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The Paradise Guide: Have passport, will travel

Laura Peppas

Since moving from Sri Lanka to Australia 21 years ago, Rachi Perera has returned to her home country many times, but her last trip in December was decidedly different.

“There had been four years between visits and Sri Lanka had changed a lot,” the Narrabundah resident says.

“I had also changed…I was searching for something to inject some spark into my life and I was ready to take the plunge to do something that I was really passionate about. I sort of fell in love with the country all over again.”

Rachi, an optometrist and blogger, decided to combine her passions of food, travel, photography and writing to launch a tour business, The Paradise Guide, which aims to create a luxurious travel experience while exploring the highlights of Sri Lanka.

Rachi says the idea for the business evolved when she began receiving comments from friends and strangers on travel photos from her blog, Le Bon Vivant.

“They said they had no idea that Sri Lanka was so beautiful and that I had really opened their eyes to a new country,” she says. 

“I thought ‘wouldn’t it be nice to bring people to Sri Lanka and guide them on a journey to showcase this beautiful country?’”

Rachi and her father, who has a background in tourism and is based in Sri Lanka, will guide the tours, which run for 15 days with capped groups of eight.

Each tour starts in the capital city of Colombo, and explores tropical islands and major cities.

Rachi says the tours are aimed at the “sophisticated traveller” who is after a luxury experience. (With accommodation featuring five star resorts, it’s certainly a far cry from the Contiki backpacker).

“Both Dad and I will be guiding every single tour together because we want our guests to feel like they are on a boutique tour from the minute we collect you from Colombo airport,” says Rachi.

“There’s palm-studded beaches encompassing the island, rolling tea plantations in the hill country, incredible wildlife, lush green jungles, wonderful food, charming people and a rich heritage featuring sacred ancient sites.”

Rachi says she will juggle her role as an optometrist to help her father run the business, which at the moment includes three tours per year and private tours on request.

“To combine all my loves like food, travel, photography and writing into one project is one thing – to combine forces with dad and embark on this project together is pretty special on its own,” she says.

“And then there’s the ultimate goal of showing off my beautiful motherland and hopefully, making others fall in love with it too.”

The essentials

What: The Paradise Guide tour of Sri Lanka
When: 20 June to 4 July 2015
Where: Various locations in Sri Lanka – view itinerary here
How much: $2,900 per person twin share, with 10% discount for anyone who pays the deposit and registers for the June tour by 15 April. (Cost includes accommodation, airport transfers, transport, most meals and more).


Laura Peppas

Laura Peppas is HerCanberra's senior journalist and communications manager and is the Editor of Unveiled, HerCanberra's wedding magazine. She is enjoying uncovering all that Canberra has to offer, meeting some intriguing locals and working with a pretty awesome bunch of women. Laura has lived in Canberra for most of her life and when she's not writing fervently she enjoys pursuing her passion for travel, reading, online shopping and chai tea. More about the Author