After an evening at Casa Colombo of pink swimming pools, gin and tonics and the hottest curry we have ever eaten and a good nights sleep in a neon pink lit bed, we grabbed a Tuk Tuk and made our way to Colombo Railway to catch the train to Kandy.
Rushing through Colombo on a Tuk Tuk on a Monday morning was a pretty cool way to start the week and to our Sri Lankan adventure. We had already arranged back in the UK for a driver to pick us up at Peraderiya to take us onto another i-escape find, The Ellerton Hotel. We however had not planed the rest of our transport around Sri Lanka, a mixture of running out of time and wanting to improvise. In hindsight this was just very bad organisation, if you have a month or so to explore the country then great idea, when you are jamming a lot into 11 days, not so much. So HOT TIP, arrange before you leave.The other note is you cannot pre book train tickets in Sri Lanka online, you have to physically purchase them, (although you can check prices and times) queues are endless and the trains fill up super quickly. We headed to the Tourist Information who quickly organised all our transport including tickets and a plan for the next few days….HMMM there will be more on that coming soon. Just note that the country relies heavily on tourism, the people quite rightly adore their country and want to show it all to you, but their way, they can be eager to sell, even if it is not quite what you are after. Due to the clock ticking and the only train to our destination that morning about to depart, we just quickly agreed on a plan and jumped on the train to Peradeniya, all a bit of a rush, all a bit crazy and all a little unclear but all part of the story telling, surely? Serendip, an old name for Sri Lanka translates as Serendipity, so I was hoping for all of the organisation of chaos to be a very happy accident!
Trousers: New Look
The train from Colombo is beautiful journey, albeit a little hot. Apparently the train from Kandy to Ella, is also equally as beautiful but we could not quite fit that in, but still this was a fab way to travel with locals, see pockets of the country as we travelled in to the hills.
With travel confusion continuing, receiving mix messages of where our driver was meeting us, should we jump off at Peradeniya or continue to Kandy? With phone signals gone, I thought we maybe lost in the Sri Lankan Hills for ever, slightly anxious about it all and kicking myself for not properly planning , we jumped off at Peradeniya and low and be hold under a shinning light (just the sun but it felt way more saviour than that ) was our driver who had managed to clock our journey and found us…Serendipity!
The sweetest and chattiest Asitha, drove us up to the Ellerton, the bumpiest ride of my life, hang on to your hats,with stories of Kandy and days gone by, so on arrival at the hotel all the madness was forgotten. Afternoon tea and biscuits awaited at the beautiful calm infinity pool overlooking the tea plantations and mountains, views of a life time, complete serene happiness and so quiet.
At 2400 feet The Ellerton built over 100 years ago, is the most perfect little hideaway tucked away about 30 minutes drive from the centre of Kandy. A home from home set in nine acres of former tea, coffee and spice plantation. Colonial in every aspect, rose gardens, pagodas, perfect gardens,antique chairs, books, and table tennis all complete with two beautiful hounds named Ben and Polly. It is like a perfect little pocket of England but set in the complete Tropics.
We stayed in one of the Garden Rooms across from the main house, a little more modern than the rooms in main building but still full of antiques, huge china elephants, flower printed cushions and rugs you dream of owning in your own home and wonder if you could squeeze one, along with Ben and Polly into your suitcase. Perfect arm chairs, corner tables for games of chess and draughts, window seats all ‘oh’ so charming and wonderful. The biggest built-in bed (what is it about a mosquito net that makes you feel cocooned in your own little dreamy world) But the best part was the big veranda looking out over the valley towards Adam’s Peak and the Mawanella Mountains. One of the most precious sunsets I ever did see, watching the monkeys swing from tree to tree, parrots and all exotic birds swooping and adding to the sounds scape, while the sky turned from blue to pink to orange to complete darkness, breathtaking, so very special and magical all in one.
We spent our mornings visiting the misty Kandy. You have never had a bumpy ride unless you have descended 2400 feet down on a Tuk-Tuk but oh so funny, our driver was a bit of a cool teenager, complete with boom box and what I can only describe as a pimped up TukTuk! First stop was the Kandy Lake which dominates the town, surrounded by the mist and the beautiful hillside, created back in 1807 by Sri Wickrama Rajasinha, who was the last ruler of the Kingdom of Kandy. We walked around with stop offs on the lake seats to people watch and breath it all in, the nicest part of the Lake being closest to the the Buddhist Temple of the Tooth. The Temple of the Tooth was fascinating and overwhelming and is Sri Lanka’s most important piece of history and temple of the sacred tooth of a Buddha. To a Sri Lankan Buddhist it is believed a pilgrimage to the Temple will improve ones karma for a lifetime. I have to admit we both felt a little uncomfortable walking around peoples’ place of worship, and a little shameful to take photographs in such a sacred relic…That is why there are not so many. We then proceeded to wander around flower markets and the Botanical Garden, at times rather manic but always colourful and exciting and the people were so friendly and warm. Just a thought to say this is not a place I would wander at night especially as a solo female traveller.
We had arranged for our tuk tuk guy to meet us, after a good few hours and with our blasting music returned to the Ellerton.
Afternoons were sat soaking up the sun, the pool, the views and of course drinking endless cups of tea, complete with a teapot and tea strainer my mother would be impressed with, so decadent to a ole coffee drinker!
We began to have our own little rituals of a late afternoon game of Table Tennis and G&T’s on the verandah, slowly getting ready for dinner. Dinner is taken in the open sided pavilion surrounded by the hills and of course you are led there by Ben. There is a choice of Sri Lankan or Western three course meal, which we of course opted for the former. Each night we devoured the most mouth watering Sri Lankan curries. So much food and so many flavours, if you like to eat (as we do) you couldn’t get much happier. Each meat or fish curry always accompanied by five or six separate vegetable curries a real taste education and super satisfying to see so much food all for you. Without a doubt some of the best food we ate on our travels, and of course complete with the perfectly mixed Gin and Tonics.
Dinner and drinks under the stars, were some of my most favourite times in Sri Lanka. With fire flies lighting up the darkness, peace and tranquility hidden away in the tropical warmth of the hillside, with each other and just your thoughts….delightful, precious and so lucky, …..just organise your transport before you go or perhaps leave it to Serendipity!
Top : Topshop
Racer T-shirt : Forever 21
Black Bikini: Asos
Thank you to the Ellerton for an incredible stay.
More from the Sri Lanka coming soon.
We booked the whole of our trip independently .
Flying with Emirates
We booked the hotel via i-escape
You can book the hotel direct through their website: The Ellerton
W travelled from Colombo Fort to Peradeniya which took about 3 hours and purchased the tickets on the day. Go to the Tourist Information for any help. For more comfort try to travel 1st class, however we were in 2nd class and although super busy it was more than okay and a fun experience, do try to get a window seat.
For train times and prices check here Sri Lanka Railway
The Ellerton Hotel recommended to us our driver from the station to the hotel, which I arranged before leaving the UK (the only journey we did organise).
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