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Sri Lanka - Journey Diary

Hello everyone,

I hope your summer is going great. Since I have about two weeks here in Sri Lanka, I thought it would be lovely if I can journal everything, day by day, and just highlight the important stuff so you can also enjoy a nice vacation on the island.


First thing's first, I had a lovely, yet long flight, to Sri Lanka from Brussels, with a transit in Doha. We did have some delays, but we had arrived safely and that's the most important part ( our luggage too !).

On our first day, we were mainly tired from the trip, so we just hanged around the hotel and set our ground for the coming days. On this note, I know the exchanging money in the local currency is very important when traveling, so I'd like to say that if you are coming to Sri Lanka, I think you'll have a pretty decent exchange rate at the airport.

Day 2: We had confirmed a few excursions that we are planning to take. One of them is tomorrow :)

Also, the hotel assistant manager gave us a lovely tour of Heritance Ahungalla. As a travel enthusiast, I feel that it's always nice to check out lovely hotels across the world.

The hotel is wonderful - lovely staff and great food. Rooms are cute too and ours is just by the second pool of the hotel, with not too many visitors. You also have Airbnb in Sri Lanka; I checked and they seem so amazing ! I was astonished. I think a good trip would be to book an Airbnb in different parts of the island and therefore visiting the island altogether. They do have also public transport available if you don't feel confortable renting a car.

Day 3: We went on a lovely whale watching tour with Tony Sri Lanka Tours with whom we also booked something else for Monday ( keep on reading ). The whale watching happens in Mirissa, which is about 1h30 drive from Ahungalla. We had to wake up very early as the tour starts at 7am, so pick up at the hotel was at 5am (just to be sure everything runs smoothly). We embarked on a boat with other people from different parts of Sri Lanka, and then went to sea. Other than whales, you can also spot dolphins. To be honest, I never saw so many dolphins at once. They were everywhere! We did spot a whale (or two), but it was from far. Apparently this is not quite the season so we were lucky we saw something.

Day 4: I usually don't like taking too many tours one after the other, so today it was all about relaxing. We had also a drink by the natural pool which is situated not far from the hotel. You can access it from the hotel beach.


Day 5: We went on a lovely tour with Tony Sri Lanka Tours. Started out at the Galbokka sea turtle hatchery , where they rehabilitate disabled sea turtles that suffered dammage to their flippers or shell due to man's harmful actions in the ocean / sea. Other than that, the sanctualy helps baby turtles to hatch in a safe environment before releasing them back into the sea. I was lucky enough to release two of the little fellas on the spot. It's important to support such initiatives, so if you decide to go there while in Sri Lanka, please give a donation. The staff has to buy from local fishermen 20kg of fish per day to feed the turtles and with no actual help from the government, it's difficult to make ends meet. They don't have an website as it's quite expensive but I linked up their Instagram.

After this, we did a boat safari which was extraordinary journey of about 1h and a half. From visiting a couple of islands in the Madu River with actual comunities living on these small islands ( there are about 40 of them), to spotting river monsters while enjoying a fresh coconut. The Madu River actually meets with the Indian Ocean on a scenic beach, surrounded by mangrove trees.

The moonstone mines were next on the list for this eventful day. It's lovely to discover the craftsmanship behind these semi-precious stones, but I would recommend skipping the shop part. They have abusive prices there and firthermore, I had read some reviews online where people bought 'sapphires' that ended up being plain glass.. Do your research before buying anything in Sri Lanka altogether. There are a lot of scammers out there..


During this tour, you'll also go to the Tsunami Museum built after the 2004 tragedy .. you will learn more on the spot. But believe me, it's heartbreaking.


Had a great seaview lunch at a place nearby and then headed towards THE stilt fishing spot of the island. Tried it myself, but without any luck 😁.

We ended the day with a quick visit of the Dutch fort, but know that you can also visit a fruit market.


Per a personal request, Tony took us to a jewelry shop very close to the hotel where we admired some fantastic gemstones and jewellery pieces. This is a family owned business, where the head of the family is a goldsmith so he can also create some custom made pieces for you. I will probably go back after my 3 day trip starting on Wednesday.

Day 6: relax day at the hotel. Also, totally regretting that I paid extra for the tour tomorrow with TUI. Tony's son misunderstood the price TUI offered me so I ended up going with them .. so sad.

