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Honeymoon Destinations: Sri Lanka

Saturday 25th August 2018
Living up to its name 'The Island of Gem', Sri Lanka is well and truly a honeymoon destination 'gem' of its own. Like stepping into nature's wonderland, Sri Lanka is a place of discovery, inviting travellers to pursue their own journey across the landscape from coast to coast.
Posted under: places Tagged: #destinations

While it may not be what immediately springs to mind when you think of classic honeymoon destinations, it is this sense of surprise and natural wonder that gives Sri Lanka its charming allure, making it an ideal honeymoon location that dares to be discovered. The island romances its visitors with its vast and unspoilt natural beauty, manifesting a sense of purity and authenticity for which the land is renown. And this is certainly carried through the temperament of the Sri Lankan people, who are beloved for their smiles of kindness. Besides being an attraction for tea lovers everywhere, Sri Lanka boasts a coastline prime for daily surfing and meditative yoga, two activities that often go hand-in-hand on this island. Enter tropical weather, lush greenery and wholesome food at every turn and we’ve already booked our tickets!

If you are headed to Sri Lanka for your honeymoon, prepare yourself to stretch your legs and do some exploring. With so much landscape variety and with plenty to do, you will want to immerse yourself in the land as the perfect conduit for meaningful and honest experiences. It’s a place where you can sit and be still and find fulfilment in that without feeling like you are missing out on something. You create the adventure. This is a precious quality for any honeymoon and the real ‘spark’ to honeymooning in Sri Lanka.

Before you travel, there are a few important things to consider. Visitors of Sri Lanka must have an Electronic Travel Authorisation to enter the country, which you can apply for online. Ensure that you complete your application early on in your honeymoon planning, so as to avoid any unnecessary delays. It is also important to consider the weather in each of the different parts of the island that you intend to visit. As a tropical destination, the weather can be unexpected and varying, so it’s important to pack warm clothes in addition to your white linens and multi-functional swimsuits. In the same way, it’s important to be wary of monsoon season when you are booking flights to Sri Lanka, and avoid traveling between May and December. The best time to travel to the places featured in this article is between December and March. Thirdly,  In considering how you will commute between destinations, note that the windy streets and rough terrain means that it is less favourable to hire a car and drive on your own in Sri Lanka. Instead, you can make the most of the ‘tuk tuk’ experience as an affordable option, but pay attention to the ratings and be cautious of greedy drivers who take advantage of foreigners. Lastly, you will be pleased to know that food, drinks and transportation is generally ridiculously cheap in Sri Lanka! This means that you can budget accordingly and reallocate funds to enjoy some of the more luxurious restaurants and experiences on your list.

Surfing

With world-class waves comes an international surf culture that people travel far and wide to experience first hand. The Sri Lankan coastline is peppered with surf retreats and villas where travellers can dwell at the ocean’s doorstep with the freedom and accessibility to the ocean whenever they please. And you don’t have to be a seasoned surfer either (thank goodness!) because there are plenty of great spots along the coast with more ‘friendly’ waves to learn on. Weligama is a great place to orient yourself because the waves are mild and beginner-friendly, with plenty of bigger break points within a short walk if you fancy a challenge. It is also a fairly quiet beach with incredible views at sunset – even better when you have the beach all to yourselves. Perched on the Weligama beachfront is Ceylon Sliders, a hotel, café, shop, surfing community (anything else?) and a ‘must’ to add to your Sri Lankan itinerary. Whether you are just getting comfortable on the waves and need that extra guidance, or you religiously begin each day with a morning surf, Ceylon Sliders is the ideal environment to enjoy your time as newlyweds by the ocean. With it’s vision as a physical meeting place for the broader surfing community, it is also a great place to meet likeminded people and enjoy the more social aspect of surfing. Even if you just drop in to visit the downstairs café, Ceylon Sliders doesn’t disappoint. The menu is current and wholesome and features all the healthy essentials – falafel bowls, smoothies and everyone’s favourite, avo on toast. Whatever your meal of choice, make sure you add the iced latte to the order. It’s a winner.

Hiking

The statuesque mountains of Sri Lanka are undoubtedly beautiful from afar, but they are also a wonder to be experienced up close and personal from one of the paths well travelled. Ella is a hiker’s wonderland and is home to many trails and iconic vantage points where you will have the best seat in the house when the inevitable magic of sunset rolls around each day. Many visitors begin their adventure with the a journey through the hills country by train, from Kandy to Ella. This is an experience you should add to your itinerary even if you don’t plan on doing any hiking, simply because the route takes you through some of the most beautiful areas. Peering out of the train window is like taking snapshots of the luscious landscape and a offers a unique glimpse into the Sri Lankan culture. Plus, the wind through your hair is a refreshing relief to the tropical heat, particularly if you are travelling during summer. When you arrive in Ella, there are plenty of hiking routes you can take, each varying in levels of difficulty. We recommend taking the one hour hike to Little Adam’s Peak, especially if you plan your day so that you catch the afternoon glow on your journey up the mountains before sunset. Being a fairly short hike, it is a great way to experience the vast landscape in a short amount of time and capture plenty of wallpaper-worthy photos without pulling your back out! The trail begins at the Ella Flower Garden Resort and is well marked along the way, leading you up the mountain overlooking the surrounding gardens and plantations.

