffalo, monkeys, eagles, large squirrels and peacocks.

Tin Box family pose in jeep with herd of elephants in the background at Kaudulla National Park

Our first safari was a really particular expertise. I feel zoos have been ruined for us endlessly.

However I can’t gloss over the truth that the reserve was extremely busy! There was no racing on the animals or irrate driving however there have been A LOT of jeeps! 

Claire looks at camera with a view of dozens of jeeps lined up on the road behind her

The place we stayed close to Sigiriya

We stayed at Amaara Forest Resort* for 3 nights mattress and breakfast. This was the one lodge we booked throughout our Sri Lanka itinerary the place household rooms have been out there. 

It is a quiet location, a few 15 minute (bumpy) drive off the primary highway between Dambulla and Habarana, with two storey lodging, a swimming pool and restaurant.

Outdoor swimming pool are at Amaara Forest Hotel

The meals within the buffet was good and the workers have been very pleasant. The one let down was the service was gradual throughout al a carte meals. The meals costs have been very affordable.

Our household room had an excellent sized toilet and cozy beds. We didn’t actually unpack as a result of there was nowhere close to sufficient wardrobe area, however there was loads of flooring area to put our instances open across the fringe of the room.

We loved having a terrance and seating outdoors our room the place we may sit as soon as the children had gone to mattress and, fortunately, the mosquitos weren’t too bitey.

Amaara is an efficient base for seeing the websites of the Central area. 

Day 6 to 10: Pasikudah

After breakfast we set off once more for the following, extra relaxed stage of our Sri Lanka itinerary. We traversed the jungle, handed large lakes, roadside Buddha statues and bustling cities till we reached the East Coast.

The journey was simply two and a half hours but it surely confirmed us a totally totally different aspect to Sri Lanka. The East Coast is much less touristy however has loads of seaside resorts and surf in the summertime months.

Sun rides over sea in Sri Lanka. Small boats are outlined on the horizon

We went simply to take a seat beside the pool, go for dawn sea swims, learn a number of books and let the times roll into one another. That is nearly an alien idea for us however by the top of the fours days I’d fortunately add extra ‘down’ days into our future travels.

The place we stayed in Pasikudah

We splashed out on our keep on the 4 star Calm Resort & Spa*. Whereas it was a pleasant lodge, with good rooms in a terrific location on Pasikudah Bay, the service was nicely beneath the 4 star value bracket.

It’s not someplace I’d notably advocate. I’ll not go into particulars right here however I did go away a fuller evaluate on Reserving.com if you wish to discover out extra.

Days 10 to 12: Koslanda

The following vacation spot on our Sri Lanka itinerary was the polar reverse in each respect. 

We drove south alongside the coast highway earlier than turning inland the place we may see the horizon beginning to rise. We have been heading into the Hill Nation with its winding roads, tea plantations and wetter local weather.

After 5 hours we began to make our remaining ascent to our lodging for the following two nights, Dwelling Heritage Koslanda*.

The place we stayed

Our tree house style forest pavilion at Koslanda Living Heritage

I first heard of this place from my buddy Jenny, who runs the Travelynn Household web site. She stayed right here about six years in the past and it sounded unbelievable. Learn Jenny’s Koslanda evaluate. After I began planning our journey to Sri Lanka I knew we needed to go.

Dwelling Heritage Koslanda is a boutique lodge modelled on conventional Kandy relaxation stops with pavilions the place you possibly can hang around and meet different travellers. Its restaurant and 9 rooms sit inside an 80 acre property that has its personal personal waterfall.

Mr Tin Box and daughters sat on rocks beside a waterfall

There’s additionally an infinity pool, gourmand eating and unbelievable views. It has all of the components for a pair’s romantic retreat however manages to ace being family-friendly too.

With video games on the garden and in the primary assembly pavilion, in addition to a camp hearth for toasting marshmallows we felt tremendous welcome.

We booked two of the forest pavilions – they’re like treehouses – with views out over the cover.

The one sounds that interrupted the thrill of the forest have been monkeys theatrically falling by way of the timber, the odd rumble of thunder and the early morning melody of the choon paan truck delivering recent bread.

We cherished Koslanda a lot that we prolonged our keep by an evening so we may absolutely immerse ourselves in its superb location and be pampered by its sensible group.

On the morning we left the women and I got bouquets of untamed flowers. I bought a bit teary. Koslanda was by far and away the perfect place we stayed in Sri Lanka.

Two bouquets of wild flowers

Days 12: the Hill County 

We left Koslanda early to catch what’s billed to be one of many world’s most scenic prepare rides. It’s definitely one of the crucial Instagrammed actions in Sri Lanka and I used to be trying ahead to seeing it for myself.

Prepare from Hapetale to Nanuoya

Our eight year old stood on the colonial built train station at Hapetule. The train tracks behind her are empty and there is a view of mountains behind her

Nonetheless, this was one of many large disappointments of our journey. We don’t have a lot luck with trains! Have a examine our expertise on the sleeper prepare from Cairo to Aswan in Egypt. 

So what went mistaken this time? 

