Why Sri Lanka Should Be Your Next Honeymoon Destination

Honeymoon destinations.

Top off the head, places that come to mind – the Maldives, Bali, Paris…truth is, few would think of Sri Lanka – but there’s plenty of reasons why you should book your next flight to this relatively undiscovered gem of an island, southeast of the Indian coast. With a rich history and culture spanning 3,000 years, coupled with beautiful natural sights such as tropical beaches and majestic formations, Sri Lanka makes the perfect honeymoon spot for an unforgettable time with the significant other.

Here are just some of the things you can expect to see while visiting the island:

SIGIRIYA ROCK (LION ROCK) 

Credit: Wikimedia Commons – commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sigiriya_lion_gate_04.JPG

Towering nearly 200 metres high in the northern Matale District is the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya Rock, or Lion Rock. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dubbed by locals as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, the massive rock column, formed from magma from an extinct volcano, is a prime example of nature’s wonder blended with man’s ingenuity.

The fortress was built in the 5th century during the reign of King Kasyapa, who made it his royal residence. Inside, visitors will find the ruins of an ancient palace, alongside gardens, pools, alleyways and fountains. After the king’s death, it served as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. The entrance was made to look like a grand stone lion – hence the name Lion Rock – but visitors today will only find its carved feet as the rest of the structure has been destroyed. Other points of interest include a wall covered in frescoes, and the ‘Mirror Wall’, said to have been polished so thoroughly that the king would be able to see his reflection in it. Climbing to the top, visitors will be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding jungles and valleys.

SPICE GARDENS IN MATALE 

Spices Herbs Sri Lanka

Credit: Flickr, Amilla Tennakoon

Sri Lankan cuisine is known for being robust and full of flavours – thanks to its use of exotic herbs and spices, which are found abundantly all over the island. For many of us city folk, spices are sold in ready form in supermarkets, so getting to see how they are grown and processed on the ground will be an interesting experience. Stroll through gardens filled with greenery and the fragrant scents of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and more, before indulging in a herbal brew and a hearty local lunch. Couples can unwind to relaxing Ayurvedic massages using natural products from the gardens, designed to heal with its unique properties. Visitors may also purchase traditional remedies and cosmetics, used by the locals for centuries.

COLOMBO CITY 

Credit: Wikimedia Commons – By Ocsi143

No trip to Sri Lanka would be complete without a visit to its bustling capital, Colombo. Very much like Melaka in Malaysia, the place is a natural harbour and was once colonised by the Portuguese, Dutch and English – so visitors will see an eclectic mix of modern and colonial buildings. Within the city are various attractions, including the Beira Lake at the heart of the city and the Gangaramaya Temple, which boasts Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian and Chinese architecture. Shopping precincts abound for those looking for souvenirs and gifts, many of which are located within revamped historical buildings such as the Old Dutch Hospital and the Independence Memorial Hall Square.

GALLE – BEAUTIFUL BEACHES

Credit: Wikimedia Commons 

Surrounded by the azure blue waters of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is fast earning a reputation as a surfer’s paradise – especially the area around Galle, where it boasts postcard-worthy tropical beaches: golden sand, clean blue water and foamy white waves. One of the best spots to take a dip or even just to suntan with a nice cocktail is at Unawatuna Beach or at the bohemian Hikkaduwa beach to catch a gorgeous, romantic sunset.

KANDY CITY – TEMPLE OF THE SACRED TOOTH RELIC

Kandy, Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Alut Maligawa

Credit: Flickr/Arian Zwegers 

One of Sri Lanka’s most popular attractions and a significant place for Buddhism (Sri Lanka’s main religion) is the Sri Dalada Maligawa Temple, or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy. A World Heritage site, the temple houses the relic of the Buddha’s tooth and was completed in the 16th century. The building boasts beautiful architecture, with golden canopies and wall paintings done by the most skilled artisans of ancient times. Every year, a grand festival and parade is held on the streets – the only time the tooth will be out of its place in the temple.

Getting Around/Tour Packages 

Sri Lanka is still recovering from the effects of a 30-year-civil war that ended in 2009, so improvements to infrastructure are still in its early stages. As such, tourists will find it difficult to get around by public transport.

