A Travellerspoint blog

Sri Lanka

Unawatuna and Galle

sunny 33 °C

We got a train to Colombo, which was possibly the most rickety thing we have traveled in so far. We did actually think at some point that the train was going to fall off the tracks! It was a tiny old train, and coupled with the tracks not being well maintained and going far too fast it meant the train was rocking side to side for the whole journey there! The only bonus was that we paid a little bit more and upgraded to first class, which basically means you get a bit more padding on your seat and air con. We were going to get another train from Colombo to Galle, but we decided against it after our first experience! We ended up getting an air con bus to Galle, which took another 3 or 4 hours. From there we got a short bus journey to Unawatuna, which is 10 minutes down the coast, and has the most beautiful beaches we have ever seen. P1040797.jpg Unawatuna also got badly destroyed by the tsunami in 2004, you cant really tell now, but there are lots of graveyards by the sea and some buildings were not rebuilt leaving only the foundations. Its an eerie thought that it was destroyed only 5 years ago. Unawatuna had a lot of aid during the crisis and was consequently rebuilt faster than other resorts! The shop keepers did not learn however, as they rebuilt their wooden huts back on the beach. We had dinner the other night with sand between our toes!

We spent the first day catching up on sleep, as we have had some very early starts in Sri Lanka. In the afternoon we went to the beach and decided that the sea and beach looked so clean that we should have a swim! We spent the rest of the day swimming in the sea, which was great fun, and something which neither of us have done in a long time! Unfortunately, we both managed to get rather sun burnt, something which we are both regretting now I can tell you! P1040801.jpgP1040803.jpg

The following day we got a rickshaw back to Galle to have a proper look around the town. Its a old fort city which was built by the Dutch, and as such is a strange mix of colonial Dutch and Sri Lanka architecture. There is not much in the way of specific sights in Galle, more just walking around the place to get a feel for it. P1040813.jpgP1040815.jpgP1040818.jpgP1040820.jpg We walked all around the fort and then got back in a rickshaw (called tuk tuks here) to Unawatuna and watched the sunset on the beach!

Today we got a bus from Galle to Colombo, which is where we are now! There's not much to do in Colombo, so I think we are just going to chill and get everything in order for when we fly back to Chennai, India, which is at 3.30am on 10th April. We shall write next when we are back in India. It may not be for a few days, because we are going straight through Chennai to get a 30 hour train up to Calcutta. So that will probably be where we next write from!

Hope you are all well,
Miss you all lots,
Chris and Alex xxx

Posted by chrisalex 06:02 Archived in Sri Lanka Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Anuradhapura!

sunny 33 °C

We got a 2 hours bus from Dambulla to Anuradhapura, which is one of the ancient cities in Sri Lanka. We hired a car for the day due to the distance in between the ruins and also the blistering heat. Despite the fact we had a car, we still set off really early so we could try and fit everything in before midday! The ancient site basically compromises of various Dagobas and buildings, all of which are in various states of repair. P1040772.jpg

Along the way we also got to see the Bodhi tree, which was taken from a cutting of the original tree which Buddha gained enlightenment whilst being sat under it. P1040781.jpg This particular tree is officially the oldest tree in the world, having been tended for 2000 years! We managed to finish seeing all the sights at 11am (we started at 6am), and then retreated for the rest of the day to avoid the heat. P1040785.jpgP1040788.jpgP1040793.jpg

We are now in Unawatuna, which is a lovely beachy spot just near Galle, at the south of the island. We will be here for the next 3 days, with a day trip to Galle, so we shall write again soon!

Lots of Love

Chris and Alex xxx

p.s. internet is scarce in Sri Lanka, so don’t be worried if the blogs are not as regular! x

Posted by chrisalex 04:23 Archived in Sri Lanka Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Dambulla, Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa

sunny 35 °C
View Asia 2009 on chrisalex's travel map.

From Kandy we got a bus slightly further north to Dambulla, which is a small town famous for its caves up in the hills. We arrived late at night, so just went straight to bed (after chris removed a frog from under the bed!). The next morning, at about 6am we left and got a rickshaw to the nearby town of Sigiriya, which is a famous large rock, which ancient civilisations once inhabited. P1040735.jpgP1040642.jpg We set off early in order to avoid the heat, it was a half hour journey to get there and then we started the long climb up. It took us over an hour to climb to the very top, it was rather steep and getting gradually hotter all the time. P1040688.jpg Just towards the base of the summit, there are a famous pair of lions paws which have been carved into the rock, the clever people say that some kind of civilisation once lived there and this was possibly a temple or gateway. P1040645.jpg We managed to make it to the top, and the views were stunning, we had the whole top of the rock to ourselves as well, which was an added bonus. P1040649.jpgP1040653.jpg All the way up the guides tell people to not go to the very summit of the rock as there are swarms of hornets up there, its all scare tactics. Most people climbed halfway up and then got scared of the hornet warning. The ticket to get in cost us $25, so we marched dutifully to the top to get our moneys worth. Surprisingly there were no hornets at the top. There were foundations of old buildings up there, but other than that it was just us two and a very green valley ahead of us! P1040657.jpg

