After taking the train to Bangkok from Siem Reap, we spent one day exploring Bangkok and then flew to Colombo, Sri Lanka. We met up with Nithya for the Christmas holiday. From December 22nd to January 2nd, we traveled to Adam’s Peak, Kandy, Matara, and Bentota Beach.
Our first night in Colombo we explore the old colonial parts of the city.
The old colonial sections of the city were pretty deserted. We decided to head into what we though was the center of town to find some food.
Below are a few videos of the streets of Colombo.
On Christmas morning, we woke up at 2 am to hike up to the buddhist temple at the top of the peak.
We didn’t think the hike was going to be busy because it was Christmas day. We were wrong. There were already a few buses of pilgrims unloaded at 2 am when we started walking to the peak. It seems the buddhists will take any opportunityt to celebrate. :) In all honesty, I think this was part of some buddhist holiday as well.
When we got to the steepest section, the path started getting crowded. About 300 meters from the entrance of the temple, the movement stopped. The temple isn’t very big, so they can only let a certain number of people there at once. The line only moved when people left the temple and around sunrise, the people at the top weren’t keen to miss the view and leave the temple.
After waiting 1 hour while only moving 100 feet, we decided the top really wasn’t worth another 1-2 hour wait. With the sun fully risen, we started making our way down.
After taking breakfast and spending a hour resting, we hopped on a busy to Kandy.
Bus travel was erratic, yet effective. There was rairly a direct bus from where you wanted to go, but the buses made frequent trips. You would tell the driver you wanted to get to “Kandy” and he’d say, “we can take you to another busy that goes to Kandy”. He’d mutter some time and distances that we wouldn’t really understand, and then we’d sit down (or stand if there wasn’t seats available. We would all gradually falls sleep until 45 minutes or so later (we thought he said 2 hours), we’d be awoke to a scream of “KANDY BUS!” and him shaking us awake. He’d hurriedly get our big backpacks on while he flagged down a bus speeding past us. We’d look a little quizzically back at him and ask, “this is the bus to kandy?” and he’d shout, “Kandy bus, Kandy bus” while frantically pointing at the bus that just pulled over. As soon as we’d stepped off the bus, it would rapidly accelerate forward while we boarded the other bus.
This sort of scenario repeated itself so often that we started to just trust the bus drivers and go with the flow. Bus travel was by far the most tiresome part of the trip, yet it was also the most memorable. It was quite tiring, but fairly easy and convenient.
After a long journey, we made it to Kandy. The main “thing to see” in Kandy was the temple of the sacred tooth, which contains a relic of one of Buddha’s teeth. Facing the crowds to see one of Buddha’s teeth didn’t sound worthwhile, so we just walked around the lake and spent a long time watching monkeys. :)
While less scenic, the bus was more convenient and somewhat less crowded. Our airbnb host picked us up from the bus terminal. The next morning we got up wandered aroudn the local beach and took a bus to the tourist beach about 15 minutes away.
After a slow morning start, we took a bus from Matara to Galle to see the Dutch Fort
We had a two chill days in Galle. We mostly walked around the fort, went to a local tea shop, and played cards. It was a great way to unwind after all of the bus-tlling about. (get it?)
Our last stop was Bentota Beach, which is where we spent new years eve. It is a tourist beach as well and we were lucky to find a nice place on the beach to have a little fire, drink gin, and relax. The resort near our campfire had some fireworks which was nice.
Our last day, we headed back to Colombo and flew out in the evening. We had a long layover in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Tasha was happy because she got to have Kaya (coconut jam) toast and cham (tea, coffee, and condensed milk)!
After a long journey, we landed safely in Yangon. We are both happy to be more stationary for a change. :)