The gems of this large and beautiful isle are spread far and wide: from its chaotic west coast capital Colombo to the fabulous villas and beach bangalows in the south, as well as the world heritage-listed Dutch colonial Galle Fort; cooler tea plantations, hill stations and ancients, sacred cultural triangle towards the centr.; unspoilt beaches and sights for the intrepid in the north and east, as well as elephant and leopard-spotting in the deep south. Friendliness, extraordinary service and unbeatable value for money. Sri Lanka has it all!
Home to more than two million people, Sri Lanka’s capital is a riot of color, colonial grandeur and a cosmopolitan dining scene. I don’t know if it is the fact that I traveled around Sri Lanka before I went to Colombo but I actually thought it was more developed than I expected.
Tintagel: lavishing 10 individually designed suites, a pair of restaurants, a sultry bar and a lap pool on its solace-seeking guests, the centrally-located hotspot is the city’s sexiest retreat. From $250. 65, Rosmead Pl /Col 7/0114602121
The Wallawwa: an old colonial manor house, has been lovingly restored to provide 14 beautifully furnished rooms and suites. From $205. Minuwangoda Rd/Opatha/Kotugoda/0112281050
Curry Leaf: excellent Sri Lankan cuisine offering authentic local fare, like string hoppers and rotti. Hilton Hotel/2 Sir Chittampalan A Gardiner Mw/Col 2/0112492492
Mango Tree: North Indian cuisine with excellent dishes and service. 82 Dharmapala Mawatha/Col 3/0115879790
The Lagoon: choose your fresh catch from the ice-counter and watch it get cooked any way you like in excellent flavors! Best fish restaurant in town with amazing service. Cinnamon Grand Hotel/77 Galle Rd/Col 3/0112437437
The Gallery Cafe: one of my favourite places to eat and shop in Colombo. Definitely the most stylish cafe/restaurant in Colombo often crowded with beautiful people! The food is very good, mostly international with some local dishes and a dessert buffet to die for. Best for drinks, lunch, art and retail too. 2 Alfred House Rd/Col 3/0112582162
Barefoot: it is worth a visit to this haven of hand-dyed, handwoven fabrics , home and tableware. 706 Galle Rd/Col 3/0112505559
Paradise Road Studio: housing a collection of chic lifestyle. 12 Alfred House Gardens/Col 3/0112506844
Spa Ceylon: Ayurveda and 90 min ultimate massage. Crescat Boulevard, G8B, 77 Galle Road, Colombo 3, 0115544398
A jaw-dropping fortress crammed with colonial flashbacks is a the heart of cosmopolitan Galle, a fishing town of 100,000 people on Sri Lanka’s south-west coast.Galle, a fishing town of 100,000 people on Sri Lanka’s south-west coast.
Kahanda Kanda: totally indulgent hideaway hotel with five treasure-filled rooms in sleek pavilions, in 10-acre tea plantation just 15 minutes from the beach. From $300. Angulugaha/Galle/0912286717
Amangalla: immaculately restored historic, colonial thirty-room. Amangalla provides for the leisury exploration of this historic trading port and the surroundings countryside. From $525. 10 Church st/Galle Fort/0912233388
The Sun House: explore, relax and indulge in this beautiful, tranquil retreat with only five rooms. From $175. 18 upper Dickson Rd/Galle/0914380275
Amangalla: the town’s fanciest rice and curry on the airy patio of Amangalla Hotel. 10 Church st/Galle Fort/0912233388
Sun House: this elegant hilltop country house serves delicious curry spreads. 18 upper Dickson Rd/Galle/0914380275
Kahanda Kanda: excellent fusion cuisine peppered with Thai flavours served in a setting that feels like a peaceful private residence. Angulugaha/Galle/0912286717
Galle Forte Hotel: deliciously spiced food, home churned ice-creams and cracking coffees are served in serene and sociable surroundings. 28 Church street/Galle Fort
Galle Fort is compacted and best explored on foot
If you want to swim the prettiest sliver on the south coast is Mirissa , 40 min outside Galle, Bentota on the west coast, useful for water-skiing and windsurfing, Wijaya Beach, safe for swimming and snorkelling
Stroll on Church street for nice shops with home and table ware and beautiful colorful saris
A former royal capital and home of famous festival the Perahera, inland Kandy is the beating heart of the Hill Country
The Kandy House: seductive boutique hotel in Kandy’s leafy outskirts,effortlessly purveys intimate luxury. It blends minimalist lines with atypical antiques with eight individually designed rooms. The restaurant serves up top-notch Sri Lankan and Asian food. From $265. Amunugama Walauwa, Gunnepana, Gunnepana
Glingendael: a five suite quirky colonial B&B , From $450. Victoria Golf & Country Resort, Coconut Hill, Rajawella
the Temple of the Tooth and the tropical Peradiniya Botanic Gardens
The Hill Country is a cool, lush oasis of emerald tea groves peaks dotted with colourful sari-clad tea-pluckers and white louvered tea factories.
Ceylon Tea Trails: elegant boutique villas in lakeside Bogawantalawa Valley in the Hill Country. Ideal for walking off all-inclusive gourmet meals. A visit to the tea factory is a must!
Stunning painted caverns, mountain citadels and big Buddhas . You need at least two days to see it.
Yala National Park: if you go down in the woods you will see elephants, deer, crocks, monkeys and leopards. If you want to do it in style Kulu Safaris are the best!
Whitewater Rafting: situated 60 min from Colombo with return transfer included . Adventure Asia/0115868468
Sri Lanka Tips
– Hiring a car with driver may be the best option to see Sri Lanka
– If you have time visit Chilaw city just for the fish market, it really worth it
– It is great experience if you want to use train instead car to visit Kandy from Colombo
– If you don’t want to stay in Hill Country you can visit it on your way from Colombo to Kandy
– It is a must to visit a tea factory
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