We had just landed, and it was already nightfall in Sri Lanka. My wife and I had been waiting to come to Sri Lanka, we had to escape the winter. The flight was manageable, as is any other economy class flight. The distance from the gate to the entrance of the airport felt like a rush. People of all races and ethnicity were eagerly rushing outside. Once we were done with the technicalities, I stepped outside, the air hit me like a ton of bricks, the humidity, the heat, it was all so noisy. I could hear the whistles of policemen being persecuted continually, and the locals seem to like the invention of the horn, nevertheless we were greeted by a congenial young man (from Absolute Sri Lanka) with our names on a paper. I gave him our bags and went straight into the car. Exhausted and hungry my wife and I asked the driver whether we were going to stop by for food, and to which he stated that dinner has already been arranged for us at the hotel.
We didn’t know how long it would take, but gave them the benefit of the doubt, and we were pleasantly surprised in the end with a traditional Sri Lankan rice and curry. On my way I couldn’t really tell where I was, so I decided that I would go explore my surroundings tomorrow. I woke up to a beautiful view; the coconut trees gently swaying on the amber tinged sand, the glorious and placid sea waved at me with a frothy charm, and the araliya flowers were delicately falling to the ground. My wife was still asleep while I stood by my word and explored this resort, and my verdict is: we are in heaven. This is an extravagant resort, I know, but the serene undertone that this place sends is very welcoming. Jetwing Negombo really has a good way of making me feel calm.
At around 10:00 am we headed to the beach with our driver, who was up earlier than anyone there, apparently, he was just making sure of the day’s activities. A tip for the traveler, don’t expect there to be crystal clear waters with the cleanest of beaches either, because they’re not and can be scattered with garbage in some areas. We stopped by a local street food restaurant, not the best of presentations, but it did get the job done of filling our stomachs with delicious food. We had milk rice, a spicy sambol with the rice, alongside a delicious mixed fruit juice made with a lot of love, according to the amount of sugar they put. We spent the rest of the day at the beach just soaking in the sun, and almost getting burned. My wife loves the beach and if we didn’t stay I wouldn’t hear the end of it. We were taken back to the hotel by our driver and the day was relaxing, and a good recovery period for us.
Today our driver woke up even earlier and had organized a bird watching tour in Muthurajawela. We will be going to watch birds early in the morning. That’s something I was getting excited about, while my wife is regretting every decision she made in life that led her to be me with me. Nevertheless, our safari started at around 6:30 am, but it took us around 30 minutes to get to the bird park. The actual safari started at around 7:00 am and for a good 20 minutes we only saw Black-headed ibis, bee-eaters, painted storks, and Indian swiftlets, but towards the end of the safari we came upon a stroke of luck. There were two white bellied sea eagles perched on a lonesome dead tree. We even saw a flame-backed woodpecker making it’s noisy presence. When we were coming back the driver spotted two Grey Horn-bills, a couple by the looks of it, staring out into the distance, but I couldn’t get a proper shot of them sadly. All in all, today we had a good taste of the characteristics of wildlife in Sri Lanka: vibrant, energetic, and extremely unpredictable.
My wife captured a moment of Negombo:
Our Driver was waiting outside the park ready to take us back to our hotel as the safari driver had to take other people on a ride. We arrived at the hotel, had lunch, chilled at the beach, and relaxed by the pool. The next day we will be travelling to Yala. This one my wife was excited for, she had desperately wanted to see an elephant.
Our Driver was waiting outside the park ready to take us back to our hotel as the safari driver had to take other people on a ride. We arrived at the hotel, had lunch, chilled at the beach, and relaxed by the pool. The next day we will be travelling to Yala. This one my wife was excited for, she had desperately wanted to see an elephant. However, my wife and I aren’t used to working with travel agents, which involves a lot of organizing, But, Absolute Sri Lanka has proven to be a company worthy of acknowledgement. They always had a driver stationed for us wherever we needed to go somewhere. Which is really spoiling both my wife and I, but once in a while we just need to indulge ourselves in the luxuries of the world. Out time in Negombo has come to an end and we are headed to Yala.
