Sri Lanka in Pictures

The friend in Dubai and I started a ritual. We meet at least once a year in some place new – preferably an exotic new location around the world. So, after much planning, and scrapping plans of discovering Kerala, we decided to go further down south across the Palk Strait and into Sri Lanka. And oh, am I glad we did. 2 girls. 1,300 kms. And just 7 days to discover the diverse island of Sri Lanka.

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It was our first view of the seaside in Colombo, and made for the perfect view from our room on Marine Drive. The train travels through most of the west coast of Sri Lanka and can be a rather affordable way to travel to the beach towns of Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna.

Coastal train at Colombo

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I can guarantee that you can’t leave Sri Lanka without seeing at least one elephant, if not a herd. On the side of the road. Blocking the traffic. In the wild. In the orphanages. And of course in every other image. Elephants are everywhere! And Sri Lankans simply love them. It’s surprising that they haven’t officially declared it to be their national animal.

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Thankfully, Sri Lankans love their seafood just as much as they love their elephants. We gorged on the freshest seafood in Hikkaduwa, but the Century Seafood Platter at the Cricket Club Cafe in Colombo certainly gave it a run for its money.

Seafood Platter @ Cricket Club Cafe

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Locals claim that this Carnival has the best ice-cream in Colombo. We tried the Coffee Mocca and I wouldn’t claim that it’s the best, but it is good. Perhaps my indifference stems from my preference for gelato. An added benefit is that it’s open till the wee hours of the morning, so you know where you can get your early morning hangover fix.

Carnival Ice-cream

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To tell you the truth, I’ve never liked turtles. They never creeped me out, but I simply preferred to stay away. That was until I held these one-day old baby turtles between my fingers. Bentota in Sri Lanka is known for their turtle hatcheries, and even if you don’t stay in Bentota, you can drop in to one of the hatcheries by the road on your way to Hikkaduwa.

Baby Turtles

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I doubt there is a better way to welcome travellers who’ve traversed miles in their car or plane. King coconut water served with a hot towelette just made for the perfect Sri Lankan welcome at Cattleya Villa, Hikkaduwa.

Welcome Drink @ Cattleya Villa

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Remember the freshest seafood I spoke about earlier? Well this was just the start of that meal. Bouillabaisse. Fresh seafood stew, inspired from the French. Devoured in Sri Lanka.

Bouillabaisse

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And then came this platter! Packed with lobster, crab, squid, seer fish, jumbo prawns and a dollop of fries, it’s a platter fit for a king! It’s shocking that the two of us managed to swipe off every last bit of seafood that night. Tip: Don’t wear your best dress for this meal, because I guarantee that there will be crab and lobster flying off the table.

Seafood Dinner\

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You can’t leave Sri Lanka without visiting Odel. Stocked with everything you’d want, Odel is the best place to get Lanka souvenirs, elephants of all sizes and colours, teas, and oh so much more. We just couldn’t get enough of it, and actually visited their stores in Galle and Kandy!

Odel LUV SL

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 Made by the Portuguese. Admired by us. Walk along the coast and admire the Galle Fort or simply walk through the old Portuguese streets one quite evening. Despite the walk, it’s the perfect place for a relaxing day out.

Galle Fort

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Be open to try something new and you too could stop by the side of the road to devour a couple of rambutans. Verdict: It’s a mix between a grape and a lychee. Dee-licious!

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It’s not everyday that you can walk out of your room and slip right into the pool. Cattleya Villa in Hikkaduwa, gave us just that! If you don’t mind the secluded location, this resort is a perfect place for couples looking to kick back and relax.

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Amidst all the beauty of the beaches, there are national parks in Sri Lanka too! Yala National Park, to the south of Sri Lanka is most famous for sighting leopards. Tip: Visit the park during summer so that you can find most of the animals near one of the several watering holes.

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Meant to protect King Kashyapa, Sigiriya Rock makes for a good climb, 750 steps to be precise. Tip: Make sure you carry water, as beverages are not sold inside the premises.

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Spread over 5 caves, Dambulla Caves, depict the life of Lord Buddha in paintings and statues. With a short climb to reach the top, you can get a guide to explain the significance of each of the caves and statues.

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Visit Sri Lanka. It’s a country worth falling in love with.

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