What to do on a weekend in Sri Lanka

What to do on a weekend in Sri Lanka

Last month I spent two weeks in India with my fiancé and his two colleagues. Since we were staying in Chennai, about an hour’s flight from Sri Lanka, we figured we absolutely must go that weekend.

I drew up three plans for the team:

Option A: Wildlife and temple adventure 

Visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and see Sri Lanka’s number one attraction, Sigiriya Rock.

Sri Lanka A - Sri Lanka weekend - Club Elsewhere - The World's Travel Diary edited by Rosie Bell - A guest post by Lara Olivia Miss Portmanteau

Option B: Luxury tea trail trek 

Stay at the only Relais & Chateaux hotel on the island, the luxurious Ceylon Tea Trails. Take in the breathtaking views and do some activities such as rafting and trekking.

Sri Lanka B - Sri Lanka weekend - Club Elsewhere - The World's Travel Diary edited by Rosie Bell - A guest post by Lara Olivia Miss Portmanteau

Option C: Road trip to the beach

Drive down to one of several luxury beach resorts in the southwest of the island. Visit the must-see Galle fort town, relax on the beach, watch some stilt-fishing and sip on a coconut.

Sri Lanka C - Sri Lanka weekend - Club Elsewhere - The World's Travel Diary edited by Rosie Bell - A guest post by Lara Olivia Miss Portmanteau

And the winner is… Option A

If you can only see one thing, why not see the number one thing. That’s Sigiriya Rock. It is probably the most unique option to Sri Lanka, whereas beaches and luxury resorts are something you can do anywhere. 

We arrived late on Friday night and caught a few hours sleep in a little hotel called the Lespri Grand in Negombo, chosen because it was on the road to Pinnawala. The manager greeted us warmly with cold towels and fresh juice.

Lespri Grand Hotel - Sri Lanka weekend - Club Elsewhere - The World's Travel Diary edited by Rosie Bell - A guest post by Lara Olivia Miss Portmanteau

Pinnawala elephant orphanage 

Saturday morning after a breakfast of eggs, we headed out at around 7.30am and arrived at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage at 10am, just in time for bathing. If Sri Lanka had a spirit animal, it would no doubt be the elephant. It was really beautiful to watch them play in the water. We spent an hour there before starting the 2.5 hour drive to Sigiriya Rock, which took a little longer with traffic. We arrived around 2pm.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage - Sri Lanka weekend - Club Elsewhere - The World's Travel Diary edited by Rosie Bell - A guest post by Lara Olivia Miss Portmanteau

Sigiriya rock

Once upon a time, a king built his capital city at the top of Sigiriya rock. It’s as crazy as it sounds. The walk to the top took 1.5 hours as we kept stopping to breathe and take photos, compared to just 20 minutes coming down. Even though it was boiling hot, the climb is so worth it. The views are among the most incredible I’ve ever seen.

Sigiriya Lion Rock - Sri Lanka weekend - Club Elsewhere - The World's Travel Diary edited by Rosie Bell - A guest post by Lara Olivia Miss Portmanteau

We wasted a bit of time waiting for a tuktuk to take us back to the car park, as our driver claimed he couldn’t take us any closer. It was 5pm by the time we got to our car and we were faced with a choice. Visit the Dambulla Golden Cave Temple or head to Colombo to make our 9.30pm dinner reservation.

Dambulla -Sri Lanka weekend - Club Elsewhere - The World's Travel Diary edited by Rosie Bell - A guest post by Lara Olivia Miss Portmanteau

Cinnamon Grand Hotel 

We decided to go to Dambulla. But when we got there we discovered it was another walk up to the cave temples and another entrance fee. Low on time, cash and energy we decided to call it quits. Colombo from Dambulla is about a 3.5 hour drive, but our driver got lost and so we arrived at the impressive Cinnamon Grand hotel late at 10.30pm.

Cinnamon Grand - Sri Lanka weekend - Club Elsewhere - The World's Travel Diary edited by Rosie Bell - A guest post by Lara Olivia Miss Portmanteau

 

We missed our reservation at Nuga Gama, which is supposed to be an incredible authentic Sri Lankan dining experience where they have recreated an outdoor Sri Lankan village. We saw it the next day as we were leaving and it really looked amazing.

Nuga Gama - Sri Lanka weekend - Club Elsewhere - The World's Travel Diary edited by Rosie Bell - A guest post by Lara Olivia Miss Portmanteau

The lagoon 

Instead, we were told we could eat at the Lagoon if we got there before 11pm, the number one restaurant in Colombo according to TripAdvisor. After a record-breaking fast shower and change of clothes, we had a fantastic dinner and several well-deserved cold beers. The seafood was so fresh, plentiful and inexpensive. After dinner we collapsed in the hammocks by the pool.

The Lagoon - Sri Lanka weekend - Club Elsewhere - The World's Travel Diary edited by Rosie Bell - A guest post by Lara Olivia Miss Portmanteau

Ministry of Crab 

Sunday we woke up late and went straight for lunch at the Ministry of Crab. A friend had suggested it and we were glad we didn’t miss it. The restaurant was amazing and the branding and presentation very impressive! We tried most things on their menu and loved everything.

Ministry of Crab - Sri Lanka weekend - Club Elsewhere - The World's Travel Diary edited by Rosie Bell - A guest post by Lara Olivia Miss Portmanteau

There is also a fantastic souvenir shop opposite, where we bought some presents and things to take home. Although they have the same one in the airport, the one here is much bigger.

Souvenir Shop - Sri Lanka weekend - Club Elsewhere - The World's Travel Diary edited by Rosie Bell - A guest post by Lara Olivia Miss Portmanteau

 

Our driver – the same one all weekend – picked us up from the restaurant at 2pm, arriving at the airport at 3pm for our 6.30pm flight. While that may sound excessively early, that’s what we were advised to do. The queues and situation at the airport can be quite unpredictable, so better safe than sorry.

There you have it, our jam-packed weekend in Sri Lanka. Which option would you have picked?

Visit the Sri Lanka Tourist Board website for information on visas, vaccinations, health and safety advice, events, hotels, sights and much more and click here to read Sri Lanka part 2.

 

 

This article was written by Lara Olivia and originally appeared on MissPortmanteau.com. Follow her adventures on InstagramClub Elsewhere brings you compelling stories for and by the world. Contribute an article of your own by sending a message to the editor.

 

Lara Olivia milennial lifestyle blogger - Miss Portmanteau

Lara Olivia is a Norwegian and Portuguese writer sharing all she knows about the good life on her blog, MissPortmanteau.com. Follow her @miss.portmanteau on Instagram.

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