Saint George-Illawarra Dragon and NSW Blues forward Tariq Sims isn’t your average rugby league player. With strong Fijian heritage, he enjoys all things tropical and when he isn’t busting through tackles in the NRL he is boarding planes to exotic locations to find surf and solace with his wife Ashleigh.
When the 2019 season came to an end the couple chose to travel to Sri Lanka. It’s a country we love at TripADeal, so we sat down with them to hear all about their adventure:
After constantly hearing great things about Sri Lanka they decided to look deeper into the possibilities of travelling there. With a little bit of research, they realised that it has the perfect balance of being a beach-lover’s paradise and a country beaming with vibrant history. “We looked into what the country offered and Sri Lanka ticked all of the boxes”. The island nation is well known for being very diverse, offering the ideal opportunity for Tariq to sneak in a few surfs and Ashleigh to soak up the tropical vibes and unique culture.
The swaying trunks and flapping ears of Minneriya National Park’s elephants seems to have left a mighty impression on the couple. On a 4wd safari they came face to face with several of these magnificent creatures, “They were breathtaking” Tariq proclaimed, and rightfully so as this is the largest elephant gathering in the world (over 300!)
Speaking of Breathtaking
If you can make your way to the top of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, or “Lion Rock” as the locals call it, then you are in for a treat. Being the fitness fanatics that the Sims are they did it with ease, even the guide struggled to keep up. “It’s really safe and the guides make it really easy. Once we were up the top it was incredible!”
Tariq was also really impressed by the UNESCO listed Galle Fort. Maybe it has something to do with the similarities of the position he plays in the NRL and the impressive structure’s history as the first line of defence against enemy attacks in the 17th century?
Of all of the incredible hotels the couple have stayed in around the world it seems as though they have found their favourite in the Heritance Kandalama. “How it’s built, the views you get from all the different sections of the building and the monkeys cruising around the common areas, it’s really special.” Shaped like the outspread wings of a bird, the luxurious resort emerges from a cliff as a perfect natural extension of a jungle mountainside and really is a sight to see.
Tariqs family has a strong Fijian heritage, so we thought he would be a good judge of whether or not Sri Lanka was a truly tropical paradise destination. His response spoke volumes as to what Sri Lanka compares to and why it is a must-do holiday location: “It reminds me of a young Bali, before the crowds, really clean, great food and the locals are very very friendly.”
Also make sure to follow Tariq’s adventures on Instagram @tariqsims