Only 5 sleeps to go and we’re off on our next adventure, magical Sri Lanka. Having toured successfully through Cambodia and Vietnam with Insider Journeys we’ve again hooked up with them and Tina our travel adviser.
Our travels take us from Colombo, where we start we with a free day to explore and ground ourselves in this new country. Sri Lanka has been on our bucket list for a while now but we’ve always found other places to visit. We love to have a day to explore when we lob into a new country, it’s great to wander the streets and chat with locals while beginning to sample the local cuisine. After our day exploring Colombo and nearby Negombo we head inland to Sigiriya which will be our base for the next 4 nights.
From here our 4 days will include visits to Anuradhapura, the 4th century BC capital in a beautiful park-like rural environment. Here a tour of the ancient ruins includes the gigantic Stupas second in size to the Pyramids of Egypt and the Sri Maha Bodhi, said to be the oldest documented tree on earth. Continue to ”Mihintale’ translated as Mahindas’ Mountain, where the great Sinhalese king Devanampiyatissa was converted to Buddhism by Mahinda, the son of the last Buddhist emperor of India.
From here we also get to climb, hopefully, the amazing rock fortress of King Kasayapa. The view of the surrounding countryside from the summit of the rock is apparently spectacular. The climb is steep and only suitable for those with good fitness – thank goodness for travel insurance. However the historical park and rock views at the base are a must for all visitors, whether they are fit to climb or not. In the afternoon visit the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Sight seeing in Polonnaruwa will include the statue of the great Sinhalese King Parakramabahu. We will also be visiting Dambulla and it’s rock cave temples, let’s hope these caves are bigger than the last lot we visited in Vietnam.
After Dambulla we’re off to Kandy where we will play tourist in the magnificent botanical gardens which we have heard has one of Asia’s finest orchid collections. We leave Kandy by train heading up into the hills to visit tea plantations on the way to Nuwara Eliya where we are hoping to sample the high tea at the Grand Hotel.
Next stop is Yala where we visit the Ravana Ella Falls amongst other local sites, but the highlight here will be the game drive early the next morning. We’ve seen the Big 5 in Kruger, but the Sri Lankan leopard is apparently larger than his African counterpart due to be at the top of the food chain. We’re hopeful of sighting this magnificent creature.
Our last stop on our Sri Lankan adventure is the coastal town of Galle where we hope to round off our travels relaxing in the 16th century Portuguese town built around an ancient fort.