Clock Inn Hostels | Cheap Hotels in Colombo & Kandy & Dehiwala City Sri Lanka

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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.

 

Travelling to Kandy from Colombo was our first time using public transport in Sri Lanka and spending so long travelling India we were pretty sure we knew what to expect but it's always daunting the first time you travel in a new country. Clock Inn Colombo were really helpful with our planning and said we didn't even need to prebook train tickets, which we found hard to believe! But following their advice we got to Colombo train station, purchased our tickets and boarded the train with no problems at all! Although we bought second class tickets we had to sit in third class due to a lack of seats but this wasn't a problem and we couldn't really tell the difference between the classes. The journey itself took just over four hours and it was beautiful as we left behind the bustling city and headed for the mountains. It felt so much easier than travelling by train in India and we also met the kindest lady who bought us some peanuts even though she didn't speak a word of English! Kandy itself is the second largest Sri Lankan city and a lot of travellers use it to visit surrounding areas. Staying at Clock Inn Kandy we booked the Kandy day trip with 'Perry' at 2500lkr for both of us and although it was a bit more expensive than what the local Tuk Tuk drivers offer we still had a great day and couldn't fault the service. First stop on the tour was the Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage however we decided to skip this due to the controversial stories of the elephant welfare and Perry very kindly instead took us to an additional three temples which were off the beaten track, so away from the tourists and very sacred. One of them actually appears on the 500 rupee note! Other stops on the tour included a tea factory and plantation which was great. Although we've visited the tea plantations in Munnar this was just as good and really informative. The local girls presenting the tour were excellent and the tea sample with the honey sugar cubes was so tasty! We requested to stop off at a spice plantation as believe it or not it's something we've never done before. Again it was really interesting and we thoroughly enjoyed it, the highlight being the rare baby pineapple plants which were the cutest things ever. We wanted to take them home but we're not sure customs would have allowed that! We decided to skip the Botanical Gardens as at 1500 rupees each we didn't think we would make the most out of it, being 147 acres in size there was no way we would get around quickly! The Big Buddha was the highlight of our trip, the giant white statue towers over the entire city and we were pleasantly surprised that when we arrived there weren't many tourists so we could enjoy the peaceful temple and beautiful views. Unfortunately we can't say the same the Temple of the Tooth which we were actually disappointed with. Of course if you're visiting Kandy this is probably number one on your to-do list but for us it was very underwhelming. The tooth only comes out once every five years and the temple itself wasn't as spectacular as many others we've seen. Despite the main attraction disappointing us we were really impressed with our day trip and whether you're staying at Clock Inn or not we would certainly recommend booking Perry.


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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