Why we Chose Sri Lanka as our Honeymoon Getaway
A honeymoon is definitely the most memorable holiday of a couples life. Therefore a lot of thought goes into deciding the location. When my husband told me that we will be going to Sri Lanka for our honeymoon, I honestly felt a little unsettled. I had heard of couples going to Maldives, Europe, Malaysia, Bali and Singapore but hadn’t heard of this location till then. I was wrong. It was definitely my best holiday ever! I was surprised to see thousands of tourists there from Europe. We had the time of our lives and today I will be endorsing Sri Lanka as we really fell in love.
My travel history
I have traveled a lot in my life. Pakistan, Kuwait, Dubai, Thailand, England, Wales, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France and USA. Never have I seen one country which offers so much. You either get beach or mountains, warm or cool, wildlife or culture. Sri Lanka is definitely an exception. You get everything in one little country. Its diverse landscapes range from rain-forest, plains to highlands and sandy beaches.
By everything I mean the works! You get beaches, safari, wild-life, cultural shows, informative tours, recreational tours, trekking, cruising, mangroves, boat rides, water sports, hot and cold (southern coastal and central areas respectively). It was surely the trip of our lives and a perfect honeymoon getaway.
We booked our all inclusive chauffeur driven exclusive tour through this company. My husband arranged a meeting with them when he was visiting Dubai and came up with a customized itinerary. You have to tell them number of nights and your interests and they customize the trip according to your needs. Mr. Saman Karawita was not only our chauffeur and tour guide for the whole trip but also became our dear friend and personal photographer. A relatively new and comfortable Toyota Corolla was exclusively ours.
It was a 12 day trip and we were given our itinerary, maps and lists well in advance. It was a very well managed tour and we didn’t have to worry about the nitty gritties (bookings, locations, addresses, telephone numbers etc) of our holiday as it was all taken care of. We didn’t even have working phones with us as everything was in control and we enjoyed the freedom and life away from technology, for a change. We were closer to nature than we ever imagined. Even our 5 star hotel corridors had tree branches coming in and monkeys would watch us in the toilet while hanging from trees.
Sri Lankans give Pakistani’s a lot of respect. Our first hotel room was upgraded to luxury suite completely free of charge as they found out that we are honeymooners. They decorated the room with hearts and rose petals for us. Almost every hotel we lived in offered us complimentary drinks, desserts and decorated our bed with rose petals.
I could go on and on writing about all the amazing things we did in Sri Lanka but I would have to keep this post short and only focus on the highlights of our trip. What was it about Sri Lanka that we loved the most?
Highlights of the trip
1. Crazy about wild life
Sri Lanka is the place for animal lovers. Their wild animals like squirrels, dogs, monkeys, land monitors and elephants are so friendly that I fell in love with them over and over. The best part is that they are not scared of humans at all. Wild squirrels would come and sit in our laps. When we two used to go out for a walk on our hotel’s private beach, a wild dog would randomly join us and start walking with us. It was just too cute!
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Fed and bathed elephants too. They were not threatening at all. They were really peaceful and friendly.
Minneriya National Park
Safari experience in open jeeps. Amazing views. Saw a Frogmouth Bird which was interesting and baby elephants, one week old too.
Saw disabled turtles with no arms & legs, baby turtles and really old turtles who were hundreds of years old.
Fish foot spa in Madhu Ganga river
I was terribly scared at first and screamed too much but ultimately I did manage to put my feet in as every minute was being charged. The fish reminded me of big lizards and felt yucky but my feet did feel a whole lot better.
2. Water Sports
White Water Rafting Kathulgala
Best experience. Too much fun. Hard to explain! But all my supposed-to-be-waterproof mascara went flowing away after sticking every where on my face.
Cultural Shows x 2
Such a rich culture. Amazing entertainment.
Various temple tours
Beautiful temples with intricate work of art.
Haggala Botanical Gardens
Saw a live snake there right next to us. But had a really romantic walk there.
Dambula Cave Temples
Saw the sleeping and the dead budha there. Climbed too many steps in the rain. There were a lot of monkeys (including baby monkeys) who climbed up with us. One naughty monkey took my umbrella and I had to snatch it back from him after explaining how I might need it if it rains again. He seemed convinced.
Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Also called the 8th wonder of the world. UNESCO world heritage site. Climbed 1200 steps to the top of the rock with exotic 360 degree views.
5. Train Ride
Train ride between Nuwara Eliya and Kandy
Gorgeous and exotic views of waterfalls.
6. River/Lake cruise
Madhu Ganga River cruise with frightening mangroves
The guy who was rowing our boat found out that I was scared of creepy crawlies. When I asked him if there aren’t any wild animals in mangroves, he replied ‘No madam, no animals. Only Anaconda!’ When I screamed, he added ‘and it no attacks men, only women. Pakistani women.’ Hubby was laughing uncontrollably. The common men there were witty and loved Pakistan (which felt amazing by the way).
Tour of cinnamon Island
Its a beautiful small island where only one family lives. The head of that family gave us a demonstration of how leaves and bark of a cinnamon tree are used to make different products. Then they came to the point and sold us Cinnamon oil.
Boat ride at Gregory Lake, Nuwara Eliya
7. City Tours
- Colombo city tour
- Galle city tour
- Kandy city tour
8. Informative Tours
I had no idea that this trip would also increase our general knowledge in so many ways. Local tour guides gave us complete tours of each place in detail.
Batik Factory Tour
Tour on how wax is used and cloth is dyed and re-dyed. Batik is really beautiful and colourful.
Spice and Herb Garden Tour
All the herbs, spices we use so commonly in our kitchen were all planted in one garden. After the informative tour, we were given free herbal tea and foot massages before they tried to sell their stuff to us which was way too over priced.
Wood carving center
Breath-taking tour of how natural colors are made on wood work created there. In front of us in a glass of water, when he added sandle-wood bark, used a different spoon or added lemon, colors would automatically change so drastically. It was really like magic. We noticed most of the workers at wood carving center were girls.
Gem Stones factory
We got to see a presentation and a live tour of all different types of precious, semi-precious stones in the world and how they are extracted. My birth stone was Blue Sapphire which coincidentally is one of the most expensive gem stones and my husband said he could buy it for me. I didn’t let him spend too much on a stone as I know their value is nothing when you go to sell them.
Masks Museum Tour
Exploring different cultures is mesmerizing. The stories they had of masks and their ancient tales were hilarious. The way they talked about them with serious facial expressions was even more funny. I couldn’t resist buying the masks so when I was looking for the cutest one to buy, a lady asked me my disease? I was shocked and realized each mask there is made to cure some disease or problem. I just went for the ones that I found the most colorful and cute. It turned out that I got the following masks:
– Protection from Fire
– Cure from leg pain
– Good Luck
Tea factory and Tea Gardens
Such breathtakingly gorgeous tea gardens and we had a detailed tour of how tea is made at Mackwoods Tea Factory in Nuwara Eliya. Unfortunately we don’t drink tea at all. But we liked their flavored tea and brought a lot of it home.
9. Beach & Swimming
All our hotels had amazing outdoor infinity pools so we could lure ourselves at the end of the day. Weather was warm at beaches so we enjoyed getting into sea water too and floated on waves.
10. Yummy Food
11. Hotels to get excited about
Since it is cheap compared to the rest of the world, one can afford to live in luxury suites with top notch facilities like infinity pools and jacoozi’s. In one of the hotels, the washrooms had only glass as there was a thick jungle and no human could possibly look inside. We could see monkeys and elephants out of the window while taking a shower. Following are pictures of the hotels we stayed in.
Some travel tips
- Sri Lankans love to ask for money so even if you take some random persons picture on the road, he will come and ask money for it. If they help pick up your luggage, they will ask money. Thank you just doesn’t seem good enough.
- In Sri Lanka you won’t find any beggar asking money for no reason. They will figure out a reason to ask you for it. So they are good at marketing. In fact they will sell their product or service to you so much that you will get irritated.
- After you get a complimentary upgrade to a luxury suite, you will be spoiled for life. Never again will you be able to settle for an ordinary double room. You will pay, no matter how much it costs to buy yourself that piece of heaven. Our first hotel played this trick on us and we happily upgraded the rest of our hotels to luxury suites by paying more. Oops! Nothing in this world is really free.