I have had a long standing affinity for India, but Sri Lanka may have taken it's place as my favorite destination in the region. I just returned home from a fabulous trip to Sri Lanka. The country has incredible biodiversity and charm. I was able to visit many regions, cities, and villages in this island nation formerly called Ceylon. Each of them had their own personality and special flair.
Galle is a port city developed during the Portuguese and Dutch colonial periods. It is still owned by the Dutch government which maintains the architectural integrity of the original buildings. I stayed at Amangalla, pictured below. It is located in the Galle fort, a world heritage site and the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers.
The furniture at the hotel was the perfect combination of European colonial antiques and new reproductions. I had the opportunity to tour the workshop where the pieces were fabricated and met the gracious owner, Deeven Beruwalage. His fabrication technique utilizes hundred year old reclaimed wood so there is no splitting as the pieces age.
Tangalle is a town located in the Southern Province. I stayed at the seaside resort of Amanwella. Built by acclaimed Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, the hotel juxtapostes sleak contemporary structures with the natural beauty of its surroundings. From here you can easy visit the buddhist Mulkirigala Rock Monastery and the wild elephants in Udawalawe National Park.
Mulkirigala Rock Monastery
Udawalawe National Park
Ceylon Tea Trails- Hatton
Located 4,000 above sea level, Ceylon Tea Trails was the hardest destination to reach but one of the most picturesque. The hotel consists of 4 beautifully restored bungalows originally built for British tea managers during the Raj. The bungalow where I stayed was surrounded by lovely walking trails through the tea plantations. The views along the trails at dawn were breathtaking.