Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka

Curious what backpackers do in Sri Lanka? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

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  • Day1

    Sri Lanka

    May 24 in Sri Lanka

    In Nilaveli hebben we een paar heerlijke dagen gehad. We hadden een schattig klein hutje aan het strand. Vanaf deze plek zijn we naar Pigeon island geweest. Dit is een klein eiland/natuurpark vlak voor de kust van Nilaveli. Pigeon island staat bekend als een mooie snorkelplek waar je rifhaaien en schildpadden kan zien. Ook stond deze plek bekend om het ‘mooie’ koraal maar helaas was hier helemaal niks van te zien. Al het koraal was dood. Gelukkig hebben we wel een grote zeeschildpad gezien en verschillende rifhaaien. Deze rifhaaien zijn niet gevaarlijk maar toch vond ik het wel spannend om deze haaien van zo dichtbij te kunnen zien. Het plekje waar wij verbleven in Nilaveli kan ik iedereen aanraden. Het was echt een prachtige en ontspannen locatie met hutjes aan het strand.

    Vanaf Nilaveli zijn we met een tuktuk naar Dambulla gereisd. Onderweg kwamen we al wilde olifanten tegen, olifanten steken hier regelmatig de weg over. Elke keer als ik olifanten zie ben ik enthousiast omdat ik het prachtige dieren vind. Vanuit Dambulla zijn we op olifanten safari geweest. Dit stond op mijn Bucketlist. We waren net 5 minuten in het park en we hadden gelijk uitzicht op een grote groep olifanten bij de rivier. De olifanten waren hier heerlijk aan het badderen. Ik vond het komisch en leuk om te zien hoe de olifanten onderling met elkaar omgingen. Als een olifant het water uit wilde klimmen hielpen de andere olifanten door deze olifant een zetje te geven op haar kont. Dit ging niet altijd even soepel door de modder ;-). Verder hebben we ook mooie vogels en andere dieren tijdens de safari gezien maar ik was overal onder de indruk van de olifanten!

    Vanuit Dambulla zijn we naar sigirya gereden om 4.15 om de zonsopgang te zien bij de Lion Rock. Dit was erg vroeg maar het was het zeker waard. In het donker hebben we de kleine rock beklommen, deze ligt naast de Lion Rock en met de zonsopgang hadden we prachtig uitzicht op de Lion Rock.

    Met de lokale bus zijn we van Dambulla naar Kandy gescheurd. In Kandy verbleven we in een klein hotel op een berg met mooi uitzicht. Bram kende hier een tuktuk driver van zijn vorige reis. Perry de tuktuk driver heeft ons overal naartoe gescheurd. We hebben een paar tempels bezocht en we zijn met de ouders van Bram (die inmiddels ook gearriveerd waren in Sri Lanka) naar de botanische tuinen geweest.

    Vanuit Kandy hebben we de trein gepakt naar Nuwara Eliya. Deze treinreis wordt vaak omschreven als één van de mooiste treinreizen van de wereld. De treinreis gaat dwars door de thee plantages. Helaas hebben we de afgelopen dagen veel last van regen. Het ‘hoort’ nu droog te zijn maar moedernatuur denkt daar anders over. De trein reis was erg mooi maar helaas regende het veel. In Nuwara Eliya merkte ik dat het wel lastig vond om vrolijk te blijven door de urenlange regenbuien (dit zijn geen ‘kleine’ buitjes). We hadden een goedkope verblijf plaats met alleen een bed dus het was absoluut geen gezellige plek om binnen te hangen. De restaurantjes in de buurt stelde ook weinig voor. Gelukkig hebben we in de ochtenden nog wel wat kunnen ondernemen. We zijn met de scooter door de theeplantages gereden en we hebben verschillende watervallen bezocht. Samen met de ouders van Bram hebben we een flinke wandeling gemaakt bij de Horton Plains, een mooi natuurpark dichtbij Nuwara Eliya. We hebben ruim vier uur gewandeld. Verder vond ik Nuwara Eliya geen fijne plek om te zijn. Het was ijskoud en nat maar dit soort ‘tegenslagen’ horen ook bij het reizen.

