Sri Lanka ~ IntroductionPosted on May 16 in Introduction, Sri Lankaby ShelynPrint
A standard question to ask newlyweds – “Where are you going for your honeymoon?”.
A standard answer (because there was only one answer) that I gave – “Sri Lanka”.
A standard reaction that I received – A short pause in shock followed by a standard query – “Why Sri Lanka?”
Considering that we’ll be moving to the US very soon and so may not be able to visit the countries in South Asia and South East Asia as easily these few years in Malaysia, we would like to cover as many interesting countries in Asia as possible. So I browsed through the list of destinations from the Air Asia website and saw Sri Lanka, which looked interesting to me. I did some research online about the country and was immediately convinced that the country was worth exploring with a good 5 attractions that Sri Lanka offers:
1. Sri Lanka is an island. Not only is it surrounded by beautiful beaches, it also has become a global top spot to watch blue and sperm whales. Sri Lanka’s southernmost point, the deep water provides ideal feeding ground for migrating whales from November to April.
“To see a Blue whale at sea is something most of us can only dream about. To see more than one in a lifetime is a rarity reserved for a fortunate few,” quote from Genevieve Johnson, a whale research crew member. In case you’re not convinced.
Galle fort by the sea
2. Sri Lanka is one of the most biologically diverse countries in Asia. There are total 20 national parks in Sri Lanka with a wealth of mammals and luxuriant flora. In other words, I don’t have to fly all the way to South Africa to experience the jeep safari adventure. With only a 3.5 hours flight, I can hop onto a 4 WD vehicle to play with 4 legged mammals.
The highlight has to be the Yala National Park, with one of the densest leopard populations anywhere in the world. LEOPARD? Did you hear leopard? I love ferocious beasts!
How many destinations in the world that will allow you to experience cruising off to the ocean watching blue whales by day and searching for leopards in the highlands by night? It’s like a country with the combination of the Maldives and South Africa.
Basically these 2 reasons are enough to convince me.
Me carrying a 3 months old baby black monkey
Taking this photo just because the flowers match my shirt
3. An island with beaches and highlands indicates that the adventures that it offers are not only limited to whale watching and jeep safaris. For adrenaline junkies and adventure lovers like me and Don, the place can certainly feed our need for challenge from horse riding and biking to rafting, rock climbing, diving, kayaking, trekking and hiking.
Did I also mention about tree climbing?
Giant Java Willow Tree – the handsome tree is actually indigenous to our country, Malaysia
4. Too many rigorous activities? How about a visit to a Ceylonese tea plantation? Sri Lanka is renowned for its high quality tea and is the fourth biggest tea producing country globally. Before going, my friend has already listed down the types of tea that he wanted us to bring back for him.
Dilmah Tea is selling dirt cheap in Sri Lanka
5. If you prefer historic and world heritage sites, Sri Lanka contains an astonishing seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites within its shores. If you love visiting Malacca then there is really no reason for you not to visit Sri Lanka. Sharing the similar characteristics of Malacca, Sri Lanka had always been an important port and trading post in the ancient world. It had also been colonized by Portugal, The Netherlands and Britain. Thus, this small island is dotted with numerous colonial-era buildings, lending it a cultured air of old-meets-new and East-meets-West.
Colonial-era churches are everywhere in Sri Lanka
Sounds perfect huh? Unfortunately the trip turned out to be quite a disappointment due to insufficient research and planning prior to our hotel reservations. I knew of the attractions that the country offers, but didn’t have time to work out the itinerary and to look for the accommodations. I was too busy with my wedding preparation. So I made the flight + hotel reservation via Air Asia for 4 nights in the Hilton, Colombo. It was a huge mistake to spend more than two nights in the same location in Sri Lanka. Even though some interesting sites are just 120km away from Colombo city, it took more than three hours to reach the destination.
Kandy, the spiritual heart of the country, which was highly recommended as a must visit place in Sri Lanka, is only 116km away from Colombo city. So I thought I shall put it in my itinerary since it would probably take, at the most, two hours to reach Kandy. God knows when I did the research online, most of the resources suggested that it would take 6 hours to reach the place. I remained doubtful of the online resources until I finally experienced the looooooooooong road trips in Sri Lanka. We spent at least 6 hours on the road trip everyday for 3 consecutive days that we didn’t get to do much at all in Sri Lanka. 5 days, or rather 4 days, since the 5th day we flew back to Malaysia early in the morning, is definitely not enough to cover much of the places in Sri Lanka.
An ideal trip would be spending at least 7 days in Sri Lanka and stay at each location that you visit. This way you will save the time to travel back and forth.
Nonetheless, since it’s our honeymoon trip, we shouldn’t expect it to be exhausting like most of our South East Asia trips (hiking, diving, trekking). It should be a romantic one instead. *Spirit of Ah-Q (阿Q精神)*
Little fact about Sri Lanka tourism:
Sri Lanka has topped another list by recording the highest growth in tourist arrivals during the first two months of 2010, according to an article on the government’s website. [Read More]