Aragorn and Evenstar are here to help you with your travel plans. They are worldwide adventure travellers and operate a travel advice company called Magic Memories Holidays.
This site is a travel blog with a difference. There is a “Lord of the Rings” adventure theme that encourages people to challenge themselves and become explorers.
Sri Lanka is a land of alluring beauty. Evenstar and I were interested in discovering what made the island unique and interesting . Our research confirmed that a guide would be needed to drive us to our chosen destinations as part of a ten day tour; first of all we booked our hotels and flights using our website. After this we used srilankantours.org to supply the car and driver. This was a good move on our part as the roads and driving conditions were surreal at times.
Day 1 :Negombo This lively fishing village relies on traditional methods to catch and preserve fish; the fish market is the focal point. It is also a place of many churches and choirs and this makes for a relaxing evening listening to song. We chose Negombo to start our tour as it is near the airport.
Day 2 : Kandy The drive to Kandy through lush rainforest was a magical experience. The herb lore and knowledge of spices in this hill town area is second to none. Many household spices such as cinnamon are common and widespread. If temples and cultural shows are your thing then you will find much to interest you here. A nice way to see the tea estates and travel between towns is the scenic railway which needs to be booked in advance.
Day 3/4: Nuwara Eliya and Ella The hills become mountains and on the slopes are found endless carpets of tea. The scenic beauty and relaxing charm are intoxicating. We tasted various teas and observed traditional ways of producing it. The air is cooler here; a welcome break from the tropical heat.
Day 5-8 :Udawalawe and Tissamaharama For me this was the highlight of the trip. We based ourselves in “Tissa” and from here we had jeep Safari tours of the Udawalawe and Yala National Parks. These tours are similar to African Safari tours and in our experience cheaper but just as interesting. If anything the Indian Elephants are more temperamental and noisier than their African cousins. Yala also has a large population of Leopards.
Day 9 : Galle This coastal town is famous for its Dutch colonial fort. Staying on the colonial theme it is also known for its international cricket ground. I particularly liked watching the local fisherman who have mastered the art of fishing from a makeshift stilted platform. I must give this method a try sometime.
Day 10 : Colombo
Evenstar was delighted when we chose a star Sapphire gemstone and had a silversmith make it into a pendant for her. This gem twinkles like a star when a light shines on it. A beautiful and very elvish thing to do and to own. These sapphires are found locally and are therefore reasonably priced. Ours was purchased in the capital Colombo as a souvenir of our visit.
Hint :Colombo International Airport (Bandaranaika) is a busy place to arrive. A throng of people await you even late at night. It is therefore wise to book transport in advance. You will also need local currency which can be purchased at the airport on arrival. However, on departure american dollars are needed for souvenirs etc.
Boxing Day Tsunami : It is truly humbling to visit a site of sorrow and tragedy.
The above statue was erected to commemorate the destruction of the village of Pereliya near Galle. At least 2500 people lost their lives including 1500 passengers on a train. The statue stands at the spot where the train was struck and is an exact replica of the Bhamian Buddha destroyed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. This monument is a serene and poignant memorial.