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, taxi's being one of them. You're better off using an app called #PickMe. It is the Sri Lankan version of Uber. Luckily we got an awesome English speaking guy who ended up driving my friend and I around Sri Lanka all 5 days. This also helped us feel safe and sure that we would have a ride, despite being in more remote locations some 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 don't love all the tourists getting in the way of their prayers to take photos so, be mindful when doing so. I also learned that it is disrespectful to give the Buddha your back so people walk away backwards. Its not an obligation but shows respect. There are also vendors outside selling flowers, these are given as offerings by all visitors.
Next up was the #Bahirawakanda Statue-- a white Buddhist statue overlooking #Kandy. You must take off your shoes before entering all temples. This one is outdoors so the floor is practically lava. I did my best to step near the shade or sit when needed. Very worth it!
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 following day I was supposed to ride the scenic train from Kandy to Ella but I didn't make it on time there. If you can, it looks like a beautiful ride so definitely check it out. Instead I went to the #NineArchesBridge which you pass over on the train. Theres a short but steep 10 minute hike down to the Bridge.
Before the three hour ride down to #MirissaBeach, I took a dip in a waterfall on the way out of Ella. There we came across a bunch of locals and their kids playing in the water. This is one of their favorite summer past times to cool off.
Day 4 was one of my favorites. I started my day at the photo worthy #CoconutTreeHill. This is a natural formation by the water in which the land and trees are positioned to look as if you are using a fisheye lens.
I then walked to #ParrotRock. It is a huge rock formation in the ocean that you can access from the beach. You just have to climb this sketchy man-made stair case made of rocks and wood. Afterwards I walked around and grabbed some drinks at Secret Beach. Which I guess in not much of a secret anymore...
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. The waves were not too big but plentiful. If you watched the video earlier you can see my tiny body getting flipped over by the waves many times.
On my last day, I grabbed a yummy breakfast at Shady Lane. They had awesome #acaibowls and avocado toast. Then we headed to the beach where we came across this really fun tree swing. It looked terrifying but I had to give it a try!
Overall this trip was amazing. There was such a variety of fun and diverse things to do. 10/10 recommend if you're a nature loving adventurer.