If you drive (or tuk-tuk ride) an hour from Ella, you will find yourself in another majestic location that deserves a place on your honeymoon itinerary – Diyaluma Falls. It’s the second largest waterfall in Sri-Lanka and is unique for its beautiful scenic trails, one that’s 2 hours long and another that’s just 40 minutes. On either route, you’ll pass several natural pools of water where you can pause for a moment, take a dip and cool down in the process. Truthfully, you could spend all day here just taking in the experience and enjoying this natural wonder. It’s important to note that parts of the trail can be slippery and difficult to traverse, so be alert and aware of your footing. You don’t want any accidents to spoil the fun!

Needless to say, the places to explore and adventures to experience are plentiful on the Island, but if you’re at odds with what to put on your list, here’s a few to help you along:

  • Visit the Pinnawalla Elephant Orphanage
  • Get photographic at the Palm Tree Swing in Dalawella
  • Stop and have a moment at the Nine Arch Bridge in Ella
  • Go from beach to bar at Unawatuna
  • Explore the ancient city of Anuradhapura
  • Make your way to the Galle Lighthouse before in time for sunset
  • Try to experience the sunrise from wherever you are as much as possible. The same can be said for sunset. These moments in the day are silly magical in Sri Lanka
  • Ignite your Roti bread addiction at the Dewmini Roti Shop
  • Experience a Ayurvedic treatment for holistic health, healing and relaxation
  • Go surfing with the locals at Arugam Bay
  • Visit the Macklewood Plantation and enjoy some tea while listening to the history
  • Kick back and go whale-watching in Mirissa (during December to April)
  • Have your own unique jewellery made with your favourite Sri Lankan gems

Where to Stay

When you touch down in Sri Lanka, it’s a good idea to stay for a night or two in the city of Colombo to get your bearings and orient yourself in this new environment. Beyond this we recommend residing in places where you are close to nature and are faced with its beauty from the moment you wake up. Besides the wealth of activities you may have on your itinerary, your honeymoon vacation is an opportunity like no other to seek rejuvenation and be nurtured by your natural surroundings, something known in Sri Lanka as ‘ambalama’. I’m sure you won’t need prompting in this area, but nonetheless, here’s a gentle reminder to balance your stimulating travel adventures with intentional moments of sheer peace and stillness. You will surely find this at the Santani spa resort in Werapitiya, Kandy, where the sweeping mountain views are enough for anyone to totally and completely fall in love with Sri Lanka. The wellness retreat can house honeymooners in one of their sixteen independent studios, where design simplicity is married with the wild and untamed nature of the mountains, jungle and surrounding plantations. In addition to its charming exteriors (and interiors for that matter), Santani is also a holistic spa destination that offers couples treatments and encourages you to have a life-changing dip in the open-air thermal salt soak pool. No encouragement needed, we’re already on board!

For a change of environment, hang out by Lake Koggala in one of the eleven lakeside villas of the luxury Tri Lanka. Like a hidden sanctuary, the Tri Hotel is designed to seamlessly blend in with its surroundings, accentuating the beauty of the lake and the stillness of the water. It’s a serene place for honeymooners to retreat to, especially if you plan for a few nights of tropical cocktails, lake jumping and swimming in the infinity pool. One of the highlights of your trip should be your visit to Galle, a historical port city of sacred ruins and remnants of Dutch-colonial influence that can be seen in the local architecture and design of the town. It is here that you will find a sense of curiosity and a desire to learn more about the history of the culture, and go exploring on foot through the streets and up to the water’s edge. When in Galle, we recommend paying a visit to the Amangalla and staying a few nights to enjoy the in-house spa and beautiful view of the Forte. If you’re struck on where to dine while in Galle, the curries and mixed plates at Poonie’s Kitchen are a great option, or pop into Church Street Social in Fort Bazaar (another great luxury boutique hotel) for some burgers and chips. It’s good for the soul.

We could go on all day but instead we’ve compiled a few other great places to stay throughout your honeymoon travels in Sri Lanka:

  • Cape Weligama, one of the top 50 luxury hotel in the world, and with good reason!
  • Wild Coast Tented Lodge, expedition-style luxury “cocoon tents” in the Yala Region, great for retreating and observing local wildlife
  • The Owl and the Pussycat, waterfront location with colourful and playful interior design
  • The Wallawwa, close to the airport but feels private and relaxing, like you’re miles away
  • Palmy Paradise, tropical, wooden cabanas by the beachside (as the name suggests)
  • Hakka Tranz, modern musical influence in a supreme location at an affordable price
  • Jetwing Lighthouse Galle, “tropical modernism” with spectacular views of the Indian Ocean
  • The Kip B&B, a highly-rated colonial villa with beautiful decor and jungle views and affordability is a plus
Saturday 25th August 2018