Hello everyone! I’m back to tell you about our roadtrip in Sri Lanka with the children. We came back last night and with the jet lag I woke up at 5am, so I enjoy this opportunity to give you the details of our Sri Lankan family adventures. Clearly, Sri Lanka is a big crush! We are already thinking about going back there. I thought that this country offered a condensed version of Asia: a change of scenery, tea plantations, rice fields, beaches, temples, cultural sites, all of this without having to travel for many miles! A destination suitable for a family trip! I’m looking forward to share with you the enchantment we felt discovering this amazing country.
Train travelling over the 9 arches in Ella
Age of Ticoeur: 5 years and a half
Age of Titpuce: 3 years (that we celebrated precisely in Sri Lanka!)
Itinerary and good addresses:
Arrival in Colombo at 10.40 pm and departure to Bentota in taxi (about 2h).
Chill Island Villas ❤, very beautiful and charming bed and breakfast, nicely decorated and big swimming pool. Perfect to recover from the journey. We had a big double bedroom with a cot for Ticoeur and Titpuce between us in the huge bed.
Bentota (about 10km away) – 2 nights – to begin softly and rest not far from the sea. Accommodation: Chill Island Villas ❤, very beautiful and charming bed and breakfast, nicely decorated and big swimming pool. Perfect to recover from the journey. We had a big double bedroom with a cot bed for Ticoeur, and Titpuce was between us in the huge bed. Activities: visit of small temples, turtle centre and simply swimming pool! Booking: Chill Island Villas.
Turtle centre near Bentota
Chill Island Villas
Bus (between Bentota and Galle: 1h10) – lunch break in Galle then tuk-tuk (between Galle and Mirissa: 1h)
Mirissa – 1 night – nice ideal beach for children, very quiet, touristic but a nice atmosphere with a great restaurant of grilled fish on the beach by night. Accommodation: Palm Villa, ideally situated on the beach, delicious breakfast with sea view. We had a bedroom with a double bed, a single bed for Ticoeur and a baby bed for Titpuce. Activities: beach, visit of the colonial city of Galle.
tuk-tuk (between Mirissa and Tangalle: 1h30).
Tangalle – 1 night – here, the beaches are wild and deserted, with big waves. Accommodation: Patini Bungalows ❤, with an adorable reception of Séverine and her family. The bungalows are very beautiful and high quality, with terrace. We had a double bedroom with two extra mattresses on the floor. Activities: beach and also an excursion to a stunning temple (Mulkirigala) not touristic although it is pretty extraordinary, like the Dambulla temple.
Tangalle beach on my birthday!
Tuk-tuk (between Tangalle and Udawalawe: 1h30).
Udawalawe – 1 night – only purpose of this step: going on a safari with the children in the National Park of Udawalawe, famous for its many elephants. I will tell you all the details of this safari in a blog post dedicated to it. Accommodation: Superson Guesthouse, very simple but a very nice welcome from the family and our host booked everything for our excursion. We had a bedroom with one double bed and two single beds.
Elephant in the National Park of Udawalawe
Car with driver (between Udawalawe and the Morning Mist close to Ella: 2h).
40 min away from Ella (in the middle of nowhere 😉) – 3 nights (and we could have stayed 4): the magic of the tea plantations and the mountains, an exceptional panorama. Accommodation: Morning Mist ❤, not to be missed, for its beautiful location, and the excellent cooking of Pat’. For the family, there is a little individual villa with 2 bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen, so perfect in terms of space. Activities: visit of the neighbouring tea plantation of Amba State (very interesting because it’s a very small plantation which is selling its delicious tea to Fortnum & Mason in London!) Excursion in Ella (hiking at Little Adam’s Peak, waterfalls), and above all bathing in the river, down the Morning Mist and little walks in the plantations.
River close to the Morning Mist
The Morning Mist
Tuktuk to the station then 1st class train to Haputale (45 min).
Haputale – 1 night – Stroll in a tuktuk until Lipton Seat, wonderful point of view from where Sir Lipton loved to observe his plantations. Simple accommodation but with a beautiful view from the balcony: The Mist Holiday. We had a little bedroom with two double beds.
On the road to Lipton’s seat
The Mist Holiday, Haputale
1st class train (Haputale->Kandy : 5h).
Kandy centre – 1 night: we had read rather negative comments about Kandy but we really liked it. A lot of colonial buildings around the lake. Accommodation: Vino Villa (we wanted stay in the Mc Leod or the Queen Hotel but it was full), so, our accommodation didn’t have the charm of the colonial residences but it was comfortable, brand new (a double bedroom and two extra beds). Activities: Temple of the Tooth, botanical garden.
Botanique Garden of Kandy
In the street in Kandy
1h away from Kandy (still in the middle of nowhere 😉) – 2 nights – in the enchanted setting of a tea plantation in the Madulkelle Tea & Eco Lodge ❤, a unique location for a charming break in the middle of our stay. Everything is perfect: amazing swimming pool with a view, the high quality lodges, restaurant diners and the reception. I will detail all this with pictures because this place was so magical! We had a lodge with a double bed, a single bed and an extra mattress. Activities: farniente in front of the plantations, visit of the Hatale plantation (it was very interesting because all of the engines were working), walks.
