Tag Archives: Heritage property in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Travel Tips and Advice

Sri Lanka, the beautiful island country in the Indian Ocean is a paradise on earth. The country is rich in everything be it culture, heritage, traditions, food, sunsets, golden beaches, lush green tea estates, thick jungles, Buddhist temples and Monasteries, the calm vibes, peace, and serenity. We must admit, the teardrop-shaped country won our heart completely in a single visit and now rate in the chart of must-visit beautiful destinations. Moreover, flying and getting a Sri Lanka visa is a super easy and stress-free process. In this post, we will be listing 5 Sri Lanka travel tips for a wonderful memorable trip

Sri Lanka Travel Tips

Sri Lanka Travel Tips

1. Sri Lanka Visa

The first and foremost thing is the Sri Lanka visa and in the country, there is NO option of visa – on arrival. So, it can be booked by the Embassy or online. The process of applying online is referred to as ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization).

Book Through Embassy

We feel booking a visa through embassy is a multistep, tedious and quite a time consuming process. First reach Embassy, wait for your token number, fill an ETA form available there, submit the filled form along with the relevant fee and documents to the embassy officer. The officer will further send it to Sri Lanka’s Emigration & Immigration department. Then an acknowledgment and ETA reference number will be sent to you.

Book online Sri Lanka eVisa

The easiest way is to apply for eVisa Sri Lanka online. Open the website, fill in the required personal details, the details of your passport, transit details, and pay through paypal, American Express, or the master cards.

Sri Lanka ETA are basically issued for short stays (business, tourist and transit purposes) and are valid for 30 days. It is a double entry visa (i.e. 2 entries are allowed per visa) with a fee being USD 35 except for the SAARC countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka), which is USD 20.  The only thing to note while applying online is to be very careful while filling the details – a single digit mistake can stop your entry at the airport or can make you pay again. We advise, in case one is not confident or have any issues in filling the form, apply by clicking E-visums.co.uk.

After application, you will receive your e-visa by email in 24-48 hours.

Note: The citizens of Maldives, Singapore, and Seychelles don’t need a visa to enter Sri Lanka

2. Travel internally through public transport (buses and trains), Tuk Tuks and Scooty’s

Hiring a cab for hopping from one place to another is an expensive affair in Sri Lanka. So, we suggest to go local via bus, tuk-tuks or rent a scooter. In Sri Lanka too the Tuk Tuk drivers will try to con you by quoting high prices as it happens in India. So, check with the locals for the correct amount and then bargain. Buses too are good options for local movement but be prepared to walk extra miles to catch one.  The scooty worked best for us as we could stop wherever we wanted and go wherever we can. Indeed, we covered Galle, Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, Ahangama, Handunugoda all on our rented two-wheelers.

South Coast of Sri Lanka Travel Tips

For hoping from one city to another like from Kandy to Ella use the train services. This train trail is considered to be the most scenic ride in the world as it passes through the bewitching landscapes, lush green tea estates, waterfalls, bridges, etc. 

In Sri Lanka, the cab apps system was not very popular earlier but now it’s picking especially in COLOMBO and currently the players like UBER have started intercity service too

3. Respect the culture, religion and hide the Buddha Tattoos, if you have

About 70% of the people in Sri Lanka are Buddhist and the religion in their constitution holds the foremost position. So, the people here don’t tolerate any kind of disrespect to religion. Indeed, they consider a Buddha tattoo also an insult to Lord Buddha. Earlier, there are cases of several people deported and arrested who had a Buddha tattoo. So, keep them cover if you have one.

The view from Shanti Stupa - Sri Lanka Travel Tips
The view from Shanti Stupa – Sri Lanka Travel Tips

Also, remember to take off your shoes and hats, cover legs and arms and bow while entering the Buddhist Temples. Never point a finger at the Buddha statue and obey the no photo signage. There is a zero-tolerance for the selfies with Lord Buddha statues.

