Sri Lanka Part I: Weekend Trip

Sri Lanka Part I: Weekend Trip


Last month I spent two weeks in India with my fiancé and his two colleagues. Since we were staying in Chennai, about an hour’s flight from Sri Lanka, we figured we absolutely must go that weekend.

I drew up three plans for the team:


Option A: Wildlife and Temple Adventure

Visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and see Sri Lanka’s number one attraction, Sigiriya Rock.

Sri Lanka A


Option B: Luxury Tea Trail Trek

Stay at the only Relais & Chateaux hotel on the island, the luxurious Ceylon Tea Trails. Take in the breathtaking views and do some activities such as rafting and trekking.


Sri Lanka B


Option C: Road Trip to the Beach

Drive down to one of several luxury beach resorts in the southwest of the island. Visit the must-see Galle fort town, relax on the beach, watch some stilt-fishing and sip on a coconut.


Sri Lanka C

Hard to pick just one, right?


And the winner is… Option A!

If you can only see one thing, why not see the number one thing. That’s Sigiriya Rock. It is probably the most unique option to Sri Lanka, whereas beaches and luxury resorts are something you can do anywhere. 

We arrived late on Friday night and caught a few hours sleep in a little hotel called the Lespri Grand in Negombo, chosen because it was on the road to Pinnawala. The manager greeted us warmly with cold towels and fresh juice.


Lespri Grand Hotel


Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Saturday morning after a breakfast of eggs, we headed out at around 7.30am and arrived at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage at 10am, just in time for bathing. If Sri Lanka had a spirit animal, it would no doubt be the elephant. It was really beautiful to watch them play in the water. We spent an hour there before starting the 2.5 hour drive to Sigiriya Rock, which took a little longer with traffic. We arrived around 2pm.


Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage


Sigiriya rock

Once upon a time, a king built his capital city at the top of Sigiriya rock. It’s as crazy as it sounds. The walk to the top took 1.5 hours as we kept stopping to breathe and take photos, compared to just 20 minutes coming down. Even though it was boiling hot, the climb is so worth it. The views are among the most incredible I’ve ever seen.


Sigiriya Lion Rock


We wasted a bit of time waiting for a tuktuk to take us back to the car park, as our driver claimed he couldn’t take us any closer. It was 5pm by the time we got to our car and we were faced with a choice. Visit the Dambulla Golden Cave Temple or head to Colombo to make our 9.30pm dinner reservation.




Cinnamon Grand Hotel

We decided to go to Dambulla. But when we got there we discovered it was another walk up to the cave temples and another entrance fee. Low on time, cash and energy we decided to call it quits. Colombo from Dambulla is about a 3.5 hour drive, but our driver got lost and so we arrived at the impressive Cinnamon Grand hotel late at 10.30pm.


Cinnamon Grand


We missed our reservation at Nuga Gama, which is supposed to be an incredible authentic Sri Lankan dining experience where they have recreated an outdoor Sri Lankan village. We saw it the next day as we were leaving and it really looked amazing.


Nuga Gama


The Lagoon

Instead, we were told we could eat at the Lagoon if we got there before 11pm, the number one restaurant in Colombo according to TripAdvisor. After a record-breaking fast shower and change of clothes, we had a fantastic dinner and several well-deserved cold beers. The seafood was so fresh, plentiful and inexpensive. After dinner we collapsed in the hammocks by the pool.


The Lagoon


Ministry of Crab

Sunday we woke up late and went straight for lunch at the Ministry of Crab. A friend had suggested it and we were glad we didn’t miss it. The restaurant was amazing and the branding and presentation very impressive! We tried most things on their menu and loved everything.


Ministry of Crab


There is also a fantastic souvenir shop opposite, where we bought some presents and things to take home. Although they have the same one in the airport, the one here is much bigger.


Souvenir Shop


Our driver – the same one all weekend – picked us up from the restaurant at 2pm, arriving at the airport at 3pm for our 6.30pm flight. While that may sound excessively early, that’s what we were advised to do. The queues and situation at the airport can be quite unpredictable, so better safe than sorry.


And that’s it, our jam-packed weekend in Sri Lanka! Which option would you have picked?


Click here to read Sri Lanka Part II!


Visit the Sri Lanka Tourist Board Website for information on visas, vaccinations, health and safety advice, events, hotels, sights and much more.

Interested in Relais & Chateaux hotels? Check out my detailed review on La Bamba de Areco, just outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina.



Lara Olivia
Lara Olivia

Freelance writer and blogger obsessed with food, travel and good stories.

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  1. Maren Sviland
    6 April 2017 / 2:36 pm

    Very nice, it sounds just amazing!

  2. George K
    5 April 2017 / 6:49 pm

    Love the pictures! l would definitely visit again and do option C! I love the beach 😀

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