Christmas and New Year’s Eve are the most festive time of the year. A college day pact between my best friend and I called for an annual getaway amidst the holiday season. This year, we decided to escape to Sri Lanka for a course of two weeks. Despite the surge in tariffs, I wasn’t worried about going overboard with my expenses. My Mastercard had me covered in terms of safely spending money in a foreign country. I could easily keep track of my expenditures in exchange rates. The fact that the card is accepted by 40 million merchants in over 200 countries made it my travel companion on par with my passport. An hour and a half of flight from Chennai had flown us into the island country.
We made our first stop at the town of Wadduwa. Situated along the western coast, palm trees fringed the beaches in the region and the pungent smell of the ocean lingered in the air. A three-hour cab ride took us to our destination—The Villas Wadduwa (60% savings on B&B). My friend and I were quickly drawn by the classical Sinhalese architecture known as a Walauwa. The 32 unit property by Amaya Resorts & Spas was the perfect beachside retreat. The interior of our luxury villa was done in off white with a touch of antique wooden flooring, furniture and bed posts. Over the next four days, we lazed around in the private pool, indulged in spa sessions and gorged on delectable Sri Lankan cuisine at the resort’s in-house restaurant. Our evenings would mostly consist of strolling on the golden sand beach of Passikudah and gazing at pink sunsets. Wind-surfing, a tour of the local market for handicrafts and wood carvings, and a visit to the attraction of Richmond Castle was ticked off our list.
Pottuvil. Photo by: Thomas Wyness/shutterstock
In time for Christmas celebrations, we had arrived at Pottuvil. On the eastern edge of the teardrop-shaped island, we’d found ourselves a temporary abode in Jetwing Surf (15% savings), a luxurious eco-friendly resort. Our rustic cabana was built entirely with sustainable materials found in Sri Lanka and designed with intricate rope, woodwork, thatched roofs, woven coconut palm leaves and dried illuk grass. Our ocean facing room allowed us to listen to the crashing of waves at the Arugam Bay. As the sun set behind the horizon, my friend and I chose to dine by the beachfront for the Christmas feast. Succulent seafood and barbecued chicken paired with the right combination of cocktail left us feeling satiated. Over the next four days, we explored the local surroundings. We checked out the ancient monastery of Kudumbigala, which features Sri Lanka’s only cylindrical dagoba overlooking the provincial greenery of the east. The Muhudu and Magul Maha Viharayas boast stories of royalty who paid homage at these temples. Boat safaris across the Pottuvil Lagoon and Urani River allowed us to witness the teeming flora and fauna in these environments.
We’d moved the New Year’s celebration to the Sri Lankan capital—Colombo. Our hotel room at Citrus Hikkaduwa (20% off food and beverages) overlooked the serene Indian Ocean. After a luxurious morning session at the hotel’s spa (20% savings), we spent the day lazing around the gorgeous property and the adjacent beach. Later at night, we devoured delicious food at Mainland China (15% discount on food bills over LKR 10,000) renowned for its Indo-Chinese cuisine and booked a car through Casons Rent a Car (10% savings) for the next day. As we explored the city, we stopped to shop at Stone and String’s Colombo 04 showroom (15% discount for purchases over USD 100) famous for its handmade jewellery and Dankotuwa Porcelain (discount of 12.5% at Colombo 07 and Crescat showroom) known for its exceptional porcelain. On the night of December 31, we dined at Black Pepper (15% discount on food bills over LKR 5,000), a restaurant famous for their Sri Lanka Crab Curries.
Galle. Photo by: Philippe Michel/age fotostock/Dinodia Photo Library
Our last leg of the trip beckoned us to Galle. The oceanfront villa at Aditya (up to 20% savings), a luxury resort and spa felt like the perfect ending to our holidays. The interior of our rooms were decked with painted masks, timber statues and carved headboards. The onset of New Year had brought with it a sense of calmness. We spent our days unwinding in the property’s private jacuzzi and plunge pools. Our tummies brimmed with crispy squids and grilled mahi mahi. Breakfast was a typical Sri Lankan affair with string hoppers, curries and king coconut juice. We idled away at the next door Rathgama Beach, which is popular with the local crowd at sunset. On our final day, we set out on a quest to spot majestic whales and dolphins at the sea. And we did get lucky!
Mastercard made it possible for us to plot our oceanside retreat in Sri Lanka. Two weeks of good food, Sri Lankan culture and luxurious accommodations has us eager to plan our next holiday.
The Villas Wadduwa: 60% Savings on B&B
Jetwing Surf: 15% Savings on rooms
Colombo: Discount of 12.5% at Dankotuwa Porcelain & 15% discount at Black Pepper
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