BUCKiTDREAMER, Ben Considine recently decided to venture out from his normal routine life in the beautiful Melbourne Australia to embark on a 2-year journey abroad. Why? Ben said, “I wanted something different in my life – something exciting and challenging. I’ve always wanted to travel abroad and witness the many cultures and cities of the world.”
His first destination was Sri Lanka and below are a few highlights.:
1. Kandy – The cultural and religious hub of Sri Lanka:
The city of Kandy was a 4-hour train ride from the Capital city of Colombo where I touched down on a plane. The place was bustling with market stalls, restaurants, and many school kids and Buddhist monks visiting the temple of the tooth relic – A temple where a tooth from a famous Buddha dating back to the year AD300 has been preserved.
The city of Kandy had amazing weather and was very picturesque – A man-made lake spanned the whole length of the city, and the people were very friendly. I would recommend a few nights here.
2. Tea Plantations – Hill country of Sri Lanka
The highlands, or Hill Country as they call it, is accessed by steep one-way roads busy with small ‘tuc-tucs’ and passenger buses. An old rail way also runs through these hills that is said to be one of the most scenic rail roads in the world. On the side of almost every rolling hill are the tea plantations perfectly manicured. All this coupled with the beautifully warm weather makes for amazing scenes as you travel through the hills to one of the many little towns scattered high above the hills.
3. Adam’s Peak – Awe inspiring heights of Sri Lanka
Adams Peak is a large mountain situated 2,243m above the centre of Sri Lanka. It is a Buddhist religious pilgrim made during different times of the year. I stayed in a nearby hostel at the base of the mountain and woke up at 12:30am to set-off for the 6-hour trek. Along the way I saw people of all walks of life varying from 80+ year old couples, groups of monks, young babies and tourists of all nationalities. I made the top of the summit just at sunrise and I don’t think I have ever seen that many people trying to squeeze up a small stairway – The queue ran at snails pace for 2 hours and at one stage I never thought I would make it. Nevertheless, the sunrise was worth seeing and the 6 thousand steps up and down put me in a coma sleep when I returned down to the bottom.
4. Train Travel – A great way to trek through Sri Lanka
Many of Sri Lankas population travel by rail. A vast railway stretches throughout the whole of Sri Lanka snaking up through the hills, but also connecting small towns to major hubs such as Colombo and Kandy, and down along the beach coastline. The trains are old and rickety and similar to what you would see in movies but this adds to the charm of the experience. Unfortunately my first leg from Colombo to Kandy the train broke down and we were stuck in farmland area for 3 hours in 35 degree heat – Another train eventually came and saved us… Not a great start to the trip!
The highlight of train travel was my trip up through the Hill Country area from Hatton station to a small town called Ella. This leg of the train trip we travelled through 22 tunnels and countless tea plantations. Traditional Sri Lankan food was served on the train.
If travelling through Sri Lanka you must jump on a train at least once.
5. Beaches – White sand and crystal clear waters, the true beauty of Sri Lanka
Where do I start with the beaches of Sri Lanka. It was everything I had pictured in the photos I looked at prior to visiting. White sand, clear warm water, beach huts, palm trees, hot weather…. The list goes on.
I made my way down to the very South coast of Sri Lanka and stayed in Matara, a smaller fishing and surfing town. From there I headed to Hikkaduwa, a very popular surfing town. Here I lazed on the beach all day, snorkeled, fished etc. and at night partied with many tourists at the bars & clubs on the beach front. A couple of massive turtles came to the beach every day where you could feed them. All-in-all you have to get yourself to one of these beaches as the hoards from Thailand, Bali, the Mediterranean or the like have not yet crowded this oasis.
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