THE ARCHITECT’S TRAIL IN SRI LANKA
My partner and I intend visiting Sri Lanka in January 2016. We are interested in Ceylon-era colonial architecture (and that of Geoffrey Bawa) and would like any information on such centres, be they cities, towns or villages. Are you able to recommend a tour route encompassing the colonial era together with cultural towns and villages worth visiting? I guess the most direct flight from South Africa to Colombo would be via Singapore? – Guy Winchester-Gould
For fans of Geoffrey Bawa, there is an excellent tour that visits buildings he designed, his homes and the places that inspired him. A highlight of the tour is that you get to stay in properties designed by him. Your tour starts off in Sigiriya, where you stay at the beautiful Kandalama Hotel designed by Bawa.
During your stay, you get to explore Anuradhapura and Avukana in the Cultural Triangle, as well as the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Then you head for the historical city of Kandy, stopping off at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage en route. You will stay at Kandy House, which was designed by one of Bawa’s protégés, Channa Daswatte, in 2006. In Kandy you will explore the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens and the Temple of the Tooth.
Your next stop is Colombo, where your home will be a boutique hotel, Tintagel. In the capital city you will be taken to Bawa’s home and architectural studio, which is now a top restaurant, The Gallery Café. Then you will travel to his country house, Lunuganga Estate, overlooking paddy fields close to the beach resort of Bentota. Its beautiful garden inspired him to become an architect. You will stay in Bentota at a hotel which was transformed from a historical home by Bawa in the 1970s. The tour ends off in Tangalle, where you stay in the last villa that he designed, aptly named The Last House.
This tour lasts 16 days, but I am sure you can adapt it for a shorter trip if that’s what you want (ampersandtravel.com).
Regarding flights, you should consider one of the Middle Eastern airlines. Emirates, Qatar and Etihad all offer flights from Johannesburg to Colombo with one stop. Singapore Airlines remains an option, but flying time will be longer.