Pearl of the Indian Ocean

Sri Lanka, Pearl of the Indian Ocean, stooped in history, culture and historically known as Ceylon. Sri Lanka is famous for producing finest team rubber and coconut as well as exotic spices.   Unique history that spans beyond Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean, timeless ruins, endless beaches, welcoming people, oodles of elephants, rolling surf, fun trains, famous tea and tea plantations as well as flavour some food make Sri Lanka a fabulous destination to visit for all ages and interests.



I flew Sri Lankan Airlines who offer direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne and was very impressed with their business class. Whilst it wasn’t Singapore Airlines standard, it was friendly, professional, comfortable and the food was nice. Wine selection not the best, but for the price it is a serious contender when thinking of travelling to Sri Lanka.



We saw many hotels and travelled overland in a comfortable large van as well as on a train and in a seaplane. There are many ways to get from A to B in Sri Lanka as the roads can be fantastic in places and rather bumpy and challenging in others and that’s where my expertise now will come in.

The standard of Hotel accommodation in Sri Lanka rivals that of anywhere in Asia and you can find many stunning boutique properties now that have been beautifully restored and maintain their colonial feel and history as well as luxurious villas to cater for groups of friends and multi generation family travel.

There were so many, but one of my favourite’s was W15 Hanthana Estate sitting high above Kandy. An Estate boasting beautiful accommodation in a colonial building with a wraparound terrace to enjoy the views from. We also stayed at several Uga properties including Uga Ulagalla and Uga Chena Huts adjacent to the Yala NP which both offer private villas with plunge pools and are set in huge grounds to offer absolute privacy and sense of space. Thotalagala is a Tea Estate on the Haputale escarpment that offers unique individually designed Suites named after famous personalities and offers a superlative service on an all-inclusive basis.



Riding our bikes through the ancient ruins of the first ancient capital city, Anuradhapura was a highlight as was seeing a whole herd of elephants swimming in the river and then crossing the road right in front of us in Yala NP. A scenic Tuk Tuk drive through the tea plantations and passing locals whose faces tell so many stories was another great experience and visiting a tea factory, learning the lengthy process of making tea changed my view on what we pay for tea forever!!



Galle, the city in the South that has been occupied by Portuguese, the Dutch and the Brits is a charming town with such beautiful building and narrow street lined with shops and cafes. Each nation left their mark here.

Colombo has a way to go but OMG was I stunned by the abundance of incredibly beautiful old buildings that are currently in a state of decay but have so much potential to be revived and turned into stunning boutique hotels or shopping arcades or become proud head office buildings. And I have every reason to believe it will happen in the near future and would make Colombo the most attractive capital of Southeast Asia in my opinion.

Sri Lanka Boat

If anyone is thinking or tempted by my feedback, I can promise you will not regret having put it on your list and look forward to creating an unforgettable trip to Sri Lanka for you.

Ariana Wong Travel is an Independent Affiliate of SmartFlyer – a member of Virtuoso, Preferred Hotel Group, Leading Hotels of the World