The drive was beautiful; open roads, lots of lush, and open areas of green-lands waiting for harvest. We finally arrived at the place we were staying. However, this wasn’t your everyday hotel, rather it was a luxury campsite deep in the jungle. We had beautiful accommodation with a small pool in the middle. It was really in the middle of the jungle for me and it was lovely. To have greenery enveloping our tent from all angles was a luxury itself. If you want to see for yourself then go check this link. Noel Rodrigo’s luxury lodging: https://www.booking.com/hotel/lk/noel-rodrigo-39-s-leopard-safaris.en-gb.html?aid=356980;label=gog235jc-1DCAsohQFCIW5vZWwtcm9kcmlnby0zOS1zLWxlb3BhcmQtc2FmYXJpc0gzWANohQGIAQGYAQm4ARfIAQzYAQPoAQGIAgGoAgO4AoaY5-gFwAIB;sid=536a567e6b8583d6613984e942e0cd1f;dist=0&group_adults=2&keep_landing=1&sb_price_type=total&type=total&
Trust me when I say that it’s worth it. We stayed there for 3 nights and they were some romantic nights I must say. My wife and I got to do nothing but spend time with each other. We both needed a break from our busy lives back in the UK. You really learn to appreciate the little things once you slow down for a bit. Furthermore, when you come to a place, under a canopy of trees, bathed with darkness, and scattered with small fragments of light across the could you not be romantic. Our first night passes by too fast and we are already on a safari at 7 am, 4 wheel drive, with a guide who pretty much knew every single bit of flora and fauna in the area. The safari was an absolute journey. Bee-eaters were whistling by and the unbroken sound of the jeep’s engine pierced jungle. It had rained the other night, and there was a pungent smell, almost like freshly cut grass.
We saw massive elephants, mothers harboring their child close to them, and even managed to see one tusker, which was rare. We didn’t get to see a leopard, but knowing that they exist in the same jungle us as gave me shivers of exhilaration. by around 12 we came back to the camp and had an evening to relax. The food was good, but needs improvement in their western menu.
Our first encounter with an elephant was on the road.
I do recommend bringing some beers and ordering a hot butter cuttlefish dish, and a deviled chicken dish. The next day we took to chill and have a relaxing time with each other. We wanted to leave early so that we beat the traffic, there’s always traffic here but some times more than others, so we departed at 4 am and arrived at around 10 am in Ella. I advise that people travelling from Yala towards Ella to have rest points in between rather than taking the entire distance in one go. We traveled with no issue because we stopped for tea at least 2 times, which is a luxury that my wife and I exploited. We were staying in a homey location called Chamodya Home Stay. We found it to be a very calming and welcoming atmosphere. The home stay was isolated from other resorts and hotels, which we liked because we just wanted to enjoy the nature.
In the morning we went to Little Adam’s peak and the trek was unbelievable, our driver tag along as well, I guess he also couldn’t resist the temptations of the mountain-side. We saw some buzzards when we reached the top, and I will personally tell you that you seldom come by a traveler or a local without a selfie-stick. I think we were the exception but this is getting out of hand. My wife of course didn’t seem to be affected by the contraptions, but I always seem to bump into one. So fair warning, and a little bit of advice, don’t buy or associate yourself with selfie-sticks. We then descended back down to the car and headed off to get some lunch.
The view from the Ella trek was beautiful:
Our driver knew the popular spots for good food. He stopped at a restaurant called Cafe Chill, which had great food, but lacked in service. We think that the waiters were taking the literal sense of the word chill in their efforts to serve. But I do recommend curd as a good way to end the meal. We were happy to stay in Ella for as long as we could but we only stayed for 3 days.
Another useful tip for the traveler: don’t feed the monkeys, because they become very aggressive, and the next thing that they eat might just be your phone. The next day we took a walk down the railway line, we ended up going all the way down to the nine arches bridge, which is highly recommended by my wife and I. You get to see the endless amounts of mountain ranges, and some are even blanketed with tea plantations. It’s truly a detox from the fast moving, technology imposing, and stress inflicting world. I suggest that you don’t look down if you’re afraid of heights, but trust me when I say that the view was absolutely gorgeous.
We decided to do nothing on our last day and relax at the home stay. The temperature was optimal for our liking and the view trumped the rest of my thoughts. We knew that this was our last night so we went for a walk through the mountain-side, and ended up coming back late at night, which was worth every second of our time. Another tip; if you’re with your partner, then stargazing in the middle of the night really brings home a few brownie points. My wife and I love the atmosphere at night in Ella; you can hear the live music playing in the distance, the cold air gushing through the trees, and lights of the small city as vibrant as its people. We had the driver take us to Colombo early in the morning and arrived within 5 hours 30 minutes. We did some last minute shopping, got some souvenirs, and headed back to the airport to catch our flight. We were sad to leave, but this wasn’t going to be our only visit to Sri Lanka, and you can bet on that.
My wife and I are independent travelers, people who don’t really take the path of travel agencies, but this time was different. We can confidently say that our experience in Sri Lanka was superb and we are grateful to Absolute Sri Lanka for making our journey stress-free and relaxing. We definitely recommend this company, moreover, we recommend a visit to Sri Lanka. It is absolutely imperative that everyone gets to see the untouched artistry in Sri Lanka’s nature, the beauty in the country’s culture, and its wildlife. This country is truly the gem of the Indian Ocean.
By: Oliver Abbott Brown
Wife: Julie Annabel Brown