Last minute we flew once more into the sun! Sri Lanka is more exciting than Thailand, but not as crazy as India and has everything to offer. Here are the highlights of our Sri Lanka trip!
This article has been updated for you, the original article was created in November 2016
TSpacial beaches, tea plantations, jungles and Ayurveda - Sri Lanka is surprisingly diverse! Even with children, this island is feasible, although sometimes exhausting and not necessarily cheap ...
Useful information for your Sri Lanka trip
Approximately one week before we book last minute ours Flight with Emirates from Dusseldorf via Dubai to Colombo, Yes, we are crazy. Especially with two little kids. The flight time to Dubai is about 6 hours. After all, we fly with the A380, very adventurous for the son man. Then from Dubai to Sri Lanka again 4 hours. Phew.
After we booked, we were shocked to find that November is the rainiest month. Juhu! However, it depends on the island heavily on the region. In the south, it is probably the driest at this time of the year. On the spot it rains quite often, mostly in the evening and at night. On the coast it has averaged 25-30 degrees, in the highlands at Nuwara Eliya only 15-20 degrees.
Coincidentally I read in the travel guide, that we have to apply for an ETA visa online in advance. Fortunately, this is quickly exhibited, but costs at least 30 $ per person and 70 $ for the whole family.
Right away: The accommodations in Sri Lanka are not necessarily super cheap, at least if you want something nicer. And by "nice" I do not mean luxury, but also not a simple backpacker room. After all, this holiday as an 4-headed family is an adventure! You have to expect at least with about 70 € per night. Not to compare with the prices in Thailand or even India.
For German summertime it is only + 3,5 hours, I think that's completely ok. In winter time it will be 4,5 hours. And about 18uhr it gets dark here.
Food and drinks are priced ok. In the hotel restaurants you usually pay a bit more and also for European cuisine, of course. If you eat at the booth next door a Roti you pay about 1 €. Fresh fruit juices are the first choice for drinking here. These are always delicious and cost depending on the location about 2-3 €. A beer too.
Apart from the high temperatures and the time difference Sri Lanka is also a great travel destination with kids! The Sri Lankans love children! Just keep in mind that even for shorter distances, it sometimes takes hoursbecause the road conditions and traffic are chaotic. You should think carefully about the itinerary to avoid exhausting travel days. That was no problem for the 4 year-old! By the way, you should know that the sea is mostly not suitable for children to swim. Only in certain places or special Beaches.
When we finally got in Columbo Arrive, more precisely, at the international airport about 35km north of Columbo, Our driver is waiting for us, which I booked in advance, In good two hours he drives us to our first resort in Sri Lanka: Unawatuna, in the southwest of the island.
It's already 16.30hour local time when we were in my first FAVORITE SPOT, the Flower Garden Hotel arrive. A tropical garden with palm trees and two great pools! After a welcome drink we are taken to our bungalow room. This is also located in a green oasis with a beautiful porch. The road to the beach is right on the doorstep and yet not heard. The beach is about 15 minutes. The way there is filled with colorful shops, countless restaurants and travel agencies. Of course, there is also Ayurveda here.
Now we are really getting started in Sri Lanka. We breathe the humid, hot air, everything sticks to one, Asia just. The land is lush green, everywhere you can hear animals, birds, monkeys, mosquitoes. It's exotic, it's Ceylon. A mix of India and a bit of Thailand. Tuk Tuk's are omnipresent.
The beach is beautiful and about 2km long and is lined with coconut palm trees. There are various bars, hotels, cafes and restaurants right on the sea. There is a lot going on, a typical tourist place. We eat Curry or Roti and drink fresh juices. Here it is easy to switch off immediately. All senses are needed for this beautiful, alien world.
On the beach is also our absolute favorite restaurant: the Kingfisher restaurant! The kids are in love with the long flight and the jet lag. But pool, tuk tuk and beach make you happy ...
From Unawatuna we make a half-day trip to the former Dutch colonial city. We drive with the Tuk Tuk for 400 slr, so Sri Lankan Rupees (about 2 €) to New Gate and feel instantly transported back to the past.
Everywhere there are stately buildings and noble hotels and restaurants. I like it here. Many tourists from all over the world stroll with us on the wall around the Fort quarter. It blows a light breeze and once it rains briefly. The flair here is great and we enjoy a delicious lunch in the Heritage Club Restaurant and drive back to the tuk tuk Unawatuna .
On a rainy day, we have no choice but to make a trip to a turtle farm. It is nothing special, a few small pools with different turtles in it. Apparently they spice up injured animals and release them again. They also collect the eggs from the offshore beach and raise the turtles to survive in the sea. At least the theory. They are already cute, the very little ones. Especially for the older kids a highlight. Cost about 500 slr per person plus Tuk Tuk ride.
Once we let ourselves with the Tuk Tuk Wijaya beach drive with a natural lagoon. At this time of the year, the sea is everywhere very "rough" with partly high waves and therefore not very suitable for swimming with small children. Here swimming in the sea should be well possible with children.