    Vanaf Nuwara Eliya wilden we samen met de ouders van Bram de trein pakken naar Ella omdat dit ook bekend staat als een mooie treinreis. Het was al ruim 18 uur aan het regenen waardoor de trein uren vertraging had. We hebben toen besloten een taxi te pakken naar Ella zodat we niet uren in de kou en regen hoefde te wachten.

    Nog steeds denkt moedernatuur anders over het droogseizoen maar de sfeer en het weer was veel beter in Ella! We verblijven op een prachtige plek met uitzicht op de bergen. De temperatuur was hier een stukje hoger en in de ochtenden konden we lekker toeren met de scooters. In Ella zijn veel hippe cafeetjes en is er meer westers eten te krijgen. Ik heb al een week ontzettend last van buikpijn en nu ik weer wat meer westers eet neemt de buikpijn ook af.

    Eergisterochtend wilden Bram en ik met de drone de trein filmen. Opeens waren we het signaal kwijt en konden we de drone niet meer besturen.. in de verte zagen we de drone ineens naar beneden zakken. Normaal gesproken hoort de drone weer terug naar de afstandsbediening te vliegen maar de technologie liet ons in de steek. Uiteindelijk is de drone gevonden door lokale mensen en gelukkig doet de drone het nog! We hebben ontzettend mazzel dat we de drone überhaupt terug gevonden hebben en dat hij ook nog werkt.

    Gisterochtend hebben we wandeling gemaakt bij little adam’s peak en zijn we naar een groene theefabriek geweest. Alle mensen die bij de theefabriek werkten waren chagrijnig maar de groene thee was lekker.

    We zijn nu net aangekomen in Arugam Bay. Vanaf morgen is Joek er ook.. Momenteel vraag ik mij af wat het meest gevaarlijk is.. Snorkelen met walvissen, snorkelen met haaien of met het hele gezin bruinsma op pad.. wat denken jullie?
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  • Day2

    Inspiratiereis

    May 25 in Sri Lanka

    Mijn eigen inspiratiereis aan de andere kant van de wereld. Eindelijk mijn rust gevonden om na te denken hoe ik mij verder wil gaan ontwikkelen als mens en toekomstig pedagoog. Een e-reader, iPad, opschrijfboekje met een pen. Het is zo simpel maar ik heb al zoveel inspiratie opgedaan in een paar weken tijd. Ik ben absoluut nog niet uitgereisd maar het voelt wel echt als een bevrijding om helemaal mijn eigen ding te kunnen doen. Als ik terugkom van mijn reis heb ik alleen mijn pedagogiek opleiding en geen baan of stage. Dit geeft mij soms ook een onzeker gevoel maar doordat ik de stap heb genomen om een langere periode te gaan reizen geef ik mijzelf de tijd en ruimte die ik hard nodig had om een oud patroon te durven doorbreken.Read more

  • Day34

    Ella

    January 26, 2017 in Sri Lanka

    Who knew this sleepy backpacker town would be in the middle of such amazing scenery! But there was one catch; to be able to see the views you had to hike Ella's Rock. We knew it would be difficult but we underestimated how steep the climb would be! In total it took us 6 hours, which was a little longer than expected due to some shortcuts that turned out to be dead ends and light rain that made the terrain slippery. But getting lost was part of the adventure, and part of the locals' creative business venture. They were always willing to give "a" direction, however getting the "right" direction would cost you. And since all the signs and markers put in place by the government were tampered with we embraced the game and wandered through a private tea plantation and 6 foot high grass to catch a group of hikers who seemed to be on the right track.

    Once we got to the top we couldn't stop admiring the views, however we only got to enjoy the clear sky for about 15 minutes before the fog and mist started to roll through. This didn't stop us though from taking some amazing photos as we stood high above literally in the clouds!

    All in all, when we got back down we were very proud of our accomplishment and also very hungry!
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  • Day35

    Colombo

    January 27, 2017 in Sri Lanka

    Our last stop in Sri Lanka was a quick visit to the capital Colombo. We were surprised how modern and developed the city was compared to the rest of the country. A lot of the British influence is still seen in the architecture of the buildings that remain and the monuments reflect the independence gained from them. We also took a stroll along the beach promenade which wasn't anything special but gave us a look into how the locals pass their time.

