When I first took this job in Saudi Arabia, I started researching and came to find out that one of my favorite bands had a concert nearby in Dubai on September 25th. I was fully excited and purchased my tickets. I then came to realize that it was during the national holiday called Eid. At this point a couple friends and I started to plan our trip for Eid. One of my best friends here, has some issues getting visas, so we looked and found that both Sri Lanka and Nepal were easy for him to acquire.
**SIDE NOTE** if you plan on traveling internationally, research country visa policies
As an added bonus, the other friend going with us has family heritage in Sri Lanka. So we were very excited to go. All I knew about the country was the artist MIA came from there. So I guess it is time to learn by experience.
I had no clue what to expect, so I started researching Things to do in Sri Lanka. The country seemed like a lush jungle island. It looked beautiful. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to really explore the island, but I knew I wanted to see the tea plantations.
We booked an AirBnB apartment that was near the beach next door to the Cinnamon Grand hotel.
As I arrived later then my friends, I had to get into the building. This is always a hitch with AirBnB rentals. Unlike a hotel, there is no guarantee that you will be able to get in. **ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR HOST AND LET THEM KNOW ABOUT TRAVEL PLANS** The room seemed nice enough for a couple days. Once we were rested, we went for a walk over to a local temple.
The tuk-tuk is a 3-wheeled taxi. Unfortunately, I am too large to fit in them. So I spent a good portion of my time sternly rejecting the forceful offers for rides. These guys are relentless. You will not be able to walk anywhere without being audibly accosted.
The temple seemed like a big flea market. There were some gorgeous pieces there, but overall it felt crowded. Afterwards, we called for a real cab. We waited… and waited… then finally our cab arrived, and our driver had the biggest smile on his face: 30 minutes late, but happy as a clam in mud. Kanna turned out to be a huge blessing. After taking us to one of the other districts of Colombo to shop, we inquired if we could just hire him outright to be our tour guide. This man made our trip so much better. If you are going to Colombo, call Kango Taxi and ask for driver 117. You are welcome.
We were told by many people that the best restaurant for authentic Sri Lankan cuisine was Raja Bojun, so we called Kanna and headed over. The buffet was spectacular. The decor was local-feeling. It was fun to hear Mit talk about all the local foods.
After dinner, we hit up some nightlife. We found a local Karaoke Bar called the Cleopatra club which was located near the restaurant. There is a dance stage where girls performed Hindi dances in traditional garments. The experience was breath-taking.
The next morning we woke up early, so that we could take the drive up the mountain to Nuwara Eliya. This is where the Ceylon tea that is in English Breakfast tea is grown. Kanna picked us up and took us to some breakfast. Afterwards, we found a local shop for some handcarved treasures.
The roads were actually very well-kept. The two perfect lanes wound all the way up the mountain. Kanna made sure to stop at some photo locations. We saw mountainside farms, hidden waterfalls, and architecture that seemingly eluded time.
Blue Field Tea company is not the highest of the plantations, but it was very peaceful. I decided to try all the tea that they offered. I love tea, and this stop confirmed that.
After our break, we continued up the mountain. The city at the top of the mountain had everything: WiFi, a full grocery store, bars, restaurants, shops, etc. It was crazy. Here we are at the top of some remote mountain in Sri Lanka, and it seemed better equipped than a lot of small towns in Mississippi.
We made it back down the mountain after a drive that was truly the second most treacherous drive I have experienced. Windy roads, rain, fog, darkness all made the drive very scary. Kanna was a master, whipping in and out of the slow drivers, making great time. By this point, Mit’s ability to speak Thamel came in handy, since we were informed by our driver that he was very sleepy. Unfortunately for me, the promethazine I had taken, was wearing off.
Once we got back to town, we hit the nightlife up again. Sadly, everywhere we went paled in comparison to Cleopatra, so we did the natural thing and headed back. This night was ever better. All the girls did large group dances. It was mesmerizing.
For our last day, we went to the Old Dutch Hospital and had the Ministry of Crab for lunch. It was touted as the best crab in the country. Sadly, most of their menu was unavailable. The crabs we did get were good, but not for the price we paid.
After lunch, it was raining, so we walked around and hit the shops in the ODH. It was almost time to leave, but we needed to take one final picture.
Our time in Sri Lanka was short, but it was amazing. I would definitely recommend the trip anyone.
I will post a couple albums with more pictures.
Until next time.