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After four months of volunteering in India we decided that on the way home we deserved a holiday! We picked Sri Lanka as our destination after hearing so many wonderful things. Landing in Colombo airport very early in the morning after several flight delays we were so tired and just wanted to get some sleep. As soon as we left the airport and headed for the city we both perked up and were incredibly excited to see proper roads (equipped with markings and signs) and best of all; no rubbish! Already Sri Lanka was so different to India. We had a few days to explore the city and the more we saw the more we liked. Our first evening was spent wandering the cute, cobbled streets of the Old Dutch Hospital which offered plenty of eateries to choose from. We visited Gangarama and Seema Malaka Buddhist temples, which despite the rain were beautiful and full of culture, they are also in walking distance of each other so we would definitely recommend seeing both! We loved the Sri Lanka National museum which is also another lovely building and very informative about the history of this amazing country.
We wanted to see a Sri Lankan shopping mall and chose Arcade Independence Square from the many options and were pleasantly surprised. The quirky layout was great to wander around and so different from the standard shopping centre. We were lucky with the weather that when we came outside to see the Bandaranaike Memorial we could relax for a bit and enjoy the sun!
We're big foodies and whilst in the city we ate at The Fat Crab and opted for the fish platter which was delicious! We also ate at the highly recommended Gallery Café, Barefoot and had cocktails at the Galle Face Hotel. Although it was a flying visit our time in Colombo was wonderful, it's such a developing city and we’re excited to see what the future holds for it.
In Kandy we found a couple of great eateries including Slightly Chilled Lounge Bar, also known as the Bamboo Garden to the locals, which served up delicious Chinese food, beers and cocktails and even showed the football to K's delight. It had such a chilled out vibe and offered incredible views of the city so it's definitely worth a visit. Our other favourite was Buono, not really a dinner option but is excellent to grab a drink and a snack. It's so tiny and really hidden away but had a lovely atmosphere and offers fab milkshakes, cakes and three varieties of burgers which were actually quite good! It was a funny little place and somewhere the local uni students used as their hang out, a good way to experience a bit of the young Kandy culture. You can either use Kandy as a hub and do day trips to the surrounding areas including Adams Peak, Dambulla and Sigiriya or you can it can be a short stop on the way to your next destination which is what we did. It's a really friendly little city and we loved the cleanliness, the people and the sights it has to offer.
When we were first planning to visit Sri Lanka we already had some preconceptions about what to expect. It was going to be small, it was still going to be dirty but it was going to be great. We had heard fantastic things about Sri Lanka but still envisioned it as just a smaller version of India however as soon as we stepped out of the airport we immediately knew this was somewhere very different indeed.
Our time in this beautifully individual country was incredible, travelling from Colombo to Trinco and back again whilst visiting everywhere inbetween. We loved how it was clean, we loved how it was modern yet cultural and we loved how the people were so friendly. Not since the Philippines have we met a kinder type of person and the only thing we are struggling to work out is what's not to like! If you're a backpacker you will find the transport system easy to use and reliable while being incredibly cheap (a five hour bus journey costs £1.50). Accommodation is affordable and comfortable and there is just so much to do! Alternatively if you visit Sri Lanka as a holiday you will not be disappointed with some of the world’s most stunning beaches and islands with luxury hotels costing a fraction of what you'd expect to pay in Europe. Sometimes big things come in small packages and Sri Lanka certainly fits the bill.
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