Lisa and Manju, our two young adventurers from Malaysia, are poised to celebrate our New Year after an action-packed first few days in Sri Lanka.

Lisa, left, and Manju enjoy a delicious high tea at the Grand Hotel in Nuwara Eliya.

They arrived on our Paradise island with Pledge Holidays and sky-high expectations—and have not been disappointed, particularly with their first night at Pledge3 boutique hotel in Negombo.

Writes Manju: “The breakfast we had at Pledge3 was mind-blowingly good. The curries were delicious and spicy, just the way we like it, and both Anton and Sameera [assistant manager of food and beverages] were the epitome of hospitality.”

And the next five days have more than justified their decision—both are veteran travellers, having each been to more than 25 countries—to visit Sri Lanka.

Day 1—Sigiriya

The climb to the Lion’s Rock was not an easy one with temperatures soaring high, but the view was totally worth it. Lisa had finally found her kingdom to rule!

We stayed at Cinnamon Lodge and their food was incredibly good with great options. They also had this gorgeous lakeside with a tree house which looked like it came from the set of Alice in Wonderland

Day 2—Polonnaruwa

The ancient ruins were as hot as the day. Since most of the sites are religious, and we had to remove our shoes, we felt like we walked on fire the whole time we were there.

That aside, we thought the preservation of sites like these are commendable and important in preserving the heritage.

We had lunch at a restaurant where we had home-cooked local food, which was astoundingly good. We had bitter gourd, french beans, chicken curry, bottle gourd, fried chilies (yummy!).

In the evening, we took a safari to Minneriya National Park. It was my dream come true when I saw almost 30 elephants in one day. One photo that I took which stood out for me were two female elephants eating together with their trunks intertwined.

Day 3—Kandy

Early morning—we’re talking 4am here—we set out for our hot air balloon ride. How would we describe the adventure? Exhilarating! Amazing sunrise and champagne to culminate the ride.

En route to Kandy we visited the Dambulla Caves and the Buddha statues were amazing. We saw the golden statue of Buddha in a preaching pose, supposedly the tallest in the world.

We also made a pit stop at the Temple of the Tooth Relic, but we didn’t see Buddha’s tooth as there were hundreds of worshippers trying to get a glimpse as well.

Day 4—Nuwara Eliya

We stopped at Kithulgala for a wet and wild white-water rafting adventure. And yes, we did get wet! We had high expectations of seeing the bridge from the movie The Bridge Over River Kwai.

Imagine our disappointment when we were told that the bridge was blown up and all that is left are steel wires. Oh well, at least the white-water rafting was amazing and the boat didn’t capsize!

Day 5—Nuwara Eliya

Started the morning with some tea-picking experience … which we failed at it miserably as we did not have nimble fingers nor did we know what we were doing. Career change not happening in the near future.

After realising that we are not good at tea picking, we opted for a cuppa at the Grand Hotel. We enjoyed their afternoon tea tremendously.

A special shout out goes to all the staff at Heritance Tea Factory who welcomed us with a beautiful smile and great service. We even had a ‘special turndown’ service.

What can we say? Other than how delighted we are that Lisa and Manju chose Pledge Holidays to make their Sri Lanka dreams come true. We look forward to the next installment of their epic adventure. Stay tuned!


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