Welcome to my Sri Lanka recommendations.
First things first...
Ok cool. Moving on.
This blog post is going to be rather short and sweet [well not in length, but in suggestions] . Why? Well my 4 week trip to Sri Lanka comprised of one week at the Talalla Wellness Retreat and two weeks at Talalla Surf. Leaving one week to explore the rest of the country. Kidding. Not possible. It was really a week to get a feel for what I'd like to continue exploring next time (because there will most definitely be a next time v. soon - I kinda have to, I may have left 2 surfboards there... yeah).
When we first arrived in Sri Lanka we organised a taxi from the airport to Talalla which is about a 3hr drive south, depending on traffic. I'm going to include maps to give you a bit of geographic context.
The Talalla crew were amazing hosts and tour guides so we had the opportunity to explore and experience their top recommendations even whilst we were immersed in our Wellness & Surf Camp weeks. Which is probably the main reason why I recommend kicking off your time there. A chance to slow down, reset, write a list of things you might like to experience and see where the wind takes you.
PS. You can find really cheap accommodation in Sri Lanka. So make sure you jump onto booking.com or Airbnb and have a squizz at what's available. Home stays are great!
A couple of rad places to check out are ... Verse Collective. A cafe / bar, co-working space and hostel all in one across the road from the beach.
The Doctor's House... A 200 yr old Ayuvedic hospital which is now a place to eat, drink, surf and stay.
You're bound to run into new friends with great recommendations in these places so if you're winging it, swing by and see what happens.
In saying that, I feel it's important to note what kind of traveler I am. Some people love planning out an itinerary of how they will spend every day. Others love ticking off tourist attractions. Me? Neither. I love arriving in unknown places and having a bit of a Celestine Prophecy adventure. If you haven't read that book, start reading it on your plane ride to Sri Lanka ;).
My favourite experiences are spontaneous ones. Moments you couldn't have planned better if you tried. Synchronicities and chance encounters. The people you meet and places you go when you're in the flow.
I haven't done too much travel overseas but weekends away in Ollie (our kombi) have proven time and time again that no plans are the best plans.
Another important thing to note is that I am a pig in mud if I have a beach, a surfboard, a book and good company. I really don't need much entertainment. I'm more than happy to see what Mother Nature has on offer.
So after our Wellness week we met up with friends, grabbed some scooters and found some coastal gems. My friend Jonny has written a great blog post on this spot, the not-so 'Secret Beach' in Mirissa.
We decided to scale some boulders and see where we ended up. It lead us to Puma and his family who have a house just to the left of where I was sitting. Mmhmm. Waking up to this everyday, not bad at all! Puma came over and kindly offered to chop down some coconuts for us to drink. What a legend.
After spending time on the coast we decided to trek inland.
And one of the best ways to do that... is to HIRE A TUK TUK.
Tuk Tuks are all about embracing the pace and allowing every sense to be consumed by your surroundings. You'll need an international license and some experience driving a scooter is handy although Tuk Tuk Rental do provide a one hour driving lesson.
I'm glad the boys had a handle on this because let's just say that Sri Lankan roads are something else. It's easy to feel as though the bus drivers are on a mission to mow you down but close calls just add to the thrill of the experience right!? Be safe!
It may have taken us an extra 3hrs because we #tukourtime but nothing beats the freedom of cruising at your own pace, pulling over for random street food, meeting friendly faces and stopping to say hey to this beautiful one.
Before a night of safari camping under the stars at Makulu Safari Camping.
Glamping 10 mins from the Udawalawe National Park is the perfect spot to spend the night before waking up early to head on a Safari the following morning.
Yep. This country has it all.
From here we decided to head further inland to Ella. And rather than taking the quick route we decided to take the scenic route. It was an adventure, that's for sure.
Google estimations are for cars. If you're in a Tuk Tuk it's wise to X2 and then some. It took us 6 hours... he heeee.
Ella is a magical place and the photos I took there don't do the place justice, sooo luckily we had Jonny with us. He's written some great blogs on the places we explored. Little Adam's Peak, Nine Arch Bridge & Ravana Falls.
And that's about it from me. If you haven't read my posts on the Wellness Retreat or Surf Camp at Talalla, head over and give them a read too.
The magic of Sri Lanka is really something you have to experience for yourself.
The moments in between the photos.
The towns. The little things.
Next time I'll definitely be taking my camera to share more of the magic.
I hope this blog post has sparked an interest for you. It's definitely a country to pop on the list.
There is SO much more I'd love to explore that we didn't have time for. So I guess I will see ya soon Sri Lanka!