    As we prepared to say goodbye to Sri Lanka we made our way back to Negombo to be closer to the airport. We were warned by multiple people and our airlines that we needed to arrive to the airport 5 hours before our flights due to runway construction that was causing major backup. So after a short nap, we took their advice and left for the airport at 2am for our 7am flights. It wasn't that busy when we arrived but luckily we had lounge access to pass our time comfortably and reminisce about our time in this beautiful country.
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  • Day31

    Negombo

    January 23, 2017 in Sri Lanka

    After spending some time in India it was time to see something different so we ventured down to the "tear drop of India" also known as Sri Lanka. We arrived in Negombo fairly late in the evening so we didn't get a chance to look around but from what we could tell the town was fairly small but conveniently located to the airport.

    My mom joined us on this trip as well so we were excited for her to get to experience a MitchaRu adventure!Read more

  • Day205

    A country to feel good

    March 19, 2017 in Sri Lanka

    German version and more photos: www.cyclinfornepal.com

    Before I report about my experiences in Sri Lanka, I would like to tell you, why I continued my cycling trip in Sri Lanka. Anyone who has followed the project from the start, knows that I have started with the goal of cycling the complete 12000 km from Munich to Nepal.

    After I decided in Turkey to fly back to Munich, this plan had disappeared.
    (In the blog entry: Turkey - Among the same, I reported on the reason for my return to Munich)

    During my time in Munich, I had to think about how I would go on with the trip, but also make a decision on what my future career depends on.
    For the last two years, I studied a second school subject, to become a full teacher. Before I left, I had final examinations. Unfortuneately I had not passed one exam.
    I was really down, because it was my goal to leave Munich without any time pressure and obligations. For a long time I displaced the decision, if I make a second attempt. In December, however, I had to make a decision: Either to repeat the exam in June 2017 or to study two years for free and to travel without time pressure. It won the reason, so I will be back in Munich in April 2017. This meant that I have a time window of 3.5 months to arrive in Kagate / Nepal.
    I opted for a completely new route. Visit my friend Adi in Dubai and spend one month each in Sri Lanka, India and Nepal. I still wanted to continue to travel by bike, but also experience other things.

    The journey is thus no longer a continuous cycling trip from Munich to Nepal. Its more experiencing countries by bike with the final destination: Kagate in Nepal. The 12000 km mark I will no longer crack. How much distance I ultimately traveled, I will tell in my last blog entry.

    In Sri Lanka, also called as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, I landed with the plane 6 o'clock in the morning. In the beginning I had booked a hostel near the airport. Actually I wanted to spend another night there, but I could hardly wait to go to Hikkaduwa, which is 130 km away. It was my first destination right on the coast. I put the bike together and took only the most necessary. Camping is in Sri Lanka is good as impossible and cooking utensils I did not need to drag along, since the food in restaurants is extremely cheap (2 € to 3 € for a dish). So I could leave a lot of my equipment behind.

    My path led south along the coast. Right at the beginning I made the acquaintance with the Sri Lankan traffic. Especially the truck drivers and bus drivers driving without regard for losses, so I made several times a stop in the road trench.
    Having arrived in Hikkaduwa, I was looking for a hostel and immediately met other travelers. The first days I spent surfing and snorkeling. One of the main attractions on the beach are three large turtles swimming at the seaside during the day.

    Among the hostelmates was Alex from Germany. The chemistry was right. He also wanted to go further south. Next we met in the village of Merissa. Alex took a bus, I continued cycling.
    Merissa has a beautiful beach known for its beach shacks. A surfspot is also just around the corner and there were just ideal conditions. We liked it so much that we stayed 5 days. I was on the water every day and was regularly infected with surfing.

