Sri Lanka Train Ticket

Sri Lanka: Travel costs & summary

[I always like reading travel cost posts by other bloggers. Now, I’ve finally got started with my own travel cost post. Enjoy!]

It’s been 50+ days into my travels and I haven’t been telling you about the cost and my thoughts on the different places.

Sri Lanka was the first stop of my trip. I’m very glad that I’ve visited Sri Lanka first because it was tough compared to the rest of the places.

For one thing, Sri Lanka’s tourism is not really prepared well for the cheapo traveller like me.

If you have the money, getting drivers/ tour guides to bring you around is easy and very relaxing.

But I have a budget to adhere to so I did everything on my own–even taking the long-distance public transport on the eve of a major public holiday.

Economy class train ticket

Economy class train ticket

Sri Lanka’s travel costs

In April, Sri Lanka’s exchange rate was 101 rupees to 1 Singapore dollar (something like that).

Oddly, getting my money changed at the bank in Kandy gave better rates than the airport did.

Summary

Total spent (rupees) # of days Daily average
35,937.5 8 4,492

By Category

Accomo Transport Food Museums/ sites SIM + data
15,025 3202 5450 7,575 1,210

I’ll be honest, I was trying to squeeze my money in Sri Lanka (even though there’s really no need to) because I want to see if I can spend less than S$50 a day. I think it worked out rather well.

Stat

Duration: 8 days (3 nights in Anuradhapura, 4 nights in Kandy, 1 night in Colombo).

Photos taken: 549 photos

Rice and curry eaten: 7  (On the last day, I had fried rice instead.)

Random

Best room: While my room in Colombo was pricey and had all that you want in a modern hotel room, it was the Kandy hostel single room with shared bathroom that rocked my trip. For the price of a dorm bed, I got a whole room to myself. Woot!

Not-so-good room: My room in Anuradhapura was large but the only electrical socket was deliberately hidden behind a dressing table. The socket was falling apart and I was afraid of killing myself every time I plugged my charger in.

Best meal: Khotu, I LOVE YOU! This stir-fried dough stripes has the right amount of charred taste from the pan and the generous chicken bits are so tasty. I want to eat more of this!

But I like khotu a lot more than hoppers.

But I like khotu a lot more than hoppers.

Most valuable item bought: Umbrella. Do you remember how I got sunstroke from Sigiriya? If I had bought an umbrella, I would be as healthy as a bull.

Favorite part about Sri Lanka: The price of 3G! It’s so damn cheap and quite fast.

Biggest surprise: Christian shrines at the roadside.

Jesus loves you and wants to give you a hug.

Jesus loves you and wants to give you a hug.

Best experience: Kids boldly saying, “Hi.” to me and asked me where I’m from. Also, a kid asked me in a temple if I was from Japan or Korea and if I knew a particular Korean popstar.

Worst experience: Sitting in crowded third class train carriage with a monk sitting on the aisle across. The old monk’s hands grabbed at the sides of my seat, leading me to squeeze away uncomfortably as I did not think that it was proper for any parts of my body to touch his hands.

Later, some passengers had a shouting match with the monk. One guy offered me his his seat next to his mother.

Another man in purple shirt asked, “Did [the monk] harass you?”
“I don’t know,”I answered honestly.
“If he did, we need to report him,” he said, looking very pissed.

I know that monks are given reverence in Sri Lanka so I wasn’t very sure if I was taken advantage of or just too silly and not just let the monk grab parts of my seat.

Biggest rip off: Anuradhapura scared city entrance ticket for US$35. I know the money is used for conservation but the actual sites that you need to show the tickets are not that splendid. I could have listened to advice on the Internet and cycled in for free.

Biggest regret: Staying for too long in Anuradhapura and not staying a night at Dambulla.

Is Sri Lanka suitable for a solo female traveller?