4. Food, water and Drinks

Sri Lankan food is super rich and is considered as one of the delicious cuisines in the world.  The most common dish is Rice and curry. The other ones include chopped flatbread stir-fried with eggs and vegetables (Kotu Potty); string hoppers; shredded coconut with red chilies, curry leaves, and herbs; spicy Egg Samosas; Egg Hoppers; and the fresh seafood.

Fish & Chips - Sri Lanka Travel Tips
Fish & Chips – Sri Lanka Travel Tips

Locals prefer drinking tap water in Sri Lanka but we stick to the bottled water and advise you to do the same. Coming on to the drinks do try the local brews like Lion (Beer) and Arrack (prepared from coconut flowers).

5. Currency and ATM

On conversion, Sri Lankan currency seems quite cheaper than Indian currency (1 Rs. = 2.50 LKR) and makes you look super-rich but actually it is not. While spending you will realize the price of the products in the supermarkets or at a good restaurant goes equal to that in India itself. And we found, especially the beach towns and the famous places are far more expensive.

Don’t completely rely on ATM for the cash withdrawal, you will find many of them in a non-working state. We carried USD with us and would advise you also to carry USD/LKR while heading to Sri Lanka. Credit cards too are accepted widely.

Best Time to visit – Sri Lanka Travel Tips

Sri Lanka, being a tropical country is blessed with good sunshine and blue skies throughout the year. The temperature remains constant between 18-22 degree Celsius in the coastal areas whereas goes a bit lower with the drop in altitude.

Sunset at Beach- Sri Lanka Travel tips
Sunset at Beach- Sri Lanka Travel tips

Sri Lanka can be visited at any time of the year. It also has two monsoon seasons from December to March and June to October. So, the best time recommended for South and West Coast is from December to March whereas for East Coast it is April to September.

Must Carry for Sri Lanka

The packing list for Sri Lanka will completely depend upon the places you will be visiting. But one must keep cotton T-shirts, cotton/ linen dresses, track pants, raincoat, windcheater, lightweight jacket, scarf, sun hat, mosquito repellant, sunscreen, and universal adapter.

Must visit places in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has plenty of places to explore but these are the ones you must check in a 2 week SriLanka Itinerary.

  • Colombo city for its bustling markets, temples, and restaurants
  • Galle the gorgeous colonial walled town on the ocean with amazing cafeterias
  • South West Coast for beautiful beaches and sunsets
  • Yala Safari Park to see the acts of wildlife and for natural beautiful scenery
  • Tea towns like Hatton, Ella, Nuwara Eliya, Kandy, Handunugoda
  • Cultural triangle -To see ancient cities and beautiful temples around Dambulla, Anuradhapura and Sigiriya

So, Sri Lanka is perfect for every type of traveler or tourist, adventurer, or backpacker or photographer. The destination has a variety of accommodation options too, from luxury resorts to budget hotels to hostels. We stayed at one of the heritage property Apa Villa Illuketia, located among the greens.

Prviate Lotus Pool at Apa Villa Illuketia - Sri Lanka Travel tips
Prviate Lotus Pool at Apa Villa Illuketia – Sri Lanka Travel tips

Apart this, be polite and humble to the locals, respect their culture and traditions and be smart, confident and keep your eyes ear open to avoid getting into any unwanted traps.

Would you like to add anything more to these travel tips? Please leave in the comment and we will be happy to include them.

Sri Lanka Travel Tips

Heritage Property near Galle: Apa Villa Illuketia, Sri Lanka

Grandiose Dutch estate in the woods, rich food, immaculate hospitality, peace and “We” time is what sums up our stay at 200 years old heritage property near Galle – Apa Villa Illuketia, Sri Lanka.

Apa-Villa-Illuketia, Sri lanka

After reaching the Colombo airport, we hired a cab and drove to the South coast of Sri Lanka till Galle. The distance was just 120 km from Colombo but the single road lane, non-stop chit chat with the driver, scenic landscapes, endless seascapes on one side and, comatose villages under the shade of palm trees on another side, turned the whole road trip to 6 hours. Trust us, the six hours passed away in a jiffy admiring Sri Lanka’s natural beauty.


