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Trespassing The Ceylon's Land of Gems, Sri Lanka

Discussion in 'Srilanka' started by ChaiNashta, Jul 27, 2015.

  1. ChaiNashta

    ChaiNashta Active Member

    The ancient name of Sri Lanka was Ceylon, which is a tiny island at the foot of Indian peninsula, in the Indian Ocean. The capital is Sri Jayewardanapura Kotte, also popularly known as Colombo. It is famous for intricate cuisines, rich and religious remnants of the Buddhism in the form of architectural ruins, diverse wildlife and rugged rainforests. It is surrounded by sea on all sides and serves you with numerous beaches in any direction you move. It's cuisines reflect, unsurprisingly, the maritime sea-fulness and cultural touch into every boiling pot and frying pan. One of the most known pictures about this place is the scene with a bunch of coconut trees by the white sandy beach. It offers a lot more than that and we shall gradually come to know about a few but quite popular points of interest.


    The capital of Sri Lanka holds a lot to see and learn. We will take you through a train ride throughout the Mount Lavina, one of the most popular beaches, the Talangama Wetlands, the architecture left in the city for decades and much more. The best way to reach this place is by flight to Bandarnayake International Airport located at a distance of about 27kms from Colombo. It currently operates 46 airlines to 49 cities on a daily basis. It is a nice airport with all modern amenities and daily international as well as domestic flights. The code for this airport is CMB. There is another domestic airport in Sri Lanka at Ratmalana, which bears code RML at a distance of 12.2 kms from Colombo. Once you reach this place, you can always hire a local cab or taxi and ask for directions to a budget hotel or a luxurious one, depending on your budget as the local people always keep a track of these lodging facilities.In case you do not want to depend, you can select from some of the popular hotels in Colombo. You can always find a list of such hotels from dedicated websites, however, we mention a few based on user reviews and experience. Mount Lavinia Hotel is a charming place with an above 8 rating located at Mount Lavinia Bus Station.

    It is a 4 star hotel with a price tag of Rs 7500. You have some more in the same price range like Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo that offers rooms starting at Rs 8500. There are also 5 star hotels at good budget like Hilton Hotel Colombo that begins at a price tag of Rs 9,100, Galle Face Hotel Colombo starts at Rs 9,600 and Cinnamon Grand Colombo at Rs 9,700. All the above prices are for a two person stay and almost all of them are located right at the center of the city at Colombo City Center. There are many places including small and big and we mention a few of the most sought ones. Mount Lavinia is talked about a lot because of a wonderful time you can spend at this beach in the evening or in the daytime. It is suitable for outdoor activities and chilling out. You get a lot of good food at the local seaside restaurants, local street foods, stalls and can enjoy the native lifestyle for a few hours. Please do not miss the “Sea Food Bazaar” if you choose to visit this beach.

    Another location in Colombo is the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihar, which also won the Travelers Choice Award at TripAdvisor in 2015. This is an important landmark in Buddhist literature and religious foundation situated on the banks of Kelayani river at a distance of about 7 miles from the city. It offers a serene and calm atmosphere. It is filled with over thousands of devotees everyday and this fact speaks for itself. The stupa at this place is no less than a marvel of architecture built like 2600 years ago for commemorating the visit of Lord Buddha. The old paintings date back to centuries and reflect the culture and lifestyle during that period. It is not just Buddhism, but Sri Lanka also has a good number of Christians and St. Anthonys Church that is located at Kochikade is a standing proof. It is also called as St Anthony's Mowatha. It looks splendid in the evening and during the Christmas when it is decorated will all enthusiasm and devotion. It is not only Catholics but also people from other religions that come and pray here.

    After all, it is a belief that takes you closer to the almighty. It is considered one of the most sacred churches in Sri Lanka and is the sign of religious harmony. You again have another peaceful place called Gangaramaya (Vihar) that is a Buddhist Temple. This is one of the best “vihars” at Sri Lanka and also probably in the world because of a huge number of statues of Buddha collected over time. The artifacts at display seems very appealing. There are incredibly built buildings, a Bo tree, an image house filled with pictorial displays, a chamber that is dedicated to relics from various time frames in the history. There are relics from Buddha and Arahat Seevali, a museum of its own, a library and many other rooms inside the complex. It requires a few hours to completely visit the place. There are two other famous places of Buddhist significance called Seema Malaka Temple and Vihar Mahadevi Park. These were also awarded the Traveler's Choice Awards in 2015 and are must visits in Colombo.


    This is supposedly the second most sought site by all tourists and perhaps the first preference for couples and nature lovers. It offers you a ride through the wildlife, honeymoon locations, horticultural and botanical garden and remnants of Buddhism. Kandy is a major city located in the Central Province, is the second largest city after Colombo and forms the epicenter of ancient kings of Sri Lanka. It is very well known for the Temple of Tooth, Kingdom of Kandy, Kandy Lake and many more. This place is a little cheaper than the capital city and offers very good abode at decent prices. The 4 and 5 star hotels start at the price tags of Rs 7000 and Rs 8000 and offer luxurious stay at the natural habitat of Sri Lanka. Cinnamon Citadel Kandy, Mahaveli Reach Hotel and Earl's Residence start in the price range of Rs 7,700.

    Queen's Hotel and Amaya Hills are two good hospitable locations at lower tags of Rs 5000. They all are located at prime locations of Kandy and offer adequate means of transport to other parts of the island. The local transport is often available for instant payment and you do not need to worry a lot about pre-booking all your transport. Once you get your stuff at one of these reviewed hotels, you could hire a cab, a sedan or an SUV depending on your choice from the local tour guides for the number of days you are planning to spend. Apart from these hotels, you might find many other low budget guest houses and lodges by inquiring the local residents or tourist guides. The travel agencies also keep a log of various places to stay. There are a few other places nearby which have good serene atmosphere and nice places to stay like Hedeniya, at about 10kms from Kandy, Digana at about 11 kms and Pussellawa at 22 kms far from Kandy. Usually, they provide cheaper accomodation compared to the major city.