Before I set foot in Sri Lanka, I asked two girls who have been to the country alone what they thought about solo travel there. Phebe from The Travelling Squid and Stephanie from Pearls and Passport both liked the country and felt it was OK for a single woman to travel there.

After being in Sri Lanka, I think that it’s quite safe to travel as a single woman in Sri Lanka, but some sights are better suited for this than others.

For example, I was more comfortable in Kandy than in Anuradhapura where I didn’t see another East Asian-looking tourist. The beach areas should be tourist-friendly too.

However, the journey to Sigiriya from Kandy was very tiring since I was one of the few single female walking about. Standing on a cramped local bus for 3 hours didn’t help with my level of comfort at all.

In conclusion, I think Sri Lanka is a place that is best visited with a buddy to look out for you. If you really want to travel to Sri Lanka alone, I’d say, “Go ahead!” It’s a safe country but as some of the places are not as lazy-tourist-friendly as Thailand.

If you are interested in reading more about my days in Sri Lanka, check out the archives.

Cheap 3G package from Mobitel. Hearts

Sri Lanka 3G for tourist

I wasn’t planning to get 3G when I was in Sri Lanka. I assumed that wireless connection in my guest house would be enough for me.

However, it turned out that having Internet on my phone was very important as I kept getting lost in Anuradhapura.

If you are thinking about getting 3G in Sri Lanka while travelling, I don’t recommend buying the tourist prepaid SIM packages. For example, Dialog has prepaid SIM for tourists and the premium package is 1,300 rupees.

That’s rather expensive compared with getting a package targeted at locals. For example, Mobitel’s 1024MB data package is only 279 rupees and includes some free minutes and text messages for numbers on the same network.

Cheap 3G package from Mobitel. Hearts

Cheap 3G package from Mobitel. Hearts

I bought a normal SIM card at the airport but had to change it to a micro-SIM later. I was really kiasu and bought a back up 1024MB internet package which I didn’t need at all in the end.

I paid about 1,200 rupees in total for the normal SIM, changed micro-SIM and two internet packages.

I did a lot of Google Maps and Whatsapp with my plan. I was using data up fast at my first guesthouse where the Wi-Fi was wonky. I posted blog updates by tethering my phone’s 3G connection. Surfing on a hotspot was much faster than I expected.

When I switched to the hostel in Kandy, my data consumption dropped because I had stable Wi-Fi.

It might be worthwhile getting the tourist package for the IDD rates. But you don’t really need to make IDD calls if you are contacting others with VoIP apps or services.

I checked out a branch of HUTCH and they told me they didn’t have micro-SIM. I’m not sure if that’s the case for the whole country or just that branch in Anuradhapura.

How is your experience with 3G in Sri Lanka?

Train time table

Sri Lanka scams and touts I met

Sri Lanka is a very peaceful place but like the Singapore safety tagline “Low crime doesn’t mean low crime”. I will share some of the scams and touts I met while in Sri Lanka.

As usual, at the beginning of a difficult post, I need to put a disclaimer. I have met many lovely people in Sri Lanka who are not scammers or touts. These people include:

  • Two schoolgirls who asked where I was from while I was eating my rice and curry at a “Cold Station”.
  • A Kandyan man with two children who were going back to his wife’s hometown (Sigiriya). His children pointed at me, smiling, when I boarded. He later showed me a picture of the Temple of Tooth and gave me an ice cream. “If you like,” he said.
  • The lady on the bus who insisted I take the seat beside her man-friend as she was getting off soon.
  • The little girl who said Hi on my ride to Colombo Airport.

I am trying hard to remember the good things about Sri Lanka because I am afraid that the dark side will take over and I only have bad memories of the country.

Even though I need to forget the bad, I still want to write down the scams that could have happened to me. I have no idea if the cases were really works of touts but, to be careful, I will list them down:

Official touts

P1050024

As soon as I reached Colombo Fort station, I encountered my first tout. Unfortunately, it was even a government-sanctioned tout.