The beach is beautiful, great coconut palms everywhere. Postcards. The lagoon is really quieter than right in Unawatuna, but not optimal today. At least our son does not dare to go in there. There are hardly any shadows, but for an hour it is quite nice here.
Koggala Beach and Lagoon
With the Tuk Tuk it's time to tour again! This time we do a little sightseeing round for 800 slr (about 5 €). First it goes to the beach of Koggala, where you can not really bathe with children at this time of the year. The waves are too high and the current too strong. Nevertheless, the sight of the bay is beautiful!
Continue to the lagoon. There we rent a boat and do a little tour round Cinnamon Island and through the mangrove forests. A man shows us how cinnamon is made and in the jungle we discover iguanas and eagles. Kind. But actually too expensive (4000 Rupees).
At the end we drive to a small bay where the notorious fishermen are sitting on their wooden sticks. Pure Touri rip-off. For a photo we should pay the equivalent of 3 €, we reject with thanks. Nevertheless, it is a successful and varied tour and we are dog-tired ...
Off to the Highlands
Through our hotel we book an 3 day tour of Sri Lanka's Teeberge! I prefer to always book everything myself, but this time I let my husband persuade me to just sit back ... No risk, no fun!
Immediately after breakfast we make our way from Unawatuna to Nuwara Eliya with our private transfer. Fortunately, we have a mini-van, which is very convenient for four. The trip takes about 6,5 hours and is more than exhausting with the two children. Had I known that before, I might have changed my mind ...
Well, now we are on the way. The streets are initially overcrowded and chaotic. The higher we get, the more empty and tortuous they become. The Landscape is fantastic everywhere! First jungle and later tea plantations and jungle as far as the eye can see!
In Nanu Oya, just before our destination, we buy tickets for the train tomorrow morning at the station Ella. The driver finally brings us to our hotel in "Nurelia". It is not worth talking about. From the place itself we do not see much, it is cold and foggy and we are just exhausted from the long journey.
Train ride through the Teeberge
First of all: the ride was worth every effort and definitely one FAVORITE SPOT of me in Sri Lanka!
The next day begins the big adventure. It's time to get started at 9.30. Since the brakes of the train are probably broken, but there are delays. With three quarters of an hour late, we finally start and we hope the brakes will work again.
We are in the 1 with lots of other tourists. Great, which I am very happy with the two little ones in retrospect. The train has nostalgic charm and usually chugs away at about 30 km / h. One highlight is to stand in front of the open wagon doors and let the wonderful, green mountain landscape pass by. Really indescribable!
The ride takes a total of about 4 hours, rather than 2,5. With toddler in the end a bit exhausting. I would not necessarily recommend. But for bigger kids a real adventure! And for the Traveler Heart anyway. A really exciting and wonderful journey!
In Ella Our driver picks us up and brings us in Sky Green Hotel*. We are probably the only guests here. The room is a good size and the view from the balcony also pretty. Here we spend two nights.
We stay one day in Ella. A cute backpacker place in the middle of beautiful nature! If you want to explore the mountains or to the tea plantations is right here. We drive to the first Ravana Falls, then to Ella's Gap with a beautiful view in the valley!
In the afternoon it goes to Halpe tea plantation for tea tasting. The Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka is world famous. Unfortunately, the factory itself is closed on weekends, but it's so nice to see it all. Later it rains and we have dinner in the hotel.
Approximately 3 hours we drive from Ella to Tangalle in the south of the island. And land in paradise. The Mangrove Beach Chalets are really heaven on earth and my FAVORITE SPOT here! Beautiful Family Chalets with Daybed on the terrace right on the beach. Surrounded by palm trees and hammocks.
We let the soul dangle, as good as that with two small children. The sea is unfortunately very wild everywhere and has strong currents. Only in front of our Beach Bar you can swim in a kind of natural lagoon with the kids.
Once we drive with the tuk tuk for shopping in the lively place. But the main occupation here is to stroll up and down the beach. There are a few more small facilities along the beach, but ours is definitely the most beautiful!
Unfortunately, we have to cancel our trip a few days earlier than planned because my husband has severe pain and fever. Really a pity, but health is just happening! Nevertheless, it is Tangalle a wonderful end to our eventful holiday in Sri Lanka!
Conclusion Sri Lanka trip
Of course we only saw a fraction of this beautiful island on our 2 week trip! We were only traveling in the south with a short detour into the breathtaking highlands.
With Kids: less is more. If it is a pure beach holiday, I would go to the places Unawatuna and Tangalle hold. From there you can make wonderful trips. From Tangalle eg to the national parks Uda Walawe and Yala. Of Unawatuna out too after Merissa for whale watching. So it will not be boring. If you are traveling without children is the highlands with Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Ella a must!
Have you ever been individual on a Sri Lanka trip? Otherwise I can recommend the tour operator Evaneos *, who works with local agencies! Or maybe you are interested in Mauritius individual?
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* Affiliate link (with which I earn a bit of money;)