Bentota, Sri Lanka
How long was the flight?
Just over four hours.
‘I arrived in Sri Lanka at 3am and my nerves were instantly piqued by an excessive amount of military checkpoints (men holding AK-47s in wooden shacks are plain scary). However, the trepidation melted away as I sat, tired yet wide awake, chatting to my driver over a cup of famous Ceylon tea. This verdant land has been hit by natural and political disasters, but take a second to talk to the local people and they’ll give you a distinct feeling that there’s hope on the horizon.’
Where did you stay?
‘I chose a little gem called Dalmanuta Gardens (www.dalmanuta.com
), which is close to, yet far enough away from, the tourist trap of Bentota beach, about three hours’ drive from Colombo. The resort is far from five-star (think hard beds and cheap soap), but it’s worth a visit for spa buffs – it offers fantastic ayurveda treatments as well as 250 species of herbal plants and 60 types of birds in its riverside grounds. I awoke every morning to birdsong, before sashaying off to an ayurveda treatment. Bliss.’
‘While you’re there, eat nothing but fish curry: it’s the best you’ll ever taste. And when you fly into the capital, Colombo, make time for some homewares shopping – you’ll find beautiful pieces of dark wood furniture.’
Air Arabia flies to Colombo from Dhs970 return, including taxes.
Kandy, Sri Lanka. This beautiful city in the hills is full of wonderful B&Bs, as well as several world-class heritage sites. Visit the Temple of the Tooth, which houses the tooth of Buddha, making it one of the world’s most sacred sites for Buddhists.