Guest post by reneel
Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.
Day 1: Abu Dhabi
- Louvre Abu Dhabi
- Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital
The Louvre was interesting – it’s right by the water so you can rent kayaks at the museum.
The sheikhs like to race falcons, and some of them cost $20,000 and up. The hospital does things like sharpen beaks and talons and takes care of all aspects of the falcons.
Day 2: Qasr Al Hosn
Prior to 1950, Qasr Al Hosn was the only building in the area. You get to see the original fort and it’s really neat to see what was the only thing in existence surrounded by all the modern skyscrapers.
Temperatures were in the 70s.
Day 3: Getting to Sri Lanka
- Galle Lighthouse
- Handunugoda Tea Estate
Flew to Sri Lanka and stayed in Galle. It was very touristy. It takes a long time to get around because there is only 1 road, and everyone is on the same road. And it’s not a highway. We took tuk-tuks/rickshaws everywhere we needed to go.
The lighthouse and tea plantation were nice but I’d say you could skip this area altogether.
Day 4: Udawalawe National Park
We went on an afternoon safari at the national park. Had a great experience and got to see peacocks, crocodiles, elephants. got to see an elephant that did not seem too pleased to see us. There are safaris 2 times per day and (6-9 or 3-6).
There is another Yala National Park that you offers safaris, but it’s farther away (8 hour drive one-way). That might be a little better because it’s on the water but we really enjoyed our visit to Udawalawe.
We stayed in Udawalawe for 2 nights.
Day 5: Ella
- Elephant Transit Home
- Little Adam’s Peak
- Nine Arches Bridge
The transit home houses over 50 baby elephants where something happened to the mothers and they take care of them for 5-6 years and then release them into the wild. Definitely worth going to, 1-2 hours.
Had a 2.5 hours ride to Ella (hotel booked us a car and driver for the day), one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Lots of tea plantations. Locals say teas grown at lower elevation isn’t real tea, and this is where the good stuff grows. One of the most beautiful train rides in the world goes through this area.
We went to Little Adam’s Peak – stunning views. The bridge was neat to see and walk across. Lots of people but worth it.
Day 6: Udawalawe National Park
Did the morning safari at the national park. I thought the afternoon one was better, and usually the animals are more active at that time. We didn’t see much for the first 1 – 1.5 hours of the morning tour.
Then had a 5-hour ride back to Colombo, walked around for a bit, and flew home the next day.
The safari and the tea country (Ella) were the highlights. There are lots of great beaches that if we went again, we would definitely go to. Temperatures in January were low 80s with lots of humidity, so it felt pretty hot.
We weren’t sure what to expect with food, but they dialed down the spices for tourists. Everything was good, and they are set up well for tourism (bottled water aplenty, English was widely used). Make sure you have local cash, especially for rides.
Traveled in January 2020