TRAVEL DIARIES . LONG HAUL |
I haven't travelled much in Asia, and Sri Lanka was my very first asian destination.
From what my eyes have seen, I can say it is truly a gem that deserves to be on every traveler’s bucket list!
Getting around the country
While planning my itinerary, I was not fully aware how spread out destinations were and how much driving was necessary to get from one site to another. To travel around the country, I used the services of a driver-guide during my 9 days trip and it was absolutely worth it!
Traveling between each one of my chosen destinations could sometimes take hours of driving and thanks to the experienced drivers of Sri Lanka Tour drivers I have been able to see and experience so many things in just a few days.
Also as female solo traveler, I found it much safer to have someone driving me everywhere instead of relying on public transport.
My personal driver was picking me up from the airport, hotels and driving me safely throughout my whole journey.
If you ever decide to go to Sri Lanka, I can highly recommend them! They are a reliable and have many years of experience and a thorough knowledge of their country and culture.
My planned itinerary
My itinerary was called the "Cultural Triangle" because it included three major cultural sites that formed something resembling of a triangle.
Anuradhapura to the north, Dambulla to the east and Kandy to the south-west.
2 days in Colombo
2 days in Kandy,
2 days in Dambulla,
2 days in Anuradhapura
and a total of 12h drive in 9 days!
After a 4 hours flight from Dubai, here I am, landing on Colombo's ground!
First impression - For some reasons I was thinking that Dubai would have been the hottest destination, but it turned out that Sri Lanka was beating all records of temperatures.
The heat hit me really hard the moment I landed in the country. It was so hot and humid that I felt like a turkey being loaded in an oven.
The instant sweating was inevitable!
My flight had been delayed and I was feeling a little anxious about finding my driver at the airport as I completely relied on him for my whole trip
But there he was waiting for me in an air-conditioned car with a big smile on his face and bottles of water! Such a blessing!
I introduce you to Malinda - my driver and guide for the next 9 days. His english is not really good and he is quite new to the guiding business but there is a kindness and calmness about him that makes you feel comfortable and safe. We will make it work despite the barrier of language.
My first hotel was located at least 1 hour drive from the airport. So after having a bit of a chat with the driver, there we go, on the road, getting my Srilankan adventure started...
the Cinnamon Red
I have stayed two nights at the Cinnamon Red and I was so pleased with my choice! The hotel is a stylish and modern option to those who look for classy and unique accommodation in the centre of Colombo.
The hotel is a very comfortable 3 stars hotel, but in my opinion definitely deserves an extra star!
The room was very clean with a comfortable bed and offering an amazing view of the city. Without a doubt it was bringing up that "Feel good vibe" and the writing on the wall was making sense
There a couple of snapshot of the rooftop bar with its amazing swimming pool!
discovering Colombo city
As soon as you set foot in Colombo the first thing you'll notice are the tuk tuks! These three-wheeled multi-coloured vehicles are coming from every corner. Traffic is noisy, messy and you really wonder how they manage to get through it alive.
It is one of the most renowned buddhist temple in Colombo, a little oasis of quietness in the heart of a buzzing city.
The moment you pass the door, you can only hear the birds, the humming of praying monks and that sensation of peace and tranquility.
Here are a few rules you need to follow when visiting a buddhist temple
You need to wear trousers or a skirt long enough to cover the knee.
You must cover your shoulders but remove hats and shoes at the gate.
You can't turn your backside to the statues while taking photos - therefore no selfies!
You can't touch them.
You can't shake hands with monks.
You can't smell the flowers as they are offerings and sacred.
You can't feed the monkeys!
Only a 4 min walk away you can visit another buddhist temple called the Seemamalakaya (yep, I know - To this day I haven't been able to pronounce its name correctly)
This temple mainly used for meditation and rest, rather than for worship is situated in the Beira Lake and he was originally constructed in the late 19th century.
After visiting the most iconic buddhist temples of the city, we decided to go and visit the Jami-ul-Alfar-mosque.
This mosque is a show-stopper with its candy-striped red-and-white brickwork. Unfortunately I was denied entrance because I am a woman and it was prayer time! So I missed my chance at getting beautiful pictures of this magnificent mosk!
Among all the discoveries of the day, was the tasting experience of King Coconut water
The king coconut water is the favourite beverage of the Sri Lankans and vendors are selling it at every corner of the streets.
They cut the coconut open for you, stick a straw in it and you can enjoy the sweetest and most refreshing water directly from the fresh coconut!
Its water is also said to have many virtues and is ideal for preventing dehydration and replenishing the lost salts in the body.
A total blessing in the scorching temperatures of the city!
After a full on morning of sightseeing, I honestly have to admit that I was struggling a little to adjust to the hot temperatures and was feeling pretty tired and dizzy, so I decided to rest and have a chill at the rooftop swimming pool and enjoy some good read.
On the very next day, I would have to take on a few hours long drive that would bring me to my next destination.... Kandy and the hill country.
The Girl Next Door
to be continued ..