When legendary member of the TruFam and travel blogger Katie Collins contacted us about writing a guest blog of her time on the Sri Lanka Uncovered tour, we were stoked! Shout out to Katie for this awesome piece, can't wait to have you back on tour soon!
TRUSTORIES: SRI LANKA HIGHLIGHTS FROM A TRAVEL BLOGGER
Written by TruTraveller, Katie Collins
Sri Lanka is a destination that would constantly pop up on my Instagram feed. You know the photos; people hanging out of the famous blue train to Ella and swinging from palm trees that sprout from perfect sandy beaches. It’s enough to make anyone want to pack up and go immediately. I thought about exploring Sri Lanka as I normally would - just working out my own route and using public transport to get around - but I didn’t want to miss out on so many of the experiences that would have been sacrificed from just trying to get from A to B. So I started looking into group tours.
Admittedly I had visions of spending 10-days squished on a bus admiring the scenery from afar - but you don’t have to do much research to realise that TruTravels are all about maximum adventure with minimum hassle - so my fiancé and I booked our spot on their Sri Lanka Uncovered tour without hesitation.
Nothing can prepare you for the hustle and bustle of the streets as you touch down and venture to your first stop in Negombo - but the tropical climate, friendly faces and distant aromas of spice made for (quite literally) the warmest welcome into Sri Lanka after a long flight.
I could chat endlessly about why I loved this country, but here are some of the top highlights from my time in Sri Lanka with TruTravels!
SUNRISE HIKE TO SIGIRIYA ROCK
If you’ve been stalking Sri Lanka on social media for a while, you’ll probably know about Sigiriya Rock. Almost smack in the middle of the country, the views from this majestic UNESCO World Heritage site are well worth the early start and (very) sweaty climb to the top. You don’t get to experience hikes with views like that every day!
COOKING WITH LOCAL FAMILIES
We got to cook with locals on two occasions; both of which gave us the chance to whip up and sample some of Sri Lanka’s best food. String hoppers, lentil dhal and kottu were some of my favourite meals, and I’ve been trying (and failing) to recreate them at home ever since. If you enjoy food that is bursting with colour, full of flavour and packs a bit of spice, you’ll be in your element.
TEA PICKING AT A PLANTATION
Sri Lanka is known globally for its tea, so learning how to pick the best tea leaves in the plantation before watching the entire tea brewing process from leaf to cup was a lot of fun. Trust me when I say you don’t have to be a tea drinker to enjoy this experience!
THE SCENIC TRAIN JOURNEY TO ELLA
Having now hopped aboard that Insta-famous blue train, I can totally see why the train journey from Nuwara Eliya to the chilled, backpacker town of Ella is such a bucket list experience. Even in the wet season weather, hurtling through the lush green scenery and feeling a hit of adrenaline as you stick your head out into the breeze is an unreal experience!
WILDLIFE SPOTTING ON A SUNRISE SAFARI
I’ve never been lucky enough to go on a safari, so heading out in a jeep to Udawalawa as the sun made its golden arrival on the horizon was a total dream. We spotted elephants, monkeys, buffalo, eagles and so much more, all just roaming in their natural habitat. Glamping the night before really made this safari experience come to life.
THE FAREWELL PARTY
On day one you’re saying hello to a group of strangers, and by day ten you’re saying goodbye to a bunch of friends. On our final night we dived into one last Sri Lankan meal, sang and danced in the relentless rain and listened to the farewell speeches from our incredible guides - Waji and Dean - which didn’t leave a dry eye on the beach. This night was completely worth the margarita hangover and travelling back to the airport on just one hour’s sleep!
Check out my Vlog of my time on the Sri Lanka Uncovered tour!
If Sri Lanka isn’t currently on your bucket list already, shuffle things around to make it fit. It’s a trip of a lifetime that will leave you craving more time to explore that beautiful, mango-shaped island.
Thanks Katie! If you'd like to read more of Katie's blog or follow her journey, visit her website or follow her on Instagram! In case you haven't heard, WE'RE BACK, BEACHES for September 2020! You could be on your way to Sri Lanka very soon! Find out more here