We knew when we looked into exploring Sri Lanka that wheelchair access was going to be hard, really hard. After coming off a trip to Tokyo where travel was easy we threw ourselves into the island of Sri Lanka for a challenge, a big challenge is more ways than one.
We discovered that independent wheelchair travelling would be extremely challenging as most of the streets and roads are in disrepair and temples always have a million steps! For wheelchair users living in Sri Lanka they tend to use more of a bike wheelchair to cope with the terrain.
However with planning and support from the amazing local people Sri Lanka should be on your list!
Cooper travels using a manual wheelchair ( Quickie Zippie) that has a fixed frame which means it can fold but the fame remains one piece. The wheels can come off easily breaking it into 4 pieces. We had to do this many times as we travelled on buses, trains, cars and tuk tuks. Travelling the country in a private car would of course be much smoother and easier. Sri Lanka is the kind of country that can be explored in a rustic or luxurious fashion.
At one stage I had herded ( threw) the kids up into the local bus and Andrew was hanging out the door with the wheelchair in one arm as the bus took off!
We have also added a freewheel attachment which makes life much easier when we are pushing him over rocky ground and up and down gutters. It easily clips on and off and we take it on as hand luggage on the plane.
Most of the time we ended up having to carry Cooper all, some or at least part of the way on most adventures we undertook. It was very tiring in the heat and very challenging at times. It is really important to us that Cooper is included in everything that we do and the time to do it is now! He is still light enough and can some good independent mobility right now. It taught us that perhaps a travel stroller would be better suited to this type of adventure or at least a wheelchair with an umbrella fold. We found it really difficult to manage the three kids on and off transport and the two bags plus the disassembled wheelchair. Yes we did it, yes we loved it but just putting it out there that it wasn’t easy.
Don’t forget to pin for later!