Sri Lanka has been a package of surprises. Temples like I have never seen before, Buddhist temples on every street and corner, so many beautiful landscapes in one seemingly little teardrop shaped country and rice and curry dishes that never cease to amaze. As I sat writing this at Colombo International Airport, waiting to fly back home to sunny Dubai, I wished my trip across Sri Lanka wasn’t over so soon. There is always that one temple that you couldn’t visit, that one beach you heard about, that one train ride that you couldn’t take and that one local place you were supposed to eat at.
I travelled from Kandy to the towns of Nuwara Eliya and Ella in the gorgeous Hill country, finally finishing up at the sleepy beach village of Mirissa on the South coast, stopping at the colonial town of Galle on my way back to Colombo- all this in just 6 days! The trip took me to the almost surreal Buddhist cave temples of Dambulla, the World’s End at the Hortons Plains Reserve, on a crowded train through forests and mountains from Pattipola to the sleepy village of Ella and to the lanes of the old town of Galle with its Dutch architecture. Three weeks would have been perfect to visit all the places I wish I could have seen- Jaffna with its Hindu temples, and ruins in the aftermath of the war, the ancient city of Anuradhapura, the beaches on the East coast- Trincomalee and Pigeon Island and Kitulgala with its long jungle treks and white water rafting.
It is obvious that tourism is not new to the country and sometimes it can get annoying when you are quoted ridiculous ‘tourist prices’ everywhere, be it a temple or a store selling trinkets. Public transport is fairly convenient if time is not a constraint. If it is, then it’s very cheap to hire a car and driver for a day when travelling across towns. Budget accommodation is easily available everywhere and is mostly Bed & Breakfast style in guest houses, who almost always can arrange tours and treks.The food is simply delicious, rice and curry meals are not only a delight for the wallet but also for the taste buds. If in Sri Lanka, do not miss the spicy ‘Devilled’ dishes– vegetables, meat or fish cooked in red chillies and Devil spices, as the name suggests it’s quite something!
It’s amazing how the country has something to offer to everyone- whether it’s culture, history, adventure or relaxation. Like they say everywhere in Sri Lanka, Ayubowan!