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Lyndie Sep 20th, 2005 10:36 PM

Sri Lanka Aug/Sept 2005
A quick trip report after 4 and a bit fabulous weeks in Sri Lanka. Despite Singapore Airlines losing our luggage, we enjoyed ourselves very much in Sri Lanka. In fact we're addicted and plan to return around April 2006 after our next India trip.

We spent our first night in Negombo, 20 mins from the airport at Hotel Silversands, a good budget option. There are nicer hotels but they cost US40-50 and for a few hours rest before our bus to Kandy (3 hrs) and the Perahera festival, so we slummed it at US12 for the two of us. Seemed everyone in Sri Lanka was heading for Kandy!

The Kandy Perahera festival parade with over 100 elephants in full dress regalia, and with a huge tusker elephant and the Buddha's tooth in a casket as the central spectacle, is held in July or August depending on the full moon's cycle. We were too jetlagged to enjoy it so will try for 2006's festival. The locals get so excited. The air is electric with anticipation!

Kandy is a pleasant town, larger than Luang Prabang in Laos, but with the same feel. It has a big lake & crazy traffic but it's fun. Good shopping & the Temple of the Tooth (Buddha's)are highlights. Great views from McLeods Guesthouse right on top of the big hill overlooking the town. US13 a night with hot water & great beds! The original guesthouse we stayed in was called Expeditor and is run by a greedy couple who overcharge everyone for food and accommodation, so we voted with our feet and checked out quick!

Hopped a train to Haputale in the mountains and had to pay baksheesh for a seat for me. My partner stood up for 6 hours! The train was packed & not a single centimetre of space was available on this train. People hanging out the doors! Public holidays are the worst time to travel. And the wadiman screaming out "wadis, wadis", which are delicious little chickpea/buckwheat snacks. Anyway arrived in Haputale and what a spectacular view from our dump of a hotel. It was called the Sri Lak View Holiday Inn. Grubby place with spectacular views of the valley if the smog had lifted!

Everyone burns off rubbish in Asia and they don't realise the pollution is killing them and the environment! Anyway checked out and hit the rail tracks for Ella, one hour north east and a glorious little village with a mountain like Machu Picchu. The 3rd class rail trip cost 13 rupees for one hour, around US13 cents! Stayed at Grand Ella Hotel overlooking Ella Gap! Fabulous location and good food! We loved Ella so much we extended our stay and luckily were able to take the "first class" observation car back to Kandy. This is not really first class train travel but it beats 3rd class local stuff! Will post more later. I'm in love with Sri Lanka! Having dhal curry & Jaffna curry tonight. Oh...... and...those Elephants!

hobbes Sep 20th, 2005 11:47 PM

Lynide, I am SO glad to hear u are having a ball. Sri Lanka is one of favourite holiday destinations in Asia and I am dying to go back. Elephants i.e. elephant orphanage? In Colombo you must go to Beach Wadia, an amazing seafood shack. Make a reservation.

orgy7 Sep 21st, 2005 02:16 AM


Im off too colombo in 2 weeks...

did you go to the capital. . stay at any guesthouses.?

I have 2 nights booked at the holiday inn. becouse it's near the thai embassy (I have too take care of some visa business there)

if im lucky and things go well I can retrun too bkk quicly. if not I am stuck in sri lanka for 2 exta days.

in case I have too stay in sri lanka for 2 extra days.
what are some places too check out.

all replies are apprieciated but I don't want too hijack lyndies thread either.

Lyndie Sep 21st, 2005 06:12 PM

hobbes-you gave me some good advice about waiting until we got to Sri Lanka to book the Taj Exotica! We ended up getting a better deal than we would have originally! Yes, I now know why people who take the time to get to know Sri Lanka, love it so much. It's a difficult route to travel for us, from Oz, and also quite expensive for air travel, compared to direct flights to India through Mumbai, but so worth the effort. There's nothing much to dislike about Sri Lanka, except the damn touts everywhere. Small criticism though!And the Elephants we saw in Kandy were beautiful creatures. I hate the way they chain them up but I guess they are a bit too big to lead on a piece of rope. We saw several elephants in many places in Sri Lanka, just by the side of the road or being led around town to do work for their mahouts. Tks again for your input! We're home now and sad to be!

orgy7-Odel's is a fab shop in Cinnamon Gardens. Great shopping, better and cheaper than Bangkok for designer clothes! Also the Taj Exotica at Bentota is a nice place to chill-out It's available on for US59 per night plus tax. If you want to stay at a nice guesthouse, try Parisare (ph 011 269 4749)in Colombo. Great location and a bit posh for US20. Always booked out though! Also you could hop a train or bus down to Galle (3 hrs) and stay at Mrs. Khalid's for US15. She cooks fab Moroccan food! She's in Pedlar Street and has great views of the Fort & the sea. I loved Galle Fort area. The town is a dump but the Fort is full of history! Or you could hop a bus or train up to Kandy for a coupla days. Well worth a visit to Temple of the Tooth. I have a very special place we discovered from info a friend gave us, but you'd need 5-6 days to really appreciate the peace, food, beach etc. Have a brilliant time!

hobbes Sep 22nd, 2005 04:14 AM

Orgy I wouldn't be too sad to have to stay extra in i told Lyndie go to Beach Wadia for dinner, amazing food. Or go to an eco resort for a night - check out Ot go to Bentota, probably the nearest beach.

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