All Albums Sri Lanka

Relaxed three week holiday in Sri Lanka. The necessary driver's permit cannot be immediately issued at the car rental agency, as I found out too late. They needed five days to do this for us (based on the international driver's license I got in Germany on the day of our departure). So we had a driver, Thilina, for the first week here. Apri is the end of the dry season in the south, and the start of the dry season in the north-east. Thus we hoped to be in between and do both, but it was already raining in the south. The idea to have beach in the south at the start and beach on the east coast in the end thus had to be changed. We first went towards Ella and stopped at the beautiful Diyaluma Waterfalls on the way. In Ella we visited the Nine Arch Bridge, the Ravana cave (where Rama took Sita to hide from the Ramayana legend) and temple, and the Ravana waterfall. It's a really touristy town, as it is start/end of the famous train ride through the highland. On the morning before the rain ride, I enjoyed the climbing around on and view from Little Adam's Peak. The train then took us to Nuwara Eliya, and it was an enjoyable slow ride with beautiful views and some fun hanging out of the train doors. From Nuwara Eliya down to the cultural capital Kandy, we visited some tea plantations and the Damro factory, did some tea tasting of the typical variants for Sri Lanka: The Silver Tip and Golden Tip are produced only from the sun-dried tips (20 hrs for silver, 35 hrs for golden, no fermenting) of the fresh leaves, the Green Tea is fermented but not roasted. The others are dried, fermented and roasted, in different recipes, from light to strong: Orange Pekoe (OP), Pekoe, Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe (FBOP), Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP), Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings (BOPF). I liked the strongest best, which is a breakfast tea often drunk with milk. In Kandy, I got taken away at the vast and beautiful Botanical Garden. We also visited a folk dance presentation, the Temple of the Tooth (Buddha's tooth relic) with palace ruins, another Buddhist temple on a hill, a war cemetary. Driving myselve, we then went up to Anuradhapura, the long-time capital of Sri Lanka with the oldest Buddhist temples here dating back to 300 BC. It was capital until 11th century AD, and there are many ruins, temples, stupas to visit. From here we took a safari at Wilpattu National Park where we saw many animals and birds, most notably some Leopards. Sineth was our passionate guide and good fun throughout the trip. On the way to Sigiriya we visited the cave temple in Dambulla. Sigiriya Lion's Rock in the morning, with massive ruins on top of a palace where one king ruled Sri Lanka for only ~15 years around 500 AD. Elephant safari in Hurulu Eco Park in the afternoon, and climb up Pidurangala rock the next morning. Then on to the east coast to spend some relaxed days at beautiful Nilaveli beach near Trincomalee.