Sri Lanka in Style - Part 2: Kandy, Galle and the Beach
Continuing our small trip through the South West of Sri Lanka we are going from Nuwara Elyia to Kandy to see a tooth of a Buddah and an elephant orphanage. Then onto our fantastic finish in the laid back colonial seaside town of Galle with beautiful beaches and fishermen on a stick.
- Arrival at Bandaranaike Airport
- Colombo - Hilton Residences
- Langdale by Amaya Boutique Resort (SLH)
- Green View Home Stay
- Owl and the Pussycat Hotel & Restaurant (SLH)
Stops 4 to 5 are covered within this blog post, for the first part of the report go here.
Our (fantastic) driver took us down from Nuwara Elyia on winding roads to Kandy, a rather large town in the hills.
Famous for the Buddha temple where a Buddha tooth is kept and seen as a holy artifact and paraded once a year on an elephant, Kandy gets a lot of visitors and pilgrims from all over Buddha-land and beyond.
The temple complex at a lake is quite impressive with interesting architecture.
On that day, we continued on to the Millenium elephant orphanage. This was not the best experience. Riding an elephant for the first time was interesting, but the riding track was short and boring, the elephants seemed unhappy and not treated too well. Also, you had to pay 2000 rupees at the entrance and then every employee was begging for tips for anything. Unfortunately, the upcoming one night stay in the jungle didn't change things for the better...
Stay at the Green View Home Stay
This one is out of the ordinary for us, since it has a very simple standard and was also not our favourite, if not for the nice owner and his dog. The idea of a tropical cabin in the jungle was good, but there was no modern amenity that we are used to (AC, nice shower without cockroaches etc.) and a street next to it with quite some traffic. But we expected this for the low price and were thus not disappointed. It was just for one night and things were looking up the next day and we ended our trip on a high note in...
Galle and the Beach
We said goodbye to our driver after he dropped us off at our beautiful beach hotel near Galle: The Owl and the Pussycat in Thalpe.
It's part of SLH and thus a nice boutique hotel with not too many rooms. It was directly at the sea, but actually had no beach. We didn't care about that, since it was easy to get to a great beach in five to ten minutes with one of the ubiquitous tuktuks.
The room had a nice island feel about it. It was still new and kept very clean. No sea view, though. I am guessing we didn't get an upgrade to the next category, I also didn't ask about it. I would have been entitled to it due to my status with SLH - of course only when available. We were happy with our room anyway.
The food was actually very good throughout our stay. From breakfast to dinner it was fresh and contained local produce, like fruits or fish.
Galle is an old fortified city founded by Portuguese colonists in the 16th century. It has small cafes and shops (tourist centred) and a laid back atmosphere.
We really liked the old town and we could actually unwind while shuffling through shops (some really unique ones, not always the same tourist crap) and having good coffee. Next time we are gonna spend a few nights here as well.
Let's check out the beaches
There are many beaches around the hotel. We visited two of them, North and South along the coast. The sand and water temperature were just right, and there were not too many people. Maybe the reason for that was that the waves were always going very strong. You probably won't find the calmness of the Maldives here, although it's the same part of the Indian Ocean. Sometimes you were swimming against the current that was pulling you out into the ocean instead of to the beach. Eventually we got to some calmer areas, protected by natural boulders. I enjoyed it, especially because of the lack of people.
Other things to do
Fishermen traditionally hunt from these sticks. Not from these particular sticks, as they were just there for tourists. But sticks like those are actually still used, e.g. we had some in front of our hotel. They were never occupied during our stay and the staff told us that it's the fishermen's decision and that they can't control their schedule. Seemed real to me.
Down the road North of the hotel we visited a turtle orphanage which felt a little better than the elephant orphanage. Apparently the turtles were set free at some point in their lives.
The views of the Indian Ocean, the sound of the waves, the new and nice interior (and exterior) of the hotel and the wonderful staff ended our stay as amazing as it started in tea country.
Sri Lanka has a lot to offer, culture, friendly people, nature, tea plantations, beaches and plenty we haven't seen on our trip, like Horton Plains and the Southern beaches. We'll definitely come back!