Thursday, August 11, 2016

Colombo - Sri Lanka

By now, we had traveled thousands of miles by road from Colombo to Negambo, Kandy, Nurwara Eliya and Katagarama. Subsequently, departing from Galle/Koggala, another loop back to Colombo where we will be for 2 days before returning home. Honestly, I felt as though we were journeying often instead of touring other interesting places. That’s why, eventually, after the third day, we literally pushed the guide to take us to places not included in the itinerary and for which we didn’t mind paying on our own. The lame guide on the other hand, even from day one had a hundred and one excuses which then rang the bell indicating he is merely a driver rather than a trained tour guide.  

Quite a character as well, always sulking about the hassle of parking, paying for parking from his own pocket and his own accommodation seemed the priority more than anything else. Whatever, we completely ignored him, yet we made it a point that we are strong characters who meant business. Therefore, he had no other choice. He certainly made a tremendous effort throughout the first half of the morning drive to stop by at the mesmerizing beaches (Pattaya Beach), the temples (Wat Mahathat Ayutthaya) and the monuments erected after the 2014 Tsunami.



Obviously, the momentum picked up rapidly for more of Sri Lanka's splendor, later, we paid for the pricey, yet a fantastic experience of “Madu River Nature” Boat Safari at Balapitaya (Malacca River Cruise, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market BangkokMandurah Ferry Cruise Perth, Fremantle Perth & Ayutthaya River Cruise & Golden Triangle Chiang Mai). I marveled at the six to a boat fun ride around the islands and under the mangrove to see  the wildlife from the speed boat equipped with life jackets and a collapsible roof to shield us away from the mid-morning sun. In between the one hour a bit more ride, they took us to Cinnamon Island to see how cinnamon is harvested and processed into sticks, powder and oil. I had to buy, I bought a packet of cinnamon, whereas the tour buddy settled for the oil. 

A couple more stops as we continued journeying, when we arrived at about 2 pm for the touristy buffet lunch in Colombo, the bus loads (Sen Tay Ho Restaurant Hanoi) of Chinese tourists had polished off most of the food. Disgusting to look at them constantly piling up their plates and gawking non-stop as though they have not eaten for days. Well, not surprising. Anyway, out of hunger, we ate in the no ventilation back to back dining area and quickly left for a brief city tour (Bell Tower Perth, Myanmar Across the Border & Pretoria City Tour) within the nearby vicinity.   

By late evening, we had settled down in the well-maintained and facing the pool and beach room at Pegasus Reef Hotel (Amata Spring Country Club Chonburi). What a relieve! Away from thousands of tourists in the spacious nature setting hotel for dinner alongside cultural show and breakfast on the last day allocated for shopping.  

Shopping definitely was out of the question since we have already checked out most of the shops selling similar things (Ben Thanh Market VietnamFremantle Market, Phuket Premium Outlet & Morning Bazaar Georgetown PenangEran Cafe HanoiGrand Bazaar Turkey & Fish Market Norway)Instead, we visited the Gangaramaya Temple – one of the bigger Buddhist temples near Beira Lake at the heart of Colombo. Established in 1885, today, it is a complex housing the Vihara (monastery), Cetiya (pagoda), Vihara Mandiraya (image house full of colorful Buddha statues), the Bodhi Tree, the Relic Chamber, sacred relics of Buddha and his disciples, a library, a museum and at the courtyard, there are rows of elevating steps with Buddha Thai style statues.  

An hour at this significant temple, popular among people from all walks of life, surprisingly, least crowded it was from the time we arrived, spoke to the monk who have frequented Brickfields Buddhist Temple and till we left. From this temple, we journeyed for lunch at Xilaton Chinese Restaurant, at the courtesy of the travel agency to compensate for the hiccups in the itinerary and hotels. Tucking into the tasty and appealing eight course meal (Siam Country Club) in the basic Chinese style ambiance, next was a drive around Colombo city to view the monuments, memorials and government buildings. Pretty much over and done by covering the essential and must see place in Colombo, next was to the airport to catch our flight back home,

Overall, this seven days Sri Lanka tour was spectacular regardless of its set of some unpleasant moments (Rickshaw Ride Hanoi & Dubai One Day Tour). Still, bottom line, I must say Sri Lanka is simply superb for its beautiful beaches, wonderful sightseeing spots, amazing delicious cuisine and the people are so humble and simple. So, if you are thinking of holidaying in Sri Lanka, you will not regret. Go ahead.  
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  1. The place looks amazing food delicious great place to visit.

  2. WOW! Everything looks so beautiful!

  3. Beautiful sights...and the food pictures look so tempting! Would love to visit Sri Lanka some day!

  4. Good old Ceylon with its rustic charm

  5. Great write up... lovely pics...and dear Nava....u rocks....! love ur pics... drooling over food!

  6. True, it's very irritating when our tour guide has no idea what we are actually looking for.. amazing and so very interesting pics Nava.. Though the names are a little difficult to pronounce (not sure how you remembered till you typed!) , Places look lovely!

  7. Sorry about your predicament, Nava! I guess some guides like to lament, expecting more tips from tourists. We get that too. I'm glad you had an enjoyable trip nonetheless! xoxo

  8. Sri Lanka gives me vibes of South India.. the food is so yummy and the beaches wud be worth checking out.. loved the pics

  9. Thanks for the pictures. I couldn't go back home for few years now. While you were in Kandy, did you get a chance to visit scared temple of tooth relic of lord Buddha (dalada maligawa) ? Really nice post.


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