We just got back from Sri Lanka for Easter break and had such an amazing time! Sri Lanka is a place that was on my list of countries I wanted to visit while we’re living in Asia, and while researching where to go over Easter, Zane discovered Wild Coast Tented Lodge in Sri Lanka and fell in love with it. So it was decided!
We flew into Colombo around midnight and the next morning drove the 6 hours to Yala National Park, on the southeast side of Sri Lanka. The drive was absolutely stunning! Zane and I kept trying to figure out which country the Sri Lankan landscape reminded us of the most, I said kind of like Bali and Zane said the Philippines. We drove through super lush forests, past beautiful sandy beaches and then into the arid desert zone, which is where we were glamping!
We stayed stayed in a glamping “tent” in the jungle! When we arrived there were signs warning guests not to walk alone at night when it was dark and to call a guide, because the camp was in the national park and there wasn’t any kind of barrier, so alligators or leopards could wander in as they please! I absolutely LOVED this hotel, it was the coolest experience. It was really peaceful being completely surrounded by nature and the wild, and every tent was spaced out so you had your privacy. There was a main restaurant and pool / beach area. They did a great job with blending the hotel into the natural surroundings – the restaurant and bar were designed to match the boulders along the ocean, and the beach front area was kept wild – no manicured lawns or beaches.
While in Yala, we did two safaris and saw a leopard on our first one! There are leopards in the park but it is rare to spot them, so we were really lucky! We also saw elephants, alligators, water buffalo, peacocks, and tons of different kinds of beautiful birds. The landscape in the park itself was also gorgeous, I could have been happy driving around just admiring the scenery.
The food at this hotel was incredible. My favourite was the Sri Lankan “hoppers”, but there were tons of different kinds of curries, fresh seafood, lots of cinnamon, and just extraordinary Sri Lankan food. Honestly it was the best food we had the whole trip, we were really lucky. One morning when we woke up for our safari, we went to have breakfast and saw a herd of water buffalo just wandering across the property. On another morning, the monkeys invaded! We walked to breakfast to see dozens of monkeys all around and on top of the restaurant, it was really funny. We spent time relaxing and reading by the ocean, exploring the area a little and climbing up and over the big boulders along the shore. There was a little pond in front of our tent and one day I saw it filled with wild boars. We ate by candlelight outside one night, and watched a thunderstorm roll in another. It was really cool to hear the rain pattering against our tent it. I also loved going to sleep and listening to all of the animal sounds outside our tent, it kind of reminded me of home a bit in the summer when I’m falling asleep I can hear the bullfrogs and coyotes.
I loved our time at Wild Coast Tented Lodge. I am happiest when I am around nature, and staying in that remote part of Sri Lanka for a few days, surrounded by the wild, made me feel so happy and at peace. I also don’t think there’s a bigger glamping fan than me (first one here). On our last morning, we woke up early to watch the sunrise over the ocean and then it was off to Galle!
Galle is a beach town on the south coast of Sri Lanka, and yes we spent the majority of our time on beaches there! Our hotel was on a large stretch of beach where you could walk and see the famous stilt fishermen. I loved going for long walks along the beach. It was super clean and beautiful, and went on for longer than I ever walked. One night we brought some wine down to the beach and watched the sunset, it was beautiful. It’s amazing how that activity never gets old. The sun sets every day but it still feels so special each time you take the time to sit and watch it.
While in the area we also went whale watching! I honesty didn’t think we would see any but we saw four blue whales! We also saw about 100 spinner dolphins! I had never seen dolphins flip out of the water like that in real life, it was so cool. After whale watching we asked our tuk tuk driver to take us to a good Sri Lankan restaurant for lunch, and he took us to one on Mirissa beach. We were skeptical at first because they had burgers and pizza on the menu along with Sri Lankan dishes, but it was so good (we got the Sri Lankan food, not the burgers haha). And Mirissa beach was especially beautiful! Really clean, beautiful coast line, white sand and clear waters. We loved it there so much we came back the next day to swim and spend time on the beach, and had lunch again at the same restaurant haha, it was that delicious!
My favourite part of Galle though was exploring Galle Fort, and unfortunately because it was raining, we didn’t get any pictures! Galle Fort is actually a huge area, originally built by the Dutch. Within the walls of the fort is a little town, made up of many different streets and alleyways, lined with old buildings, restaurants and shops. It literally feels like you’re in Europe! It really reminded me of Portugal. Unfortunately as soon as we got there it started to pour, so we had to run for cover. We found this really cute, colonial looking restaurant with an outdoor covered patio. We sat on the patio to have a drink and watch the rain come down, and despite the rain, I was loving it. By the time the rain let up the sun was almost set, and so we walked around the fort as the streets lit up, admiring every new corner we turned on and checking out all the shops. I got souvenirs for my family back home, and Zane got me a beautiful topaz necklace and matching ring which are now my favourite pieces of jewellery. We found a small Sri Lankan restaurant called Hopper, and since we couldn’t stop thinking about the hoppers we had in Yala, we decided to try it out for dinner. This restaurant was incredible! Truly delicious, traditional Sri Lankan food, and we sat at a table outside on the street which was perfect for people watching. My one regret about Galle is that we didn’t have long enough to see the fort, and never saw it during the day… but that one evening we did spend there walking around was magical!
After a few days in Galle it was back to Colombo before heading home. We booked a food tour for our one night in Colombo and it was awesome! Our tour guide picked us up in a super cool blue tuk tuk and showed us around the city. Our first food stop was at a food stand near the waterfront. We had Sri Lankan street food that was really spicy but really good! We also had hoppers and some other dishes that I forget the name of, but we both enjoyed all of it. My favourite was the dessert (obviously); it was buffalo curd with some sort of coconut syrup drizzled on top and then a splash of lime. We went tea tasting and bought some of that famous Sri Lanka cinnamon. We also saw a lot of historic sites throughout the city which our driver explained to us. My favourite was our last stop, the Buddhist temple. I learned that you should never turn your back to the Buddah – which is impossible when you are in a room surrounded by Buddahs! Haha. But the temple was beautiful and I really learned a lot about the difference between the Buddhist and Hindu religons. We were so exhausted and ready for bed by the end, but it was the perfect way to spend our last night. Zane actually got me into the idea of doing a food tour in every new city you visit, and so I’m really loving this tradition that has started 😉
I loved our time spent in Sri Lanka, and I’m just so happy that I get explore so much of this beautiful world with the best travel partner I could ever ask for!
This was an older male elephants. Apparently only the females and infants travel in herds, and unless a male is mating, they will go out on their own. This guy was pulling up the lotus flower roots and eating them like spaghetti!
Can you spot the leopard in the above photo?
This was the restaurant, made almost entirely of bamboo!
The patio outside our tent! I loved sitting here in the mornings/evenings drinking tea and listening to all the sounds.
Our gorgeous glamping tent!
The beach area – see what I mean about how they tried to leave it as natural as possible? I loved that.
Morning croquet match!
Our tent from the back.
This was my favourite tree.
Hopped onto the stilt fishermen’s poles when no one was watching!
I loved the Sri Lanka harbours! They are so colourful.
Our favourite restaurant on Mirissa beach – paradise!