    On my arrival I had heard of a festival, which takes place in Arugam Bay, in the east of the country. The Internet did not reveal how much a ticket costs and what music direction is played. Alex and I thought it was worth a try. I left my bike in the hostel and finally I was able to enjoy a bus ride.
    Before us lay 280 km for which we will need more than 8 hours. Astonishingly, time passed by in flight. We were literally overwhelmed with impressions.
    The bus drivers drive like mad. In overtaking maneuvers they making from a two-lane road, a three-lane. Partially, the bus was so crowded, that I sat on the top over the engine. Or I stood in the front door, and the wind blew through my face. It was my most adventurous bus trip so far.
    Not far from the festival grounds we had booked our accommodation. On the bus we met Domingo from Chile, who spontaneously joined us.
    In the evening we went to the festival ground. From a distance we already heard the music: trance. I'm not a fan of trance, because the music is too monotonous. There was only a 5-day ticket to buy, which cost 120 €. Since we had taken the long way, we still wanted to enjoy the festival. Without problems we sneaked along the beach on the festival ground. Most visitors were pumped up with drugs and danced in trance. It was an interesting experience, but one evening was enough.
    The next day we relaxed on the beach. Then our paths separated again. Alex went on to the highlands. Domingo stayed for another day, but we met a few days later in Weligama. For me, I went by bus back to Merissa, and from there one town further to Weligama.
    I checked into the hostel Weligama, which had opened only a month ago. It was immediately a family co-operation. I liked it here so much, that it was difficult for me to continue riding.

    But I wanted to see more of Sri Lanka, so I took the off again. I cycled along the coast to the southernmost point, Tangalle. From there I went on towards the highlands. My next goal was Ella, where I would need three to four days. On the way to Ella I met incredibly nice and open-minded people. They were always given a smile.

    Unexpectedly, I passed a national park known for its wild safaris. The next day, I sat with a Norwegian couple, and three friends from Austria in a jeep, and we set off for an 5-hour safari. We got to see many animals. Especially the elephants posed perfectly for our cameras.

    The next day I was back on the bike and reached Ella in the evening. The small village is surrounded by a diverse mountain landscape. A famous peak is the "Liddle Adams Peak", which is reached within an hour and guarantees a great view.

    After two days of stay, my next destination was "Adams Peak", one of the main attractions in Sri Lanka. The mountain is near the city of Hatton and is best reached by train. It is not just a train ride, its one of the most beautiful train journeys you can do in the world. The special feature is that you can sit directly at the door.
    Actually, Steph from Australia (I met her at the hostel) and I wanted to go on the same train, but I had to take a train later because of the bike. We met later in the village at Adams Peak.
    From Hatton it was again 40 km with the bike to Adams Peak. On the way I got invited to a volleyball game, which I could not refuse.

     
    The Adams Peak is a "Must Do" for both, tourists and locals alike. Before you are on top of the 2243 m high summit, 5400 steps must be conquered. Locals of all ages go to the mountain to pray at the summit.

    In our accommodation we met Weston from China. At three o'clock in the morning, we three of us started to see the sunrise at 6.30 a.m. on the peak. Unfortunately it was cloudy on this day, that couldnt shot the sunrise photo.

    Adams Peak was my last major destination in Sri Lanka. On the same day I made my way back to Negombo. The last 130 km were hard but scenic. Two days later I went on to India.

    I liked Sri Lanka so much, that I have to come back. The beaches, the mountains, the people ... I felt like home.

    Janosch
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  • Day32

    Sigiriya & Dambulla

    January 24, 2017 in Sri Lanka

    We anticipated a lot of driving in Sri Lanka because we knew it was difficult to get from place to place with the small roads and varied terrain but one thing we didn't expect was rain! Unfortunately our luck wasn't great and the days were full of heavy rain which is unusual for this time of year. However we made the best of it and didn't get too wet while sightseeing!

    Our first stop was to the massive Sigiriya Lion Rock built between the years 477-495 by the ruling King as his capital, fortress and palace. The ancient ruins now are a UNESCO world heritage site and offer amazing views from the steep climb up.

    That night we enjoyed a stay in the jungle and took cover from the elephants and other wildlife there by sleeping in a treehouse! This was a fun experience and relaxing too as we listened to the peaceful sound of the rain and nature. Mitch even took it one step further by enjoying a fish pedicure in the small pond on the property!

