Just a hop, skip, and jump away from Southern India is the island of Sri Lanka. This nation boasts incredible landscapes, stunning beaches, amazing wildlife, and very friendly locals. To visit Sri Lanka and not learn about the country from its citizens would be a huge disservice to travelers who love to experience culture firsthand. Acanela emphasizes human connection, and our artisans add the touch of humanity to make any trip unforgettable. Here are just a few of the incredible artisan experiences you’ll enjoy on our Sri Lanka expedition.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage cares for dozens of elephants, from growing families to abandoned babies. Due to disease or other constraints, these elephants can never be safely released into the wild, so this orphanage is their home. Visitors can come and learn about the process of raising the magnificent creatures. The orphanage has more than 30 acres for the elephants to roam, and visitors can participate in the elephants’ bathing times as well. If you’ve ever dreamed of being up close and personal with the largest land mammal, there is no better place to do so than at Sri Lanka’s elephant orphanage.
Interested in interacting with other animals around the world? Check out this post on the top animal encounters to add to your bucket list!
Local herb garden in Matale
Also known as the spice island, Sri Lanka exports some of the world’s most demanded spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. On our Sri Lanka expedition, we tour a local herb garden in Matale to fully understand the process of planting, growing, harvesting, and cooking with these iconic seasonings. Herbs add the extra touch that every dish needs, and these artisans can teach you how to incorporate even the most obscure spices into your cooking at home!
We’ll learn from the experts and those who live off the garden, and you can even take home what may be the most aromatic herbs in the world!
Buffalo farmhouse in Tissa
Sri Lanka is also known for its buffalo curds and yogurts! Small farmhouses dot the roads in Tissa, and these homes take care of native buffalo. On our four-day trip extension, you’ll have the opportunity to take a guided tour of the farmhouse and learn from the experts how buffalo milk is converted into edible curd. You can even try to make some yourself! You’ll finish off the visit by trying your handmade curd topped with kithul treacle. You’ll fall in love with the powerful and friendly buffalo and never forget the artisans who taught you a unique new skill.
Handunugoda Tea Factory
What’s the tea? This stop, also known as the Virgin White Tea Factory, is a family-owned plantation that produces some of the best tea in the world. The family and their workers have a special, precise way of harvesting the white tea leaves, and they have perfected the production process so that each cup of tea is loaded with immaculate flavors. In the end, the tea has been produced without ever touching human hands! On our four-day extension, yo’ll participate in a sacred tasting session that includes delicious chocolate cake, then tour the factory. You’ll be amazed at how, even surrounded by large machines, the tea production is infused with life and love. Make sure to leave with a bag of your favorite blend!
Stilt fishing in Koggola
Before you head home, you’ll want to make sure to experience the fading tradition of stilt fishing. A skill that requires focus, balance, and patience, this practice came about after the Second World War and is seen across the southern coast of Sri Lanka. On our trip extension, you’ll learn from the fishermen themselves about how they learned to fish in this unique way, as well as about the fish they catch and the ways they cook them! They may even let you try to balance — be prepared to get wet, since this skill is extremely difficult to master! Try the amazing seafood dishes that the fishermen make possible, and make sure to snap some pictures of the wonderful practice.
The island of Sri Lanka boasts friendly locals and many skills that are unique to the nation. By focusing on getting to know the artisans and appreciating their crafts, you can leave Sri Lanka with distinctive memories and new friendships. Acanela focuses on connecting travelers to artisans in order to create meaningful bonds, promote international understanding, and add unique value to every trip you take.
Written by Grace Poulos — follow her adventures on Instagram!