Holidays in Sri Lanka turn out to be luxury, exciting and lots of tasty food

SRI LANKA: From green area and rainforest in the mountains to floating on a quite lake listening to birds onboard a luxury boat – That´s thrilling holidays in Sri Lanka.

«The New Year begins in silence and a temple bell far away in the jungle. The heaven sparkle with stars and Moon-flower shines like silver. It´s like Queen of the Night fills the air with perfume of incense – and she knows how to find me”.
I came over these poetic words in an old travel book from the years when Sri Lanka still was named Ceylon and a British Crown colony. From my chair next to compact rainforest in Kitulgala, I could hear birds, noisy insects and relax in complete luxury whilst listening to ongoing heavy sounds of a close by waterfall and the sun came on a short visit rather than hefty rainfall.

sri lanka luxury holidaysNew experience: Singing in the rainforest at Palmstone Retreat

Design hotel. Starting my visit to Sri Lanka at Palmstone Retreat, a small and new design hotel made of six luxurious suites and a white main building, was a brave but also a cool decision. Here in the jungle and rainforest 5-600 metre above sea level is the hotel you don´t expect to find between tea plantation, rubber trees and small villages in the middle of nowhere.

Chill Out. My visit turned out as the perfect place to relax for those of us looking to slow down, chill out and face a bit of adventure and eat good Sri Lankan food blended with western gastronomy. Sure, we dined outdoor in a relaxing vibe, very different from the more touristic and crowded coast with five-stars hotels.

sri lanka luxury holidaysLuxury Sri Lanka: Local style breakfast at Palmstone

Swim in waterfall and The River Kwai

Nearby Kitulgala town is a kind of adventure capital and a great possibility for water rafting down Kelani river, well known from the epic war film “The Bridge over the River Kwai” from 1957. Or take a swim in a waterfall, visit the historic Belilena Caves and find out if you are made for  birdwatching. Well, in addition there are plenty of wild animals in the rainforest.

Ship shape on lake. From wilderness to very calm waters on Lake Bolgoda, just 20km away from busy Colombo we entered the exclusive lake-cruise-ship Flow I. I have never been on a more exclusive cruise holiday, a boat with three large cabins, four gusts and plenty of skilled staff including proud Captain Ruwan taking us for sunset cruise, for morning cruise and visiting all corners of this country´s largest  lake.  The service area is located to upper deck serving all meals to perfection and the best place to watch exclusive homes, plenty of birds and even crocodile spotting along the lake. No matter where our ship moved on  Bolgoda, we always returned to the Marina.

sri lanka luxury holidaysThis is one of just three cabins on Luxury cruiser “Flow I”

House-boat. Both ships built in this area are inspired by colonial architecture, floating with antique furniture, wood carvings as a luxury house-boat. As Flow glides along the lake, guests pick their favourite meal to be served under twinkling sky. You can also cook your own catch from the lake. Whatever you decide, feeling of this ideal escape from bustling life and hordes of tourist is with you all the way back home.

Colombo. Even though Palmstone and Bolgoda are fascinating for relaxed holiday, a visit to Colombo is an option for a day-trip or stay a couple of nights in this busy ocean city. However, I always will remember the rainforest, the candlelit table and captain Rawag, the palm trees along the lake and some memorable nights cruising under starring sky. Yes, Colombo made an excellent end to a Sri Lankan adventures and  still I can feel the air with perfume of incense.

Here are key links:
Flow by Amber – for information and reservations
The Marina – for more information
Palmstone Retreat – for bookings
Sri Lankan Airlines flies direct to Colombo from London Heathrow Airport
Ministry of Crab – information

Click for large photos

Make it Happen!

Touch Down: Sri Lankan Airlines flight from London to capital Colombo takes more than 10 hours. A car from Palmstone Retreat pick guests up at the airport for a 3 hour drive to the hotel.

Stay: Palmstone located between capital Colombo and the Central Hills. Perfect for a couple searching for rest in a luxury setting with large guest room and take a dip in a private heated plunge pool. Visit website Palmstoneretreat.com to get more facts. Cabin on house-boat Flow is spacious, with lake views, large bed and a free-standing bathtub, mini-bar and TV & wifi.

Eat: Each meal at Palmstone Retreat is like exploring a culinary journey on a set menu or just ask the chefs to make up your favourite. All meals on river-boat Flow can be made by special request or guest are welcome to dine at the Marina`s restaurant. Visiting Colombo, I recommend lunch and dinner at Flamingo House and The Ministry of Crab, not to forget a local Arrack-cocktail and a meal with the view at Botanik Rooftop Bisto & Bar in Hospital Street.

Play: Colombo´s nightlife includes pubs, live music and roulette rolling at the casinos

Mini Guide: Ceylon was a name given by the British and changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. An island country in the Indian Ocean and separated from India by the Palk Strait. On the Flow-cruise, join a Sri Lankan cookery lesson with Head Chef and listen to a local naturalist about wild animals, birds around the lake and its ecosystem. Price level: One of the cheapest countries I´ve been to. To stay at Palmstone and Flow will set a couple back 200-300 dollar per night, food included. Most important; Sri Lanka is a safe place without any no-go-area or large amount of criminality. Activities on Flow includes jet skiing, parasailing and fishing, or you can simply experience life at a slow pace through the still waters.

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