    The next day we got back on the road to drive through the scenic tea plantations of Sri Lanka but first made a pit stop at the Dambulla Cave Temples which are the largest set of cave temples found in the country. Prehistoric Sri Lankan remains have been found at this site dating back more than 2,700 years ago long before Buddhist monks came to create the temples as a religious complex with statues and paintings.
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  • Day9

    加勒古城里的奇遇

    April 7 in Sri Lanka

    为了这次旅行,我读了很多资料,了解到斯里兰卡主要的几个民族是:信仰佛教的僧伽罗人、信仰印度教的泰米尔人和信仰伊斯兰教的摩尔人。在Nuwara Eliya的时候,自己有幸与一家小众的伯格人认识,一路上更是和很多僧伽罗人和泰米尔人有过交流,唯独没有真正接触过的,便是斯里兰卡的穆斯林。谁知,上天就是这么巧,在我旅行的倒数第二站,终于有机会一睹他们的真容。

    早上不到七点,我就背着相机出门了,在海边的城墙上散步,享受清晨的海风和几乎空无一人的街道。这时,远处一个一袭白衣、头戴白帽的长胡子穆斯林走进了我的镜头,他的白衣服、身后的白色清真寺和远处白色的灯塔构成了一幅非常和谐的画面,我迅速按下快门,将这幅画面锁定在相机里。在我正在低头欣赏自己作品的时候,身后传来声音:“早上好啊!”就这样,我和这位老爷爷开始聊了起来。

    老爷爷名叫沙菲(Shaffy),告诉我他的祖上是来自摩洛哥的商人,算到他这一辈,已经是加勒城里的第六代后裔了。他和我一边沿着海边走,一边指着周围的建筑给我介绍加勒古城的历史。“我就出生在加勒古城里,对这里的一切都很熟悉,你看,我们现在走的是葡萄牙人修的城防体系,这里以前是放大炮的地方,那里是放军火弹药的地方……”

    慢慢地,我了解到,沙菲爷爷来自一个珠宝世家,祖祖辈辈都在加勒城经营着宝石珠宝生意,他说自己并不开店,而是喜欢和游客讲解宝石知识,教他们如何辨别真伪,至于游客是否从他这里购买,他并不介意。而且,不同于城里的绝大多数珠宝店,他会明确告诉客人自己的成本和利润是多少,而非看人下菜,漫天要价。他说自己这样做,是一位四十年前遇到的德国女游客给他的建议,“沙菲,你若想将宝石生意做好,就一定要先把你的知识免费传授给游客,而不要在乎他们是否买你的东西。你以诚待人,终会有回报。”

    说着说着,我们便走到了灯塔前的白色清真寺前,他主动带我进去参观。现在不是礼拜的时间,清真寺里空无一人,他向我介绍了清真寺的建筑结构和穆斯林做礼拜的方式,还顽皮地指着墙上贴着的宣礼词说:“你看,我们一天要礼拜五次,每次礼拜前,寺里的宣礼员会在喇叭里念宣礼词,召唤城里的穆斯林们来做祈祷。但这有一句话只在日出前的晨礼时会有,ٱلصَّلَاةُ خَيْرٌ مِن النَّومl,你猜猜什么意思?”我摇摇头,“意思是:pray is better than sleeping! 哈哈哈,因为太早了,很多人都起不来啊,哈哈哈……”

    从清真寺里出来后,沙菲又要请我喝茶,他说加勒现在旅游业发展起来了,很多旧房子得到了翻修,是件好事,可是另一方面,不少外国人来这里投资房产生意,也导致城内的物价飞涨,那些针对游客的餐馆商店价格太过分,所以他一定要请我到只有本地人才知道的小馆子喝茶。我和他穿过小巷,进了一家连英文招牌都没有的小店,他和老板娘打了声招呼,带我进了后厨,看当地人是怎么做rotti饼的。他大手一挥,店里的小哥便端来两杯热气腾腾的红茶。我一边喝茶,一边好奇地问他:“这些都是你的朋友吗?” “对啊!他们家也是土生土长的加勒城里的穆斯林。” “那你们之间讲的是什么语言呢?” “泰米尔语。除了我们这种从北非来的穆斯林,这里的其他穆斯林都是泰米尔穆斯林,所以我们之间都说泰米尔语。不过我和我的孙辈们就都说英语了。我们穆斯林很重视下一代的教育,希望后代有国际视野,所以通常都送孩子去国际学校读书,一定要学好英语。”他还在手机上给我看他孙子们的照片,“我有两个女儿一个儿子,两个女儿一共生了8个孩子,全是男孩。去年我儿子终于生了一个女孩,所以现在她是家里的女王,地位非常高!”

