Click for more information about Sri Lanka
2015 Dec by Roman Bruehwiler
Within 8 days I visited 9 of 9 provinces and 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I was lucky to find World\'s end, Horton Plain National Park, on a sunny day without any fog. Thanks to three weeks of rain before the time of my visit the air was clear, allowing a formidable view.
Thanks to my experienced driver all sightseeing points had been found easyly but sometimes it took much longer to go a distance then expected do to some bad roads.
At the end of my journey I spent two nights at the Amaya Beach Hotel at Passikudah on the east cost. From there it\'s a 6 hours ride back to Colombo airport. |
2013 Dec by Michael Novins
December 2013 -- I visited seven of Sri Lanka's nine provinces and seven of its eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For most of my trip, I relied on a chauffeured sedan that I arranged through Red Dot Tours (http://www.reddottours.com/).|
Western Province -- I passed through Colombo several times during my trip, where I spent most of my time wandering around Fort (home to many colonial buildings, like the landmark Cargills building), Pettah (famous for its markets and historic buildings, like Jami-ul-Alfar Mosque) and Cinnamon Gardens (the location of the National Museum of Colombo). I stayed at a few hotels in Colombo, including Mount Lavinia Hotel, which was established as the Governors Residence in the 1800s and has been a hotel since 1877 (http://www.mountlaviniahotel.com/front/index.php), and Galle Face Hotel, founded in 1864 and the oldest hotel east of Suez (http://www.gallefacehotel.com/). My favorites places to eat and drink are the Cricket Club Cafe, which displays memorabilia from Sri Lanka's rich cricket history (http://thecricketclubcafeceylon.com/), Ministry of Crab (http://ministryofcrab.com/) and Castle Hotel.
Southern Province -- I took the Rajadhani Express, a luxury train carriage on the Sri Lankan railway (http://www.rajadhani.lk/), from Fort Railway Station in Colombo to Galle, where I visited the Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications and had lunch at the former New Oriental Hotel, opened in 1865 (now the Amangalla, http://www.amanresorts.com/amangalla/home.aspx).
Northern Province -- I flew from Ratmalana Airport in Colombo to Jaffna (http://www.helitours.lk/). Passenger vehicles are not permitted to enter Jaffna Airport, so Helitours provides free bus transport from the airport to their city center office, a short walk to Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil (one of the most significant Hindu temples in Jaffna) and Jaffna Fort.
North Western Province -- I visited Wilpattu National Park, known for its sand-rimmed depressions that fill with rainwater and attract wildlife, including Sri Lankan elephants.
North Central Province -- I visited the Sacred City of Anuradhapura, including the Ruwanwelisaya stupa, Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi (a sacred fig tree said to have grown from a branch of the historical Bodhi tree in India under which the Buddha attained enlightenment), the Jetavanaramaya stupa (at the time of its completion, the stupa was the third tallest structure in the world behind the Great Pyramids of Giza), Thuparamaya (the oldest stupa in Sri Lanka) and Abhayagiri dagoba. I hired a jeep in Habarana to go on safari in Minneriya National Park, one of the best places to see Sri Lankan elephants, especially in the late summer dry season when large numbers gather to feed on the grass that grows along the edge of its reservoir (during December, I only saw two elephants). I spent an afternoon visiting the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, including Polonnaruwa Vatadage and Gal Vihara, a rock temple where four images of the Buddha have been carved into the face of a large granite rock.
Central Province -- I climbed Sigiriya (much easier than expected), the most visited historical site in Sri Lanka, and explored the Golden Temple of Dambulla. I spent a couple of nights in Kandy at Queen's Hotel, established in 1895 (http://www.queenshotel.lk) and across the street from the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. I also made a day trip from Kandy to go hiking in Knuckles Mountain Range, one of three parks within the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Sabaragamuwa Province -- I visited Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, which has the largest herd of captive elephants in the world.
2012 Feb by
My three visits to Sri Lanka have been focused primarily on the UNESCO World Heritage sites: Anuradhapura, Polonnaruva, Sigiriya, Sinharaja Forest (beware the leeches while hiking!), Kandy, Galle, Dambulla and the Central Highlands and their tea plantations. A nighttime trek to the top of Sri Pada to watch the sunrise is an adventure not to be missed too! And a visit to the city of Jaffna was interesting if only to see the recovery of the region after years of conflict. Hiring a car with a driver was my preferred way to reach some of these out-of-the-way destinations. Prices are very reasonable for such car hire. |
2007 Apr by Katerina Hajna
||Katerina Hajna does not wish to be contacted by MTP members|
Places visited: - Colombo|
- Yale NP
- Nuwara Eliya
1995 Mar by Veikko Huhtala*
When I was working in Sudan in years 1984-85, I used one of my vacations going to Sri Lanka and Maldives. I had Gulf Air flight via Jeddah, Doha, Abu Dhabi and Musqat. At Colombo Airport I rented taxi for two days. I paid that 200 US dollars, including also two hotel nights in Anuradhapura and Kandy. At Christmas Day I bought Air Lanka flight to Male and stayed there three days, before coming back to Colombo. Altogether I stayed two weeks on this vacation, before flying back to Khartoum. 1995 Oili and I went there together staying most time in the capital. But we also visited to Yala National Park or Ruhuna National Park, like it also is called. We stayed there one night at nearby hotel. Distance from Colombo was 300 km. On the way back to home we stopped also in Male. |
1990 Mar by Jorge Sanchez
I flew from Trivandrum, in Kerala, to Colombo, in 1989.
