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24 August 2017Last updated
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Where do you want to go? Try Sri Lanka

Melanie Mingas
16 Jun 2017 | 10:00 am
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I want to explore….

The trick to exploring Sri Lanka is to select a region and plan ahead. The country’s most famous attractions are sparsely linked and spending hours on the road is far from ideal on a tight schedule. However, with wildlife, water sports and unique nature across the island, adventure is waiting to be found in every direction.

Sri Lanka is home to diverse flora and fauna, best showcased in the country’s botanical gardens, zoos and national parks; although more ‘off road’ experiences exist in the form of jungle treks. For a real white-knuckle experience, head to Unawatuna or Kithugala for lagoon canoeing and white water rafting.

For those who love to climb, Adam’s Peak and Sigiriya top the bucket list. At Adam’s Peak you climb by night, scaling a seven-kilometre staircase to reach the summit just before sunrise. It’s an unforgettable experience for those who can keep the pace and don’t mind missing some sleep, but can be physically demanding.

At Sigiriya the action happens during daylight hours, when hundreds of tourists scale the 180-metre Lion’s Rock, which rises from the centre of what was once an ancient city. Despite its sheer scale, the rock was formerly a mere pedestal for the palace of King Kassapa, who wanted a view of enemies approaching across the valley. Today his palace is almost undetectable as tourists mill for pictures atop the granite monolith, before heading to the nearby Dambulla Cave Temple.

Stay at Colombo Courtyard, Colombo. Located in the heart of Sri Lanka’s capital, this colonial-style luxury boutique hotel is an oasis of calm and tranquillity in the busy city and a great starting point for many day trips and tours. Deluxe rooms start at $90 per night including breakfast.

I want to unwind…

Sri Lanka is known for its picturesque beaches, lush jungle and tea plantations that reach to the horizon. It is also gaining a reputation for its boutique hotels and spas, making it the perfect place to rebalance.

In Sri Lanka, the science of living a long and healthy life is known as Ayurveda – an ancient form of medicine using remedies found in nature. The best place to learn about these is in the country’s dozens of spice gardens, which specialise in promoting natural tonics with many offering tastes and treatments as part of the tour. Inland resorts, particularly those on tea plantations, often utilise the natural power of Sri Lanka’s native botanicals in their treatments, providing something for the body and the mind.

For beachside bliss, the south west coast is the most peaceful region of this island nation. Head south from Colombo Airport to the picturesque and colonial Galle, taking in Beruwala and Bentota. To cut journey times on Sri Lanka’s notorious roads, select one of the three towns as a base from which to explore the other communities – each offers dozens of locally owned, boutique resorts and provides the perfect escape from the stress of daily life.

Stay at Cinnamon Bey, Beruwala. With six restaurants, a pool, private beach and spa, Cinnamon Bey is an excellent base from which to explore the south west coast – or just relax. The Green Globe certified hotel will have you feeling at one with nature – and yourself – in no time. Promotion prices start at $50 per room per night for June 2017 with half board packages starting at $55.

Melanie Mingas

Melanie Mingas