I was incredibly naive about many things about Sri Lanka when I booked a vacation there for me and my 6-month pregnant wife-- my lack of knowledge of their history, culture and basic geography being just a few of them.
But, upon arrival, I quickly learned ignorance is bliss.
Yes, it is very difficult to get around-- car hires are a must but beware that if google says it will take 3 hours to go 100km, you can multiply that time by 2 and add an hour for extra elephants, rickshaws, tuk tuks, people, chickens, trucks, vans, and cars coming at you three-wide on a two-lane road pocked with bomb-sized-craters.
But don't let that dissuade you because when you do get there (even if you're travelling while preggo), it is worth every bump.
Sidenote: Yes, their 30+ year civil war has not been kind on the infrastructure but it has been officially over (for good ) for 2+ years as none of the rebels survived the conflict, at least that is what I was told by various hotel employees.
But seriously, it is extremely safe now and the people will go out of their way to make sure you are well taken care of.
Anyhow, the musts are:
-Sigiriya Rock - 1200 steps up a mountain through an incredibly ancient but very well preserved kingdom.
-Dambulla- the best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka with thousands of immaculate Buddha Shrines.
-Lastly, The Fortress Hotel near Galle (as pictured) is the best place to unwind after taking in the cultural triangle-- unspoilt, blissful luxury.
© 2013 AFAR Media