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Sri Lanka

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

Most traveled places in Sri Lanka:

All Top Places in Sri Lanka
  • Nach dem Nachtflug von Dubai nach Colombo, kommen wir endlich um 4 Uhr morgens auf der Insel süd-östlich Indiens an. Wir nehmen den Highway Bus nach Colombo und kommen fast pünktlich am Colombo fort an. Zumindest dachten wir das. Wir kommen an einem chaotischen Platz an, wo wildes Treiben herrscht, Busse rasant von allen Richtungen angefahren kommen mit einem Hupen, das allen verständlich machen soll, aus dem Weg zu gehen, Marktleuten, die verschiedenste Dinge verkaufen und gut gekleideten Leuten, die auf dem Weg zur Arbeit sind. Der Bahnhof ist weder ausgeschildert noch sind sich die Einheimischen darüber einig, in welche Richtung wir laufen müssen, um ihn zu erreichen. Der erste Kulturschock hat uns hier erreicht. Gott sei dank hat sich Bene ausreichend informiert und erkennt den Bahnhof nach einigen Minuten laufen in der Ferne. Wir erreichen sogar noch den ausgesuchten Zug um 6:55 Uhr nach Hikkaduwa, der entlang der Küste in den Süden des Landes fährt.

    Die Zugfahrt.
    Hat man sich erst einmal an die sehr lauten Zuggeräusche gewöhnt, kann man die wunderschöne Aussicht auf Seiten der Küste und die exotischen Eindrücke mit teilweise sehr ärmlichen und heruntergekommenen Hütten nebst Palmen genießen. Leider ist Tamis empfindlicher Magen die unruhige Fahrt und exotischen Gerüche, die aus dem offenen Fenster uns entgegen strömen nicht gewöhnt und ihr wird schlecht. Den Rest der Fahrt (ca 1,5 Stunden) ist sie also nur noch damit beschäftigt sich nicht übergeben zu müssen. Aber schließlich kommen wir an. Mit dem Tuktuk fahren wir - mit einem Umweg weil uns unser Tuktuk-Fahrer zu einer Unterkunft eines Freundes bringen will, was wir jedoch durchschauen und nicht auf den Trick hereinfallen - zu unserer wunderschönen Unterkunft "Mandala Beach". Mit Jetlag und erschöpft von der Fahrt entspannen wir uns den ersten Tag und freuen uns auf das, was in den kommenden 12 Tagen in Sri Lanka vor uns liegt!
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  • Die ersten Tage verbringen wir entspannt am Meer in dem süd-westlich gelegenen Ort Hikkaduwa in dem Gästehaus "Mandala Beach". Die Unterkunft ist wunderschön, liegt direkt am Meer und es finden sich dort zahlreiche Palmen und Möglichkeiten zum Ausruhen und Entspannen. Nach dem kalten Winter, den arbeitsreichen Monaten des letzten Jahres und der anstrengenden Reise wollen wir uns hier erst einmal richtig erholen. Die Gastgeberin"Mina" ist eine gebürtige Sri-Lankerin, die in Österreich aufwuchs und studierte. Mit ihrem Mann, einem Sri-Lanker, der direkt aus Hikkaduwa stammt, betreibt sie seit 3 Jahren das Gästehaus. Bei ihr und ihrem Team aus vier weiteren Sri-Lankern fühlen wir uns sehr wohl.
    An unserem letzten Tag nehmen wir unsere erste Surf-Stunde. Entgegen Tamis Erwartungen schaffen wir es sogar ein paar Mal auf dem Brett zu stehen und mit der Welle zu surfen. Australien kann kommen ;)
    Jetzt geht es weiter Richtung Süden, wo wir zwei Tage in Mirissa verbringen.
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  • Last day in Ella - more walking! Huge breakfast including egg hoppers (rice flour pancake bowls with egg cooked inside), mixed fruit, toast & jam and curd with treacle. Walked to Ravana cave via very steep rock steps to see where Sita was hidden in Hindu tales. Had canine companion for two hours, reward was a biscuit. More walking on railway spotting birds and monkeys. First rains of monsoon this evening. (Also realised we have been a 'couple' for 21 years today. Obviously together when we were 9 years old....).Read more

  • This is what 10 hours and counting in the airport looks like! Finally airside and waiting for the next sector to Nepal (via India). Its been a variety of experiences of a new country - people are kind and friendly, always having time to sit and chat.

