Blogs from Sri Lanka, Asia - page 8

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Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Yala January 1st 2014

If you are married to a biologist and want to make him as giddy as a 10 year old schoolgirl, take him on a safari. Yala National Park is a must see for anyone that comes to Sri Lanka. It is 978 km squared and mostly closed to the public. Access is granted to only 40% of the park and they are strict about not letting the Range Rovers stray off the roads. So if any animal wants to escape scrutiny, he just needs to turn around and walk into the bush. We were told not to expect too much since there is a lot of a park and only so many animals that roam it. So we were surprised and awed by what we did see. I'll let the photos do the talking. Matt took ... read more
Elephant Baby
Mongoose
Wild Boars & Mugger Crocodile

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Tissamaharama December 31st 2013

It's New Year's Eve and we are in the opposite direction from all of the parties! After our hiking trip and quick stop in Colombo, we returned to Weligama for a few days to unpack our backpacks, wash all our clothes, and pack up again. Our friends tried to convince us to stay on the coast until tomorrow so we could attend one of the many beach parties planned for tonight, but neither Matt nor I were interested in ringing in the new year at a noisy party. The railway tracks only go as far south as Matara, so we hired a van and driver to take us NE toward Tissamaharama which is the closest town to Yala National Park. Driving the coastal highway we passed a lot of little beach towns that looked irresistable and ... read more
Rose-Ringed Parakeet
Black-Rumped Flameback Woodpecker
Sowing Rice

Asia » Sri Lanka » Western Province » Colombo December 30th 2013

On our way back down south we needed to overnight in Colombo so we could extend our visas. On our first visit Matt had found a good hotel by the old Dutch fort that was clean and quiet and we decided to spend a couple of days in the capital to explore a bit and catch up on some business. Our first stop was immigration to renew our visas. The office was surprisingly efficient and it only took 2 1/2 hours to complete the paperwork and interviews, and walk out of the office with stamps in our passport. It did cost twice as much for Matt (American) as it did for me (Canadian) though. Next, I wanted to buy a proper Sri Lankan salwar kameez as I was tired of wearing my one long skirt and ... read more
Saris & Umbrellas 2
Saris & Umbrella 3
My new outfit

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Unawatuna December 29th 2013

Since I've been in Sri Lanka I've been blown away by how amazing and delicious the food is. It's fresh, tasty and with huge variety. The best thing is the basic "rice and curry", however that is massively underselling what's on offer. Rice and curry means rice (obviously), a curry, be it fish, chicken or very occasionally beef, then usually there are at least three different vegetable dishes, plus dhal, coconut sambal and poppadums. The vegetables are usually curries, but sometimes a type of sweet and sour dish. I've had carrots, beetroot, green beans, potato, pumpkin, eggplant, sweet potato...... I've also had fruit curries, which might sound strange but taste sensational - jackfruit curry or mango curry, yum! Nearly always dinner is served with rice, although sometimes it's string hoppers, which is like a little nest ... read more
Finally, a bird at the bird feeder
Look at the size of them grapes!
Jumbo prawns

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Galle December 28th 2013

A few kilometres up the road from Unawatuna is Galle, declared as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1988. It's a beautiful old city dating back to around the 13th century, but most famous for the Fort built by the Dutch when they took over from the Portuguese in the late 17th century. It's very picturesque, with streets made for aimless wanderings, which is exactly how I spent the day. Its colonial history make for a fascinating architectural hodge-podge, and a surfeit of museums and historical sites to visit. I only visited one, the National Maritime Museum. Set in an old warehouse, the building itself is beautiful, and the museum wasn't too bad either. Then I drifted up and down the streets, admiring the buildings, looking at jewellery, art and crafts shops, or walking around the ... read more
Snake oil salesmen come young and old
Looking along the Fort wall
Dutch Reformed Church

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Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Unawatuna December 27th 2013

Lalith has some competition in the title of favourite tuk tuk driver. Prasad, from Dickwella, may overtake him. He took me to the big Buddha on Christmas Day and suggested that he take me the way to Unawatuna, not quite a 2 hour drive. Since he didn't drive like a lunatic, and also because he was so genuinely nice, I thought this sounded like a great idea. So, after a sombre start to the day with one minute's silence in memory of those lost in the tsunami, we were off. We stopped off at a few interesting places. I think Prasad was thirsty himself, so he stopped and bought some King Coconut for us both - they are sold on the roadside all over Sri Lanka and are a deliciously refreshing drink, not to mention very ... read more
The sun comes down over the Pagoda
At the Turtle Conservation Centre
King Coconuts, ready to drink

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Dickwella December 25th 2013

After hills and culture, it was time to head to the famous Sri Lankan beaches. And following the excesses of the jungle safari it was time for some belt buckling. Well that's how it started anyway. From Udawalawe I took a bus to Tangalla for the grand price of 62 cents. Perhaps not quite as comfortable or direct as the private transfers, but it did the trick. Tangalla is described as a sleepy town with perfect beaches, and I had arranged accommodation in a rustic beachside cabana. I had visions of a peaceful couple of days, lounging by the beach, reading a book under the palm trees. It sounded idyllic, and on initial glance, it was delivering on all counts. Although I began to smell a rat when I placed my valuables in the safe at ... read more
Girls catching up, Mulkirigala
See what I see?  That's right, nobody.
My short-term Tangalla beach cabana

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Hatton December 25th 2013

On Christmas Eve we undertook the 5 hour journey from Haputale to Hatton and then on to Dalhousie (also referred to as Del House by the Sri Lankans) to hike a sacred mountain. We arrived at 6:00 PM, just in time to take a look at the mountain we were going to climb, have dinner and get right to bed, setting our alarm for 2:00 AM. It is called either Adam's Peak and thought to be the first place Adam touched earth after being cast out of heaven, or Sri Pada, where the Buddha left a footprint on his way to paradise. Pilgrims have been climbing it for over 1000 years. Many people climb the mountain at night so they can be there at dawn to witness the sunrise. The town of Dalhousie is at an ... read more
Trailhead
Trail at Night
Temple Dog Waiting for Dawn

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Horton Plains NP December 24th 2013

A 2 hour train trip took us to Haputale. On our first afternoon we visited a monastery run by Benedictine monks. The grounds were surreal with English rose gardens and pear, apple and orange trees instead of banana and jackfruit, all overrun by little toque macaque monkeys. The monks make strawberry and orange marmalade and the money they make selling it is part of their income. We walked through a bird sanctuary on the way there and bought a bag full of sliced mango topped with chili powder from a boy manning a fruit stand. It sounds like an odd pairing but is actually very good. The next day we hiked Horton's Plain, an enormous national park that has both forest and grasslands. The park rangers do a great job of keeping plastic out by checking ... read more
Haputale
Horton Plains
Hybiscus & Friend

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Ella December 23rd 2013

We walked out of the train and into a mist so fine it felt like we were walking around in a cloud. Our reason for coming north was to see the spectacular views and do some of the hikes the area is famous for. Our big goal is Adam's Peak but it's supposed to be quite a climb, and since we've been doing nothing but lounging on beaches for a few weeks, we thought it would be a good idea to warm up with some easier hikes. The town of Ella itself isn't much to see. It is a popular starting off point for hikes so there are many tourists - once again mostly Germans and Russians - and the town clearly caters to foreign backpackers. It does, however, have great food. In the central highlands ... read more
Old Bridge
Ella Rock
Ella Rock (2)




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