Živilė contacted me via Instagram and said that she would really like to tell their travel story to Sri Lanka.
She is a mother of two: Erika (7) and Herkus (2). Traveling to her is like a breath of fresh air, an opportunity to run away from a daily routine and a necessity of fully fledged life. For children, traveling gives new experience, contributes to evaluation of their current surroundings. Because in exotic countries like Sri Lanka, people live simple lives without their comfort zone.
Why Sri Lanka?
Every year (for 10 years now) the family tries to spend a month away from cold Lithuanian winters. This tradition is still lasting even with children and last March they spent 30 days in Sri Lanka, South Asia. They chose this destination, because it has long been on their "must travel list".
Sri Lanka is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal and to the southeast of the Arabian Sea. Sri Lanka is also called as "Indian Ocean Gem," "Magic Island," or "Tropical Paradise".
The main advantage of such trip was a reasonably short flight, having in mind that it is Asia. The flight was through Kiev, Ukraine (1 hour flight from Vilnius). From Kiev to Colombo - 9 hours flight. The price of the ticket was 450EUR per person.
The main disadvantage was that one month was not enough to travel the whole Sri Lanka. Of course, they were not rushing or pushing themselves too much, especially when traveling with children.
During 30 days in Sri Lanka, the family changed 7 different accommodations - hotels, apartments and villas. Due to the fact that they were traveling with kids, the family has planed the travel route in advance, most of the accommodation places were booked through Airbnb. The main criteria was quality and price ratio. It was important for them to have a pool for children, even a small one, also to have an Asian like surroundings.
From the places they stayed at, boutique hotels were the most to like. Such hotels do not have a crazy amount of rooms, are spacious (40m2), there is usually a pool and the price is affordable to everyone. Although those hotels ran out of spaces really fast, so Živilė recommends booking it in advance. At boutique hotels you often have an opportunity to meet the owners and in such way get to know the local traditions.
In addition, when renting Airbnb apartments, you have the same chances to get such information what to see locally, where to go with kids or just have local breakfast with the owner's family. For example, the family has stayed at a small hotel, which was built by an Italian family with a private mini beach and a closed territory, where they had an outdoor kitchen, a pool and a special attention from the staff for $35 per night for the whole family! Or when they stayed at an authentic villa in the jungle with 2 helpers, who clean the area, prepare great breakfast and looks after the whole flora for $160 per night.
Is it hard to travel with children?
When you are traveling with kids, you can expect many things to happen, but if it is possible to plan one step forward, troubles can be avoided. Živilė remembers a fact that when her daughter was born, the family was not traveling anywhere for the 1st year. Later, when they saw that she enjoys traveling, sleeps through the whole flight, they started traveling to Asian countries for longer periods. When the son was 4 months old, they spent the whole month abroad.
There are some inconveniences when traveling with children - you cannot be too spontaneous, have to plan things such as food, sleeping hours or their playtime. For those reasons the family had a stroller for their little boy, where he could sleep and a practice book for their daughter to keep her occupied.
Merits you get when traveling with children is a special attention that you receive from staff in the airports, airplanes or some tourist places. In Sri Lanka, their kids were really loved - a lot of the locals wanted to say hello or just share a fruit from their own garden.
With regards to prices,- it is generally cheaper in Sri Lanka than in Lithuania. For example, food, - you can order fresh fish or seafood and it will be at least 3 times cheaper than here. Of course, there is plenty of variety, you can also find posh places with London like prices... Živilė and her family used to buy things from the market and cook at home, if there was a kitchen in their apartment. They were especially surprised with tuna prices' - $6 per kg!
There are many good memories from this trip, which especially left a mark for children:
1. Whale watching - they saw 4 whales and were not sick as many other people on the boat!
2. Udawalawe national park - a jeep safari, where they saw around 20 elephants in one place, other exotic animals, birds;
3. A very touristic place Lion rock (Sigyria) - a gigantic monolithic rock, where they climbed 1200 steps with their daughter. When they were still at the bottom of the rock, the sun was shining, there was about 30°C temperature. However, half way the weather changed drastically - tropical rain, wind, temperature dropped, so they needed to make a stop in the shelter. Živilė was very proud of her daughter Erika, because even though the weather changed, she still wanted to clim the rock all the way to the top (200 meters).
4. 4 hour train trip from Ella to Nuwara Eliya, where you can just watch the beautiful nature through the train window.
Živilė definitely recommends Sri Lanka for those traveling with children. Especially because of the local people, who are always smiling and showing friendliness towards children.
Below is a list of places the family has stayed at or visited during the trip:
- Negombo (stayed for 6 nights)
- Dambulla (stayed for 5 nights)
- Sigiriya (visited)
- Kandy (visited)
- Ella (stayed for 2 nights)
- Nuwara Eliya tea plantations (visited)
- Udawalawe National Park (visited)
- Matara (stayed for 5 nights)
- Polhena beach (visited)
- Mihiripena beach (stayed for 7 nights)
- Unawatuna beach (visited)
- Galle (visited)
- Mirissa (stayed for 5 nights)
- Weligama beach (visited)
If you think you would like to visit Sri Lanka in the near future, please do not hesitate contacting me or Živilė!
Photo credit - family's personal archive