Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

NEGOMBO, DAMBULLA, SIGIRIYA, POLONNARUWA, KANDY, NUWARA ELIYA, PINNAWALA

 

Colombo/Negombo

Our flight from New Delhi to the capital of Sri Lanka – Colombo took something over 3 hours. We landed late in the night and we were pleasantly surprised with the outside temperature and the humidity. 28’C in February at 10pm is really cool… At the airport we were welcomed by our driver Jay that we booked on Tripadvisor. He had very good reviews and we booked him for our entire trip. After a brief chat with him we moved to the guest house and went to bed to be ready for tomorrow’s early morning start of our Sri Lankan adventure.

Negombo – Dambulla – Sigiriya

The best thing about Sri Lanka is that you hear it before you see it. You’ll be woken up by the sound of birds, monkeys, cicadas and all other animals living everywhere around you. Sri Lanka is one big jungle and everywhere you go you’ll be surrounded by the nature. Our guest house in Negombo was just 5min from the beach and it would be shame not to swim in the sea. The temperature in the morning was already 35’C and I was literally running into the sea… We took off our flip flops on the beach but the sand was so hot we could barely walk on it. The water in the sea was fantastic and it took me a while to get out of there.

Sri Lanka
Negombo beach

We started our tour heading towards the geographic middle point of the island – Dambulla.  We had a few stops on the road to try the coconuts, cooked corn and lunch. Refreshing drink from King coconuts is absolutely amazing. Dambulla is known for its beautiful Buddhist temple lying on the rock above the city. It’s one of the largest and best preserved cave temples in Sri Lanka. You’ll need to climb up few steps but the view from the top is spectacular. There is a white temple on the top and it has multiple entrances. There are sculptures of Buddha and also some Hindu sculptures inside.

Sri Lanka
Buddhist temple in Dambulla

From the top you can also see the famous Lion rock in Sigiriya which we were planning to visit tomorrow and next to it we had our today’s accommodation. Before we got there we had one more stop. We went for Ayurveda full body massage which came very handy after our busy travel schedule.

Sigiriya – Polonnaruwa – Kandy

Today we had planned to visit one of the most important landmarks in Sri Lanka – Lion rock in Sigiriya. It’s actually 200m high rock with the ruins of temples and magnificent gardens on the top. The rock was created from erupted magma of extinct volcano. It’s good to come early in the morning because it’s very famous place and always full of tourists. It’s quite a steep climb but it’s definitely worth to do it. This place is emblazoned with many legends and with the Buddhist temple of Dambulla is a part of natural heritage of UNESCO. About half way through there is a longitudinal crack in which is a cave with ancient frescoes. After that it continues up a steep spiral staircase until you reach the big rig with stone-carved Lion paws. A few more steps up and you reach the top with stunning views of the green jungle surrounded by mountains and lakes. Absolutely magnificent…

Sri Lanka
Lion rock in Sigiriya

After returning back to the car we headed towards historic city Polonnaruwa. The ancient city is actually a large reservation with preserved Buddhist temples, gardens, squares and sculptures. The city has experienced a boom in the 12th century and until 1215 Polonnaruwa was the capital of entire Ceylon. Around the city were created reservoirs and lakes that supply the city and adjacent fields of water and contribute to the growth of the kingdom.

Sri Lanka
Polonnaruwa

After lunch we then proceeded to the historic city of Kandy. Along the way we have seen wild elephants that just suddenly emerged in the middle of the road and also wild peacocks – national animal of Sri Lanka. Jay told us there are many snakes here (for example Cobras and pythons) and that peacocks and mongoose are their biggest enemy. For this reason peacocks and mongoose are protected and very welcome in every family as their protectors.

Kandy – Nuwara Eliya – Pinnawala

Today we started by visiting the most famous temple in Kandy. It’s the Temple of the Tooth and every day at 9am starts the celebratory ceremony. Mainly because of this ceremony the place is always full of tourists. During this ceremony the monks are marching through the temple with loud drumming and playing the pipes. It all looks like a scene from adventure films and it is a real experience to watch. The temple has several floors. On the first are historical photographs of the temple bombing in 1998 and on the second are Buddhist artifacts donated from all around the world.

Sri Lanka
Temple of the Tooth in Kandy
From Kandy we continued to Nuwara Eliya famous for its world-known Ceylon tea which is the main export article. We stopped in a tea factory where our guide explained us the whole process of tea production from the first tea leave secession, through drying, grading, up to packing of the final product. The show ended with tasting the samples of tea and we received the highest quality tea – gold and white as well as several kinds of green and black tea. One more quick stop to see the tea plantations and enjoy always green hills fully covered by tea leaves.
Sri Lanka
Tea plantation Nuwara Eliya

Our last stop for today was the elephant farm in Pinnawala where we also went for elephant ride. We’ve tried it before in Thailand but we were sitting there in the seat comparing to this where we were sitting right on the back of the elephant and could feel every muscle of his body. It is apparently the best massage your body can get. It’s amazing place where a few volunteers are taking care of the elephants and you can clearly see they like what they are doing.

Sri Lanka
Elephant farm in Pinnawala

After this adventure we headed back to Negombo where we started to prepare for our early flight to our last destination – Maldives.

According to what we read about Sri Lanka before our arrival we knew it’s an amazing country but in reality was even better. Green island is one big jungle and everyone finds something what he likes about this country. Whether it’s the mountains, sea, adrenaline, history or animals – Sri Lanka is the right place where you definitely find what you are looking for…

Tip 1: Book a driver on Tripadvisor with good references that will show you the most interesting places of the island.

Tip 2: Start the visit of the Lion rock in Sigiriya early in the morning to avoid the flow of tourists later on.

Tip 3: In Kandy attend the celebratory ceremony in the Temple of the Tooth. Come early because it’s also very touristy place.

Tip 4: Don’t forget to try yellow King coconuts. The taste is amazing and it’s also very refreshing.


Total costs: 20 days (India + Sri Lanka + Maldives): £1320.00 

(prices as of February 2016)

 

Thank you very much for reading this article. If you have any questions, suggestions or ideas please write them in the comment box below.

Berjaya Hotels & Resorts

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