Live and Let Live in Sri Lanka

Alex and Liana are a young couple who live in Kirkland and who previously quit their jobs to travel the world. They document their travels on Instagram @afamilysworld and on their blog by the same name. The couple also recently was selected by Robbins Brothers: The Engagement Ring Store, to be its travel ambassadors and travel the U.S. to scope out the best proposal spots and share them online. Before they left on that journey, they fell in love with the beauty and the people of Sri Lanka — and spent about a month road-tripping through the country, mostly by private car hire, starting and ending in Colombo. We asked them to share more about that adventure.

Where did you go? We traveled to Sri Lanka and spent a month there, and we visited the following cities: Colombo, Kandy, Nuwara eliya, Ella, Yala, Unawatuna, Galle.

What sent you on this adventure? We heard great things about Sri Lanka from other travelers: that it was not overrun by tourists, the prices were still fair, and that it was a beautiful gem of a country, Liana said. 

What was most surprising about this adventure? It has to be the freedom we felt there! For instance, on our train ride to Ella there were no rules aboard the train; people were hanging off of it, and no one seemed to mind. It was a theme we found all around the country. They have a true “live and let live” mentality, Alex said.

If other Eastsiders go, what should they absolutely fit into their itinerary? If you have the opportunity to go to Sri Lanka, you have to take the train to Ella. It is a 41/2-hour train ride from Nuwara Eliya to Ella and was one of the highlights of our trip. It is considered the most beautiful train ride in the world — here’s a tip: Don’t buy tickets from the scalpers outside the train station, who will tell you the train is sold-out and will try to sell you seats for about $35 per person. Head to the ticketing booth early in the morning, and buy the tickets for 50 cents, Alex said.

What airline did you fly, and where did you stay? (We flew on) Emirates. We stayed with a nice hotel group that has locations around the country called Jetwing Hotels and a couple of others that we detail in our Sri Lanka blog post on afamilysworld.com, Liana said. 

What was the best thing about your trip? Visiting the very different regions of the country kept the trip exciting. We went from the city to the mountains and then finally the beaches. We love that this country has it all and that it was fairly easy to get around, Liana said.

What was the coolest thing or things you learned on this adventure about the people you met and/or yourself? A trip to Sri Lanka will certainly give you great perspective on the fact that the best things in life are free! We made it a point to interact with the locals and seeing how happy they are in their humble circumstances (in most cases). It made us realize that you don’t need much money in order to be happy, if you are surrounded by the people you love and if you love the people that surround you, Alex said. 

What didn’t we ask you that we should have? Here are a few tips for traveling the country. Travel from city to city by private car service; you can either hire a car for the week or by the day. It will cost you about $40 per day and is the most reliable and safest way to get around.  Book your hotel stays in advance. We would recommend reputable hotels that either have a national or worldwide presence. Finally, enjoy the culture. It is different than ours, and that is what makes this trip so fun, Alex said.  

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