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Michael: So, this is my first blog text EVER. Nevertheless, life is about doing things you don’t know because that’s the way you learn and progress. I’ll do my best!
We got to Kandy by train in the late afternoon. We had booked a place to stay in advance just to make it easier for us to get a room and relax after a long trip. So first we took a tuk tuk and told the driver the name of the place. He said that it was about 15 min drive away, okay we thought it would have been in the city but it was actually quite nice to have a small trip thru the city to the next suburb called Lewella.
The place we stayed at in Lewella is called Nook Rest* and it was a really nice place with super friendly staff and amazing views from the balcony.
The only thing we realized the first evening was that we needed to take a tuk tuk back to town to get something decent to eat, so we did. That trip with the tuk tuk was hilarious! The driver was very interested in where we are from and what we are doing.
He told us some good advices for our next stop Sigiriya and also told us about the best things to do in Kandy. He suggested that the Temple of the Tooth Relic and the Botanical Gardens were the best things to see in Kandy. In my opinion, the tuk tuk drivers are some of the best tour guides in Sri Lanka, and they don’t charge much!
The funniest thing occurred when he asked me if I speak any Sinhalese, and I told him “bebadda” and the man started laughing hysterically. The word basically means “alcoholic” or “one who is drunk all the time” and the driver thought it was the funniest thing he ever heard that a foreigner knew that word.
“Naturally there is a dress code to get in so we had to buy some pants for Lotta from a street vendor”
The next day we woke up pretty early and packed our stuff and once again, took a tuk tuk and headed to the city center to explore what it had to offer at daytime. We had breakfast and after that decided to go explore the famous Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Also called “Sri Dalada Maligawa”.
Naturally there is a dress code to get in so we had to buy some pants for Lotta from a street vendor and after that, we managed to get into the temple area where the tickets are sold. The price for foreigners is 1500rps (7,20€) and for locals it’s free. Even after we bought the ticket there was an additional security check to get inside the actual temple.
The inside of the temples are very beautiful and there are a lot of different rooms to explore. You can either take a tour guide that shows you all the different parts or you can just go on your own which we did. It takes about 2 hours to go around all the different places but it’s well worth the time.
The ones we think were the coolest: The Main Temple, Sri Lankan History Museum, The Elephant Museum, and The Old World Museum. If you like to read more about the place, go visit the official website here.
There is also The world Buddhist Museum that is right next to the sight and is also included in the price. This place was really interesting. A big building with two floors that tell the stories of how and where the Buddha has walked and the Buddhist teachings have spread. We highly recommend you visit this place also.
After we finished our tour in the temples we were exhausted because it was super hot during the day (we went from 11am-1pm). If you are smart and want a more comfortable tour you should visit the temples in the morning or afternoon, not like we did!
At this point we needed some food so we started walking the streets of Kandy and we pretty quickly found a local restaurant that seemed pretty good. There are a lot of restaurants that have a kind of a bakery or snack bar downstairs and the actual restaurant is on the second floor. These are usually very cheap and good.
Then we headed to the bus station. The station in Kandy is pretty big and the easiest way to find the bus you need is to ask the locals or a bus driver, they will tell you where to go. We were going to Dambulla, a city next to the famous Sigiriya Rock, and when we found our bus that was already moving we basically jumped in on a moving bus. Things happens fast in Sri Lanka!
The bus took 1,5 hours and cost 120rps (0,60€) per person, super cheap! When we got to Dambulla our exit from the bus was even quicker than the entry and suddenly we were standing on the side of the road probably looking like easy target tourists.
That’s when an older local guy started talking to us and we told him we need to go to Sigiriya that we have a room booked at a place called Blue Water Villa*. He told us that we have two options, we could take the local bus (50rps, 0,25€) that takes about 30min and after that a tuk tuk to the homestay, or we could take a tuk tuk from him at 500rps (2,40€) and on the way we visit a spice garden for free. So we decided to take the tuk tuk because it was the easier way.
Soon it became clear that the old man was just the guy who sells these rides because there was soon a tuk tuk with a young driver that was our ride, that was okay. So we got to the spice garden and there was a tour guide waiting for us. We started walking around the garden, there was a lot of different spices and plants and the guide told us some info about almost all of them. We got to test some chocolate vanilla tea and also a small massage with some herbal oil. Free of charge but suggested to pay if you like it, so we paid some realized money.
After this, they took us to the shop where you can buy all kinds of oils and products that they make on the sight. All the products were super expensive but we ended up buying some pure sandalwood oil because of its quality. 2500rps (12€) for 100ml.
Then it was finally time for us to go to our guest-house and relax. The driver took us all the way to the house and was really nice to us. The guest house was pretty new and comfortable. It was close to sunset time when we arrived and we were pretty tired after a long day. They offered some local Kottu Roti food for us and we just sat and enjoyed the evening with the family talking about life.
It was a really good day overall!