I recently embarked on a sponsored trip with the Sri Lankan Tourist Board and 4 other travel & lifestyle bloggers from the UK.
From the capital of Colombo to the ancient cultural triangle, hill country ‘Little Britain’Nuwara Eliya, Uda Walawe National Park and beach town Mirissa, the route we followed would be perfect for travellers wishing to experience and explore local culture (and soak up some rays if so inclined!) for a couple of weeks.
As a professional travel photographer, I had my camera to hand at all times. I present to you, my top 10 photos from the trip that make me fall in love with Sri Lanka all over again.
- Sigyria Rock
UNESCO heritage site Sigiriya rock (also known as Lion’s Rock) is one of the most spectacular cultural heritage sites in Sri Lanka, my #1 must see if you were to choose just one on the island.
Although its not too much of a challenge for the fit and able, its best not to climb midday as it can get very hot- early morning or late afternoon is best.
2. Dambulla Cave Temple
Boasting the largest and best preserved caves in all of Sri Lanka with statues and paintings of ancient Buddhist origin, Dambulla rock is well worth the 364 step climb to the top.
With awe-inspiring sights and a somewhat eerie atmosphere inside the caves and views overlooking the magnificent province of Matale, this is a landmark to remember.
3. Lunch at Gamagedara Village Food
There is nothing quite like a village style Sri Lankan rice and curry buffet, so much so we ate at Gamagedara two days in a row.
In true Sri Lankan style, I always eat the traditional way using my right hand instead of cutlery as it really enhances the flavour when blended together this way. The brinjal (aubergine) was particularly delicious!
4. The Temple of the Tooth in Kandy
On route to Nuwara Eliya we stopped at the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, the previous capital of Sri Lanka before Colombo took it’s place in 1815 when the British conquered.
The temple is one of the most sacred places of worship to Buddhists across the world, hosting an annual ‘Perahera’ festival in August celebrating the tooth relic.
5. Hot air balloon over Kandalama Lake with Sun Rise Ballooning
One of the most spectacular views I’ve ever witnessed in my life from a hot air balloon at sunrise overlooking Sigiriya Rock- speaks for itself!
6. Mackwoods Tea Factory
A visit to a tea factory is a must in Sri Lanka’s hill country, with Mackwoods ‘fine tea’ founded in 1841 being one of the fanciest (perhaps partly due to Prince Charles’ visit in 2013) of it’s kind on the island.
Walking through the process of how the tea is transformed from field to cup is truly fascinating. The withering room (pictured above) is the most impressive, with leaves as far as the eye can see!
7. Pidurutalagala Mountain, the highest point in Sri Lanka
Standing 2,524 meters tall amidst fresh, cool air, Pidurutalagala (Mount Pedro) is the highest point in Sri Lanka. Not only are the views beyond remarkable but the diversity of the landscaped flowers (many of which are native to England) makes it well worth the meandering journey to the top where the army base stands.
8. Dolphins in Mirissa with Sail Lanka Charter
Not only did we spot what we woke up for at 4am on our whale watching boat trip in Mirissa, we also had the most magical experience with a school of dolphins swimming just meters beside our boat- one of those out of this world ‘pinch me’ moments!
9. Colombo cityscape
As much as Sri Lanka is postcard perfect for its lush green tropical landscapes, Colombo also has it’s own unique aesthetic combining the new skyscrapers and fancy hotels with historic, colonial bungalows. This shot was taken from the rooftop of Cinnamon Red hotel overlooking Beira Lake.
10. Galle Face Green at sunset
Galle Face Green is a truly magical spot in Colombo, having been celebrated by tourists and locals alike for many years. It’s so special in fact, they diverted the railway track inland from the coast (where it travels all the way from down south) in the 1870’s to avoid spoiling the landscape.
Along the bustling stretch of the green at sunset lay vendors with all kinds of local Sri Lankan street foods- kottu rotti (chopped rotti bread, vegetables/chicken and a spicy gravy) parippu wade (deep fried lentil balls, also served with prawns as ‘isso wade’) and achcharu (spiced pickled fruits).
All photos were taken by Alice Luker, founder of Style in Sri Lanka.