The best way to experience a holiday on the island would be to go with a reputable company that offers Sri Lanka tour packages, as not only will there be a guide to ferry you around, they’ll also be able to feed you with tidbits on the island’s history. Better still, go with a tailor-made Honeymoon Package, designed to make your trip with the significant other a special and memorable one. After all, the whole point of a honeymoon is to kick back, relax, and enjoy a wonderful time with the other half.

At the end of the day, services can be bought, but memories created last forever.

Happy Travels!

 

MPSJ International Cultural Festival 2015

I was quite disappointed that work didn’t let me off early on Mother’s Day. I ended up covering a cultural festival organised by the local council, with six international and local acts. Halfway through, my mum and dad even came around to join the festivities, so it was all good. 🙂 The acts were great as well! They should have given the event more exposure because only a small crowd turned up.

You can watch snippets of the performances in the video above.

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First up was the 24 Seasons Drum troupe (Malaysia), comprising students from a secondary school in the district. Their drum movements are based on the agricultural seasons according to the Chinese calendar, which divides the four seasons into another four subseasons.

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A traditional Pangut dance from Korea. The dancers were very skilled and the dance involved coordinating various body movements, from head to body, and arms and legs. There was a long white ribbon similar to those played in ribbon sport, attached to their hats, which they twirled in circular, hypnotic motions.

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From Malaysia, the dikir barat – sort of a Malay choir with a tukang karut (storyteller) who sings a story while the rest of them accompany him.

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Arpeggio Dance Group from Sri Lanka performing fast and complicated drum beats coupled with synchronised feet movements.

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I think my favourite performance of the night was the Taiko Drum from Japan. Literally translated to mean ‘big drum’, the performers are real life Zen-Buddhist monks. Starting off with chanting, the show slowly progressed into a full-fledged, extremely energetic drum performance. It was like going into a battlefield with our hearts racing and raring for action.

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Last but not least, the colourful Bhangra dance from Malaysia’s Punjabi community.

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Great initiative by the local council for having more cultural and art festivals like these!

Annual Work Afterparty@ Blue Elephant, Plaza Damansara

Every December, my editorial team has an end-of-year-party with all the editors, journalists and subeditors from my section. This year the turn out was good – 50 out of 57! The theme for the night was ‘Colour Blocking’, which was imo, much easier to dress up for compared to last year’s ‘traditional clothing’ (I had to buy a Rm200 baju kurung for it, and I only wore it once!) A bunch of us girls went up to the gym floor to shower and dress up. Here’s my ‘look’ for the night:

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*Borrowed glasses from Kelly.

I already had a deep blue skirt and pink wedges, so I only bought this red top and necklace from H&M.

 

Carpooled to  Blue Elephant, a bistro located among a stretch of bars and swanky restaurants in the upscale neighbourhood of Damansara Heights. Located within a bunch of shops called Plaza Damansara, it doesn’t have a signboard so you should look out for a small staircase a few doors down from a place called Sam’s. It can be easy to miss if you’re not a regular. The staircase is lit up by bright LED-lined posters of famous movies, and once you get up there is a ‘secret’ shelf of actors/actresses which can be slid sideways to reveal a small but cozy bar area.

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Various movie paraphernalia abound! There was a golden ‘Oscar’ statue in the middle of the lounge area, which was filled with cozy, puffy cushions, ceiling mirrors and interesting movie-related quotes.

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The bar area had a nicely polished wooden countertop, a large selection of liquor and drinks, and high ‘director’ chairs.

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Since Blue Elephant is an offshoot of the nearby A Li Yaa restaurant, food for the night was Sri Lankan fare. It was a little too spicy for my tastebuds, but some of the items were pretty good, especially the starters like the sardine-stuffed pastries.

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Boss insisted I at least drink some cider.. I’m not much of an alcohol person because I’m a kid and I hate that bitter aftertaste. This was fine though – tasted like apple juice with just a slight hint of alcohol. No driving impairment either because of the low content.

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We had some fun and games like dancing and drinking contests. It was a really noisy atmosphere, but all in good cheer!

Was surprised coz I got one of the best dressed prizes and RM100 to spend. 🙂

Got home before midnight. It was a fun outing, although I was slightly disappointed with the food lol.

Blue Elephant Lounge Bar @ Plaza Damansara
15M & 17M, Plaza Damansara, Jalan Medan Setia 1, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur
Open Tues – Sundays (5pm – 2am)