Don’t you just love it when you get a package in the post? Growing up I had loads of penpals and always got excited when a new letter or parcel arrived and this is something it appears I’ve never grown out of!
You’ve got mail!
Recently a hefty box was left on my doorstep. Chuffed something had arrived for me that wasn’t a bill, I brought it into the living room, popped it on the table and started excitedly cutting through the tape to get it open. Inside I discovered that the lovely people from Thomson had sent us a Sri Lanka-themed goodie box to celebrate the launch of their newest destination (find out more at http://www.thomson.co.uk/sri-lanka).
Our gifts included a cinnamon-scented candle, coconut water and my favourite, some orange pekoe tea, which took me back to my trip to Sri Lanka a few years ago, reminding me of all the things I loved about the country and making me want to return.
The country has so much to offer, which is why it continues to have a spot on my bucket list. Here are just a few examples of what makes Sri Lanka great.
The tea (plantations)
Sri Lanka is renowned for its tea and like a typical Brit, one of the highlights from my time here was getting the chance to visit a working tea plantation. I visited a site just a little north of Kandy, where we took a tour through the factory and got to visit the fields and watch the tea pickers at work.
It was wonderful getting to try the different teas and get a better understanding of the nuances in the flavours, plus it was here I discovered my absolute favourite tea – broken orange pekoe. Thank you Sri Lanka!
Sri Lanka is a wonderful destination for animal lovers, rich with opportunities to see a variety of beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. During my visit I saw monkeys, birds and water monitors almost everyday, but the highlight had to be going on safari in the Minneriya National Park and watching herds of elephants come out of the jungle to drink and bathe at a large lake at dusk. Magical.
One of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed in was Sri Lanka. Cinnamon Lodge in Habarana was a haven of relaxation in the middle of the jungle. An animal lover’s paradise, two troops of monkeys live onsite and the huge grounds allow you to see them in all their glory, as well as visiting the other locals, including colourful birds and exploring the hotel’s onsite butterfly garden.
It was a truly beautiful place, which still holds a spot in my heart.
Want to know more? Read my review of Cinnamon Lodge.
If you enjoy history then Sri Lanka has so much to offer. You can walk the ‘streets’ of ancient cities like Polonnaruwa, exploring ruins of palaces, baths and temples, or if you’re up for a challenge, why not climb to the top of the rock fortress of Sigiriya – it’s an experience you’ll never forget.
Different regions have different tales to tell, so there’s always a reason to return…
Curry lover? Welcome to your mecca. Sri Lankan meals are usually made up of a number of different curries and sambals for you to enjoy and I can tell you from experience that fresh, homemade Sri Lankan food is downright delicious. Jackfruit curry and coconut sambal were two of my favourite discoveries, but be aware that if you visit tourist-focused restaurants the food can be a bit hit and miss.
With its colonial heritage, Sri Lanka is also a great destination for afternoon tea lovers, and during my trip to the capital, Colombo, I visited the renowned Mount Lavinia Hotel for a delicious (and amazingly cheap) afternoon tea.
Win a £500 Thomson holiday voucher
Thomson is currently offering readers the chance to win a £500 holiday voucher to put towards a trip to Sri Lanka. The competition runs until June 6th and to find out more – and enter – visit www.thomson.co.uk/sri-lanka-competition.