A paradise then. A paradise now. This tiny island nation is just as beautiful, serene, and inviting as it has always been. Doubtful about visiting this amazing place? Well, here’s Pushpanjali’s 4 nights 5 days family trip to Sri Lanka that she took right after the tragic incident in this country in April 2019, and it does more than just prove that it’s absolutely safe to visit. It highlights the exciting experiences she had, the fabulous places she visited, and why she can’t wait to visit again next year!
I had planned my family vacation in Sri Lanka back in March 2019 itself as I had badly wanted to go there. Though we were a little afraid to visit a month after the unfortunate event in Sri Lanka, we decided to take our chances instead and still give this beautiful nation a visit.
Some part of me urged me to leave all the worries behind and just take that trip. And as it turned out, my instincts were right and it was the best decision I took!
Being an architect, I have always been fascinated by Sri Lanka. Its heritage sites, ancient monuments, sacred temples, and endless natural reserves had always left me with a longing to visit. And I wasn’t going to give up this chance to finally see it all!
And the best thing is, Sri Lanka had everything for every type of traveler in my family – heritage sites for me, adventure and beaches for my kids and husband, and religious places for my mother.
Is Sri Lanka Safe?
ABSOLUTELY! There’s no reason for people to fear. I can even shout this out from the mountaintops! We did not face any kind of hassle or safety concern during our entire trip. In fact, to ensure the safety of locals and travelers, there were heightened security measures and checkpoints after every few miles where you were required to validate your passport. Sri Lanka is safe to visit for travelers, and just as blissful as it has always been!
Details Of Pushpanjali’s Trip To Sri Lanka From India
Trip Type: Family Trip
Trip Cost: INR 70,814/-
No. Of People: 5
Trip Duration: 4 Nights 5 Days
Inclusions: Breakfast, dinner, airport transfers, accommodation, sightseeing, English speaking driver cum guide,
Exclusions: Lunch, dinner, airfare, visa, entrance charges, travel insurance
Why We Loved Sri Lanka!
Here are the best experiences we had and the best places we visited on the trip that made it my most memorable family vacation!
Visiting The Sacred Sites In Nuwara Eliya
We visited the Seetha Amman temple and the Hanuman Temple in Nuwara Eliya and my mom was super happy about seeing these two prominent Ramayana sites. Seetha Amman temple is where Goddess Sita was kept by her captor Raavan, and it was here that Hanuman gave her the Lord Ram’s ring.
One can distinctly see the enormous footprints of Lord Hanuman near the trickling water here and it’s an unusual thing to witness! It’s one of the most visited historical places in Sri Lanka and is referred to as the Ashoka Vatika in the popular saga of Ramayana.
Driving On Those Excellent Roads
The roads are of Sri Lanka are worth mentioning! Well maintained and smooth like butter, they made our journey super exciting and tireless. We had to cover a distance of around 200 km each day to get from one town to another, and it was Sri Lanka’s commendable road quality that made it possible to cover that distance in the least amount of time.
Traveling in Sri Lanka wasn’t hectic at all since the journey was so smooth. The vehicle we had been given was also excellent, so my kids and my mom could get ample amounts of rest on the way. Had we been traveling in Delhi or Mumbai, we would have spent most our time on the roads owing to the traffic and poor road quality.
Buying Gems In Hikkaduwa
We bought some spices and herbs from the Spice Garden and two moonstones from the Gurusinghe Moonstone Mine in Ambalangoda, 11 km from Hikkaduwa. At the moonstone gallery, we were first shown a short movie on the whole process of extracting raw stones and then how such fine quality gems are made from those stones.
From their showroom post the movie, I purchased two blue moonstones for a nominal price of INR 3,000. Those stunning moonstones were the best memento I purchased from Sri Lanka!
Witnessing The Temple Of Tooth Relic
Upon our arrival in Kandy, the famed Temple Of Tooth Relic is the first attraction we visited. It’s the place where Lord Buddha’s tooth is kept, and there were long queues of both locals and tourist pilgrims just to get a look at it.
The temple is vast and every bit of it has something intriguing about it, the massive golden statue of Lord Buddha being one of them. With stunning architecture, paintings, and historical significance, this temple is an unmissable part of any Sri Lanka architecture tour.
Meeting Baby Elephants And Sea Turtles
Visiting the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was among the most delightful experiences on this trip for me and my kids. It was fun to watch those adorable and naughty baby elephants play around in the water and pull each other by their tails.
We also visited the Turtle Hatchery which was other soul-soothing experience for me and my family. From holding tiny baby turtles in our hands to watching a 100-year-old turtle lazying around, my kids absolutely loved their time at the hatchery.
Visiting both these places also served as an enlightening experience for the family. We got to learn about the various environmental factors responsible for the diminishing numbers of turtles and how these hatcheries were playing a prominent role in saving these gentle beings. We were also made aware of how elephants are mistreated and their babies left to fend for themselves in major parts of the world, because of which sites like the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage are extremely important.
Engaging In Adventurous Watersports
Sightseeing in Sri Lanka is incomplete without indulging in a little bit of adventure. Other than spending some quality time on the beaches of Bentota, we also went for some watersports to get a taste of the adventurous side of this island paradise.
