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Published: September 18th 2018
We were picked up early in the morning by our driver, who then began to take us on the 2 hour trek towards Habarana, where we would spend the next 2 nights in a tree-house just outside the town in the jungle. Exciting right?
On the way our driver (who seemed to want to make amends for the erratic driving the day before), took us to Dambulla’s Cave temple. Not advised for elderly or unfit, as we found out when one middle aged overweight woman had a bit of a tirade at her husband for scaling the cliffs at such pace. It’s a very steep climb. Once again Monkeys surround the cliff face. You must walk the temple barefoot so after depositing our shoes, and discovering that the rock face at 11.00am is really, REALLY fucking hot, we scampered (literally scampered for fear of foot burn) around the temple. If I’m being completely honest, it was a bit of a rip off. For 1500 rupees a piece (foreigners prices) we found that the temple itself was three nearly identical rooms of a reclining Buddha. Once you’d been in one room you had been in them all. We were in there for about 15 minutes before taking the more scenic, and less steep route back down the other side.
Next on our stops en route was originally stated to be Sigiriya Rock, or Lion Rock as it is also known. The Rock itself hosts an ancient fortress at its peak, and was actually used as the capital of Sri Lanka under the rule of King Kasyapa in the 5th
century, as our driver told us. It has also been used as a Buddhist monastery.
Now you might note above that I said “originally”. That’s because it was 4500 rupees a person. For all you Vorderman’s in the audience you don’t need me to tell you that’s 9000 rupees, which equates to nearly 50 quid. It’s a monastery. On a hill. This was our limit for the foreigner fares, and the night before we had plotted to go to Pidurangala rock, which is about 500 metres down from Tory Rock. This cost 500 rupees each to ascend, passing through a buddhist temple (clever situating these temples at the bottom of tourist routes isn’t it?) The climb itself was steep. Really steep to the point that the final ascent was bouldering. Again, not for those that are not fit. However, the view is astounding. The top of the hill is literally a giant rock. From the top you can see everything from the more expensive rock neighbouring, to the jungle below, to the layers and layers of hills circling. We were told at the top that this is the best place to come to see the sunset. On another trip we will probably try and do just that. On the way back down we made a small canine friend, who Meg named Nugget (Don’t worry we haven’t adopted any animals (yet)). He joined us on our crusade back to the car and on we went to Habarana.
Habarana is about 20km from the national park we were going to see the elephants in. About 2km out of the town in the jungle is where we would call our home. It was a small tree house in a man’s garden. I shit you not. We were shown around upon our arrival. Here is the toilet. Here is the hammock. Here is where I sleep. Here is where you sleep. We were also told that if ever we needed a ride into town our host would happily provide one for us. Our driver now gone for the day we walked back from whence we came towards the town. Habarana is built on a crossroads so it was quite easy to explore. We simply walked left at the roundabout for a few hundred meters, before turning around and returning. We turned left again and walked that way for a few hundred metres before returning. Can you guess what we did then? Wrong. We didn’t walk for a couple of hundred metres after turning left because it was just open road. We decided on a place called Chill Café to eat, which was basically a juice and burger bar. It was cheap enough and to be honest the chicken burger was nice. The juice was amazing, mainly because it was peeled and blended infront of us.
At this point we opted to head back to the treehouse. Mainly because it was 6pm and this is when it starts to go dark. As we have learned thus far on our travels the Asian subcontinent gets dark very quickly and when this happens the critters will be coming out. In the Jungle that means Snakes and Leopards. Not ideal. We got back just as it was beginning to go dark and set ourselves up for the night. There was no Air-con in our house (shocker!) so I was entirely selfish in forcing myself to go to sleep at half past 7, leaving Meg to it. I was so out of it that when Meg had asked if I needed to go to the loo (we had agreed to keep guard outside the door just incase any beasts emerged) I had just mumbled something and let her wander off into the night. She survived though. I regret nothing.
Steps taken: 16,634
Bites amassed: 23
Top Tip: Don’t pay over the odds for Sigiriya rock. Do it our way. Trust me.
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