Sri Lanka was a blast! Here’s a video of the highlights of our trip and a little map of the route we took…
We took the train to Hikkaduwa where we planned to stay a few nights, but ended up staying for one night and leaving first thing the next morning. We ordered an avocado roti at a little place when we arrived. When it came, it had cheese in it. We sent it back and the cheese was replaced with hair.
As a holiday destination, Hikkaduwa is pretty perfect for anyone wanting to surf, drink, party with other tourists and eat fairly overpriced food. Everything is in one place. Hikkaduwa beach is lined with pretty bars and restaurants which blast out western music. Since we have little interest in any of what was on offer, we scooped up Maia and set off for Tangalle.
We spent six hot and dusty hours traveling on the bus to get there.
This was to be a pit-stop on our way back down south to see our dearly beloved Maia who had surprised us by coming to Sri Lanka! However, once we arrived at our apartment, we were so wooed by the A/C that we immediately booked a second night. It would take at least two days to get our bodies back to room temp. after the horrific journey.
At the front of the first of two buses to Sigiriya was a huge framed picture of Lord Shiva which lit up every time the driver hit the brakes. Pretty neat. The public transport in Sri Lanka is great in that there is loads of it and it is very cheap. Despite the fact that it seems to be shrouded in mystery regarding times and routes, you can usually just ask someone at the bus stop and they’ll direct you to your carriage.
We stayed in a lovely air b’n’b called Riverside Villa, which was tucked away from the main town, surrounded by trees and miscellaneous vegetation. At the end of the garden there was a river where the family (as well as various random locals) came to bathe. Chaminda’s lovely wife also made us delicious breakfast and dinners.
A video about the wonderful Soya Centre, in the words of the company’s owner.
Original blog post can be found here.
All the guidebooks say that the train journey between Ella and Kandy is the most beautiful in the world. “I’ll be the judge of that,” was my initial thought. Then I got anxious. I was worried I wouldn’t find it beautiful enough. I had the same kind of anxiety before we visited the Taj Mahal. I had an image of myself saying “Oh wow!” and thinking “Oh it just looks like the Brighton Pavillion but bigger”. Fortunately that was not the case then and my worries that I would be underwhelmed by the train ride dissipated about 5 minutes after we left the station.
We sat in third class because they were the only tickets we were able to get hold of. We had read online that we would have “limited facilities” and figured we would just have to not drink anything. There is an art to dehydrating oneself enough to not pee but not enough to faint. We were however, pleasantly surprised to find a clean, spacious carriage with huge windows and fans. The toilet was a hole in the floor, beneath which you could see the tracks, but when I finally succumbed to the cries of my bladder, it wasn’t too bad.
…ella ella eh eh eh
Our first bus journey in Sri Lanka was somewhere between a joy-ride and a nightclub. Way way too fast and packed full of hot strangers falling onto each other and grabbing onto random body-parts. It was a hoot.
Ella is beautiful and that is no secret. For this reason it is hella touristy. To experience the natural wonders of Ella without joining a pack of other tourists, you have a to put in a little work. Picking the right time of day to visit the beauty spots is essential if you want to beat the selfie sticks as well as the blistering heat. Sometimes this can be pot-luck, but if you can haul yourself out of bed super early, you’ll often find you’re rewarded with cool air and peaceful experiences.
We set off for Ella Rock at 5am. This had a number of benefits. We would arrive in time for sunrise, the air was cool and the feeling that we were actually dying didn’t bother us so much because we were so tired. Our lovely host Nimal marched on ahead of us, in flip-flops, without even breaking a sweat, which was really nice for him. Tom stopped a couple of times because he thought he was going to throw up. But, in just under an hour, we made it to the top and to our delight, we only had to share the view with one other couple. Apparently hundreds of people would make their way up there later in the day.
A video of our stay at a permaculture project and b’n’b in the Sinharaja rainforest in Sri Lanka
The original blog post can be found here
A video of the safari we took around Ude Walawe Nationl Park in Sri Lanka.
The original blog post can be found here
In order to get to Uda Walawe National Park we experimented with a number of different pronunciations. It seems the best way to be understood by locals is to literally just say it (as written) as fast as you can. Please try this now.
There are several huge national parks all over Sri Lanka and depending on who you speak to, each one is the best. We opted for Uda Walawe because it was described as being home to around 500 elephants (and it was on route to Ella. More about that later). We figured the chance of seeing some in their natural habitat was pretty high.
We found an awesome B’n’B called Silent Bungalow. The surrounding gardens were lush and the food was delicious and excessive.