Welcome back to Sri Lanka!

After having to postpone our trip several times, it finally happened last November. Traveling back to Sri Lanka! A trip I had looked forward to for what seems like ages. It had been more than five years since I was last there, and I am very curious to see how things stand after all the problems of the past few years.

Flora and fauna

The country is still pretty empty in November in terms of tourists. That has its advantages such as in national parks, where you sometimes feel you are the only visitor. I visit the lesser-known Wilpattu and the usually very busy Yala National Park. At very close range I see a bear and in both parks I spot a leopard several times. That the big crowds are absent is a bonus during the game drives. I see only a few other vehicles and often we are the only ones to spot a particular animal, which makes me feel extra privileged. Elephants also show up, although it is difficult to see them because of the heavy rainfall. Migratory birds have also already arrived in Sri Lanka in large numbers. Sri Lanka is and always has been a great destination for nature lovers with a large number of national parks and a great diversity of flora and fauna.

Spiritual Anuradhapura

I experience the spirituality of the country during a visit to Anuradhapura, the site of the sacred bodhi tree. I am here on the weekend, as are large groups of families, whole villages brought in buses, everyone dressed in white. Offerings of brightly colored flowers, food as well as colored slippers and monk’s robes are on the tables. The people find togetherness and strength in religion, and this is abundantly clear in such a place. It makes me feel very special.

From Hatton to Haputale

Last time it was not possible to travel by train; now I am traveling the route from Hatton to Haputale. Beautiful landscapes glide past me. I see tea plantations, waterfalls and picturesque villages. At altitude, it seems like we are driving through the clouds. What an experience! And the fact that the train doors remain open during the ride makes it extra exciting!

The production of tea

Special was the visit to a tea picking village. No tourists have been here for years, and my presence is announced by small children from afar. Some of them are seeing foreigners for the first time in their lives. The school-age children are only too happy to practice their English. And as it turns out, here too they know the soccer player Ronaldo, although they themselves are more into cricket that is played here into the evening hours. While visiting a tea factory I experience that tasting tea is actually just like tasting wine. I never realized before that the production of tea is a 24-hour process. Deep respect for the women who have to pick 20 kilograms of tea leaves a day and do so in all weathers and as now with often leeches between their toes due to the wet weather.


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Galle Fort, the Temple of Tooth and Tangalle

And how beautiful are Galle Fort and the Temple of the Tooth again. Not to mention the beautiful beaches and swaying palm trees in Tangalle. After all, the beach is never far away in Sri Lanka with such a long coastline. And again, no masses of travelers yet.

Hotels, lodges and tea bungalows

Then the amazing boutique hotels the country is rich in. You can find them in all shapes and sizes. The special safari camps with their personal service and perfect nature guides and the top luxury hotels, lodges and tea bungalows where comfort and personal service are paramount and where you lack nothing during the trip. A suitable form of accommodation can be found for every party in Sri Lanka.

Welcome back!

During the trip, it is abundantly clear that the country and people miss the travelers. Travelers who vacation here enjoy the diversity of Sri Lanka, its beautiful nature, interesting culture and history and, of course, its delicious food and beaches. I enjoy all those parts that make visiting this country just so special. Before the trip, I had asked myself this question: is Sri Lanka ready to host travelers again? To that I can answer a resounding yes. You can travel again to this fine vacation destination with peace of mind. Welcome back to Sri Lanka!

Jozef Verbruggen is Director and Owner of Untamed Travelling. Untamed Travelling is a travel designer that specializes in high-end bespoke travel experiences around the globe.

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Comments (13)

  1. Jack says:

    Great news that Sri Lanka is back on the travel map and open for business.

  2. Lydia Haigh says:

    Unusually, over 20 years ago, I called in on Sri Lanka on my gap year and loved it. I want to go back and do it in more style.

    • Jozef Verbruggen says:

      Dear Lydia, then go! Pls let me know how I can be of help, I’d be happy to assist you with this.

  3. Sian Williams says:

    I like to think that there are some things about Sri Lanka that will never change like the gentle spirituality, the tea plantations and the flora and fauna. These are just some of my favourite things about this beautiful island.

  4. Dave says:

    It all looks very tempting. And if there was some test match cricket going on at the same time I would find it very difficult to resist Sri Lanka.

    • Jozef Verbruggen says:

      We’d be happy to design a tailor made journey around the national teams’ competition schedule for you. Just contact us for further details!

  5. Judy Small says:

    A nice reminder of what Sri Lanka has to offer. For a small island it really does pack some punch, with so much variety.

  6. Beth says:

    That’s a lovely picture of three smiling Sri Lankan schoolboys. For me it sums up the warm nature of the people. I’ve always had a big welcome from the locals when I’ve visited.

  7. Jozef Verbruggen says:

    Thank you for the compliment. Couldn’t agree with you more, Beth.

  8. Sarah Bugden says:

    I know what you mean. It’s always been one of my ambitions to travel to Sri Lanka. The thing is that there have always been so many problems that have got in the way. First there was war, then terrorism and fuel shortages.

    We finally hope to get there next year which is why I’m doing my research now. And as always, starting with A Luxury Travel Blog, as it check it out everyday.

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