Meanwhile I´ve been 3 times in Sri Lanka. I love this country. The people are very friendly, you can visit a lot, can make a Safari and relax at beautiful beaches.
I'll aim to document my travels on a daily basis whilst travelling around Sri Lanka.
Depart Hamburg 20:30p.m - Arrive Dubai 05:50a.m - Depart Dubai 7:45p.m - Arrive Colombo 13:30p.m
Flight price: 670 € return.
10 reasons why I think traveling Sri Lanka might be easier than traveling India
1. The country is a lot smaller than India, making it easier to decide where to go
2. You can visit nearly the whole country and do just what you like with ease:
- the beautiful beaches
- hiking in the highest mountains
- see old historical places
- take a safari trip in one of the many national parks
- go surfing
3. People seem more refined
4. The country is cleaner
5. They do not lie as often it seems to me
6. They do not spit on the floor as often it seems to me
7. They do not bother you as much
8. It is only an hour from the airport to the beach to relax
9. I didn´t hear stories of women being raped
10. No beggars were around
07 Nov 2013
I arrived in Sri Lanka with ease. There were no issues on board the flight or when I arrived at Bandaranaike International airport, however I did have a few issues using the ATM at the airport. Firstly the person before me had forgotten to take their ATM card out and then the amount I had selected (60,000 Rs) was quite a lot of money (equivalent to 340 €), especially for Sri Lanka.
As soon as I stepped outside I could feel and breath the humidity in the air, making the walk to the bus stop (km) quite exhausting. I paid 100 Rs for the bus from the airport to Negombo and from there I took a tuk tuk to Negombo beach, costing 170 Rs. That’s very, very cheap for the 45 km trip. After arriving at my accommodation, Hotel Blumarine Guest House, I took a long walk along the beach and had an early dinner of Chicken with rice. It gets dark around 5pm, so after taking a few pictures I called it a day and headed for bed.
08 Nov 2013
I tried to load some pictures today but the internet is so slow that it isn´t possible. Sorry!
This morning I decided very spontaneously to go to Anuradhapura in the middle-north of Sri Lanka (see my travel route on the map above). The trip from Negombo to Anuradhapura took me nearly 6 hours. It’s roughly a distance of 170km, but it took so long because of the traffic and because the bus is stopping so frequently to drop off and pick up passengers wherever they like along the bus route.
09 Nov 2013
Today I rented a bicycle and went to Mahavihara, a Buddhist monastery. There is a sacred Bodhi-Tree (Ficus) where the people bring fruits, flowers and other offerings and a lot of praying and singing, and like the Ruvaneli Pagoda, you can spend several hours. In the afternoon I went to Abhayagiri Vihara monastery. There, I paid US $25.00 (3,500 Rs) but I find out that it’s not really worth the money spent. The signs are poor and it seems as though they don’t do anything with the money they receive
Today I ate my dinner like the Sri Lanka people do with my right hand. I’m familiar with this from my trips to India and Laos. The dinner is not warm but spicy and therefore it taste really good.
10 Nov 2013
I took a bus to Polonnaruwa (towards the East), early this morning, to visit the historical sites . I was particularly glad the weather was perfect, allowing me to shoot a lot of nice pictures. I´m now resting in a nice hotel and tomorrow I will climb up Sigiriya.
11th of Nov 2013
A day with many things to see and do. At 9:00a.m I started climbing up the large number of steps to get to the top of Sigiriya Rock, a UNESCO world heritage site. Along the way you can see hand painted drawings, known as frescoes, of beautiful, big-breasted women and this artwork is still in good condition.
After visiting Sigiriya I went by bus to Dambulla, the cave temple. I had climbed so many steps today that I was very tired by the time I arrived in Kandy. Looking foward to a well earned rest at Suisse View Residence.
12 Nov 2013
The “Palace of the Sacred Tooth” holds a famous relic of Buddhism- Buddha’s tooth. You have to dress very conservatively in your attire prior to entering the Palace. I tried to enter but was not allowed because of my knee length trousers (the raincoat didn’t help either). They offered me a sarong for 200 Rs however I declined. I then found another entrance, and this time I was successful in entering by wearing my raincoat as a sarong. Also here flowers, fruits, money, incense and candles are all donated as offerings and the people also pray and sing.