  • Today, I made my way east to Yala National Park, the second largest in Sri Lanka. The park is only accessible by jeep safari and filled with water buffaloes, peacocks, crocodiles and wild boars. Our safari was lucky enough to see a leopard (pic 5), too!!

    After a short rain shower in the afternoon, there was a gorgeous double rainbow and an elephant showed up just in time for me to just sit there and watched it for quite a while.Read more

  • Arrived in Galle for the second time on Saturday, for a couple of days. Arrived by bus using Grand Prix rules.... Galle is a Colonial Fort with loads of history and characterful buildings. Spent a day and a half walking the streets and people watching, including a cricket match where the boundry included the road. Also indulged in another afternoon tea overlooking the ocean (including waffles and ice cream). Unfortunately it is time to leave Sri Lanka, but moving on to new adventures in Nepal.Read more

  • Upon arrival we got a tuktuk to the train station ready to get back on that familiar train continuing on to the area Mirissa.
    Mirissa is known for it's gorgeous beach and we were now very ready to slow down and have some sun, sea and sand!

    As standard with Sri Lanka they follow their own timelines, meaning the 9:35 train actually didnt leave til 10:15am, however it was very quiet meaning we had lots of space and got to look out of the window as well as having that amazing breeze. When we arrived it was a short journey to the main road where as usual it runs parallel with the beach and is where the majority of guesthouses and shops are. Our guesthouse was down a side street thankfully which made it a lot quieter at night. First thing we noticed is there are a lot more mosquitos here but thankfully we have a four poster bed with a a good net over it so that helped (not that we don't have some bad bites! I had forgotten the relentless of the itching...).
    That afternoon was a quiet one as I hadn't been feeling that well, seemingly coming down with a bad head cold or something similar, and so we relaxed and settled in with an afternoon siesta. Later on we wandered onto the beach and wow! It was beautiful. White sand, crystal clear water and it sweeps round in a lovely bay shape. We couldn't wait to get in it!

    Over the next 2 days we spent days on sun loungers, going in and out of the warm but refreshing sea every hour and relaxing the daytimes away. The first day, although we thought we were very careful we did both get fairly bad sunburn (Phil especially so with a very red back and shoulders!) So the following day we were much more careful and stayed out of the sun more. There's a lovely sea breeze so that might be why it feels so pleasant, it misleads you into thinking it's not so hot! We'd spend sunsets and the evenings also on the beach, having fresh sea food they catch that day and display for you to choose, then eat it with just candlelight with the waves crashing next to you. Such a relaxing place and reminded us of a more built up version of the island Koh Rong off Cambodia which we adored being on 3 years ago.

    After a final relaxing evening we had an early start ready to go whale watching. At 6:15am a tuktuk arrived ready to take us to the harbour to go with a well respected company Raja And The Whales. Off the coast of Mirissa it is considered one of the best places in the world to see whales, in particular blue whales. Except for Antarctica here is the largest concentration of blue whales so we were very hopeful we'd get to see the largest animal on the planet that day! This tour company is double the price of others in the area however we knew we wanted to go with them after not only great reviews but their knowledge and respect of the whales, which they definitely showed, for example not chasing then down or 'blocking' them in, explaining to us about what is good for them throughout the tour. They were so passionate about the animals and it showed with their approach. They also really know their stuff, taking us to areas where there were no other tourist boats. Within 10 minutes out in deep water they spotted one however we missed it (when a blue whale dives it can be down there for 45 minutes!) So they moved on and boy were we in for a treat. About an hour later we were told they'd spotted a whale and we're waiting to see it again when suddenly right next to me and Phil a Brydes whale came up about 15 metres from us, what an awesome surprise. Then suddenly seemingly without warning we seemed surrounded, everywhere you looked we saw blow holes spouting all round the boat at different distances, you hardly knew where to look! We saw a pair of blue whales come up fairly close but more amazingly, swimming in our direction, closer and closer, til they looked like they were going to crash into the side of the boat. It was kind of scary as you started to really see the size and the blue shimmer of their bodies under the water. They then went round the back of the boat at this point, we were just drifting to not disturb them. As they went round the back of the boat they were probably only 10 metres away if that and then they both flukked their tails and dived down which we'd all been waiting for. This couple kept appearing as we moved on, swimming in perfect unison and treating is to regular dives down. We were then even lucky enough to have another pair join the party and another Brydes whale.
    Completely awe-inspiring is the only way I can describe the feeling. Shortly after this we headed back, also seeing a large manta ray too and we were on a high. We'd just seen not only a solidarity creature in its couples, but one of the rarest to see in the world and so close. Incredibly lucky and a definite highlight of the trip so far. A big thank you goes out to my cousin Kate, Mark and Rufus for gifting us this opportunity for birthdays and Christmas. It was truly special!

