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I traveled solo to Sri lanka and came up with this Sri Lanka Travel Blog, full of tips with my own experiences. With so many places to visit in Sri Lanka, you will almost feel like your Sri lanka itinerary is too short.
To be honest, I wasn’t so sure about visiting this southern island nation and that is even when I was sitting in the Colombo bound plane. On on a balmy winter day I boarded a red eye to the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, and after the shaky landing at the airport my questions grew even bigger. The Colombo airport was surprisingly very small, and from the airport I took on the public bus to the train station.
There are direct shuttles from the Colombo airport to Kandy but I decided against it. I wanted to see the scenery, the train journey is supposed to be very beautiful as it passes by the mountains. About Kandy, it is sort of cultural capital of Sri Lanka where the famed Buddhist artifact is kept.
Any how I reached the Colombo train station in time, or shall I say well within the time. The first train that was available was not before 10:00 AM, and it was only 07:30 at that time. I had few more hours to kill. I came out of the reservation office with a first class ticket in my hand; I admit it wasn’t as bank breaking as it might sound.
Since I had time I started wandering the streets of Colombo in search of a cup of tea, chai tea to be precise. I had hoped being a little brother to India, Sri Lanka must be drinking the brew that I had gotten used to drink for past so many years. After asking so many street shops and getting no for the answer I almost gave up, but then one hotel wallah finally promised me the deliverance.. Chai!. I ordered food, south indian idli, and then tea… both of them were disappointment… to say the least.
By the time train got started my excitement had worn off, tiredness took over and I don’t even remember when I dozed off. Hell with the scenery! I usually find it difficult to sleep in a moving vehicle but it is amazing how a tired mind can bring a system shutdown in a matter of minutes. The train rocked back and forth on the equally tired tracks which are probably the same since British era. Good for me, I was rocked to sleep with the gentle lullaby of the moving train.
I got up just about the time the train was about to reach Kandy. Almost everyone in Sri Lanks speak English amazingly well. After walking for a certain distance I took the auto to my destination. When I reached the hostel which I had so carefully marked on Google Maps, I came to know that it was already booked and whatever room was left was almost double the regular price. I excused myself, asked for wifi pass and booked one guest house. It was closest I could find to the city center.
Kandy has a cute little downtown area with a plethora of restaurants including couple of Indians too.The Indian food was fine but it little bland, at that time I knew it was my last encounter with decent Indian food or dare I say decent vegetarian food. The beaches down south of Sri Lanka seriously lack good vegetarian options.
I began the tour of Kandy downtown with a visit to the temple of tooth and the vast gardens surrounding it. From my guest house I walked around the serene lake to reach the temple of tooth. I decided not to go in as the entrance fee was quite high and I had only a little time to explore.
Next day it was my encounter with the public bus system of the Sri Lanka. I took a bus to Dambulla to visit the famed cave temple of Buddha. I love Buddha, Sri Lanka is essentially a Buddhist country with a dash of Christians and Hindus. Christians are spread throughout the country but Hindus, mainly Tamilians, are concentrated in Jaffna, the northern tip of SriLanka. The Tamlians came as laborers in Tea gardens during the British era and settled in the country.
On to the bus to Dambulla… The bus driver and the conductor had no problem understanding and speaking English, exactly at the bus stop near the Dambulla cave temple. From the base it was a short 20-30 minutes walk up the hill. The meandering pathway was full of opportunistic monkeys; and as the fate had it while I was not paying attention one of them snatched the food bag from me. As he sat on a tree top and gorged on the food, he became the cynosure of the onlookers, tens of camera pointed directly at him snapping pictures in quick succession.
In the evening over a plate of puri sabji I debated weather to go Anuradhapura or Polonnaruwa. Polonnaruwa had an advantage of being closer to Kandy while Anuradhapura’s history stretched back to more than two thousand years. Apparently, Anuradhapura was far more historical in comparison, so much so that the kingdom reigned for over a thousand years and essentially shaped what Sri Lanka is today.
I rummaged blogs after blogs hoping to find that one magical piece of information that would give me a go/nogo sign. Perhaps an apple may fall or a flower from the statue of some Goddess? After reading about a dozen blog posts and seeing countless pictures on Google images, I had finally come to a conclusion…
It was time to go to bed, let’s see what comes up in the morning!