Afterwards I went by bus to the second greatest botanical gardens of Asia, “Peradeniya”, nearly 6 km South-West of Kandy. With the entrance-ticket I received a brochure of the botanical gardens. Across the 62 hectares you can find over 4,000 plants and 10,000 trees-a nice garden to walk through.
See more pictures on my photo-gallery
13 Nov 2013
The train to Badulla was delayed by half an hour and on the platform were mostly foreigners Once aboard, I found there was still plenty of seats available in first class. I got off the train at a small town called Nanu Oya. From there I took the bus to Nuwara Eliya. Nuwara Eliya is situated on the highest mountains of Sri Lanka (approximately 2000 m), hence the reason for needing to use my jumper.
14 Nov 2013
Today I walked to World’s End, a 4km trail that is part of the 2 hour hike at Horton Plain You can see it when you do a 2 hour hike in the "Horton Plains National Park". Horton Plains National Park is located 27 km South of Nuwara Eliya. Tomorrow I´m leaving by train to Ella.
15 Nov 2013
The small train only had 3rd class carriages, but that was not an issue. I had a window seat and was able to enjoy the gorgeous view of the mountains and the tea plantations where a lot of women where gathering the tea leaves in long sacks on their back.
The train, my companion, rice fields and tea plantations
16 Nov 2013
Blue sky and the sun shining is a perfect day for a hike to Ella Rock. I started the ascend to Ella Rock at 8 am. Halfway up and you being to start walking on railway tracks and the last part becomes a bit challenging with the steep climb to the top of the mountain. The climb is definitely worth it. Once you reach the top you get amazing panoramic views across the whole area and depending on how clear it is, sometimes you can even see the sea, but today it wasn´t clear enough.
Along the way I met a farmer and we walked together part of the path and I had to answer the typical questions everybody asks:
- Where are you from?
- Are you travelling alone?
- How long are you staying in Sri Lanka?
- Is this the first time in Sri Lanka?
- What do you do for work?
- Are you married?
- How many children do you have?
- Are they married?
For the 20km hike, it took me 4 hours, which included two rest breaks and a long break at Ellas Rock to enjoy the views.
Back in Ella I ate Kottu Rotu with Chicken (Fried Rice with vegetables and chicken) and curd with honey and pineapple and tea with milk. Yummy, all only for 4 Euro!
17 Nov 2013
I’m now in Arugam Bay, having taken 5 hours to get here from Ella which was approximately 150km.
Three days ago in the night I got a sting from an insect. I don´t know what it was, but the next day there was swelling just above my eyes. And last night my eyes were swollen too as if somebody put their fist into it. I went to the hospital and the doctor told me the sting was still inside my eye. He cleaned it up and gave me a prescription for the pharmacy to get some cream and antibiotics. I didn’t have to pay for the doctor but another man (whom I didn’t really have a liking to) told me to give a donation, which I did. Including the tuk-tuk driver I paid only 1550 Rs (less than 10 Euro). Just imagine what I would have had to pay for the same treatment in Germany.
This morning my eye was a lot better and I was better able to see. When the Tuk-Tuk-Driver saw me he recommended a private doctor that I should go see who he thought was a lot better than the doctor at the public hospital. After dinner he took me to the doctor who explained to me that there was injected poison in my eye and that I should only should take the antibiotics if it doesn't become better. He gave me other pills and advised me to take them with my next 3 meals and told me to put some cream on it too. Hopefully it will heal over the next few days.
The doctor asked me how much I had to pay in the hospital and when I told him that I gave a donation of 500 Rs, he aksed me if 1000 Rs with a bill would be o.k. I told him that I wouldn´t need a bill and that the price would be allright.
He said 1000 Rs is a lot of money in his country and not a lot in my country. I agreed.
Hopefully it becomes better the next days.
Afterwords I went down the beach to see where I am and to take some pictures.
