Elephants, beaches and so much more- Sri Lanka, the country full of surprises

For one of our trips we decided it was time to see what Sri Lanka was all about. A country that only a little while ago was not on the list of places to visit due to the civil war which finished in 2009. It has started to gain popularity over the last few years and after our trip we think it is a place worth visiting and somewhere we would go back to! The same day that we landed back from Japan we boarded the evening flight to Sri Lanka for a short 7-day holiday. Once we arrived in Colombo, we headed on to Kandy. The crew at Sri Lankan were lovely and gave us advice on which local busses to take to get to Kandy (we were told to change at a certain bus station onto a quicker bus). As we had been travelling for over 24hrs, that didn’t quite work out the way it was supposed to! We ended up on the local bus and never changed, so it took us four hours to get to Kandy (though for about $2, great value for money). These local bus trips turned out to be one of our favourite parts of the journey though, so we didn’t mind at all.

IMG_2591Bus station in Kandy.

After passing along gorgeous Sri Lankan scenery, we finally got to Kandy.  From there we got a tuk tuk to take us to Hanthana, a 15min ride from the centre of Kandy where we stayed in the Forest View Holiday Home (http://www.booking.com/hotel/lk/forest-view-holiday-home.en-gb.html?aid=356995;label=gog235jc-hotel-XX-lk-forestNviewNholidayNhome-unspec-jp-com-L%3Aen-O%3AosSx-B%3Achrome-N%3AXX-S%3Abo-U%3AXX;sid=6dae3c6b4574f0afe3667bf3c063e512;dist=0&sb_price_type=total&type=total&) , located in the foresty part of Kandy. This place was lovely (basic), the homestay family was friendly and the dinner we ate there (and paid for, about $9) was a tasty Sri Lankan style curry. The room for 2 people was $20 for a night. The views from the home stay were lovely and we felt very relaxed sitting on the balcony and looking out into the forest area.

IMG_2527View from the balcony at Forest view.

The next day we spent visiting temples in Kandy. The first one we went to was the Gatambe Sri Rajopawanaramaya, which you will recognize by a door in a lion’s mouth. It is not one mentioned in guide books, but when we drove past the lions head we were intrigued.

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When we had finished exploring it we got back into our tuk tuk and headed to the famous Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, important as it houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha.  When going on a temple visiting tour always remember to dress appropriately.

IMG_2590.JPGIn front of the temple there are stalls with offerings for the Buddha. We each bought a lotus flower (at a “westerners price”). Can you spot one of the chicks with suitcases in this picture?

IMG_2574Some of the beautiful intricate stone and wood carvings of the temple.

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We then went for a little stroll around the Bogambara Lake which is right next to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.

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After some more scrumptious Sri Lankan curry for lunch we got back on a local bus for another 4-hour ride to the ancient ruins in Polonnaruwa, in North Central Sri Lanka …

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