Only 90 kilometers, but a 3 hour drive south of Sigiriya lies Kandy, a major city in the central province of Sri Lanka.
The first thing you’ll notice, traffic is pretty much nuts in this city. When we got in, our drivers had to get out and do a traffic cops job, so the little bus could get up the hill to our hotel. If you go there, that might be a great idea though. The hotels on the hills are nice and have an awesome view! Another example for traffic happened on the second day there. We went to a spa to get a massage Sri Lanka style and needed about an hour to go 3 kilometers down the road. Of course that was also the case on the way back.
The massage itself is something different as well. Lots and lots and lots and lots of oil with all kinds of herbs will be poured across your body and the masseur will go everywhere with it. EVERYWHERE. You have been warned. It is not a deep and hard massage, but you’ll still feel it the next day, even if it’s only the oil you’ll still suddenly find somewhere on you after the third shower. The massage ends with a steam bath, which was not in a separate room, but on a table with the steam coming from below and a coffin lid like construct pinning you on there. Only your head sticks out on top.
Our first activity was walking around the man made lake in the middle of the city. ‘Only built for beautification’ as we heard from our guide who actually lives in the area and knew the city very well.
Next to the lake you’ll find the famous Buddhist Sri Dalada Maligawa temple, also called the temple of the tooth relic. It hosts a tooth of the Buddha himself and therefore is a very famous destination for all followers of Buddhism. They do bring out the relic on a regular schedule, so look it up if you want to get close. The temple itself is nice, but also kept pretty simple, which I like better than many others who are overloaded with gold.
It was built in 1595 and actually is a UNESCO world heritage site!
Almost next to the temple is a little theatre. There’s a daily cultural show where artists and dancers show off traditional costumes and dresses, their drum skills and perform several dances. It is not too expensive and was actually quite fun. We had reserved seats in the second row and quite a good view.
The evening ended with a visit to a roti restaurant. Fantastic stuff. You get a flatbread, sometimes filled with a curry, and a few dips with it. The perfect food, especially if you’re really hungry!
Just before our massage experience, we took a walk through the busy streets. For photographers, there’s lots to see. Take your time and you’ll find your shot! We walked through the market area and the people are happy to pose or let you take photos of their goods and fruits!
In the afternoon it was already time to move on, but one of my favorite things to do on G Adventure trips was on the schedule – a homestay in a local village. We drove to Digana village, just outside of Kandy and stayed at the Tamarind Gardens Farm.
I can totally recommend. ‘Tamarind Gardens is a community-based farm-stay overlooking the picturesque Victoria reservoir in Digana, Kandy. We strongly believe in sustainable community development, and have therefore adopted a community-centred approach that continues to evolve as we grow together.‘ (From their website).
Ayesha and Nalin Perera are the perfect hosts and run a really nice business there. You get to cook (at least help) your own food and you feel welcome from the first moment on. The little puppy Tina was everybody’s darling and nobody could get enough of the cutie!
During a walk through the village itself, we saw a bit more of the surrounding community and our guide (unfortunately forgot the name) even showed us how to make soap bubbles out of a plant!
If you’re lucky with the weather, a very nice sunset awaits you, overlooking the Victoria reservoir.
The evening was very nice and we probably ate some of the best food of the whole trip through Sri Lanka. Ayesha and Nalin (not sure if they’ll read this) might remember me for my Ron Zacapa rum that I was carrying around!
If you’re really up for it, you can get up early and feed the animals or wash the cows. I liked my sleep, so no pics from that activity.
Part 4 – Nuwara Eliya and a magical train ride to Ella will be coming up shortly.