19 Nov 13
Firstly the good news: My eye swelling has gone down. I am very happy about that and also that I can stop taking the tablets now.
In the morning I took a walk through the small town of Arugam Bay. Here there is not much going on and I didn´t see many tourists. Apparently, it is not the month for travelling here which is alright with me.
At Noon my tuk- tuk driver, Akeem comes over to my cottage and is also pleased to see that my eye is feeling better.
He wants to drive me to the crocodiles so he picks me up on at 4 pm and we "drive" towards Panama - yes, that's really the name of the small town. On the way there we see many peacocks with their long, colorful feathers and the little crown on their heads. I shoot a few photos of a buffalo before we see lazy crocodiles in the water. But they respond quickly when you throw a stone near their vicinity. Appearances are deceptive and caution seems advisable. Akeem tells me that there are up to 200 crocodiles in the area.
On the way back we see a wild elephant, and thanks to my good camera, I can zoom in close. How nice to see such an animal in the wild. I was really lucky because it is never guaranteed that you get to see a wild elephant.
Such a beautiful day is gone much too quickly again . Since there is a direct bus to Tissa near the Yala National Park, which departs at 6 am from the neighboring village of Pottuvil, I will probably remain another day in Arugam Bay.
Akeem told me that I should still make a deal with him, as many foreigners would buy land in Sri Lanka. I asked him what was the plans with the land and he told me that he wants to open a surf school.
I told him that I probably was not the right man for him but that i might know someone.
Akeem the surfer is a great tuk-tuk driver and tour guide and I highly recommend him.
You can reach Akeem on ph. 0779028604. He is always looking forward to meeting new people and making some money.
20 Nov 2013
I believe that in Arugam Bay, most tourists stay longer than originally planned, and this is also the case for me. After an eventful and exciting day yesterday, today I have opted for a lazy day at the beach. I've been wanting to go swimming again sun bathing a bit which I had been avoiding due to the eye incident. During the sunbath I put a damp cloth on my eye, to prevent the swelling from increasing. What isn't a bandanna good for!
There was much to see: at noon the wind picked up and a kite surfer went into the wild water.
I have now gained a new friend, a dog who guarded my hut and no longer leaves my side.
Then came several surfers, who struggled against the strong currents and had to run back up onto the beach.
In between, there were barking and biting dogs, who were very importantly defending their territory against "foreign" dogs and were not keen to let other dogs just stroll on the beach.
It's a bit of a Robinson Crusoe feeling in a luxurious way with my own toilet, sink, shower, light and a romantic restaurant in the "back yard". Yes, it´s nice. Asking myself what happiness, I think that it is the ability to appreciate the small things of everyday life, to be satisfied and not constantly long for more happiness.
Luck presents itself in various forms and also appears in a way when you can do something for others. According to the motto: Shared happiness is double felt happiness.
Again, I did not get to read! I kept gazing out to the sea and eventually the fisherman got thier nets prepared again for fishing, pushing their boat out into the the water. One could almost call it a Catamaran , because the hull is so narrow that it is the body of the narrow fishing fits into it. On the one side there is a boom, so that the boat gets stable and fast but can glide through the water. Two tourists helped because you must already have a corresponding impetus to come against the current and the waves . But one has time to waylay the right moment, the boat moves again half a meter to the water. With clenched forces the boat, that has been run into the water is pushed by the wave, the fisherman in front jumpes into the narrow boat and has the paddle in hand, to fight against the incoming wave. His buddy follows as nimbly into the boat and with all the forces they lie down on the paddle. The boat dances on the waves, and soon disappears at dusk . The fishermen do not need to workout, they are trained from an early age and experienced enough to cope with the sea.
Two-thirds of my trip has now passed, and now only a week remains. A little sadness comes over me, but I am also grateful for having seen and experienced so many great things and am now looking forward to what tomorrow may bring!
It is unfortunate that Akeem has not passed by today for a chat and I hope it's not a bad sign, because yesterday he told me that his wife was in the hospital.
With the help of my alarm clock, I woke up at 5:30a.m this morning and had breakfast and watched the sun rise at 6a.m. I realised how sad it is to miss the morning sunrise over the sea when you don't wake up early enough.
