Jabbadabbadoo – this is our big trip of the year and we’ve decided to fly east this time – Daniel has found us a special flight offer to Sri Lanka – and off we go🤗
Teardrop Island is how Sri Lanka is sometimes called due to it’s shape … and in more recent history the term has certainly gained in relevance with the 30-year long Civil War and way too many tears shed…
We arrive at Sri Lanka’s only international airport, the Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), on the 26th of December in the evening. Immigration is smooth (we’ve applied for and received our tourist visa upfront online), the ATMs work and spit out some rupees and *ta-thaaa* we even manage to hail an Uber via the app that drives us to our first night’s accommodation booked via AirBnB (for convenience of the modern backpacker;).
Our first day in Sri Lanka, we spend in the capital Colombo – walking, what else 🙂
From our apartment in modern “Bambalapitiya” neighbourhood we walk northwards towards Gangaramaya lake/park/temple, Lotus Tower, Galle Face and Pettah, the hustle-bustle market district. It’s a great way to start into our adventure, acclimatise and familiarise ourselves with the lay of the land. The street food we get is just delicious and something peculiar we notice in our fresh fruit juices: they contain salt and allegedly this is so that the human body can recover the salt and minerals lost through sweating in the tropical heat… An approximately 18km circular walk brings us back along the Indian Ocean and with “Lion Beer” facing a sheer breathtaking sunset, to our apartment.
The next day we get up super early to catch our first train – windows and doors wide open – along the coast to Fort station, Colombo’s main train station from where we pick up the next one to Puttalam near Wilpattu National Park where we’re headed to today. By bus we go to tiny Eluwankulama where we enjoy rural Sri Lanka for a couple of days.
No need to book ahead or make any reservation, just show up and buy your ticket. There’s usually different classes available but of course, the most fun one is 3rd class where one gets to meet the locals and I am actually not sure what’s the point in travelling in a closed-off A/C compartment when in such an entertaining, colourful environment.
Ha, and with the bus there is not even a choice. Unlike in South America for example, where one can usually choose b/w slow and fast services, luxusliner and other fanciness, here it’s simply jump on and let’s go. And – trust me – there is always space for one more passenger!
Welcome to Sri Lanka 🇱🇰 Wonder of Asia