Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Sri Lanka Day 3 - Kandy, the Great City

Stayed overnight in Kandy and woke up overlooking this hilly city's magnificent centrepiece lake which somehow made up for the not so pleasant event of last night.

The hotel that we supposed to stay was fully booked and had us moved to another hotel (their new branch). The hotel is obviously new, nice and all but unfortunately the rooms are not sound proof. It was raining heavily all night but I still could hear all the noises from the next room - shouting and laughing MEN (!), I could tell they were drinking. Since our room is located behind the lobby, I went to the reception TWICE but the sliding door to the lobby was locked and no one was there! I tried several times to reach them by phone without success. So I had no choice but to message our travel agent in the middle of the night. Few minutes after informing him about my suffering, heard someone knocked on the next door then the noise died down and silence fell. I think those men are hotel staff. 

Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya

Left the hotel after breakfast to explore the garden. Snapped few shots and I knew if it wasn't raining this park would look more colorful and beautiful. Next photo is one of the 5 Palm Avenues beautifying the Botanical Garden.
Royal Palm Avenue: the earliest and tallest Palm Avenue in the Botanical Garden

Spice Garden & Honeypot Resto

A great amount of spices to learn about and its uses in the Spice Garden plus a wide range of pricey herbal remedies that promise a lot are available in their shops. No pressure to buy but still we left the place with our purchases and with great hope/expectation, LOL. 

Then we had a traditional Sri Lankan "rice and curry" for lunch at the Honeypot Restaurant.
Honeypot's rice & curry

The Honeypot's balcony offers fantastic river views, how I wish we had a Lion beer after lunch, LOL

Chauffeur-Guide's House

After lunch, our chauffeur-guide Sam invited us for an afternoon tea in their family house and met his wife and daughters. It was a beautiful traditional house with spacious lawn, wish I took photo - blame it on the rain, and his family are warmth and hospitable. It is indeed a privilege to experience another person's culture.

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and Kandy Cultural Dance

Temple of the Tooth Relic
We visited the temple where Sri Lanka's most prized possession - Buddha's tooth is being kept. Also, that evening, we watched a cultural dance performance before we leave to Ramboda.
That's me, inside the Tooth Relic Temple

◄ Sri Lanka Day 2          |          Sri Lanka Day 4 ►

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Sri Lanka Day 2: Safari in Habarana and Climbing Sigiriya Rock

Nice Place Hotel, Dambulla

We spent our first night in this hotel located in the middle of nowhere - not exaggerating but it is FAR from the main road but the place is worth it as it is really NICE in the truest sense of the word - a paradise in the middle of jungle. 

Had a little episode that night - almost fainted in the middle of dinner but was saved by the ice and cold water. Must be the exhaustion and the adverse weather. 
Nice Place Hotel

Kaudulla National Park, Habarana 

The next morning, it was stil raining so after breakfast, we left the hotel for a wildlife safari by jeep.

Click and swipe for more wildlife safari photos/videos here

We had wonderful traditional Sri Lankan meal on a taro leaf for lunch after the safari:
a little of everything 

Lion Rock Fortress, Sigiriya  

Then visited and climbed the Sigiriya Rock despite the stormy weather coz no visit to Sigiriya without climbing that rock and with the weather that day, it was really quite challenging and exciting to climb the 1200 rickety steep and narrow staircase.
1200 steps to the top
Click and swipe for more photos/videos here and here.

Cave Temple, Dambulla 

This is located uphill from the Golden Buddha statue. Unfortunately, on our way to the ticketing booth it started to rain HEAVILY and in the middle of the flight of steps we were already soaking wet. We decided not to go further - climbing the Sigiriya Rock in that weather was enough for the day.

◄ Sri Lanka Day 1          |          Sri Lanka Day 3 ►

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Sri Lanka Day 1: The Elephants in Pinnawala

Sri Lanka welcomed me/us with a bit gloomy weather, rainshowers and wet roads. But it is okay, having grown up in a tropical country, I am so used to this kind of weather. 

First stop:  Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage 

About 3-4 hours away from the airport, this orphanage houses abandoned and wounded animals since 1975. There was an elephant bathing in the river when we arrived and we got the chance to bathe it and touched the trunk of one of the elephants there for photo op. Also, we did an elephant ride - something I am not proud of (shame! shame! shame!). Wish people wont get tempted riding an elephant no matter what others say like it's okay they wont be hurt (believe me, IT IS NOT!), or just because it is in someone's bucket list and dream to ride one (you can always say NO, politely!). Elephants have feelings too and the best things we could do are bathe them and/or feed them.

Got the opportunity to bathe this elephant
Either I'm too thin or this elephant has huge trunk
Elephants marching after bathing from the nearby river


Elephants frolicking and bathing in the nearby river

For some reasons, past noon I started to feel unwell. I did not know if it was exhaustion, lack of sleep, hunger or the tropical weather because my stomach started to ache whenever I moved but had to endure as I did not want to spoil our trip... 

Please do check my IG for more photos.

◄ Hello Sri Lanka          |          Sri Lanka Day 2 ►

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Ayubowan, Ceylon (Hello, Sri Lanka)!

There had been much challenges towards my trip to Sri Lanka.

My friend and I underwent several planning stages which took a year before it finally materialized. 

It was August last year when we planned to spend Eid holidays in Sri Lanka but I had became half-hearted to go after learning that my dad suffered a mild stroke (he is better now) back home so we had to cancel our plan.

Fast forward Eid this year, we came to a decision to go during Eid holidays so we booked our flight, hotels and tours. But three days before our flight, my friend's dad suddenly passed away so of course we canceled everything as she had to go to Philippines to be with her family.

October came, she was hesitant to pursue the Sri Lanka travel as she felt something bad will happen again. I convinced her that it was purely coincidental and bad things can happen anytime. 

We then finally decided to go in November, two days after her birthday and so the Sri Lanka saga continues...