Tales of a Traveller

Exploring the unexplored.

Archive for the category “Travel”

The Crazy Beaches – Hikkaduwa & Unawatuna

This was one of those laid back weekends when I kinda felt enough is enough and decided to just get my lazy bum of the couch. I took the bus to Hikkaduwa, have been hearing a lot about this place ever since i set foot in lanka a good 6 months ago. This place was simply insane, lovely beaches and while walking on the beach, I spotted this super huge turtle, in fact there were a few that I saw later on. Loads of foreigners wer baking themselves in the sun, chilling with beer and their respective BF’s and GF’s.

I then kind of wanted to see more such places, that’s when one of the localites there asked me to go to Unawatuna Beach. He mentioned that I would love it there. And boy, I did. That was like simply out of dreamworld. The beaches were simply awesome and wonderful. There were people jumping into the waters with their entire family. People baking in the sun, sipping beer, juices, reading books and other simply enjoying nature. I met a Belgian here, who was travelling with his wife. They travel to one place every year. The weather also was in tune for everybody to chill & enjoy.

I simply let all the awesomeness sink in and enjoyed the weekend clicking loads of pics and enjoying the beaches and the lovely bunch of people at the beaches.

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The Lion Forest

That’s wha t the name of the this forest literally means – The Singharaja Forest. This forest is a Heritage site as declared by UNESCO. They say this is among the world’s best Rain Forests to be visiting. If one is taking this trip to the forest one must be prepared to walk miles of kms in a day, continuously. Also one must be prepared to get bitten by a lot of leeches and be prepared to see a lot of reptiles.

We took a bus from Pettah in Colombo to Deniyaya, that is a another entrance to the forest, it is a less explored place. Though the ditance was less than 150 kms, it took us a good 6 hrs to get there by the direct bus we took.

Our guide for the forest tour Sanjaya Ruwan was there waiting for us with his Tuk Tuk. He rode through some crazy little roads for a little over 15 kms and we arrived out the tiny cute little homestay that he had arranged for us.

The place was neatly tucked just outside the forest area. It was so serene and beautiful that we just ended up clicking one too many clicks even before we began the trek through the forest. We began the trek early in the morning so that we could see many birds and the reptiles in the area.

Sanjaya got to the home stay early in the morning. He smeared salt all around my feet saying that it keeps the leeches away. The the trek began, we say some crazy Green Pit Vipers and Black Pit Vipers apart from climbing and walking through this humongous forest to get to some of the waterfalls in the region. The place was simply awesome, very fresh.

After this the next day, we walked around in another direction to see a different kind of flora n fauna. We saw a few Sri Lankan endemic birds. And I also saw a snake that was eating a frog and clicked a few pics.

The greenery was just too peaceful to leave, apart from the fact that there was no mobile network coverage, it was a different level of serenity and joy. After the joyous trip we began on our way back. This time we took a bus to Galle and then the Highway bus to Colombo. We reached much quicker than the time we took to reach there.

The guide in Singharaja Forest Sanjaya did an awesome job, taking us around to the best parts of the jungle. It was a weekend that was very well spent. The joy and the elation was simply profound.

The Lone Rock Fort – Sigiriya & The Rock Temple – Dambulla

A weekend to enjoy and not too many things to do in the guest house, I decided to do what I love most, backpack n travel. I took the bus that went towards Anuradhapura, getting down at Dambulla and proceeding to Sigiriya. I reached close to the fort and saw this huge single kind of rock in the middle of nowhere. Walked up to the ticket counter and was suprised that they gave a discount to the people visiting from the SAARC countries. The climb to rock fort began very steadily with steps that were there. There were huge ponds or water catchment areas on both sides. Then there is a spiral step installed where we get to the Rock Paintings that date back a few centuries behind, if not more.

Then you get to a place called the The Lion Paw. That is from where the steep climb to the fort begins. Though now we have metal steps placed, it is indeed a crazy steep climb to the top. One too many people were huffing and panting in the effort to get to the top. Once you get to the top, all there is are ruins of the fort that kind of controlled the island country. The guides there were explaining everything the knew about the place to all the tourists.

It was very nice. I finished looking around and then descended down and walked out of the fort t the main road, as it was evening, i wanted to find a nice decent place to crash for the night. I was lucky enough to find a place very close to the fort at about LKR 1000 for the night. I stayed there, the guy even allowed me to watch EPL in his house and then I had Rice n Curry for dinner and munched Lays apart from the Plain Tea I kept having.

I left early in the morning towards Dambulla, to see the Rock Temples there.

Once I got to Dambulla bus stand, I asked the locals for guidance to reach the temple. One man guided me and also asked the bus driver to drop me just outside the temple, which he promptly did. There was a huge Buddha Statue to welcome me. They say, this statue of Buddha in this position is the biggest in the world. We then have to walk around the statue to get over the hill where the Buddhist Monks used to meditate in the meditation halls they had created in the hills by cutting the rocks. These places were absolutely awesome. The huge statues, the carvings on the walls, the paintings all around. Everything was simply mesmerizing. The view, the pleasant wind blowing up there, the cute lil lotus pond, the little cats playing around there.

Everything was a sight. Once I was done with the temple, i went back to the town and then took the bus back to Colombo. After having spent the weekend happily getting to know the history of the island country.

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