Sri Lanka
Colombo, WP
experience
Gangaramaya Temple
This is a small, but super interesting, Buddhist temple right in the heart of the city. It offers an eclectic mix of religious relics. Located close to the water, this temple is a fun stop on a day in Colombo.
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Colombo, WP
experience
Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque
The mosque itself reminds me a bit of Candyland, as I felt as if I was walking inside of a giant candy cane. As this is an active mosque, I found it very fascinating to see the locals coming in to wash and pray.
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Colombo, WP
experience
Pettah Floating Market
These hectic market streets are great for buying everything from saris to lightbulbs! This is a great area to explore in order to get a good feel for the local culture and atmosphere of the city. You will find many local eateries were you can sample curry and rice dishes for as little as 120 Rs (less than 1USD).
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Colombo, WP
experience
Api Wenuwen Api Outlet
I stumbled upon this side of the road stand as my first meal in Sri Lanka and I was definitely pleasantly surprised! Prices are cheap, portions are large, and the food is very flavorful! Warning: they don’t have any silverware and I’ve learned the hard way that eating curry with your hands is surprisingly difficult!
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Battaramulla, WP
restaurants
Thuna Paha Sri Lankan Restaurant
We arrived at this upscale buffet by accident on our first night after trying to get a recommendation for a “cheap, local spot”. While this eatery doesn’t quite fit that criteria, for around 20 USD/person you will get a personal, unlimited buffet of food! The food was some of the best that we ate in Sri Lanka and was seriously never ending! I practically had to be rolled out of the restaurant when the meal finally ended!
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Kandy, CP
lodging
Theva Residency
This hotel was a dream come true! While it was definitely on the pricier end, we couldn’t have been happier. The staff was so accommodating and actually upgraded us to a beautiful suite as we were visiting during the low season! Large rooms, stunning jungle views, and an infinity pool overlooking it all! A delicious breakfast (with massive tea pots) is provided free of charge each morning. We also opted to eat a dinner in one night at the hotel restaurant and the food was way better than we expected. With entrees starting at 1,000 rupees ($6.50 USD) it is a bit pricier than your average Sri Lankan meal, however the taste surely makes up for that!
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Kandy, CP
experience
Kandy Municipal Central Market
This a slightly hectic but fun local market located right in the heart of Kandy! Here is where you will find Sri Lankan teas and spices at local prices (aka very cheap).
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Kandy, CP
experience
Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha Statue
Another must on the Sri Lanka itinerary, this attraction was probably the highlight in Kandy for us! Located at the top of a hill, this massive Buddha is definitely a site to see! You have the option of either walking or taking a tuk-tuk to the base of the stairs.
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Kandy, CP
experience
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
Before arriving in Kandy I heard from many other travelers that this temple was an absolute must! So despite the steep entrance fee we decided to check it out. While it is definitely an interesting and beautiful temple, I just wasn’t that impressed. If you have the time and money then you can check it out and let me know what you think!
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Sigiriya, CP
outdoors
Pidurangala Rock
Pidurangala, actually offers an amazing view of Lion’s Rock, with far less tourists and for a fraction of the price! Our ticket into the Pidurangala Rock complex cost us only 450 Rs (3USD). Since we had the time we actually decided to hike both rocks! We started at Lion’s Rock and walked 20 minutes to Pidurangala to start the second climb. We loved both of them, however if you are tight on money or time then I would probably choose Pidurangala!
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Sigiriya, CP
outdoors
Sigiriya
There are two rocks that can be climbed in Sigiriya – Lion’s Rock and Pidurangala Rock. The first, Lion’s Rock, is the more famous of the two – however it is definitely much pricier. A single ticket to climb the rock is 4,500 Rs (~ 30USD), which is definitely tough on a backpacker budget! That being said, it is a beautiful climb with some amazing views.
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CP, Sri Lanka
experience
Damro Labookellie Tea Centre and Tea garden
Provided us with a free tour of the factory followed by a complimentary cup of tea. While we enjoyed both of the stops (Blue Field Tea Factory is the other), we preferred our experience at Labookellie as we were able to take some time to wander through the plantations.
