Sat on the 200m-high Sigirya Rock in Sri Lanka, I couldn’t believe this is what is left of the 7,000-year old kingdom. It’s amazing that it’s not as popular as it should be. This is the island that was known as Serendib (where the word for serendipity is derived) by the Arabs and is the start of our Sri Lanka holiday.
What to Expect on a Sri Lanka Holiday
Most of family and friends that I told that I was going on a Sri Lanka holiday asked, “why?” or said it was an interesting choice. The only person that was positive about my trip was my grandmother, Jean. She’d stopped by in Sri Lanka 61 years ago on her way back to England. She loved it, and so, it turned out, would I.
Anyway, I didn’t care what people thought, there was six of us that were heading off on our Sri Lanka holidays with our bags packed, the decision was made, and the flights were booked. Of course, we didn’t know what to expect but that was part of the excitement. We signed up with a travel agent and decided to take the journey that won the Wunderlust World Guide Awards.
There was 12 of us in total, two English, one Welshman and nine Australians. We found ourselves out of breath on the top of Sigiriya Rock in Matale District, Central Province. We were taken aback. Awe-struck, fending off the monkeys after our delicious fruit and bemused that this was once the place of a civil war despite it being a Buddhist country. The Rock was also a monastery once upon a time.
The Rock is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it’s no surprise why. Our guide, Noel, has been taken tourists up there for 14 years and knows everything you could want to know about the country and the area. The buses were planned and organised perfectly, there was a mid-route bathroom break and there was the chance to visit the untouched remote hill that was just simply stunning.
All 12 of us were slightly apprehensive about the trek – who wouldn’t be, venturing off into the unknown? – but we had our guide Noel to keep us right. We found ourselves sat with young Tamil children overlooking the tea plantations, and despite the kids having nothing they were so happy to see us. We ventured higher and further into the wilderness stopping at untouched vistas and breaks in the trees and mountains.
Great memories are those that are the simplest, and one of those was all of the guides singing Sri Lankan songs one night while we were waiting for our delicious curries to cook. Most people said they couldn’t believe they were here on their Sri Lanka holiday, while I didn’t want to go home. It has THAT much of an effect on you. It’s not just a holiday.
We had no radio, no phones, no TV, no nothing. But we loved it. Despite the civil war ending just a few years earlier, there is peace now and long may it last. If you’re thinking of somewhere new, somewhere inspirational and beautiful then a Sri Lanka holiday should be high up your list.