Arugam Bay at the time feels very sleepy and unfortunately, no tuk-tuk driver was to be seen. I walk a little ways towards the center and then a little man from a restaurant where I had breakfast says that the bus goes only at 8:00a.m, but to my relief comes a tuk-tuk roaring up the street. The price is Rs 200 which is OK and in this situation it would be foolish not to accept, so I hopped on. The driver asks whether I like tuk-tuk rides and offers to take me to Tissa for 7000 Rs as the bus wasn´t going yet anyways. I decline with thanks and am relieved when we actually stop at the bus stop to Tissa. The backpack is stowed away in the dusty luggage section at the end of the bus and just as I take my seat in the very crowded bus tis when it already starts to move. Well, that has worked out just fine.
The journey back through beautiful scenery with many rice fields and in the distance you can see the forested mountains.
After I obtained my property, taken a lunch, read a little and even slept a little, I go take a shower and then to pull money out of the machines in the neighboring town.
Tomorrow it's already by 5 clock early on safari!
Working hard in the rice field.
Incidentally, shoeshine there is not yet, but I believe that it would not pay off here as example, in England. (I had also fantasized in my report from Northern Brazilian, about earning potential, maybe you can remember.) The bus driver Goyambokka I had asked you to tell me when I had to get out. Sometime I then asked again, because I had the impression that the bus must have long since passed the place. And indeed he had forgotten it and so I had to drive back with a tuk-tuk. And then came the next surprise that I was told by the tuk-tuk driver that there is probably no overnight under Rs 3000 - would be 17 euros in the place. If I wanted to have it cheaper, I had to go to Tangalle (yes, but not what I wanted because I had heard from friends of mine that here. The beach is expected to be especially nice.)
At 5 o´clock I was picked up by a Safari Jeep. Before the woman from the accomadation had brought me some breakfast so I was well taken care of for the morning.
Between six and eleven o´clock this morning we drove around in the Yala National Park and got to see elephants, deer, peacocks, 1 snake, water buffaloes, monitor lizards, coyotes, monkeys, 1 chameleon, wild boar and a lot of different birds. It was worth it and was quite impressive.
At noon I was quite tired and was glad that I could still have lunch with tea before departure to Goyambokka.
Incidentally, shoeshine there is not yet, but I believe that it would not pay off here as example, in England. (I had also fantasized in my report from Northern Brazilian, about earning potential, maybe you can remember.) The bus driver Goyambokka I had asked you to tell me when I had to get out. Sometime I then asked again, because I had the impression that the bus must have long since passed the place. And indeed he had forgotten it and so I had to drive back with a tuk-tuk. And then came the next surprise that I was told by the tuk-tuk driver that there is probably no overnight under Rs 3000 - would be 17 euros in the place. If I wanted to have it cheaper, I had to go to Tangalle (yes, but not what I wanted because I had heard from friends of mine that here
The beach is expected to be especially nice.)
6 clock up some 11 clock we drove around in the Yala National Park and have elephants, deer, peacocks, 1 snake, water buffalo, monitor lizards, coyotes, monkeys, 1 chameleon, wild boar and a lot of different birds. It was worth it and was quite impressive.
At noon I was quite tired and was glad that I could still have lunch with tea before departure to Goyambokka.
To make it short, I now have a room for 2500 Rs - 14 € which is quite new - it was just attached the mosquito net - and in the previously no one has slept.
After a special night : Sleeping in a completely new en suite room, a hitherto unused mattress with a thickness of 20 cm , snow white bed sheets and only nature sounds of birds chirping , at least as in the Walsrode Bird Park in Germany, which I have obviously never yet slept in. Truly unique!
So I packed early in the morning my little backpack and I explored the little bays all around. Sometimes I had to climb over rocks and climb slight hills to get out of around and catch indescribable views. Since it is not surprising that this magnificent view will be built in the future, the preparations are in full swing.
The 60 photos are stored by me on the laptop and smaller, so I can at least incorporate some of it in my LUPESI page.
