Sri Lanka 2006
Where it All Began... - Paradise
21 Jul 2006
It was finally time for me to head off on my OE. And where else more appropriate to start it off with than my forever home away from home - SRI LANKA!
After spending a couple of days caching up with the fam in Colombo we headed north to Sigiriya, an ancient city best known for the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a 200m high rock consisting of the ruins of a royal palace from 1500 years ago.
After exploring the rock we headed further north to Anuradhapura, one of Sri Lanka's very first capitals from over 2000 years ago. Unfortunately the security situation in the area had made much of the city deserted, and upon being almost cavity checked twice within a 500m walk to the Sri Maha Bodhiya (a 2500 year old Bo tree believed to have originated from the same tree under which Buddha attained his state of enlightenment) we decided to turn around and return to the safer grounds of Sigiriya. That evening the news reported severe fighting between government and rebel forces just a matter of an hours drive away from where we had been!
From Sigiriya we headed into Dambulla where we spent a night at the Kandalama Hotel which is situated in the middle of a jungle by the ancient man made Minneriya tank. That evening we took a trip to the Minneriya National Park were we saw dozens of wild elephants and numourous other animals including water buffalos and wild boar. Unsatisfied by just seeing elephants, Cornelia insited on riding one! Hence a treck through the forest on the back of a somewhat more tamed elphant was arranged for the next morning.
Elephants aside, the hotel itself was absolutely fantastic. Built into a giant rock, the hotel has hardly impacted the environment in which it is built, and consists of views of the Minneriya tank and Sigiriya rock. To add to all this our room was quite simply amazing and even consisted of a private spa looking out on to the Minneriya tank.
Spoilt rotten at Kandalama we headed back to Colombo. After a couple of more days of family time we headed into the lucious green hill Country with breath taking mountain views and endless numbers of tea plantations and waterfalls. Our treck through Hortain Plains to World's End, a 7000 ft deep Viaduct was definitely the highlight of this leg of our trip, but visits to a tea plantation in Bandarawela and a Tea Factory on our way to Kandy also consisted of some very cool moments and experiences. Needless to say, the views in this part of the country are also quite simply breath taking!
Next we headed south to the Beaches at Wadduwa, Ahungalla and Kaluthara. Having the fam join us on our trip to Wadduwa made it the definite pick of the stops along the coast, that said, The Heritance Ahungalla Hotel was an absolute treat, and consisted of two massive pools by the beach with a number of little bars offering plenty of nice bites and drinks. This hotel is a definite recommendation for anyone heading this way looking for sun, beach and pampering.
Locations Visited: Colombo , Sigiriya , Dambulla , Bandarawela Town , Kandy , Wadduwa , Ahungalla , Galle