Thursday, January 03, 2013

Kandyan Hospitality

Well, here I sit on my bed enjoying a few moments of actual working wifi to bring you the ins and outs of coming to this amazing and beautiful country, Sri Lanka.
A large island off the east coast of India, Sri Lanka has some similarities to its neighbour, but has a strong identity in its own right. We arrived a few days ago now after taking Tiger Airways from Singapore. The visa process is great here - you get an electronic visa thing online before you come, it was 20 bucks, and your passport number comes up on the computer at immigration and you're in. Didn't even need our printouts.

Kandyan street

The guesthouse here really goes all out to provide services for you. It organised a pickup from the airport to take us all the way here to Kandy. Tours, dinners, laundry, run by one wonderful woman we have been so impressed.
Our first day we walked around the town. We visited the train station and booked a ticket for today to go to Nuwara Eliya - we never used it as we had a long 12 hour tour yesterday and we didn't have the energy. Fortunately it only cost around nine dollars for two people.

In the evening we went to a cultural show near this man-made lake that Kandy is centred on. The hall was filled with westerners who watched a 45-minute show mostly of Sri Lankan dancing with drums, which was interesting. Following that there was the national anthem, a bit unexpected and not sung ummm.... very well. But the show stopper was the fire walking at the end. Much of the audience moved to the stage so we could watch in the round as two men breathed and walked on fire. It was pretty awesome.
Then we came home to the guesthouse for a feast of curries and fruit. Some fantastic cooking!

The next day we visited the Temple of the Tooth. Whose tooth? Well apparently it is Buddha's tooth, a sacred relic. It is in a special container covered with gold, and for select times each day it is open to see. However, the container is not. The queues (it was New Year's Day) were long. That's an understatement.
The queues went on and on...

But they kept slowly moving as we entered the temple. Up some stairs, down some others, what then hell we went all the way to catch a half second glimpse of the container. It was very... shiny. Is it real? Who can truly say? Not I.

There were other rooms and temples in the complex, and a small museum that was very interesting. As for animals, this area is teaming with them, especially monkeys. But my favourite simply has to be the elephant. Such grand creatures. They seem so noble, and there was one in the grounds.

The afternoon featured braving the bus system to the tea museum. A very interesting place, I had tea manufactuaring explained to me in the country whose name is sysnonomous with tea. Housed in an old building with creaky, wooden floors, I recommend this place. Nice tea to buy as well - and prices as good as anywhere. We found the building up a big hill. I was worried the bus wouldn't make it up there for a while, but it did. Beautiful, green, hilly landscape everywhere. We've found a little piece of paradise here!

I don't normally plug accommodation, but if you need a good priced guesthouse in Kandy, then please consider the one we stayed at - Madugalle's Friendly Family Guesthouse. The owner is wonderful. The link -

Madugalle Friendly Family Guesthouse

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