Madulkelle Tea & Eco Lodge
Tuktuk between Madulkelle Tea Lodge and Sigiriya (4h).
Sigiriya – 3 nights – we chose Sigiriya as a starting point to visit the cultural triangle, which is the zone with the main cultural sites of Sri Lanka. Accommodation: Lakmini Lodge, simple but adorable reception of the landlord who loves children and who is very impressive in terms of efficiency to organize all of your excursions for interesting prices! We had a bedroom with two double beds. This way, we visited : Sigiriya Rock, Dambulla cave, the old city of Polonnaruwa (all of this in tuktuk). Booking: Lakmini Lodge.
Breakfast hut in the Lakmini Lodge
Tuk-tuk to the station of Hanarana then 2nd class train (until Ragama: 5h) then tuktuk then bus until Negombo (1h).
Negombo – 1 night: this fishermen town is ideally located near the airport so it was perfect for a last night before we left. Accommodation: Thisara Holiday (nothing special but convenient, clean and comfortable + it’s easy to organise your transfer to the airport – however we didn’t see any swimming pool…). A bedroom with a double bed, a single bed and a cot bed.
Sunset in Negombo Beach
Our itinerary in pictures:
From Colombo anti-clockwise…
- Season of the trip: February. We had 28-30 degrees and the weather was really nice every day, with a little rain sometimes by the end of the day twice or thrice, and gloomy weather the last two days. Because it was Winter Break, there were a lot of people in some areas.
- Duration: 16 days
- Plane: around 11h of flight with a call in a Gulf State (Oman for us because we travelled with Oman Air) or a direct flight with Sri Lanka Airlines. The children mostly watched cartoons. They didn’t sleep much, although it was a night flight, because there was too much light.
- Jetlag: 4h30 with Paris – Since we arrived late and tired from the trip (no big sleep in the plane) we had no trouble adjusting to local time.
- Equipment for children: only the Ergobaby for Titpuce but we didn’t use it much because she walked a lot. A few diapers (that we didn’t use either) and two waterproof protections in case one of them wet the bed (only happened once 😉).
- Health: there are few cases of malaria in Sri Lanka, but not in its most severe form. It is recommended to take a treatment in case you stay more than 10 days but, in agreement with our doctor, we didn’t take any medicine. However, I used a mosquito repellent treatment on our clothes and I brought an anti-mosquito adapted for infested tropical areas. We mostly used long sleeves T-shirts and trousers, and of course, you have to be extra careful if you have a fever. Still following the recommendations of our doctor, the children were vaccinated against hepatitis A. Important: you should also check with your doctor before you leave.
- Transport: it was the only unknown factor of our trip. Everything else was booked in advance. We improvised on the spot, following the advice of our hosts, or following our intuition. This way, on every step, we organized, with the help of our guest house or hotel the transportation to the next step. As you could read above, we travelled a lot in tuk-tuk. We felt at ease with this mode of transport, that seemed safer, more comfortable than the bus, and half the price of a car with a driver. Once again, you should experience to make your own opinion because I don’t want to say that, concerning security, it was perfect! (no seat belt). Be careful, by the way, if you are renting a car with a driver: if you are to pay a more expensive price, make sure the vehicle you rent has seat belts in the back (it’s not always the case!). Concerning the train, we didn’t make much sense out of the booking system. We had booked our tickets before, on the internet (at a tourist price) because it was said that the trains were overcrowded. But, once on the spot, there were plenty of places! For our last journey, we bought our tickets only a few minutes before we went on the train. In first class, there is air-conditioning and cartoons. In 2nd class, since the windows are opened, the heat is not overwhelming, except when the train stops. Thus, with a baby, I would advise you to travel in 1st class.
- Meal: Mainly, you have to like the chicken curry 😉. The children only ate the rice without the curry so, in restaurants, we ordered fried noodles for them. We loved the fresh fruits and fresh fruit juices! We also all loved the hoopers (some kind of pancakes with coconut milk). We found some sweetened plain yoghurts.
- Budget: for information purpose, we spent:
600€ for the round trip flight per person
100€ on the spot per day, for the four of us, consisting of: 50€ on the accommodation + 20€ on transportation + 20€ on meals + 10€ on visits. We would have spent less on accommodations but we chose to focus on charm and comfort; we could have spent less on meals, but mostly we had diners in the bedrooms of our guest houses or hotels for an easier organization; we could have travelled only by bus (but it’s more complicated!). In a world, it could be possible to get to 70€/day (maybe less?). On the other hand, if, like many tourists, you choose to rent a car with a driver for your whole stay, you have to consider a 45€/day budget for this benefit. Finally, if my husband could have had an international driving license delivered, we would have rented a car, in spite of the advice against it (this is a personal choice, I will let you make your own opinion about it).
The « plus side » for the children? Many activities are suitable for children, especially when it’s about seeing animals, but also the beaches and some walks. We came across many families. Some of them even with small babies. I will soon tell you what the children loved!
So, are you tempted by a trip in Sri Lanka?