Sri Lanka

A Client View: Returning to Sri Lanka

A Client View: Returning to Sri Lanka

The only thing we love more than organising holidays for our clients is hearing about the highlights of the trip upon their return. Our travel experts take great care and pride in weaving together tailor-made itineraries, complete with every possible intricacy. It’s this attention to detail that sets us apart and makes our holidays truly original, so hearing about the best bits is incredibly rewarding. Our clients James and Elizabeth recently returned from Sri Lanka and Elizabeth shared this account of their trip with us. From timeless temples and tea plantations to authentic cooking classes and guided safaris, read on for an insight into what our Sri Lankan holidays can involve…


  1. Cultural Triangle
  2. Kandy
  3. Thotalagalla
  4. Galle


What a joy it is to return to Sri Lanka on holiday after the pandemic and last year’s troubles. The country is now open to tourism again and welcoming visitors with open arms. It is such a beautiful country full of allure and diversity. The Sri Lankans are warm and friendly, and make terrific hosts – nothing is ever too much trouble.

I first visited Sri Lanka in 2018 with my daughter and returned this time with my husband. Despite the economic difficulties that Sri Lanka is facing, tourists are well cared for and the Sri Lankans were keen for us to visit and give us the best possible experience. Hotels are up and running once again and the food is excellent, with spice levels tailored to your own individual taste buds. It is hard to resist overeating when there is such a variety and abundance of fresh local produce to be tempted by.

The weather has been glorious since we arrived and it’s incredible that the temperature and climatic conditions can vary so much from one area to another, within only a matter of miles. But then that is the beauty of Sri Lanka being an all year round holiday destination.


Cultural Triangle

We travelled by car from Colombo to the Cultural Triangle with our excellent chauffeur and guide, where we stayed at Ulagalla, which was heavenly after a long journey from the UK. We spent three nights here, and over two days learnt about Sri Lanka’s ancient capitals, visited Anuradhapura (on a guided cycle ride), climbed Pidurangala, and saw elephants, birds and other wildlife in Minneriya National Park (including an altercation between a cobra and mongoose). Ulagalla was the perfect base, offering extreme luxury, and one evening we experienced a multi-course traditional Sri Lankan meal at Thakala (their rice paddy dining pavilion under the stars), which was unforgettable.

Our next destination was Wilpattu, where we stayed at the luxury Leopard Trails Tented Camp. Luxury is the word here, as our tents were incredibly comfortable and well-equipped, while the food was plentiful and delicious. Our safari surpassed all expectations and during our three-day stay we saw leopards, a sloth bear, birds, star tortoises and so much more. We had a very experienced guide and driver who made our game drives so enjoyable and informative. A pair of binoculars is a must in order to get the best possible experience.



From there we drove to Kandy – the last capital of the ancient kings – to visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth. Kandy is a bustling city full of people and vehicles, but fascinating nevertheless. The botanical gardens are beautiful and well worth visiting, and we also did a food tour which was great fun. We learnt about all the different Sri Lankan foods on offer and visited some historical buildings with our excellent national guide. Our refuge here was the Kandy House Hotel on the edge of the city – another beautiful property. The 200-year-old villa was built by the last chief minister of the Kandyan Kingdom, so is steeped in history and has been converted into a luxury boutique hotel, surrounded by beautiful grounds and a large infinity swimming pool which overlooks the paddy fields. The cuisine is superb and the rooms are extremely comfortable. What more could you want? We didn’t want to leave!



No holiday to Sri Lanka would be complete without visiting the hill country and experiencing the workings of an authentic tea estate. Our next destination was Thotalagalla, near Haputale, which we journeyed to by train. It is a long and slow journey, but fascinating to travel alongside the locals and through such stunning verdant countryside. Thotalagalla is the perfect base from which to visit Dambatenne Tea Factory and head to Lipton’s Seat at dawn. This was well worth the early start, and we then walked down through the tea fields observing the flora and fauna, birdlife and village locals – a very memorable experience and good to stretch our legs after so much delicious food. 

While at Thotalagalla we had the pleasure of meeting two young Belgians who had hired a tuk tuk in Colombo and were touring the country. As fun as this sounded, we were relieved to step into our air conditioned vehicle with our chauffeur guide to travel to our final destination, KK Beach near Galle, for a few days of rest and relaxation.



While staying near Galle, we went on an early morning guided tour with a national guide around historic Galle (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), to learn about its importance as a trading port and the influence of the Portuguese, Dutch and British on its history and architecture. We also had the pleasure of visiting the International Cricket Stadium and later went up on to the fort walls, near the clock tower, for an amazing view of the cricket ground.  We returned one evening for sunset and a walk around the streets followed by a delicious meal.

Just in case you were worried we weren’t sufficiently experiencing the Sri Lankan cuisine, we participated in a cooking experience where we visited a local market by tuk tuk and chose items we wanted to cook. We then had a hands-on lesson in the traditional setting of a wattle and daub mud hut, preparing eight unique dishes in total.

It was wonderful to have a few days to wind down after our busy itinerary and enjoy the luxury of KK Beach, with its beautiful swimming pool, nearby ocean and long sandy beach on our doorstep. Sri Lanka is a fabulous holiday destination and we could not have enjoyed ourselves more. Thank you Original Travel for making this possible.

If you’re tempted by this account of our clients’ Sri Lankan adventure, enquire now to start planning your own tailor-made itinerary…

Sri Lanka train