Page 4 of RedPlanetClaire Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province September 15th 2017

Both ends of the platform at Ella rail station have signs warning that it's a criminal offence to walk on the tracks. We ignored this yesterday, however as we approached the station this morning, we found ourselves walking alongside a policeman and another guy in military uniform. I was concerned about getting onto the tracks in front of them as it is actually illegal, no matter how many other people do it too. Glyn was fearless and strode on without looking back and I followed, waiting to hear a shout that never came. Phew! Once past the warning sign, we came upon a second sign in English only, warning us that should we 'happen' to find ourselves on the tracks, beware of thieves. So basically the authorities are taking it as given that the first sign ... read more
Warning signs on rail track near Ella
Hubby walking on the track
Tunnel containing bats

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Ella September 14th 2017

For us English it goes against the grain to walk along railway tracks, especially for a few miles but it is the norm in Ella despite signs telling you not to. I guess if you don't speak Sinhalese, Tamil or English, you can't read the signs anyway, so the Germans had a good excuse! So that's how our afternoon went, our morning started in Udawalawe. We've eaten too much in Udawalawe. Our host keeps cooking us large meals and there's always so many dishes! So it was hard to fit in breakfast despite it being very good. This morning it was time to leave the best accommodation we'd experienced in Sri Lanka so far and were chatting with our host whilst waiting for his mate to arrive with the tuk-tuk to take us to Ella. He ... read more
Signs warning not to walk upon the tracks we walked on for miles
Ella Rock
Ravana Falls

Asia » Sri Lanka » Sabaragamuwa Province » Udawalawae NP September 13th 2017

Given that we were chased by an elephant back in Kaudulla, I was a bit dubious at first when I realised we were surrounded by a small herd of them in Uda Walawe. But our latest jeep man seem unconcerned as did the elephants. Udawalawe National Park is one of the main parks in Sri Lanka and around 10kms from where we were staying. Today's jeep is the best one yet giving Glyn leg room for once, a roof and my feet didn't touch the floor. As always we had the back of the vehicle to ourselves.The early morning drive took us past the reservoir with the sunrise reflecting nicely upon it. Wire fences run along the edge of the road to apparently stop the elephants wandering into traffic, but they still come right up to ... read more
Sunrise over reservoir at Uda Walawe
Roadside elephant wanting fruit
Asian elephant in Uda Walawe National Park

Asia » Sri Lanka » Sabaragamuwa Province » Udawalawae NP September 12th 2017

I always thought that tuk-tuks were for short journeys only but in Sri Lanka we found a guy that insisted he could take us from Mirissa to Udawalawe almost as fast as a car. Could it be done... I’d had an idea to get up before sunrise to take long exposure shots of the sea over the rocks but Glyn convinced me that there weren’t any decent view points we could get to. To be honest it was nice not to get up in the dark and lie in until 7.15am. But was it an opportunity missed? I will never know. Breakfast was fried egg, toast, noodles, dahl, coconut sambal and bananas and whilst we were eating our tuk-tuk turned up 40 minutes early, the guy was making sure he wasn’t losing this fare! We said ... read more
Muruthawela Subadrarama Temple
Muruthawela Subadrarama Temple

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Weligama September 11th 2017

Blue whales, the largest mammal on Earth and a lifelong dream of mine to see them in the wild. The Indian Ocean is one of the best places to do this as its a breeding and feeding ground as opposed to a place they pass through as is the norm with so many other blue whale spotting locations. The morning started as most on our holiday: waking before sunrise, then being picked up by a tuk-tuk at 5.50am to take us a distance we could easily walk. Glyn had pre-booked us with 'Raja and the Whales' and upon arrival we were offered sea-sickness tablets. Now having been on many boat trips and never once suffering from sea-sickness in my life, I wasn't going to take one and was concerned it may not mix with other medication ... read more
Two whale spotting boats.
Daily dose of rain
View for the afternoon