We didn’t e book tickets upfront, regardless of realizing this was the factor to do. Doh!

What occurred was some miscommunication with our driver who mentioned he was arranging our tickets. However what he meant was that he’d purchase them for us on the station. This was no doubt cheaper however we missed out on the perfect carriages. 

Tip: e book your tickets a month upfront when they’re launched. The third class pre-booked carriage behind us regarded ultimate. Everybody had a seat and will transfer across the carriage to have a look at the views.

We ended up with second class tickets in an unreserved carriage. When the prepare arrived we needed to scramble over the backpackers sat within the doorway and ended up huddled within the vestibule as individuals have been already standing between the rows of full seats. 

There was a little bit of a view whereas the individuals within the open doorways have been sat down. However after they stood up and all we bought to see was the backs of their heads.

The youngsters have been quickly completely disinterested. By the top of the 2 hours we have been all a bit fed up. 

This is part of our Sri Lanka itinerary that we’d positively do in a different way if we had the possibility!

Little England and the tea plantations 

Claire and eight year old daughter stood in a tea plantation

We met up with our driver at Nanuoya station to proceed the remainder of our journey by highway. This saved us a number of hours on the prepare and allowed us to see the tea plantations of the Central area on our option to Kandy.

We began with a fast tour of Nuwara Eliya – an space nicknamed ‘Little England’ due to its colonial traits. It’s additionally the perfect place in Sri Lanka for strawberries. We stopped on the Adma Agro farm for strawberry pancakes and fruit juices. 

The Tin Box family stood in front of a colonial post office

Nuwara Eliya can be the place you could find Sri Lanka’s oldest publish workplace. The ladies despatched a card to their academics again within the UK though I’d have fairly preferred to have obtained it myself because the stamps have been very fairly.

Damro Tea

Hopping again within the automobile we wound by way of the plantations till we reached a manufacturing facility belonging to Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest tea firm Damro. The leaf sorting and drying machines listed below are greater than 100 years previous and nonetheless in use.

Mr Tin Box and daughters look out on hills lined with tea plants. A white 'Damro Tea' sign is on the hill in front of them

If you’re into tea and will not be visiting with children that is value a tour for many attention-grabbing brew information. However there’s not a lot right here to entertain little ones aside from a slice of cake within the cafe.

Rambola Falls

Our final cease earlier than we made our remaining push in the direction of Kandy was Rambola Falls. This 109m excessive cascade is finest seen from the grounds of the Ramboda Falls Resort, which is down a steep hill.

Pay 100 rupees per grownup and there’s a shuttle bus to take you right down to reception from the place you stroll by way of the foyer and go down a elevate to the waterfall path. 

Our eight year old walking down to a waterfall

The falls are fairly however I’d have most popular to have seen the well-known 9 Arches Bridge.

At this level the women had had sufficient. There was no manner they have been getting out of the automobile once more to have a look at ‘a bridge’. 

We have been all very completely happy to reach at our subsequent lodge for our final two nights in Sri Lanka with views of Kandy Lake and Sri Dalada Maligawa – the Temple of the Tooth Relic.

View of Kandy Lake and the Temple of the Tooth Relic over terracotta roofs and through trees

If we may do that day once more we’d have positively made a number of modifications.

Reserving our prepare tickets upfront, switching the tea manufacturing facility tour for a go searching an property and seeing the 9 Arches Bridge quite than the waterfall.

Days 13 to 14: Kandy

Once we determined to remain an additional night time in Koslanda we took a time without work our time in Kandy. So we knew we had a busy 48 hours forward of us.

Our driver really helpful beginning with a go to to Ambuluwawa Tower in Gampola, which is an hour outdoors Kandy. 

It’s not someplace that had been on my radar however we went with the movement and have been very glad we did. 

Ambuluwawa Tower

View of Ambuluwawa Tower with the Sri Lankan countryside all around

Ambuluwawa Tower sits on the prime of a mountain alongside a smaller star formed tower, a church, mosque and temple in addition to a panoramic view level. It’s Sri Lanka’s solely multi-faith advanced.

The 48 meter tower appears to be like like one thing out of a fairy story with its irregular spiral stair case and needle like spire. Regardless of showing to return from a magical age it is just about 15-years-old. 

We opted to take a few tuk tuks up the mountain to save lots of our legs for the tower.

Mr Tin Box and daughters looking down from extra steps of Ambuluwawa Tower with the top of the tower above them

The climb isn’t truly too tiring however it’s bushy in case you don’t like heights. Our 10-year-old was struggling because the steps on the surface started to slim.

As you climb larger there aren’t any passing locations so you need to get very pleasant together with your fellow climbers or flip round. We didn’t make the summit and it wasn’t that busy. 

It’s suggested the households with kids underneath three don’t climb the tower and having been up there I can perceive why. There are many toddler-sized gaps between the concrete bannisters! 

On the way in which out of the advanced we walked previous a snake charmer. Our seven-year-old had seen him on the way in which up and wished to take a better look. She was as mesmerised because the dancing cobras and thrilled to have a python draped round her neck. 

