Trip Diary: Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Posted on

We recently embarked on our inspection trip to some of our resorts in the Maldives, this time via Sri Lanka! We love the Maldives – nowhere else can you see such stunning turquoise lagoons and beautiful white beaches, but for those that don’t want to spend their time laying on the sand or aren’t keen on diving, Sri Lanka is a melting pot of varied culture, breathtaking scenery and unforgettable experiences. Just a 1 hour flight away from the Maldives, it is the perfect twin centre holiday for a perfect combination of beach and culture.

Tea Picker Baskets - Sri Lanka & Maldives Trip

Leaving Colombo we travelled up towards the ‘tea country’, passing through the rubber tree plantations – it was fascinating to see how they collect the rubber from the trees simply by making cuts in the bark and letting it drip into halved coconut shells attached to the trees.

A Tea Picker - Sri Lanka & Maldives Trip

Sri Lanka is a huge country, with a vast and diverse landscape – from palm trees to pine trees and rubber to tea plantations, where we watched workers (in all weathers!) carefully picking the first 5 tea leaves off each branch before moving on to the next. It was a joy to see the beautiful waterfalls winding their way through the plantations and we were even lucky enough to see the biggest waterfall in Sri Lanka.

Transporting goods - Sri Lanka & Maldives trip

Driving down through the island we passed through mountains and paddy fields and as the climate became warmer the scenery changed too – taking on a more jungle like feel with palm trees replacing the pine trees, until we reached the south coast and Sri Lanka’s beaches. Driving here is an experience in itself – you can’t help but smile as you see a tuk tuk loaded with a lorry load’s worth of rice bags hurtling down the road or a family of 4 piled onto a tiny moped, off on a day out… but the erratic driving is another part of the charm of an island where anything goes – you really feel immersed in the local life, with people going on with their daily lives around you!

Banana Stall - Sri Lanka & Maldives trip

The most wonderful thing about this island is that it offers so much – not just in terms of the landscape, but culturally and even spiritually – for an island that is relatively small in the world wide sense – it has defined by the colours and unique feel of it’s regions: tea, rubber, agriculture, coastal, each with their own atmosphere. You can drive down the road and see stall after stall selling baskets in one area, and in another, nothing but bananas, or tea, rope, hemp, coconuts and even brooms! Each place has it’s own character and it’s own charm. The eclectic mix even applies to religion here, from the mixture of buddhist temples and hindu shrines to the christian church built in the mountains in 1878!

Stick Fishermen - Sri Lanka & Maldives trip

We were lucky enough to visit a range of properties on the island. As well as some truly beautiful independent villas, we saw some gorgeous hotels, starting with the Hatton Tea Trail which is a beautiful, colonial style property made up of 4 bungalows which, in essence, are like mini hotels themselves! It is also a Relais & Chateau property, so you can be sure to dine well here.

The Tea Factory by contrast, as a converted tea factory, has a completely different feel. It is set among the most stunning scenery and offers fantastic tours and hiking in the tea plantations as well as the opportunity to make and drink your own tea. The hotel also has a quirky dining experience set in a renovated railway carriage which you should definitely try!

Bird at Yala - Sri Lanka & Maldives trip

For nature lovers, an absolute must is a stay at Cinnamon Wild, set in the Yala National Park, which could be described as luxury camping (the accommodation is in cabins) – here we went on a Leopard Safari – a 3 hour nature discovery during which we also saw jackal and deer… but it was back at Cinnamon Wild that we saw a crocodile in the lagoon and an elephant in the car park! It really is ideal for those that want to get among the nature of the island.

Elephant at Cinnamon Wild - Sri Lanka & Maldives trip

For something a little more sophisticated, Galle Fort is a beautiful hotel, colonial in style, and its rooms set around a courtyard filled with gorgeous flowers and a pool. Located in the dutch fort area it is also close to bars and restaurants and so is ideal for anyone wanting a location with a little more going on.

We also stopped by The Sunhouse which again is absolutely beautiful, rustic, and great for independent travellers. It has an almost historical feel to it and boasts the most amazing garden and pool.

With our time on this lovely island coming to an end we headed off to our next destination – in search of the best house reefs, the loveliest atmospheres and new properties to promote – in the Maldives.

Welcome at Makunudu - Sri Lanka & Maldives trip

Roy & Allison - Sri Lanka & Maldives trip

We started our 5 day Maldives trip at a new resort that we are now selling, Vivanta by Taj (a really lovely resort, check it out on our website), followed by a visit to Makunudu (a favourite of ours), where we were greeted by repeat Tropic Breeze clients Allison and Roy Lepley, in disguise, before enjoying lunch there, and moving on to the sublime Taj Exotica (a stunning 5* resort).

Coco Palm Beach - Sri Lanka & Maldives trip

Rob & Sue - Sri Lanka & Maldives trip

We also stopped at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, where we met up with more Tropic Breeze clients, Rob and Sue Jackson.

LUX Popup Bar - Sri Lanka & Maldives trip

Our next stop was LUX* Maldives where we sampled the most amazing home made ice cream and discovered their ‘secret’ pop-up bar, hidden in the bushes, before finishing our trip at Zitahli, where we enjoyed relaxing, overlooking the stunning turquoise lagoon.

Zitahli view - Sri Lanka & Maldives trip

The beauty of visiting Sri Lanka is that you can really see it all – in the 5/6 days we were here we saw everything from the stunning scenery of the tea plantations in the ‘hill country’, to venturing on a leopard safari, seeing the Temple of the Sacred Tooth, and watching the fisherman on the beaches of the south, with a whole array of places and sights to experience in-between, including a touching monument for the tsunami victims – the memory of which can still be felt on the island – a visit to an elephant orphanage or taking in the vastness of the mammoth Sigeria Rock (and its thousand steps!).

What better than to combine this with a stay in one of the most relaxing and serene destinations – the Maldives, where you can soak up the sun on the finest white sand or lazily dip your toes in the clearest turquoise waters you will see? We would love plan your dream twin centre holiday, so for more ideas of the experiences and properties on offer in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, give us a call on 01752 880880.

Author: Jo

Caribbean expert, lover of the Maldives and expert at booking wonderful holidays for wonderful people!

Categories News, Reviews