At the station, I was ushered into an air-conditioned room. On the glass window, big letters spelling RAILWAY TOURIST OFFICE made me feel rather gladly surprised that there was such a service. This is even better than Yogyakarta!

I told the moustached man that I was heading to Anuradhapura and needed tickets  and I just missed the previous train by 15 minutes.

The man made a call on his cell phone to confirm that there were still tickets for the 4:30pm train. He asked where I was off to next, which I thought was nice of him. How wrong I was.

I told him I wanted to buy tickets from Kandy to Colombo and I would take a bus from Anuradhapura to Kandy since there were no trains.

He shook his head and said, “It’s very difficult by bus.” I replied, “It’s OK, I’m up for it.”

He offered to get me a driver to pick me up from Anuradhapura and bring me to the sights in Pollunawara and Sigiriya. I will stay in a hotel in Sigiriya for a night before being sent to Kandy. All this for 25,000 rupees.

At that point, my brain was hay wired. To me, 25,000 rupees sounded like S$25 which is ridiculously cheap. I almost said yes but didn’t because I wanted to do the indie travelling way.

When the man saw that I was not convinced, he brought over a map and pointed to the different places. Anuradhapura and Kandy looked very far from each other.

I was tempted until he said: “All this for US$250.”

Then I snapped out of it. I looked at him and said, “But I don’t have that much money.” US$250 was about two-thirds of my budget for the whole trip!

Then the man turned cold. He folded the map and said, “Well then, you have to buy the ticket yourself. For US$250, we can do it all for you.”

“I really do not have the money,” I said, packing up my things and standing up.

When I left, a Caucasian couple were deciding if they wanted to take up the package. I wanted to shake their shoulders and say: “It’s much cheaper to DIY!” But of course I didn’t, instead I left and went in search of my train.

Special ceremony tout

Kandy Lake

In Kandy, while I was walking the circumference of the lake. A man dressed respectably in sarong and white shirt suddenly started praying towards the Tooth Temple when he saw me approach.

I tried to walk behind him so I won’t block his praying. He stopped his praying and said to me: “Good morning, Madam. Today is a special day.” He pointed to the temple.

I replied: “Yes it’s New Year.”

He said: “There is a special ceremony at the temple. The president is coming.” He looked like he wanted to escort me to the temple.

Even though I had no idea if the president was coming or not, I said: “No! I was at the temple just now. Goodbye.”

I continued walking and heard his footsteps behind. In front, there was a tuk-tuk and the driver said, “Good morning Madam.”

The man behind me immediately followed with a “Good morning” but I just nod my head.

Good things another tuk tuk stopped in front. The drive in the vehicle prayed towards the temple. I took the chance to pretend to be enthralled with a crow that stopped in front of me.

I then continued walking and luckily the man did not follow me. Later, when I walked back (the lake was too big to walk a full circle), I saw the old man sitting in the tuk tuk with the driver.

Perhaps they were accomplices in a “special ceremony” scam: The man pretending to bring the tourist to see a special event. A tuk tuk miraculously appears. They then charge an enormous sum as payment for their company.

I will never know if my theory was right. But thank the Tooth for the tuk tuk which stopped just in time.

Tissue man scam

Donations welcomed

This is a rather small but ridiculous case of scams. At Sigiriya, there were two men lingering outside the women’s public toilet. It was very awkward and if I knew enough Sinhala, I would tell them to not hang around there.

One of the man offered tissue paper. I shook my head and went into the toilet.

When I was washing my hands, a few tourists came in. They took the tissue from the man, perhaps thinking that it was the Official Tissue Dispensing Man.

As I left, the Official Tissue Dispensing Man held out a palm in which there was a 50 rupee note. It was rather

Tour guide tout

At famous sights, there is always a person or two who wants to show me the way to the attraction (even though it’s plainly in sight).

I always decline because I don’t want them to turn out to be tour guide touts who want money in the end as reward for their company.

