Sri Lanka, a destination that can offer fantastic long golden beaches, rich culture, an array of wildlife experience and much much more. I started my journey with Srilankan Airlines from Hong Kong, a 7-hour flight with a short touchdown in Bangkok.
I stayed at Jetwings Blue hotel in Negombo, only a 20-minute ride from the airport. Negombo is a fishing village, but is quite busy due to its location close to the airport. Palm trees and old fishing boats line the golden sands of its beach. If you wanted you could spend your whole time here relaxing at one of the 5-star beachfront properties.
Further down the coast is the resort of Bentota. It has a lagoon surrounded by forests rich in wildlife. If you are into water sports, Bentota is the right destination for you. Activities include swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, parasailing, windsurfing and fishing.
The Bentota Lagoon is home to the Sri Lankan Crocodile. I arranged a boat to take me through the dense mangroves to see the crocodiles. For the brave individuals, you can even arrange to hold one of the smaller ones.
My trip continued south. Driving through Sri Lanka, you will a real feel on the diversity of the country: catholic churches, Hindu temples and Buddha statues line the streets. You will also see the colonial touches left by the Portuguese, Dutch and British rule. If you are a keen photographer, you will be spoilt for choice.
A must for me was the small town of Kosgoda home to many turtle hatcheries. You can go and visit a hatchery and see the different species of turtles. I was even lucky enough to see an Albino Green Turtle.
The next stop was the World Heritage town of Galle, home to a Dutch fort. I stayed at the Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel. This is definitely the best hotel in the area, with a very old world feel. Galle is full of colonial history, evident in the design of the buildings. You can explore the several museums and antique shops to get a glimpse of Sri Lanka’s past.
The South coast of Sri Lanka is a haven for whales and dolphin. I arranged a 4-hour whale watching tour with a local company. Even though it was early in the season, I managed to see 2 different species of whales, and was amazed when I saw one of them jumped out of the water!
My last Stop in Sri Lanka was Yala National Park, the place I was looking forward to visiting. Yala is a large park rich in wildlife. I got to the park quite late so I only got to spend an hour in the park. Even with my limited time, I managed to see a wide array of animals, elephants, peacocks, and even a leopard. Yala has the highest density of leopards, and it’s quite difficult to spot them.
I finished my Sri Lankan journey with a Seaplane back to Colombo for my transfer to the Airport. Sri Lanka was an amazing experience and I will definitely be returning to see more of this wonderful country.
By Karl Kershaw-Lee