Sri Lanka in 72 Hours

Holiday Factory successfully lured us to purchase one of their travel deals two months ago. To be honest, I'm actually not a fan of package tours and online deals because it always seems shady to me. Anyway, we gave it a go just to take some time off from work and travel without going through the hassle of dealing with tickets, hotels, and tours separately.

After purchasing our Sri Lanka holiday package, we had to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) which costs 35 USD. If you're planning to go anytime soon, you may want to check their website to know whether you're exempted from obtaining one. After submitting the form, I received the acknowledgment letter and approval after five minutes. Yes, FIVE MINUTES.

Okay, time to share with you our sweet escape to Sri Lanka. We arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport at 1:10am. We were picked up by a representative from Boundless Lanka (probably Holiday Factory's partner) to take us to the hotel.

First, we made a quick stop at Sameeha Restaurant to get food. We ordered a half portion Sri Lankan dish called kottu, shredded roti bread mixed with different kinds of meat. The staff were so friendly, they even invited me to join them in the kitchen to see how their dishes were made! 

Kottu with mixed meat for two, please!
The Hotel
Located in the west coast of the country, Club Hotel Dolphin is one of the perfect spots to steal a picturesque view of Waikkal.

While taking photos, a local guy came up to us with his cute little buddy, Michael! Such an adorable and playful monkey! Then he showed us his two other "pets" - a python and a cobra. Nope, not gonna touch that. 

The Tour

Kain na, beh.

 After this, we crossed the street to get to the riverside for their bath time! Our guide left us in a restaurant overlooking this wonderful view for a couple of minutes to chill a bit before another long trip to the next destination.

2nd Stop: Pinnawala Elephant Dung Paper Factory

Elephant poo paper!

The process, basically.

3rd stop: The Island Spice Grove
A short tour around the garden followed by an amazing 15-minute massage for free. Before you leave, check out their spice and ayurvedic medicinal products. I bought king coconut oil and herbal cream for my hair which I still need to try. Hopefully it works!

Razeen trying to explain something complicated. ;p 

Kudos to this guy who managed to explain all these products to us!
4th Stop: Embillmeegama Tea Factory
Short tour around the factory, then a free taste of their special tea of course. They have a lot of cute tea packages perfect for gifts and pasalubongs, so make sure to grab one of those.

5th Stop: Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens
At 60 hectares, we don't really have much time to roam around the entire area due to time constraints. We just chose specific areas we wanted to see to save time. Nonetheless, the place was fascinating enough to take snaps and simply enjoy nature's gift.

6th Stop: Rajanima Craft
If you're into traditional Sri Lankan artsy fartsy stuff, then this place is definitely for you. They have a wide range of creative wood carvings, furniture, traditional masks, and sculptures to name a few. 

7th Stop: Kandy Temple
This is the home of the Sacred Tooth Relic which is one of the most holy places of worship in the Buddhist world. The complex also includes other temples and museums, so expect a lot of walking.

Unfortunately, we ran out of camera battery after this. Anyway, that was our last stop before heading back to Negombo to have dinner. Travel time is 3 hours so having snacks in the car would really be a good idea.

One of the restaurants I would highly recommend in Negombo is definitely Serendib along Porutota Road. We ordered a seafood platter (good for two) worth 3,000 LKR which was really delicious. No exaggeration here. Then, you can enjoy a bottle of beer for about 700 LKR to cap off your night.

Fresh kung fresh!
So that wraps up my 72-hour experience in Sri Lanka. Overall, the trip was short, sweet, and definitely great. Everything was well-organized thanks to Holiday Factory and Boundless Lanka team: Vasantha, Amili, Supun, and Antonij :)

With Amili. Sorry, poor lighting. :))

With Supun, our buddy during the 12-hour tour.

| All photos by Arjay Navarro |


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