    We now won't see the sea until Negombo at the end of our trip in Sri Lanka and it will be missed.

    Beth
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  • After a few days in Sri Lanka, I'm finally posting my first update from this beautiful island.

    I've had a great few days! The first 3 days, I spent in Colombo, partially catching up with work, emails and calling friends and family, and partially with exploring the city with a few locals and travelers alike. Highlights in the capital: a "post-colonial trans-punk" concert and a private house music party at a little house in the jungle. I had a fantastic, relaxing time!

    After a day of surfing in the south, I'm now in Talalla, enjoying a beautiful quiet beach with a great Yoga facility and yummy fresh seafood. In the early mornings, the fishermen bring in the nets by hand, about 10 of them pulling from the beach. In the evenings, you can watch bats and fireflies from the little guest house right by the beach. I'm definitely gathering up a ton of energy for more exploring in the coming days :)
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  • In the early morning, I headed out on a scooter to snorkel and see the giant sea turtles in the shallow waters at Polhena. There were also plenty of colorful fish, but the best part was when a local diver showed me 2 giant sea turtles, one about 1.30 meters long. I followed it and basically swam right above it for almost 20 minutes, I was so flashed afterwards. Such a cool experience.

    I then headed east to see the fishing town of Tangalle. On the way, I took a detour to see a blowhole and instead ended up at the local harbor, where I spoke to the fishermen and got a tour of the fishing boats, on which they go out for 4 weeks at a time to go fishing.

    Two German travelers had recommended a beach which I decided to check out and it turned out to be the most beautiful place right by a large lagoon. I spent the rest of my day here and played some frisbee with a group of locals.

    I ended the day with practicing some guitar at beach back the guest house.
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  • So after the rough ride we basically threw ourselves off the train at Kandy train station. Not exaggerating when I say 'throw', the crowds were terrible and pushing to get on without letting us off first, the trains are also raised very high. So after passing the smaller bags through the open window to Phil, I had to throw myself into the crowd as the only way to exit. Yes I crushed some people but hey if they won't wait what can I do!? Unfortunately the concept of patience and queuing is lost here, especially when it comes to the fight for best seats, not that there were any...
    As we left the station we weren't in the best mood for the usual tuktuk drivers games. We knew the price it should be to take us to our guesthouse so we held our ground. Some drivers didn't take too well to this but we moved on and found a young lad who did it for the accurate price (half what the others said).

    Upon arriving at our guesthouse it was like an oasis. A kind lady greeted us and took us upstairs where there was a gardened covered balcony right outside our room. It was quiet, even on a main road and was a lovely escape.
    We went to a hotel restaurant two houses away which was recommended (described as clean so I'll take that) and we actually had this amazing Chinese feast, which definitely made us feel more human. As we felt dead, the rest of the day was to chill and recover from the full on travelling experience.
    The next day we were refreshed and went out to experience the city. Only a 10 minute walk away was Kandy lake, the centrepiece of the area and next to it The Temple of the Tooth, one of the main sacred Buddhist templates in the world.
    As we walked towards the entrance there was a large crowd gathering where we wanted to go. As I looked through to see what was happening I was met with an armed guard with a machine gun... so we will be waiting here I thought.
    I realised behind him was a red carpet and suddenly an onslaught of photographers and video cameramen came running down following a police escort and a blacked out car. Clearly someone very important was arriving. We watched him and a huge entourage walk down and wave at us all and go through a traditional ceremony and into the temple. Shortly after we were allowed through to buy our tickets (somewhat overpriced ticket considering locals are allowed in for free) and then wait again out in the sun. Even locals were fainting around us so it was a tough 20 minute wait or so! But finally we went in, along with crowds of Sri Lankans with flowers to offer. To be honest it was pretty mad being pushed along somewhat like cattle, and we were glad to be outside the back of the temple to get some air and explore at our own pace. The main draw of this temple is the 'tooth' of the Buddha which is housed here in a gold casket, and is one of the most precious relics to Buddhists. I saw it for a maximum of 3 seconds before being forced to move on. Maybe it was just a bad day to visit.

