Luxury Travel to Sri Lanka

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Out of the Ordinary

 
Tania Brassey at the Dutch House BandarawellaAbout Tania Brassey

Author of the Insight Guide to Sri Lanka Tania escaped Ceylon aged 13 to avoid an arranged marriage. Returning 44 years later, Tania spends a lot of her time in Kandy, a stone’s throw from where, as a child, she used to wash her elephant in the Mahaweli Ganga River.

Tania has co-written a screenplay alongside her daughter Pikka based on her yet-to-be-published novel Lily white and brown all over about life in ’50s Ceylon. She also pens an occasional column for SAGA Magazine on ex-pats who make their homes outside Britain.

Tania has lived all over Sri Lanka – one former home was the beautiful house in Colombo’s Cinnamon Gardens that is now the exclusive Paradise Road Gallery Shop. Tania especially loves returning to the east coast which she reckons has some of the best beaches in the world!  

  

An Interview with Tania

Why come to Sri Lanka? 
It’s hard to beat for diversity and natural beauty as well as being terrific value and undersubscribed.

What makes Sri Lanka unique? 
Its people, naturally!

Three absolute Sri Lankan musts? 
Bathe in a waterfall, eat in a bath-kade (local rice and curry shop) and experience the spectacular east coast.

By the sea or in the hills?
“To the hills, James and don’t spare the horses!”

Favourite vibe? 
Doing Qi Gong in the early morning overlooking iridescent paddy fields. 

Top thrill? 
Climbing sacred Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak) at sunrise. Magical!

Favourite drive? 
The 5,000ft night safari near Kandy to look for leopard, civet, pangolin, elk and other wildlife.

Favourite drink? 
Thambili (King Coconut) – it’s a health cure, a good mixer for G&T and even works as an intravenous injection in an emergency.

Best place for rice and curry?
All Rest Houses do this splendidly, but the famous batik artist Ena de Silva serves the very best at her Heritage Centre in Matale. As many as 25 freshly made curries! But you have to order in advance.

Favourite hotel?
The Dutch House Bandarawela where owners Eric and Rodney fuss over you like two favourite uncles. 

Favourite room?
The Trinity College Chapel – a Kandyan pavilion open on three sides featuring murals painted by renowned Ceylon artist David Paynter. It is the only church (built circa 1800) with no walls.

Favourite shop?
Mr. Hamy’s in Kandy, named after Hinnappuhamy who trained in Saville Row. He only opens by appointment and has been making fabulous bespoke suits for three generations. His grandson Sunil carries on the tradition and continues to supply the English cricket team as well as clients from all around the world.

Best festival?
Vesak – the celebration of the Buddha’s birth, death and enlightenment. Everyone from the age of three to 103 partakes in making exquisite paper lanterns island-wide.

Name three ideal travelling companions for a Sri Lankan road trip?
Christopher Ondaatje, George Keats and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

What do you never leave home without?
My corkscrew, my pen and my swimming sarong!

Valuable insider’s tips?
DON’T put too much on your itinerary and don’t leave coins as tips – it’s considered ‘beggar money’ and can insult. DO try Ayurveda and do sleep under the stars, at least once!