First, we went for a thrilling session of the Madhu River boat safari that took us through the thick and mysterious mangroves of this river, letting us spot various birds and mighty monitor lizards basking on tree branches.
Next, we tried some watersports in the river. My kids really enjoyed going for jet skiing and banana boat ride, and returned to the jetty with happy faces!
What Our Customised Sri Lanka Family Tour Looked Like
Day 1: Arrival at Colombo | Transfer to Kandy | Tooth Relic Temple
Day 2: Kandy City Tour | Transfer to Nuwara Eliya | Seetha Amman temple
Day 3: Ramboda Falls | Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage | Transfer to Hikkaduwa
Day 4: Leisure time at beach | Madu River boat safari & watersports | Turtle Hatchery | Moonstone Mine
Day 5: Transfer to Colombo Airport | Departure
Some Sri Lanka Travel Tips For An Enjoyable Holiday Experience
- Sri Lankan food can be quite spicy at times. So make sure you ask the restaurant staff to mellow it down in case you’re not into spicy food.
- There are plenty of Indian restaurants in Sri Lanka at every nook and corner. So, don’t worry about finding good Indian food, both veg and non-veg.
- Carry dry food items like thepla, khakra, and namkeen for the road journeys.
- Carry your passport with you at all times. If you come across a security checkpoint, cooperate with the forces and do not get agitated as these measures are in place for your own safety.
- Get your currency exchanged at the airport itself. The rates offered at the currency exchange booths at the airport are much more reasonable as compared to the ones in the markets outside.
- Apply for your visa online through the official Sri Lanka ETA Visa website. It’s the simplest and fastest way to get your visa and the fee is very nominal. All you have to do is enter your passport details and you get a visa within 30 minutes.
- Visit Sri Lanka for more than just 5 days. There’s so much to see and do in Sri Lanka and 5 days are not enough.
- You won’t face any issues of safety in Sri Lanka. So, just book that trip without hesitation!
Our Experience With TravelTriangle
We had a great experience booking our trip with Lanka Reisen and TravelTriangle. Other than some minor communication problems a few days prior to the trip, there was nothing out of place. The agent was very cooperative and helped me throughout the trip. They were in contact on a daily basis, constantly updated me on the progress of booking, asked me what all I needed, and even took great care of us during the trip.
Even the staff of the hotels we stayed at, Ramboda Falls Hotel in Nuwara Eliya and Hikkaduwa Super Corals Beach Hotel in Bentota, were very courteous and cooperative and made every effort to ensure we had a comfortable and memorable trip. I would recommend travelers to pick these two hotels for their stay during their trip.
We made it a point to stop by at the Lanka Raisen office so that we could personally thank the staff for their services and for providing us with such an enjoyable and safe tour.
I look forward to visiting again next year to cover all the heritage sites like Anuradhapura and Sigiriya.
Common Queries We Had While Planning Our Holiday
We had quite a few doubts while we were planning our trip. Now that we’re back, we would like to answer them to help you book yours smoothly.
Is Sri Lanka safe for single female travelers?
From whatever encounters and interactions I had with the Sri Lankan people, I can say that it is definitely safe for any single female traveler to visit Sri Lanka. However, one must make sure they book a package tour from reliable sources.
How many Sri Lankan rupees can I take into the country?
One can take into Sri Lanka up to LKR 20,000 (INR 10,000/-) in Sri Lankan currency, and up to USD 15,000 (INR 35,000/-) in United States Dollar currency according to Sri Lanka’s Currency Import Regulations. I carried USD 500 on my family trip, our of which I got USD 300 converted into Sri Lankan rupees, which came out to be LKR 53,000. We ended up using only LKR 38,500 out of that on our budget Sri Lanka tour, so we got the rest of the Sri Lankan currency converted back to dollars at the airport before boarding our departing flight. Converting USD to LKR and vice versa at the airport itself is much more beneficial than doing it at currency exchange stores in the market.
Can we use Indian Rupees in Sri Lanka?
It’s advisable to convert your India Rupees (INR) to Dollars (USD) in your city itself and then convert those Dollars to Sri Lankan Rupees (LKR) on arrival at the Colombo Airport. Convert only part of the amount first. If needed, you can easily convert more USD currency that you have to LKR at any of the cities in Sri Lanka. You can carry Indian Rupees, but you can’t use it in Sri Lanka. You have to get it exchanged with the local currency upon entering the country.
Can Indian citizens get visa on arrival in Sri Lanka?
Yes, Indian nationals traveling to Sri Lanka can get Visa On Arrival. However, it is advisable to get your visa online via the official ETA Visa website of the Sri Lankan government. The process is extremely simple, cost-effective, and quick. In the online process, you generally get the approval mail within 10 minutes after successful form submission and transfer of payment. You just need to carry a single page printout with you to the airport checkpoint to be on the safer side. Getting your visa online will surely save your time at the Colombo Airport where you’d otherwise have to stand in the long queue for your Visa On Arrival.
Is Sri Lanka safe? Hell yeah! The next someone bothers you with questions like these, make them read this delightful account of Pushpnajali’s family trip. In fact, take a trip to Sri Lanka yourself and tell the world how it still is as alluring a paradise as it was before. What’s the hold-up? Get going right away!