Then we climb down, always annoyingly quicker, and passed some tourists who were just starting the climb then. Chris and I doubt they made it, it was nearly 35 degrees at that time. After that we headed back for a shower and a rest to avoid the midday sun. In the evening we climbed the hill in Dambulla, which was just up the road, in order to see the famous Dambulla caves, which contain many statues of Buddha, carved into the rock. P1040724.jpg The climb was tiring, but we made it all the way to the top. The caves were amazing, in very good condition due to lack of sun exposure, and the first cave (there were 5) was a huge reclining Buddha, 15 metres long! P1040695.jpg We stayed up there and watched sunset before plodding back down to bed! P1040717.jpgP1040727.jpg

Today we got a local bus 2 hours down the road to Polonnaruwa, which is an old acient city. It's spread out over a large area and they suggest getting a bicycle or a rickshaw in order to see it all in a day, but Chris and I decided to walk it instead, which we managed well I must say! Very hot work though and we are both now the colour of raspberries, as sun tan lotion is useless in this heat, you just sweat it off straight away! The ancient city contains lots of old temples and palaces, most of which have unfortunatly collapsed, but some remain pretty well intact! As expected, we saw a hell of a lot of Buddhas, but also many Dagobas, which are the big round temple things! P1040743.jpgP1040744.jpgP1040763.jpgP1040766.jpgP1040771.jpg

We are getting the bus back to Dambulla this afternoon, and then will pack up for our journey tomorrow to Anuradhapura, which is also Chris' birthday!!

Miss you all lots,
Lots of Love
Chris and Alex xxx

Posted by chrisalex 00:31 Archived in Sri Lanka Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Kandy (Sri Lanka)

sunny 32 °C
View Asia 2009 on chrisalex's travel map.

We had a long and tiring journey here, but somehow we managed to survive! P1040494.jpg We left Chennai at 1am, arrived in Colombo at 2am, then got a taxi up north to Negombo, where we slept for about 6 hours. We checked out the next morning and got a bus back to Colombo, where we got another bus to Kandy, which took the rest of the day. We arrived in Kandy late at night and after finding the hotel, just passed out really! First impressions of Sri Lanka are that it is a lot cleaner than India, more polite and twice as expensive! We are both sightly cultured shocked as we were expecting a smaller version of India.

We spent the first day walking around Kandy, which is an old colonial town with a large man-made lake in the centre. Its a very pretty place, quite leafy and easy to walk around. P1040498.jpgP1040516.jpg We went to the famous temple by the side of the lake where Buddhas tooth is supposedly kept, and attracts a lot of pilgrims for obvious reasons. You dont actually get to see the tooth, only the closed box which it is stored in. However it is apparently paraded at prayer time, but tourists are not allowed in the temple whilst this happens...P1040499.jpgP1040502.jpg

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the lake and trying to avoid the touts who want to take you to another hotel, restaurant or give you a tour of the town. Rather annoying after a while I can tell you!

We got up early this morning so we could get a bus to the Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage, just west of Kandy. The bus station was so confusing (the buses just line the streets, and you have to find your bus!). We searched for ages in the boiling heat and finally found our bus, but discovered it was going to take over 2 hours to get there, far too long in the scheme of things. We got a rickshaw in the end, which took an hour! The orphanage was amazing, we got there in time to watch the little ones being fed milk by the bottle and then after that the whole herd of 60 is taking down to the river for a bath. P1040537.jpgP1040579.jpgP1040584.jpgP1040594.jpg We managed to get really good seats so we could watch them all coming into the river, it was amazing. I have never seen so many elephants in my life, it shut Chris up as well! After watching them for an hour or so they got rounded up to be taken back to their home, which was lucky as the heavens decided to open at that moment! The first time we have felt rain since leaving the UK! Even more luckily the guy who runs our hotel was showing someone else the elephant orphanage, so we managed to catch a lift back with him! P1040602.jpgP1040611.jpgP1040640.jpg

We leave Kandy tomorrow to go to Dambulla, which is just slightly north of Kandy. We shall write again soon, hope you are all well
Miss you lots,
Chris and Alex xxx

Posted by chrisalex 04:38 Archived in Sri Lanka Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

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