On a whim, we bought a one way ticket from the Maldives to spend a week in Sri Lanka.It was a last minute decision to add Sri Lanka to our honeymoon itinerary, so pre-planning and research was an afterthought. We knew about the tea trails and about the spicy coconut curries, but to be honest, that was about it. A quick 1 hour flight and $120 dollars later we arrived in Sri Lanka. We could feel the humidity and heat as we stepped off the plane, quite a change from the Maldives, but I could already tell we were going to love this tiny little country. We made our way through the airport which was absolute chaos, packed with people, shops lining each side of the airport selling everything from washing machines to old radios. We made our way to the baggage claim where we were greeted by our driver to take us to our first stop in Sri Lanka, The Wallawwa boutique hotel. The Wallawwa arranged our pick-up, which was nice, and made the process of getting through the airport to the hotel quick and seamless. We hopped in his vehicle and were on our way. Just 20 minutes later we arrived at the Wallawwa.
We pulled into the Wallawwa and right away we felt like we'd entered a sanctuary. There was a canopy of trees overhead and very lush tropical greenery everywhere, surrounding the estate-like hotel. The Wallawwa is very secluded and has everything you need including a spa, meditation gardens, a pool, and a fantastic restaurant. It's the perfect place to start or end a trip in Sri Lanka, just to unwind and relax before making the adventure around the country or before departing. With only one night at the Wallawwa, we did not get the opportunity to take advantage of its spa but we enjoyed some time around the pool, happy hour at the bar, and an amazing Sri Lankan dinner and breakfast in their garden restaurant. The grounds are absolutely stunning and the rooms are very cozy. We loved the high ceilings, the Sri Lankan decor, and zen-like feel throughout the property. It was the perfect start to our week in Sri Lanka.
We were picked up from The Wallawwa after breakfast by our driver from the Ceylon Tea Trails. One of the biggest perks of the “Tea and Sea Package” at the Ceylon Tea Trails is the fact that transportation is included from Colombo to the tea trails, from the tea trails to Galle, and from Galle back to Colombo. Traveling is always the most stressful part of a vacation and the Ceylon Tea Trails make it nice and easy for you. Our drivers were all very friendly and made plenty of stops along the way for photo opportunities. The journey from Colombo to the Ceylon Tea Trails is three hours of winding roads through hills and hills of tea, what a beautiful way to see the countryside!
We arrived at our bungalow, Summerville at Ceylon Tea Trails. We were greeted and were shown our room which was one of four at the bungalow. Summerville is located overlooking a reservoir, with absolutely breathtaking views. The bungalow has a bed and breakfast-like feel. All the rooms have their own private patio that opens up into the gardens and includes a large sitting room, bedroom and bathroom. The main guest areas include a family room, dining room, and large outdoor patio where meals are served. At Ceylon Tea Trails all meals and beverages are included and they serve traditional Sri Lankan as well as European style cuisine. The Sri Lankan food takes extra time so if you plan to have Sri Lankan for breakfast (which we highly recommend) letting the chef know the evening before is necessary. If you are foodies, you are in for a real treat at Ceylon Tea Trails. Everything, including the tea, was delicious. We opted for the Sri Lankan cuisine every day for breakfast and dinner and had the plates 3 course lunch each day for lunch.
A visit to the tea trails would not be complete with a tour of a tea factory. We spent our first morning at the Norwood tea factory learning the process and tasting tea. Following our tour, the Ceylon Tea Trails arranged for us to have lunch at another one of their bungalows, Norwood. Norwood's beautiful setting is slightly different from Summerville, with its own unique character. It happened to start raining so we enjoyed our lunch indoors, overlooking the garden.
After lunch, we headed back to our bungalow and relaxed for a few hours before hitting the tea trails for a hike and a little adventure. Since it was just after 4:00pm, we decided to do the “easy” 1 hour trail. Little did we know that following the signs would be harder than we thought (or maybe we both just lack a sense of direction). Somehow we ended up on a longer trail and our casual walk become a sprint to beat the sundown in flip flops. Just a friendly tip; do not wear flip flops!!! I had no idea about the leeches, yes the leeches. I noticed an itch on my foot and when I looked down I noticed little worm like creatures on my feet, when I tried to swat them off, I realized they were leeches. After having a mild heart attack I ripped them off my blood dripping feet. This certainly was not the most luxurious moment of our honeymoon adventures. Leeches aside, the trails are worth the trek.
On our last night, we enjoyed one last Sri Lankan dinner at the Tea Trails and then returned to our room where a rose petal-filled bath was waiting for us. It was a very nice surprise and much needed after our run through the trails.
The next morning we departed the Tea Trails to experience Cape Weligama in the beach town of Galle. The ride was a bit bumpy, windy and crazy but certainly beautiful. We made our way through Galle, a cute beach town just an hour south of Colombo and a 5 hour drive from the tea trails. We made a stop at the place where The Bridge on the River Kwai was filmed and made another stop for a fresh coconut off the side of the road. We arrived into Galle which reminded me of one of the many surfing villages in Costa Rica. Lots of surfers carrying their boards down the street, coconut and fruit stands everywhere, and of course the pole fisherman hanging out all day catching fish.
We pulled into Cape Weligama which just opened in December 2014. Cape Weligama offers 39 spacious villas overlooking the beach and all are equipped with their own private plunge pool. We checked into our room and headed down to the restaurant for a late afternoon lunch. The food is amazing, just like at the Ceylon Tea Trails, offering 3 course plated meals for lunch and dinner or the choice of traditional Sri Lankan Cuisine. If you choose the Sri Lankan cuisine (HIGHLY RECOMMEND), you need to inform your servers the meal prior so they have time to prepare it for you. We chose the Sri Lankan cuisine every chance we could get. The curries all have a coconut base and have a nice spicy kick to them. If you order a main course curry expect to receive another 5-6 side dish curries to along with it.
Cape Weligama is a relaxing paradise. Certainly what you would expect for a honeymoon getaway. The City of Galle has so much to do as well. We spent the day at Fort Galle shopping and walking the streets, we went whale watching early in the morning, and the rest of the time we spent relaxing at the pool. It was a perfect ending to a fantastic and adventurous honeymoon in Sri Lanka.
Although we did not experience the safari camps of Sri Lanka, we felt we got a good taste of what Sri Lanka has to offer and cannot wait to return. The people are incredibly friendly, the food has left me dreaming of Sri Lankan curry, and the hillsides of the tea trails are more picturesque in person than you could ever imagine. Until next time Sri Lanka!
Explore Honeymoons.com's stories to read more about some of our favorite Mike & Anne experiences. Check out their personal blog, Honeytrek, for all the details about their journey.