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Where better for a romantic break than Sri Lanka? It was the perfect honeymoon spot for me and my husband-to-be: dramatic, soaring mountainside tea plantations, wildlife-rich national parks and plenty for active people like us to enjoy.
There was no better way than as a tailormade adventure.
Tailormade Sri Lanka Adventure
We’ve been on Exodus group trips before – last year we had a fantastic time in the pristine snow of the Finnish wilderness: dogsledding, skiing and testing out the slightly dubious fashion credentials of ‘Arctic chic’ cold-weather gear.
We decided this time we wanted a little more privacy – it was our honeymoon after all. So we opted for a private adventure – what we got was the trip of a lifetime.
We arrived in Colombo to the huge smile of Keerthi, who was to be our driver and guide for the next ten days. Because it was just the two of us, we were able to do everything on our own schedule – get up when we wanted, spend as much time as we wanted at each place, and have plenty of time together to just enjoy each other’s company without appearing rude to the rest of a group!
It was great having Keerthi’s expertise all to ourselves – he was a fountain of knowledge, and what he didn’t know about Sri Lanka just wasn’t worth knowing.
Making an early start to avoid the intense humidity, it was a very sweaty 45 minutes to the top of the rock fortress where we were treated to the most incredible panoramic views. Keerthi was not only there bright and early to take us there, but he guided us on our climb, a seasoned pro having completed it hundreds of time before, and barely breaking a sweat climbing in his suit trousers, smart shirt and shiny shoes.
We used Sigiriya as our base for the next couple of days while we visited the ancient city of Polonnaruwa and Minneriya National Park. We had the most magical and memorable experience of our trip when a family of elephants crossed the path just metres away from us – luckily the bull chose to charge at the Jeep in front of us rather than the one we were in!
Sri Lankan Wildlife
The next leg of our journey was to make our way up to Nilaveli Beach, Trincomalee on the north-east coast. A region only recently opened to tourists following the civil war, the beaches are pleasantly deserted and untouched, and in fact, the only thing we had to share our beach with was a herd of sunbathing cows.
The heat and humidity in Trincomalee were like nothing we had experienced before – but since all we had planned was a few days of R&R and an early morning whale and dolphin watching trip we didn’t struggle too much. The boat trip was simply breathtaking – I’ll never forget the moment a whale surface just a few metres from our boat, or when what I can only imagine was close to a thousand dolphins appeared as if from nowhere, frolicking alongside our boat as the splash caught and sparkled in the morning sun.
It was later that afternoon that we discovered our favourite Sri Lankan meal – Lamprais. It may not look like much on a plate, but the flavoursome mix of spiced chicken, fresh eggs and vegetable-filled rice baked in a banana leaf is an absolute winner for the taste buds.
Next, we made our way south towards Nuwara Eliya, at the centre of the teardrop isle and home to the country’s tea plantations. It was immediately obvious why they call it Little England – the architecture had a strong sense of home, with the same old British post office and the distinctive red post box we’re used to on our streets.
Even the weather was suddenly cooler and wetter to really make us feel at home! No visit to these hills would be complete without a visit to a tea plantation, and wandering through the Macwoods factory seeing how all the tea was sorted and made was one of the most fascinating stops we made.
We were also told we should take the train out to Bandarawela and were not led astray – the very slow journey took us through beautiful landscapes, verdant tea plantations and winding hillsides.
Our final day in Nuwara Eliya was far from the gentle pace and romance of the train. It saw us up earlier than any other day, hurriedly packing portable breakfasts into our backpacks at 5am – but we knew it would be worth it.
We scampered down to meet Keerthi, blinking sleep from our eyes, our destination the Horton Plains National Park. We hiked through the verdant grasslands and forests, Keerthi by our side to ensure we never veered off track, telling us about the herds of Sambur deer and spotting the purple-faced monkeys.
We made it just in time to the phenomenal World’s End Point, a dramatic precipice where the ground just falls away in a sheer drop before the mists rolled in and obscured the view. It was certainly worth the early start.
White Water Rafting
Our last day in Sri Lanka still had one last treat in store. Our last bit of adventure came in the form of a morning of white water rafting on the rapids at Kitulgala. Neither of us had rafted before, and the grade 3 rapids proved a fun introduction – plus, we had the boat to ourselves. Bonus!
Our final day began the way every other day had – Keerthi greeted us cheerfully, and ensured we had everything we needed as he drove us to the airport. He saw us safely onto our flight to the next stage of our adventure – a blissful week on the beach in the Maldives. The perfect balance between adventure and relaxation.
Your Adventure, Your Way
With a tailormade adventure, you can choose your own exclusive group of friends or family, pick your own dates of travel, customise one of our itineraries to be just right for you, and still benefit from the expertise and experience of a highly qualified Exodus leader, just like Olivia and her husband. Call our specialist team on 0208 772 3874 to find out how they can create your dream adventure!
See all our holidays to Sri Lanka below.