Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sri Lanka! The ultimate backpacking experience!

The ancient history that still stood in glory
cycle rides exploring the ruins with stories
the wildlife that called out among the forests
and idle beaches with beautiful sunsets
It was a journey of a lifetime, with smiles
among the warmth of sun and happy cries! 

Sri Lanka, the land of beaches, sun, breeze and ancient history, its a land where you can experience everything depending on what you choose. The best part as a traveler, it is light on your pocket, here is my travel experience of a 6 day trip to Sri Lanka!

The itinerary:

The Six Day Itinerary was as follows:

Chennai Train Station, India
Day 1: We landed in colombo at 3am and then we took a taxi to colombo fort station, since our first day stay was in Habarana. We had decided on habarana being the center point for our visit to polonnaruwa and  Sigiriya. To travel in Sri Lanka, trains are a super medium, the stations are clean and the trains do not cost a lot, so we took a second AC compartment confirmed ticket for our train to habarana. Most of the train journey, which was a five hour journey went to sleeping and in between eating mangoes and local fried stuff.

We reached habarana and from there took a tuk-tuk to our bed and breakfast place, we had already booked our hotels relying mostly on the tripadvisor reviews. The place was nice with clean room and bathroom and then we decided to have lunch at the place only before starting out on our journey to sigiriya. We took bus halfway and halfway tuk-tuk to reach sigiriya around 3pm. The weather had fortunately become windy with dark clouds with slight rain and we started our expedition.

Sigiriya- Sri Lanka, World UNESCO heritage site

It was an exhilarating climb up, the 600 steps but absolutely worth it, you marvel at the architectural capabilities of people in that time. The ancient paintings still are beautiful to look at retaining their colours and the view from the top was just breathtaking amongst the ruins. 

Ancient paintings Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
View from the top, sigiriya, Sri Lanka!
Post that, we ate at the local market, enjoying the famous egg hoppers and rice rotis with sri lankan fish curry and then it was a long sleep to the next day.

Day 2 : The next day morning after breakfast we took the bus to polonnaruwa, which is about 45 km away from habarana, without much of wait we got the bus and with our luggage at the back it was an easy one and a half hour journey. We took bicycles and after a brief visit to the museum started our journey to the ancient ruins, after an initial 2-3 km ride, you enter the first cluster and then the famous quadrangle.

Local Buses, Sri Lanka

Sleeping Buddha, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka!

Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

On polonnaruwa and things you shouldn't miss, I have another post. Post that we had local lunch and then took a bus to kandy with the help of local people. Kandy is about 130 km away and the entire journey took us around 3 and a half hours, we reached kandy station around 6 and then took a tuk tuk to the hotel which was quite near the railway and the bus station. We then roamed around the kandy town, to the lake and market place and the temple of tooth and had dinner.

Day 3: Day 3 started with us taking a bus to Nuwara Eliya from the bus stop at kandy and we reached in 3 hours to the mountain town, we roamed around for an hour drinking heavenly tea at local stores with the local delicacy of rice and coconut roti. We returned back quickly to our bus stop to take the bus to kataragama from where we had to go next day for our Yala Safari to see some leopards!
Kataragama, Sri Lanka

After a 5 hour ride we reached Kataragama and then went about exploring town,visiting old temples and eating more egg hoppers!

Buddhist Temple, Sri lanka

Egg Hoppers, Sri Lanka

Day 4: The next day was morning safari to yala, to just see some wildlife and catch the sight of the leopards! we got lucky and actually saw the elusive creature jumping of the tree, saw elephants wildly playing and a crocodile fight. After the awesome safari experience, which also included seeing a beach in the middle of a forest, we started off towards Mirissa.
Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Mirissa was actually a discovery, beautiful beach and amazing shacks. After having a quick snack we quickly climbed up a small hill to catch the sunset and it was the most beautiful sunset ever, the ball of red going down in the water, it was just magical. Followed by the most awesome dinner, listening to the waves, having fresh seafood as the candles lit the beach up!

Sunset at Mirissa, Sri Lanka

Day 5: The next day we were just in water as it was a beautiful cloudy day perfect for a beach outing and after a Sri Lankan curry breakfast and an amazing fish curry lunch we took the bus for our journey to hikkaduwa, which took us through galle and some amazing seaside scenery. It took us hour and half to finally reach our destination and we quickly went to check in at our bed and breakfast stay.

After an evening of roaming on the beach and having delicious tea we had a great dinner at one of the numerous seaside restaurants where you hear the waves splashing as you eat a splendid dinner our favorite was the egg fried rice, which I guess is a speciality of Sri Lanka and the fresh grilled fish.
Giant Turtles at Hikkaduwa Beach, Sri Lanka

Hikkaduwa Beach, Sri Lanka

Day 6: we went early morning to again spend the afternoon in sea water, but first we saw giant water turtles as they floated near the shore, and it was simply amazing and exciting. Hikkaduwa is a perfect beach for non-swimmers like me, since there are no big waves and you simply float in water and I had the most amazing time there although because of lack of swimming I couldn't do the snorkelling which I am sure would have been a great experience

Post lunch, we took a bus to Colombo and reached in 3 hours to the fort station again where it was raining, and we just roamed around the city, buying tea and spices and finally having a great finale at the famous german pub, from where we took the meter auto to the airport for our flight back home!

Near Fort Station, Colombo, Sri Lanka

It was a trio which was my introduction to backpacking and Sri lanka truly gives you that oppurtunity! A trip which has made me travel more! 

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