It was almost evening when we reached Galle and our destination; Apa Villa Illuketia was further laid 5- 7 kilometers deep in the forests. As we started moving inland, the seascapes turned to lush green fields and the sound of ocean waves was taken away by birds chirping. The open blue sky turned dark by the thick canopy of swaying palm and bamboo trees.

Apa Villa Illuketia, Sri Lanka -Atrium with Pond

Apa Villa Illuketia, Sri Lanka

The Apa Villa Illuketia, a plantation heritage property is a mix of contemporary and traditional designs. It is modernized to the needs but has retained the ancient culture. The property is 200 years old; and a perfect live example of Island’s colonial past. It sits on 10 acres land and is surrounded by tropical gardens, botanical gardens, paddy fields and tea estates. So, the whole place is LUSH PLUSH with gardens and pool around. The birds and animals roam freely in the sky and on the ground. Currently, this magnificent estate house is owned by Hans Johannes Hofer, a German photographer, and owner of Travel Insight guides; Here is the link to his website for reference www.insightguides.com.

Welcome at Apa Villa Illuketia

As we reached the Villas, the porters greeted us with a warm smile and took us to the living room. The staff made us seated and handed the welcome drinks. We were awestruck by the room’s layout. The nine similar carved doors, two tier roofs with Balinese carvings, chandeliers, antique porcelains, Chinese cabinets and bamboo furniture added glamor to whole space. In the meanwhile check in formalities were completed, and we were directed to our Jasmine – Pond House Suite.

Verandah of Apa Villa Illuketia


The Apa Villa Illuketia has in total 6 suite rooms. The Hibiscus, Lotus, and Citronella are the suites in main house whereas Ginger and Jasmine are Pond house suites. Each suite has its own distinct interiors with open air shower and private garden.

As we were walking towards our Pond House suite, we were getting elated. The villa was overlooking natural Lotus pond and had a huge swing to sit and relax. The room was furnished with wood furnishings. It had a king sized ornamental bed with canopy, sitting area, plush open bathroom, shower, bathtub, upscale toiletries and enclosed private garden. The suite also has fans, air conditioner, and good connected Wi- Fi but no TV and DVD player.

Apa Villa Illuketia Jasmine suite
Source: APA-Villa-il luke tia-Sri Lanka.en.ww.lk

Pond House Suite - Washroom at Apa Villa Illuketia
Source: http://www.thevillaguide.com

There was a common open living room between Ginger and Jasmine Pond houses, hedging couches, armchairs, sun beds and dining table. It was a perfect place to dine, soak in sun and admire the exotic birds.

Common area between Ginger and Jasmine Pond House at Apa Villa Illuketia, Sri lanka
Source: http://www.hotelroomsearch.net/

The Apa Villa resort is tucked in between the tea estates and paddy fields. The huge verandahs with side seatings, all suites facing ponds, ponds covered with lotus flowers and plants, pool amidst the canopy of thick trees, flowering shrubs, and a variety of reptiles, birds make the whole place earthy, serene and close to nature.

Dining at Apa Villa Illuketia

The meals are served in the main house verandah, each time with a different setting. The Birds, monkeys, and cicadas play background music whereas the water channel runs alongside the corridor.

Verandha at Apa-Villa-Illuketia; where breakfast and dinner is served

Breakfast: is served from 7:30 am -10:30 am. It starts with a fresh juice and tropical fruits. Then the main course includes eggs, sausages, bacon or typical Sri Lankan breakfast (Pan – hoppers with or without egg, coconut milk curry and spicy sambol relish) with Ceylon tea and fresh island coffee.

Stretching before breakfast at pa Villa Illuketia, Sri lanka

Dinner:  is served from 6:30 pm -9:30 pm. It includes two – three courses of set meals. The cuisines vary from Sri Lankan, Singaporean to Seafood variations.

The in-between snacks are served till 5:30 in the evenings and one can choose these perfect cozy side seatings in the verandah with the garden views for munching.