    出了小馆子后,他对我说:“今天中午我们家会给旁边的伊斯兰学校的师生送饭,是非常好吃的节日菜肴,我邀请你来家里吃!”说完,他递给我一张名片,上面有他家的地址。说实话,虽然我和他聊得很好,但是心里还是稍稍有点生疑,毕竟我是一个人旅行,突然被一个才认识一小时的陌生人邀请去家里吃饭,不由得有点犯嘀咕,不知他葫芦里卖的什么药。不过,好奇心和直觉还是占了上风,我答应了他,说要再逛逛古城,之后去他家做客。

    与沙菲分开后,我赶紧上网去搜索他的名字,看看是否有人和我有同样的经历。果不其然,也有其他的人被他邀请去家里喝茶吃饭,似乎都很喜欢他的热情。于是我便放下心来,叫了一辆突突车出城,在花店买了一束花,不然空手而去,总觉得不好意思。

    十点半到了沙菲家,他先热情地带我参观了他的大房子,又介绍我认识了她的太太、儿子和孙女,然后给我上了一堂非常生动的宝石课。果然如他所说,他丝毫没有一点要卖宝石给我的意思,而是耐心地回答我的所有问题。他的宝石都明码标价,而且真的公道到让人不敢相信(感觉如果买一批回澳洲转手卖掉的话可以赚回所有路费)。我本来对宝石没什么兴趣,不过看着看着,就觉得买一颗当纪念品也真是物美价廉,最后挑了一颗很漂亮的蓝宝石(换成澳币才25!)

    午饭前,他得知昨天和我一起来加勒的中国女生在找我,便让我也邀请她来一起吃饭。我们吃到了久违的牛肉(斯里兰卡的佛教徒多吃素,印度教则禁吃牛肉,所以只有穆斯林才会做牛肉),还有烧鸡和各种蔬菜,非常美味。饭后,沙菲拿来两个厚厚的本子,都是他的客人们多年来给他的留言,他说这已经是第六本了。我翻开本子,里面密密麻麻写满了各种语言的文字,还有很多游客从世界各地给他寄来的照片和明信片。我认真读了好多篇中文的留言,沙菲以一片热情对待所有他遇到的游客,有些人买了他的宝石,有些人没有,但他都毫无保留地教他们鉴别宝石、邀请大家来家里喝茶吃饭、帮助找不到住处的游客联系亲戚家去住、带人们去只有当地人才知道的市场买最地道的红茶……有些人因为认识了沙菲,第二次甚至第三次回到斯里兰卡,我非常感动,也在本子上留下了我的经历和对他的祝福。

    ——————

    4月8日续

    今天一早,我们又在看日出的地方遇到了沙菲爷爷,我们去和他问好,想让他介绍我们去当地的早点铺子吃饭,他一口答应下来,带我们来到一家苍蝇小馆。香醇的奶茶、酥软的hoppers、辛辣的咖喱和鱼肉,我们边吃边聊,很是开心。到了结账的时候,才发现沙菲居然已经把钱付了,我们很不好意思,说昨天已经在他家吃了午饭,应该我们请他吃早饭才对,可是他手一挥,说道:“你们来加勒旅游,就是我的客人,这是我们展示好客之道的方式,等你们回到自己的国家,也用这样的热情去对待来自各国的游客,便最好不过了。”

    与沙菲一家人说再见的时候,我很不舍,甚至有一点点难过,他说:“哈哈,我们昨天早上才认识,现在我们却像老朋友要分散一样,你看,才过了这么短的时间,人与人之间就可以建立起这样的友谊与信任啊!”

