Talk about a well rounded vacation. From elephants, temples, mountains, tea, and waterfalls to beaches, surfing, tuk tuk rides, and tree swings... Sri Lanka had it all! Arriving at the airport, you will have tons of locals trying to sell you on their services, (even at the airport) taxi's will be one. You're better off using an app called #PickMe. It is the Sri Lankan version of Uber. We got a nice car, luckily with an English speaking, who ended up driving me around Sri Lanka all 5 days.
My first stop was at Hotel Elephant Park in #Pinnawala. With an orphanage nearby, the elphants roam around the river and bathe every afternoon around 5. Here's a video of some of the #elephants playing right in front of my hotel.
Pinnawala is fairly small so the next day I was already off to my next adventure in #Kandy. The first stop was at Temple of the Tooth. Being a #buddhist temple you must dress modestly covering your knees and shoulders. Locals also don't really like all the tourists who get in their way taking photos. Try to mimmic their behavior to avoid getting pushed around-- think New York and walk with a purpose. I also bought some flowers right outside the temple to give as offerings inside.
Next up was the #Bahirawakanda Statue-- a white Buddhist statue overlooking #Kandy. You must take off your shoes before entering all temples and since this one is outdoors, I was playing "the floor is lava" and losing. Ouch! Totally worth it though. BTW: I learned facing away from the Buddha for long periods is considered disrespectful so try to avoid that and walk away sideways (watch this next video till the end trust me).
After my morning of prayer I made a quick stop at the #Damro Tea factory. Sri Lanka is well known for their #tea so stopping at one of these should definitely be on your itinerary. Afterwards, its was time to head to #Ella where I was going to be up early for a fun hike the next day. This was the first part where we came across more American tourists. With countless restaurants and bars I finally felt like I was going to have some American inspired cuisine. Don't get me wrong, I love indulging in different cultures, but the spicy Sri Lankan food was really starting to upset my stomach.
On day 3 I hiked Little Adam's Peak. It is a smaller 1 hour hike and you have a nice view of Adam's Peak. Don't let the name and short length fool you-- there are some steep climbs and narrow paths. As a reward at the end you can treat yourself to some fresh coconut water.
The previous day I was supposed to ride a scenic train from Kandy to Ella but I didn't make it on time there. Since I missed the beautiful ride, I decided to visit the Nine Arches Bridge which is an area that I would have passed on the train.
Before the three hour ride down to #Mirissa Beach, I took a dip in a waterfall on the way out of Ella. There were many locals happily playing in the water. I appreciated seeing the children there interacting and playing rather than staring down at their phone screens.
Day 4 was one of my favorites. I started my day at the #instaworthy Coconut Tree Hill. This is a natural formation in which the trees are positioned to look as if you're looking through a fish eye camera lens. Enjoy the short montage I created below =)
I then walked to Parrot Rock, a huge rock formation in the ocean that you can access from the beach via a sketchy man made wooden stairway. Afterwards I walked around some more and got a Tuk Tuk to grab some drinks at Secret Beach. Well it's not much of a secret anymore huh?
Back at my hotel I had a little photoshoot and then tried surfing for the first time! I honestly did not stand on the board longer than 3 seconds but I gave it my all. If you watched the video earlier you can see my tiny body getting flipped over by the waves many times.
On my last day before parting ways with this beautiful island I had to play in the sun for a bit so I grabbed a yummy breakfast at Shady Lane and headed to the beach. There I came across a tree swing that looked terrifying, but I had to give it a try!