Pinoy Traveler: Sri Lanka
By Engr. Mary Jane Alvero
Sri Lanka is one of the largest producers of tea in the world. They were colonized by the British before and their country was called Ceylon. colonized Tea was introduced to the country by the British who called the country “Ceylon”. It’s a 4 hrs flight with Emirates Airlines. There are other flights too such as Sri Lankan Airlines, Fly dubai and others.
Bandaranaike International Airport (also known as Colombo International Airport and Katunayake International Airport) is the main international airport serving Sri Lanka.
WHAT TO SEE
Kandy is a large city in central Sri Lanka. The city is surrounded by mountains, which are home to tea plantations and rainforest. In the heart of the city is the scenic lake called the lake called Bogambara Lake. People stoll around the lake. Kandy is a religious city and known for sacred Buddhist sites, including the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) shrine. We have witnessed the grand Esala Perahera annual procession. We stayed in Earl’s Regent Hotel. It is situated in a hill surrounded with other hills and greenery. Nestled within the lush green surroundings, showcasing the heritage Kandy.
Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage is about 40km (25 miles) west of Kandy. The orphanage cares for almost 100 elephants, many of whom were either orphaned or injured in the wild. We witnessed the elephants led over to the river to take a bath. We rode the elephant named Raja. We visited the Botanical Gardens to see gardens of herbs and spices We got to visit Ranweli Spice and Herbal Garden. I saw how spices and herbs like Turmeric, Pepper Corns, Cloves, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Aloe Vera, etc. are grown in their natural and organic environment.
Nuwara Eliya is a city in the tea country hills of central Sri Lanka. The tourists called it as “Little England.” We visited Pedro Tea Estate, about 3.5km east of Nuwara Eliya on the way to Kandapola and took a half-hour guided tour of the factory. Nuwara Eliya is a city in the hill, often called city of lights. It’s cold out there in which 11 deg cent when we stayed in that city. It was raining during nights and fair weather during day.
I loved and enjoyed the New Zealand Farms in Nuwara Eliya. This farm is located at Ambewela which is a few Km away from Nuwara eliya. The New Zealand Farm is a part of the Ambewela Farm which are both dairy farms. New Zealand Farm is located only 3-4 Km away from Ambewela farm. New Zealand farm produces fresh milk and cheese.
We visited the town of Bentota. It is a resort town on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast. We stayed in a hotel along Bentota Beach which stretches north, where it becomes a sandy strip known as Paradise Island.
Bentota River Boat Safaris start at the last section of the broad River Bentota (The Bentota lagoon), and cruises inland. The Bentota lagoon is scattered with small islands, natural landscapes, and tangled mangrove swamps. The boat men will meander through the islets and mangrove swamps located haphazardly on the river. It is mysterious and beautiful at once as you cruise through shaded waters beneath huge roots. The longer you need to explore, the further upriver you want to cruise, the more unspoilt the scenery becomes.
It’s a 2 and a half hours boat trip. Along the boat cruise, you’ll get to visit a small cinnamon factory and fish spa. The cost of this tour ranges from 3000 to 4000 Sri Lankan rupees, which is around AED75 to 100. We also paid a visit to The Turtle Hatchery Project at Bentota Beach. A visit to the turtle hatchery is a must for nature lovers and environmentalists.
- Dress appropriately and modestly. I wore light track suits and my usual shayla for my hair. Others wear walking shorts and summer tops. Others wear jeans and t-shirt.
- Bring an insect repellant. There are lot of mosquitoes. I mean insect repellant creams, lotion or spray.
- The expenses depends on the preference of the traveler.I saw some tourists staying on travel lodges, bed and breakfast accommodation, from 1 star to 5 stars Hotel. Hotel fees are as low as 75 aed to 500 and above
- Food is very cheap. They use coconut mainly in their food. Their food is a lot similar to Indian food.
- Their mode of transportation are buses, train, boat and tuk tuk. Some of the places have 2-way zig zag highways. It’s bit scary but you’ll get used to it.
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