Regular Sri Lankans are lovely

Ice cream given by kind Kandyan man with Sigiriyan wife and 2 kids. On bus to Sigiriya.

All these incidents made me wary of people. When I hear “Good morning madam,” I have to ignore the greeting because I do not know if it was genuine Hello or just the beginning of a hard sell.

I know that as someone who is privileged enough to travel (yes, travelling is a privilege). I do have more disposable income than the locals. Yes I can bear to part with a dollar or two, but does that mean I should condone these scams and touts? I think not.

If we take out the scammers and touts of Sri Lanka, it’s a really great place to visit. The people are friendly and the sites are nice. Just remember to bring lots of sun protection and not get heat stroke.

sri lanka new year dishes

Glutton in Sri Lanka

It’s Glutton time again! Each time I visit a new place, I share with you the yummies (or not) that I ate. Previous editions include Indonesia, east coast of Malaysia, Singapore.

Last week I’ve shared the wonderful rice and curries of Sri Lanka so today I want to show you other food!

Chicken kothu

Chicken kohtu

My friend M left a comment in my past post that I need to try kohtu roti. I wasn’t really sure what it was but I ordered one anyway when I got back into Colombo.

It turned out to be my favorite dish during the entire trip. Maybe I was really hungry when I ate it but every bite tasted like chicken heaven.

Kohtu is sort of like stir fried noodles but with prata instead of noodles. This gives the dish an interesting texture.

Egg hopper

Egg hopper

The hopper is a thin batter cooked on a little bowl shaped hot plate. The batter has toddy (palm wine) in it so there is a sourness.

I didn’t like my egg hopper as much as the kohtu. Despite the abundant pepper on my hopper, the taste was still a little flat.

Unknown noodle dish

Unknown noodle dish. I went back to the hotel where I had the hopper and kohtu, hoping to get the same for breakfast.

Unfortunately, it was too early so the shop only had this unnamed noodle dish. I ate the noodle with a serving of daahl and some chicken innards.

It was alright.

Drinks!

Milk tea

Can you believe I didn’t have any tea in Ceylon until my fourth day? Even then, the tea was from tea bags.

When I got into Colombo, I ordered a milk tea to go with my kohtu and hopper. The drink turned out to be too fabulous for words.

Sweet with no hint of tannin as other red tea do.

Elephant House Ginger Beer

Despite my love for tea, my favorite drink in Sri Lanka has to be ginger beer. I was introduced the drink at my last lunch in Sri Lanka. The brand EGB claims that they are the only ones who use real ginger in their drink. In any case, I love the mix of gas and sweet ginger.

New year munchies!

Sir Lanka New Year sweets

These new year goodies were prepared by the hostel in Kandy. I’m grateful that I was able to have a taste of traditional Sri Lanka new year food.

What is your favorite Sri Lankan dish?

Bye Sri Lanka [YQrtw Day 8 Apr 15]

Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka

I’m writing this post in the airport’s Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. My plane leaves for Dubai at 6:25pm.

Quick summary of today: I watched Inglorious Basterds well into midnight. In the morning, I went back to the “hotel” I ate yesterday. They didn’t have hopper or khottu roti in the morning so I settled with something that looked a little like mee siam.

It was pouring when I left the hotel. I wanted to take the train to Katuyanaka but the train person said the next carriage wouldn’t be until 2:30pm and suggested that I take the bus.

By the time I switched to the bus from Colombo Fort to Airport, the rain had stopped and the air was cool. I like this sort of weather although clothes will take forever to dry.

The bus passed by familiar sights I saw on my first day. I’m most interested in the Christian shrines that dot the road. I know that Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country so it was surprising to see Mary hold a baby Jesus by the roadside.

roadside shrines along Sri Lanka roads

I have mixed feelings about Sri Lanka. I dislike the touts and the crazy heat. But I like the curious children (“Where are you from?”), yummy food (Khottu, I love you!!) and cheap travels. It’ll probably take me a few days to digest and share my views of the country.