The side seatings in Verandhas of Apa Villa Illuketia, Sri Lanka
Source: Tripadvisor

Activities & Amenities at Apa Villa Illuketia

Apa Villa Illuketia, Sri Lanka has one 25 meters long swimming pool with comfortable deck chairs enclosed in between the bamboos, tall trees, shrubs, and flowers.

Pool at Apa Villa Illuketia, Sri Lanka

Apart from this; there are many coffee table books, magazines, and novels to read and relax in the basking sun. They too have a pool table, TV room, and study room. The estate organizes cycling tours to the nearby villages, day trips to the tea estates, river trips, sightseeing to Galle and other nearby surroundings.

Sightseeing from Apa Villa Illuketia

The shuttle van runs from Apa Villa Illuketia which dropped us till the main road. From there we took the local bus to reach Galle city which was almost 5 kilometers. We explored Galle fort on foot and munched on pizza and drinks in the cafe. At the end of the day, we hired a bike at a very reasonable price for our future day’s exploration.

Galle Fort Streets: Apa Villa Illuketia, Sri Lanka
Source: Enviroreach

The second day of our trip started with a wonderful fresh breakfast, overlooking the gardens and lazing in the verandahs. By afternoon we thought of exploring the other beach towns Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna, which lies at a distance of almost 5 km and 20 km respectively from Galle. These places are famous among hippies, surfers, and divers. They too have the perfect beaches to watch the sunset. You can check here the enthralling pictures of Sri Lanka beaches.Sunset at Unawatuna- Apa Villa Illuketia

Apart from this, on the third day, we rode our scooter to see Handunugoda Tea Estate in Ahangama. It took us total 30 minutes to reach. The Tea Factory is famous because of Virgin White Tea. This tea is completely untouched by hands. The factory is a living museum and it stills operates its more than 140 years old machinery.

The Virgin White Tea Factory- Apa Villa Illuketia, Sri lanka

The others attractions nearby are:

Peace Pagoda: The peace pagoda lies on the top of Rumasalla hill and gives serene views overlooking the Panoramic Ocean. One can go hiking or by bike till the top.

Views from Japanese Peace Pagoda: Apa Villa Illuketia, Sri lanka

Galle International Cricket Stadium: The Galle stadium was used as a race course by Britishers. Since last 100 years it is being used as a cricket stadium and since 1998 it has become an international cricket stadium.

Lighthouse: The lighthouse lies at the southern end of Galle fort and it has been there since 1848.

Shopping: Shop for beautiful pearls and check for the authentication certificate.


Overall Experience of Apa Villa Illuketia

If you are looking to unwind yourself, get tranquilized and spend some romantic moments together in the lap of nature, then this is a perfect place for You! The resort and rooms are beautifully handcrafted keeping the surroundings in mind. The services are impeccable. The moment you are here, you are away from the city’s hustle-bustle and clock stops for you.

In short, the resort is a perfect combination of modernization, traditionalism, luxury, and comfort. We adored each day staying here and these memories will stay with us forever.

Swing near Pond House at Apa Villa Illuketia

The Apa Villa’s have their another property Apa Villa Thalpe located 5 Kilometers away from Apa Villa Illuketia. The property is equally stunning and is located on the sea shore. The property has seven suites, blue pool and direct access to the beaches. We wanted to spend last two days here but couldn’t get the option. So choose to laze around at Apa Villa Thalpe for a day in the pool, watching waves in the Indian Ocean. Later on, we had a sumptuous lunch here.

Pool at Apa Villa Thalpe: Apa villa Illuketia

Lunch at Apa Villa Thalpe garden: Lies at a distance of 5 Km from Apa Villa Illuketia

Contact Details:

Apa Villa Thalpe: +94 91 2283320; Apa Villa Illuketia: +94 914-381411

Email Id: [email protected]

Hans Hoefer (Owner) Mobile: +65 96196170; E-mail: [email protected]

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Heritage Property near Galle: Apa Villa Illuketia, Sri Lanka