The Telegraph website operates a travel section at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel.
One of its editions collected readers’ articles about their travel experiences in Sri Lanka. We think, they give excellent advice and offer a wide range of travel proposals: destinations in all parts of the country and various activities including contacts with locals. So let’s have a “reader’s digest” look at what Telegraph readers liked most or find worth visiting.
"Sri Lanka: readers' tips, recommendations and travel advice"
1. “Everyone knows how beautiful Sri Lanka is, but not everyone knows how wonderfully welcoming are its people. So my best advice to any visitor is go out and meet some. [...]
In Colombo, take tea at the Mount Lavinia. Conversation is muted by the roar of the surf, the air moist with spray. The 200-year-old hotel dominates a promontory overlooking the Indian Ocean. It is full of colonial charm and I feel at home every time I enter its beautiful foyer.
If you can tear yourself from this little piece of Eden, shop in Odel, Colombo’s smart department store for designer bargains. Many items are available for a fraction of their usual retail price. At Ceylon Ceramics whole dinner services of Noritake china can be purchased for the cost of a few dinner plates at home.”
2. “Kandy is a wonderful city to stay in. There are official guides in the Temple of the Tooth; Udawattakele Sanctuary is well worth a visit and you can walk from the Garrison Cemetery next to the lake. This small area of jungle in Kandy has lots of monkeys to watch.
3. “Next day we are picking tea leaves, which the small factory at our hotel will turn into tea within 24 hours, ready for us to take home. A couple of days later, we are overlooking miles of sand at the Saman Villas hotel.”
4. “The Kandalama hotel at Dambulla is dramatically different. Built to merge into the hillside, it offers good dining and fabulous wildlife nearby. The rooms have huge windows overlooking the countryside and infinity pool.[...]
Sri Lanka is famous for sapphires, which come in all colours. See them mined, if you dare, and listen to a talk on these fabulous gems.”
5. “Visit the historic triangle, focused on Dambulla’s ancient cave temples with their myriad Buddhas, and Sigiriya, the rock fortress.[...]
Farther south, book into Tea Trails’ Norwood bungalow, one of the most relaxing and beautiful places you will ever visit. Buy your tea direct from the estate shops.
Then head for the beaches, eat the world’s largest prawns at the Old Ramparts Hotel in Galle, and see the sunset from the fort as your holiday epilogue.”
6. “Highlights included the colonial elegance of the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo, Mount Lavinia’s history, the train journey through the hill country in perhaps the same carriages as in my father’s pictures, wood panelling, old fans and real history.”
7. “No trip could be complete without visiting a working tea factory, seeing the Buddha’s Tooth and Botanical Gardens in Kandy [...] seeing the cave temples of Dambulla, climbing Sigiriya, the lion rock, and most wonderful of all, visiting the elephant orphanage at Pinnawela."
8. “John Gimlette’s report last week was interesting but he left out a hidden gem. The Sinharaja Rainforest Ecolodge.”
9. Roadside stalls sell the most delicious curd (to eat with honey) in earthenware pots.
10. “Start your visit with a trip to the glorious white-sand beaches, completely deserted except for the resident blue whales, a few hundred metres away in the ocean.”
11. “Research local customs before you go as mixing with the locals and enjoying their culture can make your holiday.”
12. “Visit the amazing street carnival in Colombo in February featuring dancers, acrobats and above all the beautifully decorated elephants draped in brightly coloured cloth sewn with beads and glass jewels.”
13. “I highly recommend the train journey up to Nuwara Eliya, and to Galle, which has managed to preserve its historical charm.”
14. “Witness vast numbers of wild elephants at Minneriya during the late summer months or hope for a leopard sighting at Yala. Make a night-time ascent of Sri Pada during the pilgrimage season, when a necklace of lights snakes to the top of the sacred peak and reach the summit in time for a spectacular sunrise. Experience white-water rafting at Kitulgala, bobbing past rainforest dripping with foliage and exotic birds. Sit quietly on Rekawa beach at night with only the light of fireflies dancing through the sky while waiting for turtles to come ashore and lay their eggs.”
15. “Lots of restaurants have very dull tourist menus, but if you ask for that day’s rice and curry the staff are usually delighted that you want local food. You will be brought an exquisite feast of lots of little dishes, all beautifully fresh.”
16. “Visit Mihintale, a beautiful wooded area shaded by frangipani trees, made famous as the spot where Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka . [...] For food, try the rather seedy but friendly Palladium Restaurant in Nuwara Eliya. Here you can also get a classic Tamil savoury known as a vadai, a spicy doughnut made of deep-fried lentils”
17. “Opt for a third-class train carriage and travel like a local around Sri Lanka. Try the fried delights served up in old homework paper on the way to Ella, a sleepy village nestled in the luscious hill country.”
18. “Since the civil war ended in 2009, Jaffna – both city and peninsula – has been slowly coming back to life, so visit and help support its rebuilding, and get a very different view of the country. [...] Then go south down the east coast (or try the rickety old ferry) to Trincomalee, with its hot springs, the Koneswaram temple, a magnet for pilgrims, and the spectacular natural harbour”
quotations from the full Telegraph articles at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/asia/srilanka/10276167/Sri-Lanka-readers-tips-recommendations-and-travel-advice.html