Sri Lanka! A tiny island to the south of India, a natures marvel, an untouched land of rain forest, beaches and mountains!
So now we planned a 6 day road trip at SriLanka covering Bentota, Nuwara Eliya, Dambulla and Colombo. We were skeptical that the monsoons might spoil our trip, but we had only this option of planning our long awaited vacation at the start of September.
Surprisingly the air tickets from Chennai (India) to Colombo were quite cheap (much cheaper than air tickets we generally book for travelling within India). And adding to our delight was the stronger Indian currency 😉 Generally we end up converting our booking costs by 50 times for Indian Rupee, so this trip gave us a feeling of being rich 😛 Tip 1: Visa can be done electronically, and is just a day’s process. Get your Indian currency converted to dollars first and then to SriLankan Rupee.
Its a small 2-3 hours air journey. We planned to sleep tight in the flight as it was at 1am. But unfortunately the low cost Spice Jet airline meant poor quality carrier, keeping us awake and more attentive probably than the pilot himself 😛 I am sure many must have had their experiences with the “haldi’ and “daalchini” spice carriers..haha… Thankfully we landed safe, but super sleepy, early morning.
We hired a hatchback for 4 of us, self driven, with a pick up from Colombo airport. Tip 2: Don’t forget to ask for a GPS if you are self driving, and keep currency in cash because they prefer payments in cash. Complete your booking on email well before the vacation and confirm all the documents that will be required.
Our flight tiredness was completely gone as soon as we started our journey from Colombo to Bentota! We were taken by surprise to see the amazing road, just opposite to what we had researched from different tour advisers. And ironically, monsoon seemed like the best weather to visit as the route was all time accompanied by lush green trees and coconut plantations. Tip 3: If you are a music lover during drives, DO carry songs in Mobile, pen drive, CD, and carry a cable. We had a real hard time finding a cable connector for our mobile as car blue tooth was somehow not working.
As we reached closer to our destination, the sea view along side the road started becoming more and more beautiful, and at one moment we couldn’t control but to get down from our car and run towards beach and click pics as if this was the last scenic view we were going to get (I assure you, the remaining journey is much more amazing)!
Tip 4: Plan enough time for your drives between the destinations, as you will spend a lot of time halting and enjoying the spectacular views. And stopping by to have coconut water or breads at small bakeries.
We had our bookings at Taj Vivanta. My first stay at Taj, and now I know why people spend so much to stay here. Amazing hotel, amazing food, hospitality that makes you feel like a king, and more than anything, the beautiful smiles that welcome you.
Tip 5: Book at least 1 day at Taj Vivanta! FYI am not getting paid by Taj for promoting them, but it is THE PLACE to stay in Bentota.
One of the joys of travelling to Sri Lanka is the spice-rich food it offers. You have to discover the amazing flavors and aroma of its curries and chutneys (Sambal), finger licking sea food and road side rice Hopper (Dosai). Not to forget the tasty desserts and bakery foods for sweet loving people like me (You cant believe how many plates of desserts I finished in buffet..my friends & hubby are the witness). Foodies like us called for a rendezvous with the chef to ensure we get the famous Sri Lankan Prawns in Red spicy Curry. Tip 5: Do not Go to Sri Lanka…. if… you are planning to diet! Dieting and restricting yourself to intake calories is a strict no-no! 🙂
End your stay at Taj with its private beach, beautiful views from room and a much needed body spa, that will freshen you up for the next car drive to our next destination Nuwara-Eliya. Relax..Rejuvinate..and enjoy the pictures until then I will get soaked in the beautiful memories at Srilanka and get ready to post again 🙂