I spent two weeks visiting the most fascinating places of Sri Lanka, such as Jaffna, Kandy, Anuradhapura, Polonaruwa, the hill of Mihintale, Sigiriya, and even had time to climb to Adams Peak.
It had been an intensive journey.
Now I still had two days left until my flight back to India, this time to Trichy, in Tamil Nadu.
I spent one day in Colombo, what I considered enough.
Since my flight to Trichy, in India, was early in the morning, and from Colombo to the airport there were 35 kilometers, I resolved to spend my last day in a famous beach just next door to the airport, Negombo.
Before the war the long beach of Negombo was a popular resort for tourists, but in those times it was almost empty. In fact, I did not find a single tourist that day in Negombo; everybody was afraid to travel to Sri Lanka because of the civil war between Buddhist and Muslims in the north part of the country.
I made the right decision and spent a lovely day in Negombo.
The next day I walked to the airport and soon I flew to Trichy.
It was not easy to get into Jaffna in the year 1989.
The Peace Indians Keeping Forces were still in Sri Lanka and controlled all the strategic places. There were checking the road in the way to the north, Elephant Pass, and further to Jaffna.
I was discovering the Buddhist people of Sri Lanka visiting their holy places, but felt that I could not yet leave the country until I could access to the places where lived the Tamils, in an area called Tamil Eelam, with its capital in Jaffna, city controlled by LTTE (Liberation Tigers Tamil Eelam), Muslim guerilleros opposing the Buddhist Government of Sri Lanka.
I tried to cross the Elephant Pass undetected, with success at the beginning. In the last check point there was a gurkha who discovered me, but he must have been a rookie soldier because, noticing that I was an European, smiled at me and let me proceed further, to Jaffna!
I had been very lucky!
Where to sleep in a city with curfew?
I found a Catholic Mission where was accepted to overnight.
The next day I explored Jaffna. I saw desolation everywhere, statues of Buddha without head, Buddhist monuments destroyed and painted in red, like blood, because of the hatred, bombed houses, bricks on the streets, many soldiers and checkpoints… all that was the results of the guerrilla warfare.
Since I do not like wars and could not travel outside of Jaffna because of the controls requiring a permit, I decided to return the next day to the Buddhist part of Sri Lanka, to Adam’s Peak, to start the famous trekking and forget about the social cancer called war.
I had just visited the rock of Sigiriya, the UNESCO site that I liked most in Sri Lanka (I visited four UNESCO places during that journey, back in the year 1989). Then, when I arrived to Anuradhapura the next day I felt a little bit disappointed. I expected more. But anyway, I accomplished my obligations as a tourist and during several hours I visited the pagodas, stupas, the sacred tree, Buddhist temples, etc. In the afternoon I was ready to leave to Kandy when a rickshaw driver criticized my decision, arguing that I was missing the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, in the near village of Mihintale, at about 12 kilometer distance. He proposed to take me there in his rickshaw for a few rupees and I agreed.
Mihintale would give me more satisfaction than Anuradhapura. I climbed 1800 steps of a hill and reached a Buddhist monastery where I was given authorization to spend the night. The master was 85 years old, with a benevolent aspect and a very lucid mind. He had six disciples. He told me that they follow the Tradition, since when Mahinda introduced Buddhism in Sri Lanka, he was accompanied by six disciples.
The next day one of the monks showed me the holy places around Mihintale, especially a painted Buddha inclined statue that I liked more than the giant ones of Polonnaruwa that I had visited a few days earlier.
After those visits I gave my thanks to the master and the monks and left to Kandy.
Not all the UNESCO sites constitute a satisfactory visit. Many of them can be given a miss. But still some of them are useful thanks to the neighboring places that have not been considered by the UNESCO observers. In my opinion Mihintale deserves to be added together with Anuradhapura in the UNESCO list
If you like mountains I can advice you to climb Adam’s Peak (2243 metres), which trekking is very easy, like the Fuji Yama in Japan. |
Adam’s Peak is holy for all religions. Muslims affirm that it is there where Adam spent 1000 years in penitence over one of his feet after being expelled from Paradise (there is a mark in form of footprint, 1’5 metres long for 76 centimetres wide). For the Buddhists that footprint was left by Buddha when leaving Sri Lanka. Hindus are convinced that the footprint is Shiva’s when harassing nymphs. Finally Christians think that it belongs to Saint Thomas during his pilgrimage to India.
1958 May by Leslie Rutledge
I visited Sri Lanka (Ceylon) in 1958 when the troop ship HMT Oxfordshire, which we were travelling on, stopped there for refuelling. At that time Ceylon was still a British colony and we were allowed ashore for a few hours. The ship anchored at Columbo and we spend most of the time ashore at the local Zoo. It was the first time in my life that I\\\'d seen such animals as elephants, tigers and a huge python snake. It is certainly on my agenda to return there sometime. |