Sri Lanka – the pearl in the Indian Ocean

I was lucky enough to get to know Sri Lanka, the fantastically diverse and stunning country. From Colombo in the west to Kandy and Sigiriya in the cultural triangle, to Galle, Bentota and Beruwela in the south and many other fantastic places, I was allowed to get to know almost the whole island.

If you plan a round trip or a vacation on Sri Lanka, you should always consider the local conditions like the long flight from Austria or the above average driving times on site. Here I recommend booking business class when flying with z.B. Emirates or Qatar Airways, as they offer an exceptional comfort.
Furthermore, it is advisable to be prepared in advance for longer travel times, not because of the roads, which are very well developed, but because of the heavy traffic, and to carry knee- and shoulder-covering clothing with you on every day.

Negombo by day & night

Round trips in Sri Lanka usually start in Negombo – a manageable coastal and tourist town with a beautiful wide sandy beach, stores, restaurants, bars and many entertainment options.

On the morning of our arrival night, when I wanted to quickly go to the ATM, which was located directly opposite our hotel Jetwing Blue, I was allowed to experience for the very first time the friendliness (which seemed to me to be cheeky flattery) of the Singhalese. I remember well the moment when an elderly woman, sitting on the side of the road, smiling without teeth, waved wildly at me and pointed at my blond hair.
Your joy about my blond hair was apparently as big as my smiling breath and the joy about finally being in this great country.

For a stay in Negombo I recommend the Jetwing Beach Hotel*****, located directly on the wide and long sandy beach of Colombo. This hotel shows the ideal example of vernacular design, designed by internationally renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa. In just a few minutes walk you are in the center of Negombo and can immerse yourself in the lively life of the Singhalese and Tamils.

Polonnaruwa, Dambulla & Sigiriya

Followed by the impulsive town of Negombo, we explored historical ruin sites in Sri Lanka's cultural triangle. The historic areas of Polonnaruwa can hardly be explored on foot in one day, so our driver chauffeured us from one structure to the next. I have rarely seen such impressive stupas, historic palaces and huge ruins. But the highlight were clearly the Buddha statues of Gal Vihara, which were carved out of a boulder.
In Dambulla a ca awaited us. half hour climb to the caves -it was leisurely but steep uphill and we were glad for a short break when we could sit down to drop off our shoes in front of the sacred temple (I recommend bringing thin socks) .
Little by little we entered the 6 caves of the Dambulla temple complex and marveled at every single Buddha figure, which were so similar and yet so different.

On the way from Dambulla to Sigiriya, we made some hotel visits and suddenly it happened. Our German-speaking driver of the Jetwing agency stopped at an unspectacular place with a few trees and red-brown sandy ground. He gestured us to walk through the trees and bushes. Tentatively we brushed aside the branches and then we saw it: the rock of Sigiriya. Mighty it stood there, a panorama as one could hardly imagine it more beautiful.

Now I couldn't wait to climb the rock of Sigiriya and enjoy the view from above over this magnificent land. But this should not have been the last impressive impression of today!

Check in hotel Aliya Resort & Spa****

After a very exhausting day, a lot of impressions and a lot of valuable information from our German-speaking driver, we arrived at our hotel in Sigiriya:
Gracefully we looked at the entrance – felt 25 stairs which rise upwards. But when we reached the top, we were again surprised by a view, which could not be better represented in a picture book.


"Don't put your jacket in your suitcase", I said to my mother the next morning. "Today we are going to Kandy – it's cold there". Well, cold was a bit exaggerated, but the jacket proved itself, because in the highlands of Sri Lanka it had about 20 degrees and it was cloudy. If you think this is bad travel weather, you are wrong. Because when we arrived in the city of Kandy, a completely different landscape of Sri Lanka was waiting for us. Embedded in the gray cloud cover, a special kind of atmosphere arises here.
In Kandy is the most sacred place of Sri Lanka, the tooth temple. Here the canine tooth of Buddha is kept, which you don't get to see, but you can marvel at the golden reliquary. But much more impressive was the atmosphere in the temple with musical accompaniment. Insider tip: at the entrance to the reliquary there are usually two rows, one waiting for the ceremony where you are allowed to enter the room with the container, and the other row leads around the outside. If you are there at the right time, you can also catch a glimpse of the golden container from the outer row and thus get around much faster. Besides the Temple of the Tooth, I was also very impressed by Kandy Lake, where you can marvel at the Kandy Lake dances every evening at the Kandy Lake Club.

Nuwara Eliya – the completely different Sri Lanka

In Nuwara Eliya we felt somehow "like at home". The overgreen hilly tea plantations reminded me a bit of Tuscany in Italy. A gorgeous landscape is offered to you here, so different from the rest of the country.
In Nuwara Eliya I realized for the first time how diverse this small country is. But it is not only the landscape that characterizes this city, but also the townscape.
All buildings are built in British colonial style, hotel like post office or restaurant – a delightful village center with the idyllic Lake Gregory awaits you here.

On the south coast of Sri Lanka, beautiful golden, wide sandy beaches with paradisiacal palm groves await you. The south coast is also characterized by numerous activities for everyone. From Yala National Park where we could spot elephants, buffalos and leopards on a jeep safari, to the possibility of whale watching at Mirissa, watching the incomparable stilt fishermen at work in Weligama, visiting the turtle farm in Bentota/Kosgoda or just lingering on one of the many beautiful sandy beaches to enjoy the sea air.

Sri Lanka has excited me in every way, be it the culture, be it the people, or be it the uniquely diverse landscape that characterizes Sri Lanka. I was amazed at how diverse a country can be and the different events you can experience in just such a short period of time.

I already know I'll be exploring this country a few more times, and I'm convinced that Sri Lanka – the Pearl of the Indian Ocean – gives me wonderful new experiences with each visit!