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Nuwara Eliya, CP
restaurants
Gregory Green Restaurant
After a few mediocre food experiences in Nuwara Eliya, this place really hit the spot! A vegetarian curry and rice buffet is set at 200 Rs ($1.33 USD) and the food is absolutely delicious! It is located right across from Gregory Park so you can check out the action there as well!
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UP, Sri Lanka
outdoors
Lipton's Seat
One of the most beautiful views in Sri Lanka! While the view at the top is indeed beautiful, it is the 7km walk down that made the experience so memorable for us! Your best bet is to arrive before sunrise, as the area often clouds over early, completely obstucting the view. Often times the gate is closed this early in the morning, which means that you need to walk the last 1km. Walking back down after sunrise, you will get the chance to see the locals in action – children walking to school, ladies entering the fields for daily tea plucking. This is definitely not an experience to be missed!
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UP, Sri Lanka
outdoors
Little Adam's Peak
Although not quite as impressive as it’s older brother, this hike is not nearly as difficult either! Located walking distance from Ella town, this is an easy, quick hike that still offers spectacular views. We actually did this hike twice as the first time the view was completely clouded over. For our second attempt we went up at sunrise which was absolutely magical!
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Ella, UP
outdoors
Ella Rock
Another easily accessible hike, Ella’s Rock should not be missed! Similar to most of the hike’s in Sri Lanka, especially during rainy season, your best bet is to get up there early! A guide for approximately 5 hours costs 2,500 Rs. The views are absolutely incredible and getting up there early was definitely worth it, as we ran into so many tourists on their way up as we were heading down!
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UP, Sri Lanka
outdoors
Nine Arches Bridge
This is one of those iconic Instagram places that is definitely worth a visit! It is truly an incredible experience to watch a train go by on this magnificent bridge. It is located in the same direction as Adam’s Peak so the two can be combined into one adventure. You are able to sit on the bridge (when the train is not going by) which is both thrilling and absolutely terrifying – perhaps I am not as afraid of heights as I thought.
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Ella, UP
lodging
The View
Think hillside rooms, a refreshing pool, and sweeping views of Ella Rock and the distant mountains! This hotel was definitely named appropriately! The included breakfast is great, however the half-board dinner option is not worth it in my opinion.
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London, England
restaurants
The Lounge Soho
This beachfront restaurant and bar is a must for anyone visiting Tangalle! They offer a great buy one get one 50% off happy hour from 5-7pm. And although they are not on the happy hour menu, the mango daquiris made with fresh mangos are just incredible! The restaurant allows you to pick a fresh fish which is priced according to weight, and then cooked up and marinated in the most delicious spices! If you’re not a seafood person then definitely try the curry chicken! These dishes were some of the best that we ate during our time in Sri Lanka.
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Tangalle, SP
outdoors
Ananthaya Beach
This moderately priced hotel is the epitome of beachfront luxury. Spacious rooms with personal balconies, beachfront property, and an infinity pool – can’t ask for too much more! It is not super central, however tuk tuks are easy to hire. The included breakfast is very good! They have food and drinks on-site, however I would recommend venturing a bit outside of the resort for food.
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Weligama, SP
lodging
Green Peace Inn - Yoga | Health | Cafe
Unfortunately we only had one night at this incredible guesthouse, however we easily could have stayed a week. Having just opened this month, this place is the epitome of perfection! Located right on the beach in Weligama it offers daily rooftop yoga classes, simplistic, but beautifully styled rooms, and a full vegan menu! The atmosphere is extremely welcoming and friendly, making it very easy to meet other travelers – which is something that is not always so easy in Sri Lanka.
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Unawatuna, Sri Lanka
outdoors
Dalawella Beach
Home of "The Instagram Swing" - If you see Instagram posts of Sri Lanka then you are sure to come across photos of this swing. For 500 Rs it is definitely a fun experience – and it makes for an awesome shot! Head over to Dalawella Beach for your perfect shot!
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Unawatuna, SP
restaurants
Happy Spice Restaurant
Prices in the beach towns tend to be a bit pricier. Head to Happy Spice for some delicious bang for your buck! At 600 Rs for a heaping portion of curry and rice, this spot is one of the better deals in town. It is also absolutely delicious! We actually loved it so much that we ordered a second round as dinner take away!
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