Sri Lanka Trip – Day 2 (Kandy)

We woke up to a scenic view of Kandy. It looked really peaceful and serene in the morning. Far away on the top of the mountain you can actually see a huge Buddha statue. We can also hear Buddhist chanting from the Buddha Tooth Relic temple nearby. We got ready and left Holiday Inn to go to the Buddha Tooth Relic temple. See the pic below on how the view from our hotel room looked like. It was truly magical!

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Some other sceneries while approaching the temple. See pics below.

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As we reached the temple quite early, it was quiet and the atmosphere was very calm and serene. We couldn’t take much photos inside the temple and the museum (it was prohibited). The museum is called The Museum of World Buddhism and contains the artefacts and writeups of influence/spread of Buddhism through the different countries in the world.

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After spending some time exploring the temple (there are many prayer halls where people just seat down and meditate quietly) and the museum we left the temple to a nearby Botanical Garden which is supposedly a tourists’ attraction in Kandy. It is called the Royal Botanical Garden (Peradeniya, Sri Lanka). True to the name the whole park is huge and majestic. You can see alot of couples around. It is ideal for long walks in the park.

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After the visit to the park, we continued our road trip to Nurweliya. It is supposedly to be at the highest peak in Sri Lanka. The plan is travel through Nurweliya to Banderawela and spend the night there. And to continue our trip to nearby places of attraction in subsequent days. True enough on our way to Nurweliya, it became colder and colder. And of course the sceneries became more gorgeous too! Look at some of the pics taken from the roads.

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We reached Banderawela at around 1am. We spent the night there. We were all tired from the long ride (~7 hours) from Kandy to Banderwela. But we were all excited for the next day where we will be exploring some places around Banderawela.

Stay Tuned!

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Sri Lanka Trip – Day 1 (Colombo)

We arrived in Sri Lanka’s main airport, Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo through a SQ flight. As there was a recent Commonwealth get together for leader of the Commonwealth countries, the airport was well decorated with all the different Commonwealth countries’ flags. There were also quite a few Duty Free shops well stocked with many items. And since Christmas was around the corner, the shops were also decorated to give the festive feeling for travelers arriving in the airport.

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Anyway we didn’t explore the shops much as we want to explore the outside more! We boarded the van that was earlier booked and off we go…..

The capital, Colombo was like any other developing major cities in the world. The weather was around 25-27 degree Celsius. One can see the different major brand shops.  At the same time, you can also find transportation like Tut-Tuts around the capital. It offers the best form of transportation around the capital for quick, affordable and accessible travel.

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Our first stop was a upscale shopping centre where we had our first meal in Sri Lanka. I bought a noodles dish. One thing I noticed was that Sri Lankan food in general is very spicy and tangy. It was good because I love spicy food!

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After the meal, we visited Pettah Market in Colombo. Apparently this is the busiest shopping belt in the capital. It is like a huge wholesale market where merchants from all over Sri Lanka come to look at sample goods and place orders. At the same time it is also frequently visited by locals because of the affordable prices of goods and the availability of different types of goods (from electronics to clothing to vegetables and poultries etc). Just look at the pictures below and you will get the idea of how huge and lively the place is.

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After completing the obstacle course in Pettah Market (Haha…you need to look out for traffic, oncoming people, trolleys, stacks of goods whether going around the shopping belt), we began our road trip to Kandy a major city (second largest after Colombo) located in the Central Province in Sri Lanka.

It took us around 5-6 hours to reach Kandy. We booked into Holiday Inn for the night. The weather was very pleasant , around 19 degree Celsius. In Sri Lanka, the hottest is the capital and subsequently the central and southern provinces have pleasant temperature of below 20 degree Celsius.

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It was a pleasant surprise. We expected like a normal hotel environment. But it was more like an house setting. It was cosy and gives an homely feeling. Furthermore, dinner was cooked in traditional Sinhalese manner. In short, if you are going to Kandy and want to get a wholesome Sri Lankan experience, Holiday Inn is a good place to start.

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After a sumptuous dinner, we went to bed for a good rest and to start off the next day afresh to explore Kandy!

Stay Tuned!

Sri Lanka Trip – Pre-Planning

It has been a long time since my last post. Recently, I went on a holiday to Sri Lanka . Yup, you have guessed it right! This post will be my experiences and reflections from my trip to Sri Lanka.

How did the trip came about?

Well December was approaching, and myself and two other friends was discussing on what to do as we have still not cleared our annual leaves yet. Well you may wonder, what? Leave is always not enough and here you have 3 blokes wondering what to do with their leaves? Well that’s the benefit of being single!!! No commitments and you can do stuff in an impromptu manner. And thus during the course of 1 dinner, it was decided that the 3 of us will visit Sri Lanka.

Why Sri Lanka?

Well we have heard alot of the country and the pictures available online are really beautiful, gives an impression of a paradise.  Below are some of the initial pics we saw when Googling. The pictures were very beautiful and gorgeous (referring to the beaches only :))

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http://www.blacktomato.com/country/sri-lanka/

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http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-news/sri-lanka-tourism-surges-to-record-high-20111220-1p33d.html

And most importantly, one of my friend is a Sri Lankan. So we could actually go on a road trip since he knows the terrain well instead of a tour group. I always prefer free and easy as compared  to tour groups as it is more flexible and you are more in control of what you want to do instead of following a scheduled itinerary.  Usually good things happen unexpectedly.

So our trip to Sri Lanka was finalised, we booked our airline tickets through Singapore Airlines for a 8 days trip in December and my friend took care of hiring a van which will pick us up in Sri Lanka for our roadtrip. Everything fell into place and the countdown begins.

In my next few posts where I will be chronicling about my experiences and reflection while there.

Stay Tuned!