• What to do in Sri Lanka: A two week itinerary

    Let’s be real. Two weeks isn’t long enough to experience all of Sri Lanka. However, it’s certainly possible to cover a fair bit of ground in this amount of time. This itinerary means you’ll get to experience tea plantations, beaches and even a safari – making your two week trip feel like a lot longer. Isn’t that what we all want from our holidays? Days 1 – 3: Negombo Here’s a not very interesting fact: Colombo airport isn’t actually in Colombo. It’s in the town of Negombo, just to the north. It’s worth knowing this not very interesting fact because Negombo is actually a much better place to stay than…

  • Yala National Park: Is it any good?

      Sri Lanka is justifiably famous for its wildlife and one of the best ways to spend a few days while in the country is to go on safari. There are three national parks to choose from – Yala, Udawalawe and Wilpattu with Yala being the most popular thanks to its leopard population and its location in the more visited south of the country. But does popular equal good? Not necessarily… I visited Yala as part of a wider trip throughout the south of Sri Lanka. Wilpattu is in the far north so it wasn’t practical to visit on this occasion. Udawalawe is the place to go to observe elephants…

  • W15 Escape: A Sri Lankan escape from the rat race

      Sri Lanka was the first country I visited after I quit my job, my house and my life in London, and I’m sad to say that I probably didn’t do it justice. A two week dash through half of the country while trying to get my head around what the hell I had done was not exactly conducive to a fun time. But when we arrived on Sri Lanka’s sleepy, surfy south coast and checked into the gorgeous W15 Escape for a few days, I finally felt like things might just be ok. As a backpacker, you don’t often get to stay in luxurious hotels. Of course, there’s the…

  • The Grand Hotel in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

    To say that we were a bit wet is an understatement. Our hike through the verdant tea plantations of the Sri Lankan highlands was cut soggily short with the arrival of the downpour to end all downpours. As we waited for our tuk-tuk driver in a nearby cafe, the thought of returning to our chilly and damp guest house did not fill us with excitement. We were desperate to get out of our sodden clothes and have a hot shower, but we knew that nothing was going to dry at our current abode. A cheeky thought occurred to us…why not treat ourselves to a night at The Grand Hotel. The…

  • Esala Perahera in Sri Lanka: What you need to know

    I’ll be honest. I had never even heard of the Esala Perahera before, let alone considered getting in on the action. But, in one of those wonderful strokes of luck, we arrived in Kandy in time for this most magnificent of Asian festivals. The Esala Perahera is linked to the Buddhist Temple of the Tooth in the Sri Lankan hilltop town of Kandy. The temple holds the sacred Buddha’s tooth and, for 10 nights every summer, a grand procession is held to honour this relic. It’s one of Sri Lanka’s – indeed, Asia’s – biggest festivals. So that’s why it helps to be at least a little bit organised if…