SRI LANKA The exotic isle

Steve Fletcher on 15 November 2009
Following a superb overnight flight with SriLankan Airlines we arrived in Colombo, the island's capital. Here I began my one week’s tour around this fascinating island.

First stop was Habarana and I checked into the 4* Cinnamon Lodge. From here, we had a trip out to climb to the top of Sigiriya Rock Fortress, stopping partway up to have a look at the cave paintings. On the rock’s summit are the ruins of the King’s Palace, bath and terraces with amazing views for miles looking out over the fascinating countryside, in the distance I could see a herd of elephants bathing in the river.

Then it was off to explore the ruins of the medieval capital Polonnaruwa, built in the 12th-Century by King Parakramabahu. The remains of the King’s Palace, which includes shrines, temples and dogobas, are well-preserved, as is the Gal Vihara containing rock sculptures of the Buddha.

Kandy - We stopped off at this fascinating city to take in all the sights and made a visit to the Temple of the Tooth before ending the day off with a cultural show.

We then set off into the mountains amongst the spectacular scenery as we passed colourfully dressed local people picking tea leaves. We stopped at a tea plantation and factory to learn more about the production of tea.

Next day we continued through more amazing scenery and the mountains to Yala National Park. We then took a jeep safari and saw leopards and wild animals at the watering hole.

We then drove to the old Portuguese and Dutch town of Galle stopping at the fabulous Fortress hotel for lunch.

I would highly recommend a two-centre holiday spending one week touring Sri Lanka followed by a week relaxing in The Maldives.

For more information and advice on these destinations, please give me a call.