Planes, Trains & Tuk Tuk’s
Travel in Style or at least authentically – Hints and tip on the best ways to travel in Sri Lanka
“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.”
― Hans Christian Andersen, The Fairy Tale of My Life: An Autobiography
Part of the charm of Sri Lanka is discovering its amazing and eclectic modes of transport. Visitors to this beautiful island do not simply arrive at their destination; they experience the joy of the journey. With mesmerising landscapes, craggy mountain peaks, ancient temples and exotic wildlife; why not explore the countryside from the comfort of a smooth locomotive, the buzz of a Tuk Tuk, the soaring heights of a sea plane, the whoosh of a helicopter, the frenzy of a bus or view the ocean wonderland from a paddle board.
The legendary Tuk Tuk.
Very few countries still rely on the Tuk Tuk (trishaws, three wheelers, auto rickshaws) as their method of transport. These beautiful motors have sadly been replaced by taxis or motorbikes but in Sri Lanka these vibrant garish colourful three wheelers are still used in everyday life. And the benefit for tourists is you get to journey off the beaten track and the busy tourist routes and onto the road less travelled. It’s quicker, much more fun and you get to see the real, rustic and authentic Sri Lanka.
Our tip: For the keen enthusiasts enter your team to compete in The Tuk Tuk Tournament October 20th to November 1 2019 where you can explore Sri Lanka and take part in challenges and quests immersing you in the heart and soul of this magical and mythical country.
The Worlds Most Beautiful Train Journey
Step back into colonial times and ride the train in Sri Lanka – discover the real way to travel. The most famous train journey in Sri Lanka is Kandy to Ella or Nuwara Eliya trip which traverses some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes. This train ride is seven hours long and takes you through stunning landscapes of green,lush tea plantations and mountain ranges. You can glimpse real island life, from the local children playing in the rivers, the workers picking tea in the tea plantations, genuine village life, wild plains, waterfalls and old crumbing ancient bridges. But this isn’t the only joy of the train; the exit doors on each carriage are open to the elements so the rush of air and the true vistas make you feel as close to nature and culture as possible. And as for the samosa wallah, he manoeuvres effortlessly through the train selling sweet chai and mouthwatering freshly made samosas. Don’t visit Sri Lanka without hitting these tracks.
Our tip – book train journeys a month before your visit as they get booked up early and we recommend AC first class for the height of luxury and because you can only book first class in advance. Sri Lankan Railways don’t offer online booking, so to buy tickets for a reserved car before you get to Sri Lanka you’ll need to use an agency, buy online at 12go.asia or visitsrilankatours.co.uk/train-tickets-1.html.
The traditional Sri Lankan bus; Crowded, hot, smelly, chaotic, speedy and stopple all in one go, inhabited by a unique array of wildlife – what’s not to love? This is how the local people get around so why not the visitors, after all its extremely good value for money. Unlike the train, these beauts criss -cross the countryside offering first hand exposure to local life and wildlife. Not for the fainthearted but on the plus side the interiors of buses are beautifully decorated with bright lights, posters of Buddha and crazy decorations. On the downside, expect very loud Sri Lankan music for the entire journey, and as well as music videos there is a TV on the bus.
Our tip: Night buses are for the brave!
Another excellent and healthy way of straying off the well-worn trail and exploring the island. At Meda Gedara we organize a spectacular bespoke bike ride specifically designed for our guests. Starting at the local town of Tangalle, wind your way through the hypnotic lush paddy fields and discreet back roads, through villages where kids play cricket in the street and the smell of exotic curry wafts out from the houses. We’ll end up at Mulkirigala Rock Temple, which is the most incredible sight to behold.
Our tip: we love Idle Bikes who are based out of Galle.
Or for those who really want to push the limits. Ride across Sri Lanka on a Royal Enfield. Try Vintage Rides:
Surfing and Paddle Boarding
There is no better way to see the ocean and view the beach than from a surfboard. And Sri Lankan surf is famous world wide with keen surfers. If you are a beginner or a pro, grab your board and ride the waves.
With two distinct surf seasons for each side of the island, Sri Lanka is a year-round surfing destination.
For beginners, Weligama is a go-to spot all year round. Located in the Matara District in southern Sri Lanka, it is considered the best beginner beach on the island and can be surfed even when it’s small. Weligama translates into ‘sandy village.’ When the conditions are just right, it can offer some long rides on right and left beach breaks that even first-timers can tackle.
Arugam Bay is considered to have the best wave in Sri Lanka it breaks over a reef and offers several fast sections and some incredibly long rides, just perfect for longboarding.
Our tip for beginners – Best beaches are Welligama and Unawatuna for beginners surf camps. One of the best surfing Mecca’s on the South Coast is 10 mins Tuk Tuk from Meda Gedara is Hiriketiya. We recommend Bandula surfing school
Flight – Sea Plane
There is something magical and very James Bond about taking off and landing on the water. Cinnamon Air will take you there on a charter or schedule. The experience of flying on a luxurious air taxi in Sri Lanka affords you a bird’s-eye-view of the stunning scenery below. Whether you are hovering above the wilds of Horton Plains with its spectacular landscape, counting elephants over Yala National Park or absorbing the spiritual essence and magnitude of Sigiriya Rock, seaplane is the ultimate in sophisticated travel.
Our tip: bring your own tipple..;) .
And fly to Dikwella from Kandy for only £229 per person. And Sea plane from Dikwella to Colombo 45 mins only. Daily flight leaves at 2pm
Helicopter (our latest guests choppered to villa, were there in 90 mins)
Why not arrive in style and charter your very own helicopter. They can fly around the island as requested. Speedy and adventurous.
Our Tip: IWS Aviation flies Colombo Airport to Dikwella for $3150 per flight. 4 seater there is also an option for a 6 seater.