If, like me, you love self catering and dream of taking the kids a little further afield but aren’t sure where to begin or how it will pan out, here’s a little taster of Sri Lanka to dip your toe into.
I’ve been so totally in the flow researching and writing this, with lots of asides to Mr A…
‘Did you know…’
‘Can you believe?’
‘Look at how awesome this is!’
“That beach is stunning.’
‘WOW! Monkeys! Elephants!’
‘Look at the size of that Buddha!’
‘Oh MY Goodness, I am so hungry now…’
‘Can we go?’ ‘Can we?’
Without further ado, here are my – more informed and elaborated on – reasons to pick Sri Lanka…
The Palm-lined beaches
The main tourist zone runs along the south-west coast of the island, from Negombo to Galle. Relax on vast swathes of sandy beach or swim in crystal clear waters. For the more active holidaymaker, rivers and lagoons run in to the sea, which provides perfect conditions for watersports like kayaking and paddle boarding.
Sri Lanka is poised above the equator, south-east of the subcontinent and is often described as ‘India lite’. For those who have yet to venture this far it makes a great way to dip your toe into further flung travel. It feels exotic, there is definitely a cultural difference, but it is geared up to tourism, English is widely spoken, everything is easy and the food sounds absolutely incredible.
Sri Lanka is a deeply spiritual island punctuated with temples rich in Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Muslim history, the most famous Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth, is said to contain Budda’s tooth. The train ride from Kandy to Ella in Sri Lanka is also considered one of the most beautiful and scenic in the world.
Sacred caves, lost cities and ancient temples to discover. Sigiriya Rock is a 5th century palace and fortress is a famous sight with amazing views of the jungle below. The cave temples of Dambulla are also a World Heritage site, their entire walls and ceilings are covered by ornate and perfectly preserved frescoes and shrines, I am trying to imagine the impact of hundreds of gold statues glowing in the darkness of these caves, it must be breathtaking.
Sri Lanka has one of the highest rates of plants and animals that are completely unique to the area, like the Sri Lankan elephant. Sir Lanka has the highest density of elephants in Asia, who live mainly in the South West – but their populations have rapidly decreased, now the authorities work hard to preserve their habitats and protect these amazing creatures which have become a cultural symbol for the island.
At the Elephant Transit Home, elephant orphans are looked after, before being re-introduced to the wild. Sri Lanka also has 430 species of birdlife and a good chance of encountering leopard, sloth bear Asian elephant and Blue Whale. Plus so many of the photos I saw had monkeys in too, I know my little monkeys would love to see monkeys running wild.
Tea and Food
328,961 tonnes of tea are made in Sri Lanka which is 17% of world exports. In 1972, the island then known as Ceylon reverted to the traditional name of Sri Lanka, but retained the name of Ceylon for the marketing of teas. Ceylon tea is known for its bright gold colour and the wide range of full flavours made by blending different teas. Tea lovers can make a trip to a working tea plantation.
Sir Lanka is a cultural melting pot, with maritime history, over the years local food has combined with spices being brought over from by Indians, Arabs, Malays, Portuguese, Dutch and English. Rice and curry are staple dishes. The food is sometimes spicier than Indian and coconut flavours make it more like Thai food.
It can be overwhelming travelling to a new and more far flung destination which is where Villa-Finder.com, established in 2012 come in. They have over 1,000 villas in Bali, Phuket, Samui, Sri Lanka and Mauritius and help lots of families and the perfect villa every year.
Villa-Finder bring a human touch to villa booking with travel consultants who contact holiday makers and ensure their family needs are met. They will ask if travellers are coming with kids, how old are the kids, if they need a pool fence or car seat, etc and suggest the best fit villa.
Villas are a private, spacious and unique way to experience a new country. In Sri Lanka a villa rental is comparable to a hotel in price, but your food and drink bills will be lower.
Just because you book a villa doesn’t mean you don’t have access to concierge services. After you book the guest relation team can help to arrange airport pickups, a special dinner, a day tour, an in-villa massage, pool toys, BBQ party.
Villa Footprints looks like a fun family friendly place to stay, with its stunning beachside location overlooking the Indian Ocean from the gardens, volleyball and private pool with toys and super colourful interior. It has 6 reviews of 9 and above out of 10. You also have an option of a private chef – reading the reviews has got my mouth watering.
I love the stunning interiors, hammock and pool (pictured above) at Villa Sepalika. Breakfast is included in some villas and staff can cover lunch and dinners too. I think this would be an amazing way to experience local Sir Lankan dishes.
Why not dip your toe in and find a villa in Sri Lanka for your family trip? I’ve been exploring Sri Lankan villas themselves further over on Space In Your Case, the Ambassador’s House has seriously caught my eye!
For every booking, Villa-Finder.com plant a tree in Sumatra, Indonesia too. So you can contribute to the environment while staying with them.
Post in collaboration with Villa-Finder.com.