Until then, safe travels.

sri lanka new year dishes

Happy Sri Lankan New Year! [YQrtw Day 7 Apr 14]

This morning at around 4 a.m., I was startled by what seemed like gun shots. I was too lazy to get out of bed to check out what it was but my extremely myopic eyes saw bursts of color at the window.

Fireworks!

Later in the morning, as I was packing for check out, one of the caretakers of the hostel told me to go down for New Year celebration.

A glorious spread of sweet things were on the table when I got down. I’m most glad that I didn’t have to worry about where to find food for the morning.

Sri Lanka New Year treats

Everyone got a chance to light the oil lamps.

My photo was taken by an older French man who didnt know Instagram.

The sweets were really really sweet. I had a hard time biting off some of the pastries but it was a great sugar rush.

Look! The president even sent me (and probably millions of others) a message for the new year. Haha!

[Today’s summary: New Year feast. 3rd class train to Colombo, during which some passengers confronted a monk who might have harassed me. It’s complicated! Stayed in new hotel room after late-lunch/early dinner. Off to Dubai tomorrow night!]

Kandy Lake

Sri Lanka: Doing nothing in Kandy [YQrtw Day 6 Apr 13]

After yesterday’s mild sickness, I wasn’t ready to jump into extreme-tourist mode. Instead, I told myself that I could go out in the morning when the sun was not too hot and come back to snooze around noon.

Nihal's Super

The slope from the hostel to the main street is rather steep. I imagined that it would be fun going down on a bicycle (if only there were no cars at all).

Near the hostel (actually, a bit far) is a supermarket. Upstairs is Dine-More which has a great view of the hillside. The restaurant was closed but the bakery downstairs (Perera & Sons) was opened.

I bought a pastry filled with potatos and sardines. As I walked down the slope (there’s a lot more walking to be done), I spotted another bakery. This had indoor sitting so I bought two other fish pastries and a coffee.

After devouring my pastries, I continued my walk to town. After checking Google Maps, I decided to risk getting lost and take a shortcut. The slope was even more challenging and I kept imagining myself tumbling down.

…More rambling…

Today was the Sri Lankan new year and a lot of families visited the Temple of the Tooth. I was glad to find not that many touts and fake-guides around, it’s good to know that they celebrate the new year too.

At Kandy Lake, next to the temple. I saw something strange in the water, it was swimming quite fast and looked like a plank.

After walking a lot more, I spotted a great big monitor lizard. It looked like it had either swallowed a turtle whole or was pregnant. I decided that it was pregnant and wondered what this would mean if my life were a novel.

At the edge of the lake, very close to the entrance to the temple, a family was feeding the ducks and fishes chunks of rice. Maybe it’s a new year tradition. The animals seemed like they had too much to eat previously and weren’t fighting over the food.

Next to the temple is the Kandyan Cultural Association. Usually there are handicraft on sale but today the place was closed. But there was a young man selling tickets to the Kandyan Dance at 5:30 p.m.. I bought a ticket (500 rupees) and looked forward to the fire eating. (I didn’t go in the end because of the rain.)

After a lot of walking, I headed back to the hostel. I stopped by the main Perera & Sons branch for a lunch of rice and curry.

I walked all the way up the hill because I was too cheap to pay for a tuk-tuk. At least that was good exercise.

I napped until it was time to leave for the dance. It was raining at that time.

When I got out of the house, the rain fell even heavier. I decided to skip the dance and stay in my room. Good choice since lightning and thunder appeared later in the night.

I sat on the floor of my room, typing and reading stuff from my Google Reader.

Tomorrow, Colombo!

Sights of Sigiriya Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: To Sigiriya and back [YQrtw Day 5 Apr 12]

[Heat stroke on Friday meant more sleep and no posts. But here it is, a day late.]