Well, the tuk- tuk driver , who wanted to pick me up at 12 clock is at 12.30 not there yet and so I ordered the manager of my property a tuk-tuk .
In Tangalla I'm lucky, because I catch an express bus which actually drives me there in 1.5 hours to Mirissa .
Here I am at the accommodation my daughter had recommended.
Here I have feasted tonight. A great tip from Danny. When I ate there a couple from Hamburg who had cooked their meals there sat down on the next table. They had cooked so much that they could hardly finish it, so I could try their cooking skills.
The restaurant has been awarded by TripAdvisor, I also recommend it: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today I went to the larger town in the South to Matara with a tuk -tuk , to run errands and possibly even to buy the train ticket for tomorrow, because then it's back to Negombo. With the errands I was not very successful and the train ticket I get tomorrow about half an hour before the train departs . But since it was not beach weather anyway , I haven´t missed out on much and late afternoon it was still beautiful , even with a very beautiful sunset.
I have often mentioned the prices, since 4 people I know who had already been to Sri Lanka were interested so I beg your indulgence if this has sometimes perhaps annoyed.
I have not slept so well, certainly because I had to replace the nature sounds of Goyambokka with road noise, but also because the mattress was too soft last night . Well, it turned out today that under the new mattress there was still the old soft one. I removed it now so I think I'll sleep well my last night here in the place with the euphonious name, "Mirissa".
Tomorrow I will continue to have a long train ride ahead of me. I 'estimate it at about 7 hours.
You like to see more pictures? Look to my slide show:
Enjoy and have fun!
Today was an extremely busy day as the 7- hour train ride was made more difficult by the heat. The tuk -tuk driver who took me to the station to Matara said, " the weather is too beautiful to driving away ." It was the same driver from yesterday whom I was telling then, that the weather was not like one would miss anything by not beeing on the beach which made it ideal for shopping. "Never mind, I must go on, but I 'll definitely come back . "
The heat was so great, the driving wind did not help much and the one fan (the other three were obviously defective) tried to bring the cooling effect in vain. I was sweaty, damp and sticky. I was very grateful that I had a seat. Well, it's done and
I 'm going to have managed my last major part of my trip. At the station of Colombo, where I had to change the train to Negombo , I spoke with a Dutch woman who is now the fourth time in Sri Lanka. First by organized tours and now together with a male escort, on their own. This fascinated her much more as you get to know land and people a lot better this way, in her opinion.
It's almost like a piece of coming home when you come back to the same place , in which you were before. The manager of the hotel recognized me immediately and looked at me in shock and asked , " What's happened to you " , referring to my obviously still swollen eye. And when she saw my swollen foot, she said that I absolutely had to lubricate it with a special ointment that I got at the pharmacy. The nearby pharmacy had closed - for whatever reason - and so I had to get a tuk -tuk going to the next. There I provided myself with an extensive supply for my foot wounds.
Before my dinner with Edwin - of course Vegetable Curry & Rice - I got my other shoppings. It was favorable that right near my accommodation there was a Beer Store so I went and got mysef some. The alcohol bottle shop looks terrible from the outside, since the seller is behind bars and is normally not allowed to enter the store as a customer. This reminds me involuntarily to jail.
Are there more coming? The best place! Sun umbrella is needed!
Today is my last day in Sri Lanka. Tomorrow, on Wednesday exactly 3 weeks of my travel time have passed, I am glad that my foot got worse only in the last few days and that the insect bite wore off in the end. Because of my foot I would have to have a travel break now anyways in order to maintain the foot. Thus the end of my backpacker time does come quite as hard. In addition, I´m also always happy to get home after having seen and experiencing a lot over the last three weeks.
I will also still have a lot to do when I return, putting together the many photos to a presentable length and also - after revision - put the Sri Lanka blog to an E-book.
I thank my " fan base " for their following and interest in my travel experiences and the generous read-through of hopefully only small mistakes that always
creep in especially when translating into english.
The next trip to Florida is already prepared for LUPESI and will then be certainly completed in January 2014.
I wish us all a serene and peaceful christmas time!
At the end two videos of my own to make it more difficult for you to say good by to this beautiful country:
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