A week after my trip here I am sitting in my Bengaluru apartment sipping some Sri Lankan tea reminiscing the time spent in the land of Serendipity.
Sri Lanka at a glimpse:
Our neighboring island country is very well known for its tea estates, elephant orphanages, Buddhist ruins, national parks, beaches, hiking trails and a host of other attractions within a modest physical dimension. Achievements of the great Sinhalease kingdom can be well witnessed by Sri Lankas 2000 year old history. Due to its unique location, Sri lanka was a major trading destination and the influence of various cultures is evident in the country’s food, clothing and architecture.
Places of interest:
- Kandy: Is one of the bustling cities of Sri Lanka, home to the tooth temple and the International museum of Buddhism.
- Cultural Triangle: This includes Dambulla, Sigirya, Polonaruwa and Anuradhapura. Be stunned by 2000 year old ancient ruins.
- Adam’s Peak: One of the pilgrimage spots, even if you do not want to visit it for religious reasons the night trek experience is worth it.
- Ella: For the train journey from Kandy to Ella is a MUST MUST (MUST) try.
- Tangalle: If you are an early riser, go to the beach and see some baby turtles take their first steps. If you are not an early riser- be one, believe me it is worth the site.
- Mirrisa: This can be your base to do the west coast of Sri Lanka. Waves are amazing, food is delicious and stays are convenient.
- Galle: One step in the Galle Fort and you would think you landed up in another country all together! Marvelous architecture, cute cafes, beautiful lanes to walk.
- Weligama: One word: SURFING.
- National Parks
Food and Transport:
Food: Sri Lankan food is a result of a fusion of various cuisines like Arabic, Indian, Malay, French etc.
Rice and Curry dominates Sri Lankan food scene, with more than 15 varities of rice produced in Sri Lanka right from red rice to long grain rice. The dish consist of rice, dal, sambol, vegetable and a piece of meat (there are vegetarian options as well). Number of curries that comes with rice can vary from 3 to 15! You will find Rice and Curry being sold at a host of places right from street vendors to fine dining restaurants. Other Sri Lanakan specialties include: kottu roti, hoppers, string hoppers, roti, seafood etc. Along with this one will find major fast food joints like dominoes, pizza hut, KFC etc in bigger towns along with local multi cuisine food joints.
Food in the country is quiet reasonable, given that you are eating Sri Lankan delicacies at a local restaurant. A Rice and Curry can cost you about LKR 180- LKR 400 same is the case with Kottu roti and rotis. If you like to indulge in some Sea food the cost would go up to LKR 650 – LKR 1000 (and above). A Lion beer is about LKR 300 and a pot of tea\coffee is LKR 120 to LKR 300. Your average cost for a meal per day can vary from USD 2 to USD 5.
- Jade, Negombo – Located on the highway to go from Katunayeke to Negombo city center.
- Little Hut, Negombo- On the highway to go from Katunayke to Negombo city center.
- Dewini No. 1 roti, Mirrisa- Ask anyone! It is, hands down, the number 1 roti place. These are stuffed rotis. Do not miss there Chocolate Pineapple roti and their milkshake range.
- Balaji Dosai, Kandy- This one is for the time you crave some Indian food 😉
- Devon Bakery- This is a chain of bakery present all over Sri Lanka, try some cake or sambosa (samosa)
- Chills Cafe, Ella- A multi cuisine restaurant, give your taste-buds some rest from the Sri Lankan delicacies and indulge in some fast food and CHILL. Loved the vibe at the place.
Transport: All the major modes of transport work in Sri Lanka- Bus, Train, Car, Tuk Tuk, Motor Bike and Plane. Train journeys can be extremely time consuming in Sri Lanka but, are highly recommended for that is the best way to enjoy this country’s varying landscape. To buy a general ticket simply go to the railway station an hour before the train but this does not guarantee you a seat. You must reserve a seat at least 3 days before the departure date. Buses are the cheapest mode of transport but they get extremely crowded. AC buses run only on a couple of routes and there are near to non express bus, so be prepared to stop every 15- 20 minutes on your way. One can easily take a tuk tuk for most of the short journeys, but I found them to be overpriced as they do no have a meter (except in Colombo).
My itinerary and expenses:
Travelling without any plan in mind gives you ample scope for experiment and expose you to experiences you would have not experienced otherwise. Having said that it is always good to read up about the country and have a general idea of a handful of attractions/experiences that interest you the most. I started the trip knowing I have to visit the cultural triangle and some beach my trip got a shape every single day as I met fellow travelers and locals. Below is a brief itinerary that I ended up following (Will post the detailed articles soon, thank you for your patience 😀 )
Day 1: Arrive at the Bandaranaike International Airport – take a bus to Colombo Fort – Take a train to Kandy – Explore Kandy
Day 2: Eat at some of the best places in Kandy – Visit the Temple – Taste some tea
Day 3: Take a bus to Dambulla – Visit Dambulla cave temples and the Golden Temple
Day 4: Take a bus to Sigiriya – Wander around the city- Watch sunset from the top of Sigiriya – Get back to Dambulla
Day 5: Bus to Polonnaruwa – Explore the ancient capital on a bicycle- Back to Dambulla
Day 6: Bus ride back to Kandy
Day 7: Early morning Train to Ella (Highly recommended) – Relax at the Chill cafe
Day 8: Walk around the lanes of plantation – Climb the Adam’s Peak
Day 9: Leave for Mirrisa – Relax by the Mirrisa Beach and complete your sleep (thanks to the night trek at Adam’s Peak)
Day 10: Take a day trip to Galle
Day 11: Go beach hopping – A friendly Surfing lessonat Mirrisa (Surfers prefer Weligama)
Day 12: Indulge in some Sea Food by the beach – Witness sunset – relax!
Day 13: Eat at Dewini’s (because this is the last day at mirrisa *sob sob*) – Leave for Negombo
Day 14: Scuba dive with Colombo Divers – Explore Negombo
Day 15: Did absolutely nothing but share your experience with travelers arriving in SL and the ones leaving
Total spend: USD 420 (Inclusive of Visa, SIM, Food, Transport, Stay and Entrance fee)
That was a brief introduction to my trip, will soon post detailed articles for you to get more information and help plan the trip. In case you have any questions feel free to write to me and comment below 🙂