My hostel lady recommend that I visit Sigiriya on Friday since the weekend was the New Year holiday when buses are not as frequent.

I woke up at 6:00 am for my tuk tuk. It only came at about 7:00 am and charged me an extra 100 rupees (~S$1.00) as he came because of hostel lady’s call. It’s pretty ironic since I could have caught any other tuk tuk during that time.

Anyway! At the bus station, I was pointed to a general location at the upper right corner for the bus to Sigiriya. The conductor for another bus said the Sigiriya bus leaves at 7:30 am and pointed in the general direction of a roofed building.

So I waited and waited. Finally, a man came up and asked if I was heading to Sigiriya. He guided me to the right bus.

On the bus, a family of four’s two young girls giggled at me and pointed me to their dad. Later at Dambulla station, the father came over and talked about the Temple of Tooth and his family (wife’s from Sigiriya while he’s from Kandy). He also gave me an ice cream. Thanks kind Kandyan man!

Ice cream from kind Kandyan father

Ice cream from kind Kandyan father

The bus was quite empty when we started our journey. However, it got pretty crowded soon.

It took about 3 hours for me to get to Sigiriya. The conductor told me to hop off at the unpaved road leading to the rock castle. Unfortunately, that was the exit and I had to trek for about 10 minutes to the ticket counter.

There was a small stream by the road where I washed my feet. The stream turned out to feed into the moat. How cool is that.

Near the gates, a man asked if I was going to climb the rock. I ignored him because he felt like a tout. Instead, I asked the security lady where to buy the tickets. She pointed to somewhere further down. As I walked to the ticket area, the man said: “You have to buy your ticket first.” Hello sir, that is just what I’m doing.

In case the tout was following me, I headed to the public toilet. Outside the ladies, there were two men lurking. That’s not good news.

Turns out, the man was holding some tissue to try to scam people into paying him for his “service”. I used my own supply instead and was indignant when he dared hold out his palm–with a 50 rupee note on top.

The ticket for Sigiriya is slightly more expensive compared with Anuradhapura. US$30 but it’s worth 10 times better than Anuradhapura.

The walk to the castle on the rock is gruelling, especially in the heat. I ended up with heat stroke later in the day.

Sights of Sigiriya

Sights of Sigiriya

A quick summary of The Rock. Cool rock. Not so cool weather. Very few left of half-naked-half-cloud-clad fairies (used to be 500 but were vandalized). View from top of rock amazing. Going up and down not so great.

Stairs of Sigiriya

Stairs of Sigiriya

After the visit to The Rock, I haggled a tuk tuk ride to Dambulla (from 300 to 150 rupees). At Dambulla, everyone gawked at the Chinese tourist (that’s me!). Brave ones come up and suggest a tuk tuk ride to Dambulla (that would be crazy money, no thank you).

The bus to Dambulla came. I gave 100 rupees to the conductor who didn’t give me any change back. (Hey! That ride should be less than 30 rupees.) Maybe that’s the universe’s way of getting me to pay the difference of my tuk-tuk haggling.

At Dambulla, I ate a meal of rice and curry (featured on Food Friday!) along with a malt milk tea (tea with Horlicks).

After lunch, it was time for the bus. The sun was crazy hot but I had to stand by the road for the buses that head to Kandy. An air-conditioned bus zipped past. A bus packed to the brim with people stopped. I didn’t want to be squeezed like a sardine so I waited.

The guy who pointed me to the site to wait for Kandy-bound bus told me that all buses will be packed as it’s the new year. I sucked it up and boarded the next Kandy bus.

Luckily, I had a standing space right in front of the front row. I stood there, holding on to the railings for one and a half hour, all the while trying not to fall on the passenger.

Nearer to Kandy, a lady told me to sit at the seat which she “reserved”. I demurred but she insisted. She dropped off a few stops afterwards and I am forever grateful.

