Nikki Peters founder of www.circleofmoments.com, a blog with the intention to inform her family and friends about her battle against a special form of cervical cancer. Today it's one of the most popular blogs featuring fashion, food, lifestyle & travel. Her journey.
"Sri Lanka is a country very easy to travel, about the size of Belgium and the Netherlands together. Take in mind that there is a difference in terms of climate and season in the north and south. I went with my boyfriend in February 2014, this period was perfect for the south and also good in the north. What I loved about Sri Lanka was the variation of landscapes, cultures and religions. One day we were relaxing at the beach the next day we were in a national park with wild leopards or between the tea plantations in the mountains".
"We appreciated the aspect that Sri Lanka is not yet as developed as Bali or Thailand, this made our trip a kind of magical, the disadvantage is the fact that you won´t find trendy restaurants and places like we know them in Europe.
As for my situation we traveled with drivers but the public transport is suppose to be good and cheap as well".
"We traveled starting at the beach to get some rest and explored the island and its cultures afterwards but you can choose to do this the other way around off course. But now about our route.
1. We arrived at Colombo but wanted to leave this city as soon as possible, in the Netherlands we booked a hotel, just to be sure. The first hotel we stayed was Mount Lavinia, underneath Colombo. A fine hotel but not special, they do have a private beach what was very chill. The rooms were quite big but poorly maintained. Not much to do in the area except from the beach".
Other tips in Colombo:
- Lake Lodge: nice to stay!
- Lunch at Sugar Bistro, close to the Crescat Boulevard Shopping Mall.
- Barefoot, nice teras and behind the salon a beautiful souvenir shop.
- Dinner at the Gallery Café, a bit more expensive but worth it, don´t forget to taste the homemade cakes!
- Or dinner at Casa Colombo where they serve good food and delicious cocktails
- MUST: have a drink and enjoy the sunset at the pool bar of the Galle Face Hotel. Nice cocktails, in front of the sea and well known. If you are looking for a day to relax, their pool is the best.
- For a good foot massage go to Foot Rub, you pay 6 euro for 30 minutes, you can find Foot Rub at Odel as well at the Crescat Boulevard Shopping Mall.
- Don´t forget to go to the Dutch Hospital, here the young hipsters gather in the evening. At this spot you will also find the well known crab restaurant Crab Ministry, relatively expensive but really good! Recommended: the garlic crab with homemade bread.
- The places to do your shopping are Paradise Road, Barefoot and Odel. Odel offers nice clothing, good books, cupcakes and sushi. Barefoot and Paradise Road are a bit more traditional but ideal for gifts.
2. "From Colombo we went to Kalutara where we stayed at the Avani Beach Resort, a very pleasant resort, quite and because of that perfect. We eat a lot of fresh fish and enjoyed the friendly staff. Not so nice were the Russian people who can be loud at the time but thank god the resort is big enough.
The village is not spectacular but a good place to shop fresh fruit and we had a funny effect at the people as they probably never saw a tourist before. Just a good place to relax, read a book and good food".
3. "Full of energy we left Kalutara heading to Hikkaduwa. Hikkaduwa is surfers paradise, many hang out spots, surfer dudes and good waves. A large beach offering waves for beginners and advanced surfers. We booked at Surf Villa a budget guest house, but I would like to advise to choose something closer to the beach".
"Mambo's Surfer Paradise is THE bar of the town, daytime you can enjoy good breakfast or lunch while the surf dudes perform the coolest tricks in front of you. The beach is amazing and fun to walk around as you have nice places where you can eat fish and drink fresh juices".
4. "Next stop: Unawatuna. Nice beaches but more tourists as well. The town offers cute restaurants. Our hotel, the Unawatuna Beach Resort. A fine hotel but nothing special, we had a good room against a fine price so definitely worth to negotiate".
"Spoil yourself and take a massage at the Sanctuary Spa, here you will find the best ayurvedic massages of Sri Lanka!"
