Waking this weekend to the news of a fatal croc attack in Sri Lanka deeply shocked us. I was horrified to hear the tragic incident took place at Elephant Rock, near Arugam Bay on the East coast of Sri Lanka - the exact spot we'd visited only 14 days ago, wading through this very lagoon, with our kids ... to reach this remote but popular surf spot.
It's likely you'll come across plenty of lagoons if you're holidaying in Sri Lanka. In fact, 1338 kms of coastline in Sri Lanka has lagoons beside them so if you're a surfing family seeking out remote surf spots, it's likely there will be a lagoon nearby.
Read on to find out about our visit to Elephant Rock and our guide to keeping safe while discovering lagoons and remote surf spots in Sri Lanka.
Keep safe. Keep travelling.
Croc sign at Peanut Farm, a remote surf spot 15 mins south of Elephant Rock where the attack took place. Sadly there are no warning signs at Elephant Rock (below)
Authorities are now putting up warning signs at Elephant Rock
Kandy, the cultural capital of Sri Lanka is a busy, clogged city that some travellers choose to avoid. But Kandy's location right in the heart of the island is a welcome stop if you're heading to the East coast during the Yala monsoon (Yala blows from April-Aug & affects the South West coast). Kandy splits up the journey nicely and is only 3-4 hours from Negombo, Bandaranaike International airport or Colombo by taxi.
The last capital of the ancient kings of Sri Lanka, Kandy is a sacred place for Sri Lankans and all Buddhists, being the home of the revered tooth relic of Buddha, The Tooth Temple - a world heritage site. Kandy is a good point to start digesting Sri Lanka's culture. We advise visiting Kandy at the beginning of your trip when it's still high on your agenda, rather than homeward bound when chilled out beach vibes are bound to clash with hectic city life.
Kandy is also the starting (or end) point for the infamous train ride to Ella. Labelled one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world, this is a must do when visiting Sri Lanka.
Here's are our suggestions for what not to miss in Kandy with kids.
Ella, in the heart of Sri Lanka's high hill country, is the perfect base to spend a few days exploring tea plantations, hiking the hills and, with it's cooler, misty climes, is a fabulous escape from Sri Lanka's incessant heat.
Just getting to Ella is definitely a highlight and is a tourist attraction in itself. Catch the long, very slow but marvelously blue train from Kandy. It's rumoured to be one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world - and it's easy to understand why.
Surrounded by rolling verdant hills, textured by hundreds of tea plantations and lush forest, Ella is firmly on the tourist trail, which means an easy stay for families with a plenitude of good accommodation, excellent food options and a wonderful chilled out vibe.
We loved that most things to do around Ella are free! After shelling out hefty entrance fees for some of Sri Lanka's iconic sites, temples and safaris, Ella will be a welcome relief for your trip budget. We threw that extra into our bed budget indulging ourselves at the fabulous Zion View.
Here's our guide of what not to miss when visiting Ella with kids.
168 hours into Sri Lanka and we're in full swing in this warm-hearted, stunning & incredibly diverse little country. The initial apprehension and guardedness a new country brings (especially with kids) has melted away. Getting to grips with how things work here only takes a few days and we've found everything incredibly easy with kids, apart from the food which can be challenging for little European taste buds.
We're impatient to discover the rumours of remote, pristine beaches, the rich culture of ancient traditions and temples, to witness tea being picked at tea plantations high up in the hill country, riding one of the most stunning train journeys in the world, not to mention the abundance of exotic wildlife.
As we become more clued up, we'll let you know our 27 day travel itinerary and top tips for travelling this amazing country with kids.
It's impressive what you can experience in 7 days in Sri Lanka. Even taking it slower as a family. Read on to hear our first impressions of this epic country.
Laid up in bed day 3 after my ACL knee surgery, I'm enjoying the peace and quiet of my two girls being on back to back playdates. My leg feels like a tree trunk, heavy and clumsy. In fact it almost feels like a cadaver's leg and no part of me at all. The pain fluctuates and apart from my hourly physio exercises, I'm left with only stillness and an incredible view of the Alps. With seemingly unlimitless time on my hands, I turn to what I do best - travel planning. I'm unsure yet as to the limitations placed on me now this Summer with the intense rehab required after this major surgery but what I do know is in a few short weeks we'll be bidding farewell to this beautiful Chamonix Valley and excitedly making our way sea bound to Devon.
Whilst we are looking forward to seeing our friends, being back in our own beds and for me, to potter in my beloved garden, we also have Summer holidays to think about. We Airbnb our home during the rammed 6 week Summer holiday so where to go? Stay local, travel back to Europe or to head long haul?
Here are my 5 epic locations perfect in August for adventuring families.
The Family Freestylers are us - the Nixon family, who relish travel adventures both near & far