However the passenger next to me thought the area around my hip bone was an elbow rest and decided to put his elbow there for the entire trip. This wasn’t as bad as having someone’s crotch on my shoulder during my ride to Mihintale.

The bus finally rolled into Kandy at about 7:00pm. I caught a 200 rupee tuk-tuk (I seem to remember things involving money) back to the hostel.

I didn’t have an appetite as my head was throbbing from the heat. After a few tumblers of tea, I went to bed at 8:30pm.

[Summary: Went to Sigiriya. Ate first pain killer of the trip.]

Rice and curries of Sri Lanka

#FoodFriday: The many rice and curries of Sri Lanka

[I know it’s Saturday now (and probably Sunday where you live), but I had mild heatstroke on Friday so the post is only up now. Bon apetit!]

When I first heard of Sri Lanka’s rice and curry, I thought it was a plate of rice accompanied by a bowl of thick curry (like Chinese curries in Malaysia).

Even after looking at pictures of rice and curry online, I still had the same old impression.

So I was kind of surprised when I was served my first rice and curry at a hotel (a “simple restaurant” in Sri Lanka, not the usual definition of hotel) next to Colombo Fort train station. It looked very much like a regular rice and side dishes served at Chinese places back in Singapore and Malaysia.

Rice and curries of Sri Lanka

Rice and curries of Sri Lanka

The vegetarian rice and curry I had in Colombo had a huge heap of rice with four sides: chickpeas, fibrous vegetable, dhaal and another veggie.

The rice was not the usual Thai rice I have back home, but small barley-like grain that were round and fun to chew. (Later I found out that other rice were also used in different places.)

The best rice and curry I had was in Anuradhapura. It’s a small shop called “Highland Cold Spot” (or is it Cold Station) that gets its packets of rice and curry from another vendor. The best part about the place was that the rice and curry along with a glass of papaya juice cost only 160 rupees (~S$1.60).

Other rice and I curries I have cost less than 250 rupees and every one of them had too much rice. I wonder how the locals manage to keep all that rice in their stomachs. I usually can’t move after having one. (Maybe because I also drink while I eat and this expands my stomach by a lot.)

Ii’ve made it a point to have one rice and curry dish each day but I have a feeling I have had too much of it and my stomach does not want any more.

While we’re at the topic of food, I am ashamed to say that I have not tried a hopper yet. Uh oh… It’s just that I’ve only seen pre-made hoppers at a food counter and that didn’t look too appealing.

Anyone knows where I can get hoppers in Colombo or Kandy?

What other food should I eat in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka: Entering Kandy [YQrtw Day 4 Apr 11]

Guesthouse owner in Anuradhapura brought me to the old bus stand on a tuk tuk this morning. I was stuffed into the back of an airconditioned minibus.

During the 4-hour ride to Kandy, I juggled balancing my large backpack on my left thigh, my messenger bag and small bag on my right thigh and the head of the passenger next to me on my shoulder. Now I am prepared to become a sardine in a tin in my next life.

When I first got into Kandy, I had a great shock. There were so many buses, noise and people!

I got back into Kandy’s center after checking into my hostel and got another shock. There were so many people on the streets. I think I almost hyperventilated from the crowd.

kandy land

Kandy is pretty. The view of the hill side from the diner near my hostel is fabuous (lower left). The lake next to the Temple of the Golden Tooth is peaceful and calm. The air is a lot cooler than Anuradhapura which is great since I sweat buckets every night there.

Despite all the good things, it’s business as usual as every one tried to sell the Chinese person on the street everything they have. I got so fed up that I even accidentally ignored an official temple employee because he shouted, “Madam! Madam!”

I remember that touts weren’t so bad in Indonesia but maybe it’s because I’m travelling with another person so it was better.

One day, I might just carry out my plan and talk to an invisible person next to me. Hope the touts get freaked out by the crazy Chinese tourist. That’ll show them.