Esala Perahera processions

On the way in which again to Kandy we stopped for lunch and for a few manufacturing facility excursions that we’d managed to keep away from up till this level in our journey. Subsequent time we’d make a degree of claiming we didn’t wish to go to anyplace like this. 

A contented accident was that as we have been making a well mannered exit from a jewel manufacturing facility (that had bored the pants off the women and Mr Tin Field) we noticed a procession passing by.

Decorated elephant in a procession of people walking through a street outside Kandy. There are people dressed in traditional clothes and bystanders taking photos

It was a prelude to the Esala Perahera pageant that takes place in Kandy each July or August. 

In 2024 the Buddha’s tooth shall be a part of the primary Esala Perahera procession and a whole lot of hundreds of individuals are anticipated to converge on Kandy to attempt to get a glimpse of the casket.

Temple of the Tooth

By early afternoon we have been again within the historical metropolis and able to go to its essential historic website, Sri Dalada Maligawa, also called the Temple of the Tooth Relic. 

We’d heard the story of how the Buddha’s tooth got here to Sri Lanka a number of instances throughout our journey, so we have been intrigued to see the place it was saved.

We had a information to point out us round, which made me really feel extra comfy as many extra individuals have been right here for religious causes than as vacationers.

The tooth relic itself is protected by a Russian doll-like case inside a two-storey shrine on the centre of the temple. Individuals deliver flower choices and sit to hope near the shrine. 

Within the night the shrine doorways are opened so you possibly can see the casket. I’m glad we visited earlier within the afternoon because it was much less busy and it didn’t really feel fairly to intrusive.

Outdoors the temple we walked by way of the pavilion that impressed the one in Colombo’s Independence Sq. and visited the shrine devoted to Raja, an elephant who took half within the Esala Perahera procession for 50 years. 

He was so cherished that once we died in 1988 there was a day of nationwide mourning. Raja was then mummified and given his personal shrine right here.

We accomplished our day with a go to to the Kandyan Cultural Centre the place we noticed a standard dance efficiency. This was very touristy however enjoyable. The youngsters cherished the fireplace strolling finale.

Royal Botanical Gardens 

All too quickly it was our remaining day in Sri Lanka. We had a night flight so there was sufficient time to go to the Royal Botanical Gardens earlier than we departed from Kandy to the airport.

Pond and fountain in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kandy

The fashionable gardens at Peradeniya have been opened by British in 1821 however there was a historic Sinhalese royal backyard right here for the reason that 14th Century.

It’s a implausible place to wander for a number of hours with loads of shade and open areas for teenagers to play in addition to some attention-grabbing wildlife.

We took an anti-clockwise stroll across the grounds, seeing the orchid home and conservatory for uncommon tropical vegetation earlier than strolling down the picturesque Cabbage Palm Avenue. 

After this we entered the arboretum the place we observed numerous large black seeds handing excessive within the timber.

Then one of many giant seeds flapped its wings. It was a bat!

Hundreds of bats that look like huge seed pods handing from the branches of a tree

The gardens have a colony of about 24,000 of those Sri Lankan Flying Fox mega bats which have a wing span of 1.2 to 1.5 meters. We have been completely wowed and bought stiff necks trying up as we walked underneath tree after tree stuffed with them.

Our daughters stood on a path in the Royal Botanical Gardens with a family of monkeys behind them

The Royal Botanical Gardens have been a good way to finish our two weeks in Sri Lanka and a should if you’re visiting Kandy with children.

The place we stayed in Kandy

We booked into SWP Eco Lodge which is a brief stroll up a steep hill beside Kandy Lake. From right here you may simply get to town’s eating places, retailers and to the Temple of the Tooth Relic on foot. 

Our two double deluxe rooms had views of the lake and temple, and got here with related balconies.

We preferred our rooms however they wouldn’t have been appropriate for younger households. The lavatory was situated downstairs and there was no bannister on the prime of the steps to cease little ones falling.

We’d advocate consuming out in case you keep right here. Breakfast was OK, however the night meals have been fairly poor.

Summing up our 14 day Sri Lanka Itinerary 

Claire and daughters sat on the edge of the infinity pool at Koslanda

As I discussed proper initially, Sri Lanka was a completely new nation to us so we have been decided to return away feeling like we knew it a bit higher. However we additionally wished down time to calm down. 

I feel we achieved each and had some unbelievable experiences. 

I’ll always remember the women’ pleasure at seeing elephants, monkeys and massive bats within the wild. Or the utter exhilaration of swimming within the Indian Ocean whereas watching the solar rise.

Or the views from the highest of the Lotus Tower, Sigiriya and the Ambuluwawa Tower.

And indubitably absolutely the luxurious of staying within the forest at Koslanda.

I do know Sri Lanka has a lot extra to offer. We didn’t contact on the South, West Coast or the North. I hope we’ll have an opportunity to expertise these areas one other time and put into observe a number of the classes we learnt from this journey.

Is Sri Lanka in your bucket record? Let me know if in case you have any questions on our 14 day Sri Lanka itinerary. 

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