    There are a bundle of places like mentioned before. Kandy Railway Station is the best means to travel throughout the city, in case you do not want to spend lots of money on cabs and guides. You can always be on your own with a lot of material at the tourism centers at your disposal. The Wales Park is a place to spend some quality time at Kandy. There are a few other landmarks that are famous for tourists and offer prime locations for photography and leisure walks. Pallekele International Stadium has a lot of indoor and outdoor facilities along with two others called Asgiriya Stadium and Bogambara Stadium. If you are not a sports person, the sightseeing in this city is also a pleasure. Ceylon Tea Museum has a wide collection of herbal tea from rare herbs and plants. The aroma and the taste are just overwhelming. It also has a display of historical achievements in a timeline fashion.

    National Museum of Kandy offers you the opportunity to look into the history and the culture of Ceylon and is a feast to the eye for tourists with historical interests. There is a horticultural park called Royal Botanical Garden with wide species of flora that are rare in any other parts of the world. There is another place suitable for art and cultural enthusiasts at Kandyan Art Association & Cultural Center and do not miss a view of the Kandy Clock Tower when you are moving around exploring the second largest city of Ceylon. There are a few religious sites that are spurring with thousands of devotees from the local villages as well as far off places. They are also open to tourists of any religion and culture and this fact makes these places a sanctuary of religious harmony. Udawattekele Sanctuary falls on Wewelpitiya Road and offers a prime spot for exploring the wildlife.

    You could take walks along the trails with a proper guide and enjoy your time. Please have around 4-5 hours for a decent coverage. The entry tickets are cheap and you can see elephants, wild boars, monkeys, gibbons and many other creatures if you are lucky. You need to be fully dressed in this rainforest because there might be allergic plants and leeches, but this place relieves you from all the chaos and the hassle of the city. Bhairavokanda Vihar Buddha Staue is a humongous statue covered with pristine white color and very imposing to the eyeIn order to see the complete idol you need to be far away from it.You can take a “tuk tuk” that is a rickshaw pulled by people to the statue or while going downhill. It is at the top of the Kandian Hill and overlooks the entire Kandy at some point of time before the huge buildings in the city. There are two cemeteries in Kandy, which are both a touching memory of martyrs and a tourist spot of historical interests. Kandy Garrison Cemetery is at the famous Temple of Tooth at just a few minutes walk. The tour is incomplete without having a talk with the caretaker if you really like to hear some stories of these great people and their deaths.

    It is really a calm and quiet place and definitely somewhere your body would like to lay in peace. People say that “Charles” is the one who knows a lot about this place and is also the caretaker of the cemetery. This cemetery rests many young people and nationals from England who travelled in the early 19th century to set up tea plantations in Ceylon and later amounted to the development of the entire island. Most of them dies due to various diseases owing to the humidity, climate and other conditions that their body could not cope up. There is another cemetery called Commonwealth War Cemetery, which is not far away from the Kandy Temple. It falls on the Lady Magdalane Road, in Rajsinghe Mawatha. This place is one of the most well maintained and landscaped cemeteries in the world and reminds of the respect and gratitude that must be paid to the passing by souls.It teaches you a lot of things and lessons from the local history and is entirely dedicated to the lost ones of World War 2.

    It gives a glimpse of the sacrifices made during the war times and also makes you introspect on the very reason of conducting and waging a war. It is calm, green, serene and beautifully decorated with flora. Another place in the Kandy is the Kandy Lake which is a nice and clean location. It is located at the Center of Kandy City and offers activities like boating. This is a nice place for taking walks in the evening and get a break from the chaos and buzz of the city. This is one of the best locations, not just for the tourists but also for the local people and kids. You can just sit there for hours and gossip with your gang and do a lot of leisure activities. This is also a good place in the center of the city to spend your regular evening walks or morning jogging schedule because of its prime location in Kandy and it is not usual to find such places in busy cities in any other country. There are few other places of interest like the Kandy View Point, a religious point called Lankatilaka Temple, which has significance according to the Indian myths and epics. Royal Palace of Kandy and Waruna Antiques are some places that also offer some quality time to spend.

    There are other places in Sri Lanka called Nuwara Eliya, which is famous for waterfalls, gardens, honeymoon locations, botanical garden and golf courses. You can also visit the Yala National Park and enjoy various wildlife like elephants, leopards, parks and conduct safaris. Negombo is an amazing location that is well known for beaches, lagoons, canals, nightlife and scuba diving. This is suitable for the young generation and offers leisure activities for young boys and girls. Galle, Benota, Hikkaduwa and Dambulla and also many other places that offer water sport like surfing, scuba diving. Dambabulla is an adventurous location that is good for temples, caves and wildlife, especially elephants. This is suitable for people who love nature and forest explorations.

  2. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    Sri Lanka is on my list of places to visit too. I hope one day I'll get there.

    I love this picture - it just makes me think of how amazing it would be to visit there someday. I'm a big animal lover so this would be incredible to see in a natural environment.


  3. Gabydi

    Gabydi Member

    I’ve never thought of Sri Lanka as a destination, the truth is I had no idea it was so beautiful and that there were so many things to do. I guess that I’ll have to do my research and see if I can add it to my list. Thanks for all this great info.
  4. pwarbi

    pwarbi Active Member

    I'd also never actually thought about Sri Lanka as a tourist destination either but after reading the OP it definitely might be worth looking into.

    I travelled quite a lot but only to the usual destinations and I definitely don't know anybody that's been to Sri Lanka so that would definitely be a unique destination to look into.