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Koggala September 10th 2017

More than 40 teas in one day? That's easy in Sri Lanka! This morning we had a lie in until 6am! Glyn couldn't believe his luck. It's amazing we slept as the ineffective ceiling fan is incredibly noisy. At our £7 per night hotel, breakfast is included so at 7am we were served with toast, fried egg, tea, noodles, spicy coconut sambal and dahl. Plus some watermelon. Across the road we caught a tuk-tuk driven by a middle aged guy in a red stripey shirt. He'd not heard of Hundungoda Tea Plantation that Glyn had seen in Lonely Planet and I found on TripAdvisor, but after much discussion with the other tuk-tuk drivers he agreed to take us there, wait and bring us back. It turned out to be a fair journey for a tuk-tuk and ... read more
Tea Plantation
40 kinds of tea to try
Turtle rescue and hatchery

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Weligama September 9th 2017

In the UK if you get a puncture in your car tyre, you have to pay a small fortune to replace it. In Sri Lanka, you repair it the same you would a bicycle tyre. I got to witness this today and Thuminda, our driver couldn't believe that we throw away a tyre for the sake of one small hole. Today we were heading to Mirissa on the south coast which is around an 8 hour drive from Sigiyira, although Thuminda said it could take longer if we need to take detours due to floods. Driving through countryside and towns I saw a lot of 'driving'. Copious amounts of beeping - to let others know you are tailgating and about to overtake despite oncoming traffic. Mopeds undertaking on the left, buses overtaking on the right regardless ... read more
Looking for puncture in car tyre
Filling puncture
Lion beer

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Sigiriya September 8th 2017

The day started early (again). This one being the earliest alarm call at 4am so we could go on Safari at Kaudulla National Wildlife Park. We'd not heard of this park before as hadn't a lot of other tourists, so there were only two other jeeps to share it with all morning. Mind you, one jeep managed to bring the cream of British numptyness as it contained a Brit using a large flashgun which had no chance of lighting up the wildlife, but a good chance of annoying them. After seeing Langur Monkeys bouncing in the trees (they have fluffy dark faces, this is how I tell them apart from Macaques who don't) we came upon an adult male elephant strolling across the plain. No visit to the zoo could ever compare to this, seeing the ... read more
Elephants at Kaudulla National Park.
Oxen pulling cart at village tour near Habarana
Treehouse to stay safe from wild elephants

Asia » Sri Lanka » North Central Province » Polonnaruwa September 7th 2017

Glyn and I caused quite a stir with the many stray dogs of Sigiriya this morning. It was 5.30am and they weren't expecting tourists to go walking down the road, so every single dog either barked or howled. The residents of Sigiriya must have loved us. The manager of our lodge was perturbed, the Rock wasn't open yet. We explained that we were off to photograph the sunrise; she looked bemused and just warned us to be careful of wild elephants. 'What?!' I said to Glyn, 'that would be awesomeness!'. No. It would be extremely dangerous, I was told. We walked to within view of Sigiriya Rock and waited for the most unimpressive sunrise ever. And to cap it off, no wild elephants, well, not yet... Thuminda arrived at our lodge just after 6.45 to take ... read more
Sigiriya Rock
Stairs at Sigiriya Rock
Lions paws and stairs at Sigiriya Rock

Asia » Sri Lanka » North Central Province » Anuradhapura September 6th 2017

Today I learned that there's an elephant in Yala that chases your car if you don't feed it. I wish we were going to Yala; I've been chased by a rhino and hippo before, plus many cows and an angry goat. But never an elephant! But anyway, it was time to leave Wilpattu and we had to finally face sorting the bill with Bandara who brought with him a calculator. He prices thing in dollars despite wanting payment in Sri Lankan Rupees and us being English. So after working out exchange rates, we discovered we didn't have enough rupees because the price had mysteriously increased since we booked and we only changed a small amount of cash at the airport because the rate was bad. We ended up giving him English money which he said was ... read more
Ruwanwelisiya Dagoba, Anuradhapura
Kitten at Anuradhapura
Drinking Sri Lankan coconut milk

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