    是啊,我在想,即使沙菲的热情是为了他的生意,但如此的真诚与好客,真的让人觉得他不仅仅是在赚钱,更是在用心认识和了解每一个他遇到的人。也许上千年前架起欧亚桥梁的阿拉伯人,也都和他一样懂得真正的为商之道吧。

    加勒真的是一个值得再来的地方。
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  • Day2

    从科伦坡到锡吉里耶

    March 31 in Sri Lanka

    虽然今天只是旅途的第二天,但有一件事我可以肯定,那就是来斯里兰卡旅游,是不可能让自己看起来不狼狈的。我今天爬了两座山(石头?),除了在上山的过程中一边喘气一边不断地责问自己“为什么花钱买罪受”以外,还全程都在洗盐水澡,从我身旁而过的其他游客也在一直大呼“热死了”、混身都是汗”。当然,到了山顶的时候,所有的负面情绪都会随着美景的出现而烟消云散。

    今天从机场住处到Sigiriya的四个多小时中,司机Sameera一直在给我介绍斯里兰卡的各种基本状况,让我世界观颠覆的一件事是:科伦坡竟然不是斯里兰卡的首都,而只是经济中心,真正的首都是位于科伦坡以南的一个名为“斯里贾亚瓦德纳普拉科特”的地方!我震惊之余,立刻向他抛出“澳大利亚的首都是哪里”的问题,果不其然他也答错了,于是我勉强扳回一局。

    一路上的街景都让我有一种在中国南方小城镇的错觉,潮湿破旧的房屋、低矮的沿街商铺、高耸的椰子树,还有沿着公路不紧不慢地骑着摩托车的人,如果不是人们更为黝黑的皮肤和时不时出现的穿着莎丽的妇女,这里的一切都像极了不少我去过的南方小城。当然,作为一个土生土长的北方人,总是不免对这样的“异国风情”感到好奇。

    来这趟旅行之前为了做足功课,特意找了一本关于斯里兰卡的小说来读,这本书讲述了上个世纪的英国殖民统治结束后,生活在这个岛屿上的僧伽罗人与泰米尔人之间多年的纷争。说实话,我以前一直以为斯里兰卡像泰国一样,是一个佛教国家,读了相关的书籍和资料后才知道,除了占人口70%以上信仰佛教的僧伽罗人之外,斯里兰卡还有很多泰米尔人,而在泰米尔人之中,又分为信仰印度教和信仰伊斯兰教的两大派别。一路上,形形色色的佛寺、清真寺、印度神庙和天主教堂陆续出现在车窗外,给人一种各个民族宗教和平共处的和谐景象,可事实真的是这样吗?这个月初在Kandy市爆发了泰米尔穆斯林和僧伽罗佛教徒之间的冲突,导致政府进行了半个月的“戒严封网”。据Sameera所说,冲突其实并不太严重,不过的确是民族矛盾长期积累的结果。有意思的是,这里的穆斯林与许多发达国家近年猛增的穆斯林不同,他们并不是最近由于战乱才涌入的难民,而是早在八世纪左右就来到了斯里兰卡,与当地的僧伽罗人已经共处了上千年之久,所以按理说,民族融合即便到不了相敬如宾的程度,怎么说也应该相安无事吧?我和Sameera分析出来的结论是,虽然一直以来大家都住在这个岛上,但在历史的绝大多数时间里,不同的民族之间少有来往,而是都几乎过着与世隔绝的生活,是近代的发展与时代的变迁,让这些不同的民族不得不融合,不得不面对彼此生活、信仰、习俗、文化等种种不同,而冲突便也就由此产生了。

    感觉人类社会的绝大多数问题,都可以归罪到“他们”与“我们”这种简单粗暴的二元世界观上,就像两千多年前《左传》里的一句“非我族类,其心必异”,直到今天有些人还是对此深信不疑,人类啊,有时真是固执而愚蠢的生物,还是大自然更令人赏心悦目!
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  • Day6

