Madulkelle Tea & Eco Lodge (1 hour from Kandy)
If you shy away from people like we do, you’ll love these secluded lodges (luxury tents), nestled on a picturesque tea plantation, on the Knuckles Mountain Range 1000 meters above sea level.
If I had to draw a parallel, the experience is like a peek-a-boo into the life of a tea plantation owner. As our car drove in, at least 10 people ran out to greet us. While three escorted us to the pool & lawn area for a cup of freshly brewed tea and check in, I could see another dude ensuring our driver was looked after. A caretaker then walked us to our very own secluded corner and familiarized us with both the property and with the French and local owners’ vision.
As you sit out taking in the views, you notice a constant tussle between the breeze blowing through the trees and the eagle’s cry, each trying to get the last word. The flapping tent fabric seems undecided if it wants to let the sun rays flow in completely or cover you with some shade occasionally. And just like that, your mind lets go of all the city stress you carefully packed across hundreds of miles.
Victoria Golf & Country Resort, Albetross Boutique Villa (1 hour from Kandy)
Close your eyes!!Picture an open air jacuzzi overlooking the 18 hole golf course, the Knuckles mountains and the Victoria reservoir. If you can get yourself to go back to your suite, you’ll find a private butler in attendance. We honestly have no idea what the resort had to offer. All our plans to at least try our hands at Golf went crashing out of the window soon as we mixed the view with some beer. Oh before I forget!! Order stuff a day in advance coz the service is exceptionally slow. There are 3 guys who run the villa so the chef will act up as the plumber and maybe even an electrician if the circumstances warrant it:)
The Plains Bungalow (10kms from Nuwara Elliya)
These folks don’t believe in signages at all..You cross Nuwara Eliya and are convinced you’re on the wrong track coz there is no sign to validate your general direction. With some luck & god’s grace when you do manage reaching here, you are pointed to an out-house which apparently is the chalet you were promised. I think the property is pretty sitting amidst a strawberry farm but we were just expecting a different experience. We look at this stop simply as a break on our otherwise long drive to Bentota.
Bentota is not your ordinary beach tourist destination. The beaches here are still pristine, unexploited and very clean. The city wasn’t sprawling with tourists, people weren’t clamoring for their private spots on the beaches, hawkers weren’t trying to lure people on the streets – it was quite a pleasant change. We spent days with literally 15 other people on the entire beach. 5 of them running the only shack in that patch. At night we would sit steps away from the waves enjoying some hot Sri Lankan curry with some chilled beer. That’s actually pretty much all we did during the day as well. Drink, Eat & Sleep is the perfect way to summarize our Bentota stint. Somewhere in the middle of our 3 course routine, we did drive off to Galle for an evening!!
While you’re at Bentota, try Diya Sisila (if you enjoy seafood). They were rated Numero Uno on trip advisor. They have a limited menu but their food is delightful. To add to the experience you can pay sthg as low as INR 1500 to enjoy the food in a pedal boat that goes around an island in pitch darkness as you enjoy your lantern lit meal. They also serve wine & beer which isn’t otherwise listed on their menu.
- Best time to go: Jan – March
- How to get there: Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to Colombo
- Ideal Trip duration: 7 days
- Self-drive is not recommended. The roads are narrow & broken. It’s very easy & cost effective to get a driver.
- Keep a mosquito repellant handy in the flight from Mumbai to Colombo. We were confused if Jet Airways was trying to ferry passengers or mosquitoes!
- Your currency is stronger. Use that as an excuse to indulge in experiences you wouldn’t otherwise indulge in
Madulkelle Tea & Eco Lodge
Food : Dinner is a set 4 course menu. You’ll have local & western dishes up for grabs. Wind up with some yum desserts and another freshly brewed cup of tea!! Breakfast is a full western spread including homemade jams, butter and banana cakes, fresh fruit, choice of eggs, potato, bacon, sausages.. the thought makes me hungry!!
Driver : If you have a driver, Accommodation & Food is complimentary
Victoria Golf & Country Resort, Albetross Boutique Villa
Driver : If you have a driver, Accommodation is complimentary but food is paid
The Plains Bungalow
Driver : They do not provide Accommodation or food for a driver. Even after confirming online that they’ll provide accommodation for an extra charge
Driver : Accommodation provided apparently wasn’t good. Our driver decided to find alternate accommodation in the city.
Food recommendations covered above
Colombo: We spent only a day at Colombo. You can shop at Odel, Barefoot, Arcade. Food – Try Ministry of Crab