"For dinner go to the Kingfisher, at the end of the beach road, wonderful tuna with ginger together with passionfruit mojito's. The place to be if you are looking for some nightlife".
"From here we went to Mirissa where we made a boat trip to spot some whales. A cool adventure but it also gives you seasickness.. But we did see them!! Apparently it depends on the season so check beforehand how the chances are to spot them. It was a true experience, 5 hours on a boat and after 10 minutes I was already puking overboard (together with 10 companions).. Even my seasickness pill didn't work. But afterwords I am very glad we did this and off course it was amazing to see those whales".
5. "Mirissa is not far from Galle so when you have time go and visit as it offers beautiful old buildings and as I am from Holland the Dutch Fort is recommended. Go and have a coffee or lunch at Pedlar's Inn, if you are looking for a cocktail Galle Fort Hotel is the place to be. Don't miss the market as I was surprised about the huge fresh tuna and the overload of fresh fruit and different kind of tea's".
6. "Leaving Galle we went to Tangalle, this I would recommend EVERYONE! What a perfect place is this! So relaxed and less tourists and enough hammocks for everyone. Many good spots to hang out:
7. "After enjoying a couple days at this great place we went to the Yala National Park. This is the only place in Sri Lanka where you can spot wild leopards, and we did. I would also recommend the Chaaya Wild Resort. Here we had the luxury of our own safari cabin, at night it's not aloud to walk around by yourself because of the wild animals which makes it very exciting".
"Never arrange your safari trip at the hotel as you will pay double, book your trip with your driver or in the town itself at a local tourist office and always negotiate as they will try to trap you!"
8. "Next stop was Ella, a small town in the mountains. You will find many beautiful waterfalls here, so fun to stay for a day but no longer. But the 98 Acres Resort and Spa was gorgeous! Worth a visit is the tea factory close to Ella: Halpewatte Tea Factory or take the tuktuk to Rawana Ella Falls. You will encounter some monkeys and many tourists on the way. If you are looking for a ayurvedic massage go to Suwadivi Ayurveda Health Care".
9. "By train we arrived at Kandy, from Ella a trip of 6 hours but much fun. You will cross the inlands what makes it very special. Hang out of the windows and enjoy the view. Make sure you book first or second class otherwise you won't enjoy the ride as much as we did.
In Kandy we only stayed one day, we were told that Amaya Hills is a good resort but unfortunately is was fully booked when we arrived as we booked one day before we arrived. Off course we visited the holy temple in Kandy: Temple of the Sacred Tooth. We went in the evening during a ritual which is a special experience and a chance to do a wish".
10. "Last stop: Trincomalee. As said before my favorite spot. Good beach cabins and lovely resorts with good food. Also a good spot to dive. The atmosphere is totally different, poor people but very friendly.
Some extra information regarding Trincomalee and its surroundings".
- Nilaveli is a bit more quite as Uppeveli but you will find more budget hotels here. Check Agoda.com or Booking.com for special offers and last minute deals. Nilaveli Beach is the most popular area in Nilaveli but expensive. Budget tip in Uppeveli is Aqua Inns.
- Take a boat to Pigeon Island, a beautiful island perfect to snorkel and spot small reef sharks, Nemo's and lots of other colorful fish.
- You can also take a boat early in the morning when the fisherman are fishing tuna what attracts dolphins, or go further into the ocean to see whales.
- Visit the Hindu temple Royal Rock Temple, beautiful view and a very old well known temple.
SOME LAST TIPS
Drink fresh juices every day
Definitely visit some temples
Go to a turtle orphanage
Must visit a national park
See the inlands
Learn about Buddhism
Get addicted to fresh fruit
If you have enough time, definitely explorer the north
Get some yoga classes, they are every where!
"I would definitely recommend Sri Lanka, from backpackers to couples and I hope I inspired you to do some traveling!"
NIKKI PETERS WWW.CIRCLEOFMOMENTS.COM