    去埃拉的火车

    April 4 in Sri Lanka

    昨天从Nuwara Eliya坐火车来Ella,出发前一周试着预约的一等座没有订到,于是便只能来窗口买二等票(区别在于:一等座对号入座,有票就有座; 二等座则是先占先得,没座就站着)。这段旅程经过高原山区、农庄茶园,风景秀丽,于是一直被称为斯里兰卡最美的火车线路,所以不出意外地,出发前一个小时,站台上就站满了游客和少数的当地人(斯里兰卡的火车票没有售罄这一说,二等和三等座的票没有上限,只要你上得去就可以)。火车进站后,车上零零星星地下了几个人,大家便开始拼命地往上挤。我一向不会和别人抢,本来站的位置挺靠近车门,没几下就被留到了最后,眼看着前面的人已经卡在了车门处前进不得,心想:这下完了,难不成要再等几个小时坐下一班车吗?这时,车厢里面开始有人往外推,你进我退几个来回,从车门处吐出了几个游客,一边下车一边忿忿地说:我的天,我可受不了在这样的环境下站三个小时!等他们都下来后,我扶住栏杆,用力一拽,终于挤上了火车。

    我尴尬地和其他几个乘客交换着位置,有几个轻装上阵的游客守在门口,毫不动弹,既然车厢里已无坐下的可能,车门口便是最好的选择了,因为火车行驶的过程中车门不关,所以这里风景又好,空气又流通顺畅。可我不能站在这里,我的背包太重,感觉会有被拽下火车的危险。于是我进一步向中间挤去,终于挪身到了两节车厢的连接处。

    这里还算宽敞,但是既看不到外面的风景,也呼吸不到外面的空气,完全处在一个黑暗的空间里。无所谓了,总比上不来火车好,我只能这样安慰自己。车开了,我一边努力在脚底两块随着机器扭动而发出刺耳声音的金属板之间保持自己的平衡,一边向四处张望。

    这是一列从中国进口的火车,走道里站满了人,两边各有两个座位,带孩子的都抱着小孩子坐在腿上。好在车窗都半开着,虽然没有空调,车厢里的温度也不至于太高。从乘客的面部表情中,你很容易就可以分辨出哪些是第一次有这种火车经历的游客,他们不是皱着眉头,就是尴尬地相视苦笑。有时候卖零食的小贩拿着大篮子经过,他们更是无奈,不情愿地侧身给小贩让路,表情好像在说:都这么挤了,你们怎么还要走来走去?

    这时候,我会不由得庆幸自己从小在中国长大,因为我经历过很多次比这个痛苦多了的火车之旅,对脏乱差也有着很高的耐受力。小时候印象最深刻的一次是10岁时和爸妈从西安到银川的过夜车,因为买不到卧铺票,只能坐硬座,而小孩子又没有票,所以我其实是没有座位的。白天还好,坐在爸妈的腿上,晚上就要命了,大家都要睡觉,我们小孩子就只能躺到座位的下面去睡,还要把腿蜷起来,不能碰到站在过道里的人。还有大学时暑假回家,也坐过几次座票,虽然有空调,但不能调节的座椅还是让人晚上无法入睡,只能跪在地上,然后趴在座位上打盹,坚持十几个小时。

    回想这些经历,顿时让我对眼前的这仅仅三个小时的车程倍感希望,才不到一澳元的票价,却可以体验怀旧的火车之旅,这不是很划算吗?
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka, ሲሪላንካ, سريلانكا, Şri Lanka, Шры-Ланка, Шри Ланка, Sirilanka, শ্রীলঙ্কা, ཤྲཱི་ལངྐ་།, Šri Lanka, Srí Lanka, ཤྲཱྀ་ལངཀ, Sri Lanka nutome, Σρι Λάνκα, Cejlono, سری لانکا, Siri Lanka, Srí Lanca, શ્રીલંકા, סרי לנקה, श्री लंका, Շրի Լանկա, Sri Langka, スリランカ民主社会主義共和国, შრი-ლანკა, ស្រីលង្កា, ಶ್ರೀಲಂಕಾ, 스리랑카, سریلانکا, ສີລັງກາ, Šrilanka, ശ്രീലങ്ക, श्रीलंका, သီရိလင်္ကာ, श्रीलङ्का, ଶ୍ରୀଲଙ୍କା, Lanka-dīpa, Шри-Ланка, Tāmaraparnī, Sirî-Lanka, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Sirilaanka, இலங்கை, శ్రీలంక, ศรีลังกา, Silangikā, Шрі Ланка, سری لنکا, Xri Lan-ca (Sri Lanka), Orílẹ́ède Siri Lanka, 斯里兰卡, i-Sri Lanka

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