In the afternoon we took a guy from the hotel because we wanted to exchange some money.

He took us to a nearby city and also we visited a few shops that he picked. Little note: go where you want to go, do some research before and most importantly, read google reviews !

We were promised a spice shopping place, but we ended up into a guy's small garden. He did know his plants, no question about it, but I'm sad that it was just a front for a pushy shopping. Not so many spices. He did do an European price deal that I still found a bit expensive to be honest. It felt like that a tourist trap to be honest. I'm all about natural medicine, herbs, spices, but I don't appreciate being cornered into buying stuff. People overseas should understand that we are not all rich and that most of us are just hard working people from the middle class...

Anyway, I hope at least that the medicine I bought works.

Day 7: Crazy short night because I needed to work until 23h and then woke up at 3h30 to meet our guide for the following days.

First stop Udawalawe National Park for some early safari trying to spot some elephants & other animals.

Since they tried to squeeze in a lot of activities in this 3 day tour, we have a pretty tight schedule, so we only stayed like 2-3h at the national park. We didn't see much.. the guide apparently had some problems back home so he wasn't very helping today. I'm a bit disappointed to be honest. The TUI representative doesn't speak good French so we understood that we're going to feed the baby elephants ourselves .. it wasn't the case. We just assisted from far while the keeps were feeding them. After that, we went towards Ella.. it's such a beautiful region, but the hotel was terrible. Apparently all the hotels were fully booked, and I actually tried to have maybe a better room since the hotel had other rooms available. The TUI representative shamelessly lied to me on the phone saying everything is booked.

Anyway, the first day wasn't very good, but I still have seen the 9 Arch Bridge and had the chance to see the train passing by; also went to Little Adam's Peak where I saw a fantastic hotel. That would have been the hotel for us :)

I had found the most lovely massage therapist at our hotel though, the cabins are placed with a fantastic view at Ella Flower Garden Resort. Just ask for Kaushal !


Day 8: Early start again. Now going towards Kandy, but first going on a train ride for 2h30 and admiring beautiful sceneries along the way. After this, we went to the biggest botanical garden in Sri Lanka. Is it worth it ? Only if you have time on your hands. To be honest, I have seen better.



A mandatory stop at a gem shop - Tiesh is the name and even though the prices might seem high, the quality is there. Would definitely go again there. I had purchased the most beautiful pair of gold earrings with sapphire stones. Fantastic really ! We had even a short film played about the stone mining in Sri Lanka and the cutting process, etc., plus a guided visit through the workshop and discovered some amazing facts about these precious stones.

After lunch we continued our journey at the Temple of the Sacred Relic Tooth, also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa, where Buddha's canine tooth is kept. It's a very interesting story and the temple itself is very lovely, so I'd recommend visiting it. Buy some flowers outside so you make an offering for Buddha !

What happened next was pretty cool: we had the opportunity to watch a cultural/traditional show - the most impressive was the fire walk afterwards. Definitely a must see!


We spent the night at a splendid hotel nearby - Mahaweli Reach Hotel. So amazing !


Day 9: Again a very early start because this time we visited another beautiful temple - Dambula Cave Temple that is actually carved in the mountain. Beautiful place to visit, so definitely recommend. You will see both a statue of a sleeping Buddha and also a very rare one of a passing away Buddha.. it was lovely to lean more about Buddhism and its history.

After that, we went to another lovely location - Sigiriya Rock - which is a UNESCO Heritage site. I didn't had the courage to go up, but I took some cute pics, right ? :)

Stopped along the way to grab some yummy goodies from P&S. Everything is sooo good !

Now the rest of my days in Sri Lanka were spent mostly at the hotel or visiting the surroundings, where maybe one thing was more special: a visit to a local gem shop (yes, again): Gem Bank Gems & Jewellery. Now I didn't had the pieces that I bought evaluated, but I hope I did a good deal. Although the shop itself is nowhere near the Tiesh shop in Kandy, you may be lucky enough to strike a bargain. The person who owns the place is patient enough, so he'll guide you through all the jewellery.

In my last days there, I just enjoyed the sun and the pool as I knew I was getting back to grey Belgium and this will be missed..

I hope you liked my article on Sri Lanka and please do send me an email, a message on Instagram or drop a comment if you have any questions.

sri lanka sunset

Thank you for passing by my blog and I wish you all a beautiful day ahead !


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