Around Sri Lanka in 2 Weeks - Part III

Yes, Sri Lanka is so awesome and there's much to see in it that it has taken me 3 posts to cover my trip! Keep in mind that I didn't even get to see all that the island has to offer.

After making my way  down the west coast, then up the east coast, I made my way to the central area of Sri Lanka, and it was a totally different experience.

Trekking in Ritigala and Udawatta Kele Forests, and the Royal Botanical Gardens

Sri Lanka is all jungle with patches of small towns, so wherever you are, you would stumble upon some forest... The ones I made sure to explore are Ritigala Forest Monastery near Habarane and Udawatta Kele Forest Sanctuary in Kandy. What makes Ritigala special, apart from being enveloped by beautiful greenery, is that it used to be the home of monks...

Yes, they built a monastery from rocks in the middle of a forest! How cool is that?! That would be something I'd love to experience, granted that I don't have to sleep on a bed made of rock lol

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What makes Udawatta Kele Forest Sanctuary special is that you can follow different tracks within the forest on your own, to see different plants and animals, and even get an overview of Kandy city. Other than the forest being breathtakingly beautiful, we got to enjoy a close encounter with a family of monkeys! Sure you may get to do that in most places in Sri Lanka, but it was quite different interacting with them in their natural habitat. 

Apart from Udawatta Kele forest, Kandy makes a good visit if you want to see a different side of Sri Lanka. It is more developed than most of Sri Lankan towns, but with more greenery and beautiful scenery than a city like Colombo, which is probably why I found most Arab tourists there! 

Another reason to visit Kandy is to check out the Royal Botanical Gardens... It is not an exotic trek as the forest, but it is still a nice excursion to see different trees, plants, and some gigantic bats! You can find photos of both forests and the garden in my Facebook album.

Finding good affordable accommodation in Kandy was a bit tricky, as most hotels in the center are pricey, and most affordable options are up in the hills away from the center, but a good option that combined affordability, cleanliness and location is Sevana Guest House.

Climbing Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Adam's Peak

These were the most exhausting part of my trip... I think I hated myself at some points during the climb because of the situation I put myself into haha. Even after all this time, I still wonder if the climb was really worth it for me, not that you wouldn't enjoy the challenge, or the view from the top, but you would definitely not enjoy the muscle cramps in the days after haha

If you're not accustomed to a lazy lifestyle like I am, then you should definitely make it to either or both mountains. Sigiriya Rock Fortress has an entrance fee of $30 (Yes, they make you pay for you own suffering), and takes around 2 to 3 hours of going up and down, with some breaks, and pushing among crowds.

We made our way to Adam's Peak from Nuwara Eliya at around 11pm, and got there around 2pm, and started our climb, which took us 4 hours up in the dark, to catch the sunrise from the top, and 4 hours down. It was the most difficult thing I had to do in my life so far! My legs just stopped working half way through, the weather got very cold, and I got very hungry... That's a combination of things you don't want me to experience near you haha

All that for this view down below... It was nice, mostly because that was the first sunrise I see in a very long time, but I just prefer sunsets that don't require a mountain climb, thank you :P You can see photos of that sunrise and other amazing scenery from these adventures in my Facebook album.

Yet even after that long exhausting trip, we made our way to Kithulgala for some white water rafting, and with barely any rest, we jumped into that! It was definitely refreshing and exciting enough to make us forget about the soreness of Adam's Peak climb! I also climbed up Dambulla Rajamaha Viharaya for the cave temple, but it is 800 steps only so compared to Sigiriya and Adam's Peak, it is not worth mentioning... Though it still sucked that I had to climb all the way up there and I couldn't get into the temple because of my head cover, which is disrespectful in Buddhist temple

Nuwara Eliya and The Tea Plantations

Ever since I said I am planning a trip to Sri Lanka, people started asking me to get them tea, which Nuwara Eliya is most famous for. Nuwara Eliyah is in the hill country in the central area of Sri Lanka and is known as Little England for its Victorian architecture, and tea plantations... making it the most unusual and delightful part of my trip! 

The nature in Nuwara Eliya and its surrounding areas is breathtaking, enveloped in green hills and waterfalls everywhere, and what made it even more special, is the cold weather! It was so cold that we had to buy winter jackets from the town center, and they're quite cheap so I'd suggest you do the same instead of having to pack and carry jackets needlessly throughout the rest of your trip.

I read much about Nuwara Eliya before my trip to Sri Lanka, so I knew what to expect. What was totally surprising though is when we headed on an unplanned trip to Ambewela, a small town in the same district, that is justly known as "Little New Zealand" for its green fields, and cow farms! I really felt like I had teleported to another country all of sudden! You can see what I mean when you check out photos of my Nuwara Eliya excursions in my Facebook album here.

Nuwara Eliya was the last stop in my itinerary before I headed back to Negombo for my flight on June 19th. 

Even after 2 weeks on the island, going from town to town, I was still getting surprised and delighted at every step.  And as I conclude my posts about the trip here, reminiscing about the whole journey, I am getting overwhelmed with emotions and lovely memories of the places I went, the beauty I saw, the people I met, and the friends I made there <3

If after all this, you still have any doubts and questions about what makes Sri Lanka a must to visit, then leave me a comment below and I'll convince you, even if I have to take you there myself!