    After we explored the whole site we went for a leisurely lunch at a lovely cafe just outside the temple, where we even indulged on ice cream sundaes. We wanted a treat after feeling somewhat disappointed with our temple experience. Afterwards we went for a wonder around the lake which was pleasant and saw a surprising amount of wildlife including a huge monitor lizard sunning itself on the edge of the water 1m from us.
    Off a side street is the Garrison cemetery which was recommended to visit. After strolling around the caretaker who has worked there for 20 years started telling us the stories of some of the people buried there, and wow were they fascinating. To a point where we've looked up these people since. Whether it was the last British colonial man to be killed by a wild elephant, to the millionaire robbed by Sri Lankas 'Robin Hood' who then gave his wealth out to the poor in the mountains, there were quite some interesting tales. Prince Charles went to visit this cemetery in the nounties and he was still gushing about that visit which was sweet.
    After we left the cemetery it was a short walk back to the lake and to the red cross hall for a cultural show we had booked tickets for. Kandy is known for these dance shows so we knew we had to see one.
    The show itself was very good with impressive costumes and performances. But at the end was even more impressive when they brought out hot coals and men starting walking bare foot across them as well as eating fire. Besides being covered in ash it was quite a thing to see. We still don't know how they did it.

    The next day we decided to have a leisurely start and went to the outskirts of the city to Kandy's famed botanical gardens, and the largest in Asia. To be honest we weren't expecting much but boy were we wrong. I've never been to gardens more stunning and varied. They had different sections from the Orchid house to the spice garden and each one was in a class of it's own. The colours and smells everywhere was amazing and so luscious. As well as being immaculately matained. As we walked around there was also plenty of animals, lots of monkies which Phil happily walked through as a huge group passed by, and giant flying fox bats hanging from the fern trees. This only added to the amazing nature around.
    Another thing that happened is a group of some sort of summer school approached us. Now we are quite used to be stopped and asked for photos, especially tall blond haired Phil which is of extra excitement to the locals. But this was different as it was a range of schoolchildren of different ages learning English, and they desperately wanted to practise. We had all the questions like what are our favourite hobbies and so on, it was really quite adorable and we were happy to stop and chat. However it started to go a little bit awkward when they insisted we sing a song, which we begrudgingly did (we sang Jingle Bells) but then they kept pushing for us to dance too. I wanted to point over to the actual monkies in the park and tell them to ask them to perform instead. But i restrained these thoughts and grabbed Phils phone, knowing that he would give in wanting to please them and I better get the video going!
    Well let's just say it may be one of the most awkward but hilarious moments of my entire life. A school girl sang this slow independence song and Phil was just wiggling about with this 7 year old boy, then burst into the robot moves, because what else could you do!? No one really knew what was happening but I was genuinely shaking with laughter. In fact shortly after when Phil signalled he really wanted to leave now (bless him) I was hunched over crying in hysterics watching the video back. Sorry to say folks Phil has banned anyone from viewing this...currently. It took a while to get over this encounter but then we went back to exploring the gardens and stayed there for hours.
    We got the bus back and was dropped right outside the prison on a hill so we could see in. To say it was grim is an understatement. If anyone watched the TV show 'Prison Break' think about SONA.. it is just like that, horrendous.

    Now we were very tired and hot and needed an escape, so upon a recommendation from a fellow traveller we ducked into a plush shopping mall just off the lake. It had an impressive food hall with food from all over the world and we tucked in. Sri Lankan food is great but nice to have a change from rice and curry sometimes, and it was delicious. We then indulged in some fancy ice creams and suddenly we felt recuperated. We strolled back to our guesthouse and relaxed ready for another full day of travelling the next day, to go North and do some more ancient temple exploring.

    Beth
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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