Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka 2013 : The Last Day

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After an elaborate complimentary breakfast at the Jetwing St.Andrews, we got picked up by our go-to driver Rudan (0777528518) to give us a short tour around Nuwara Eliya before we caught our train to Colombo from Nanu Oya. We let him decide the itinerary with a 5 hour deadline. He picked the PBC (Peradeniya, Badulla, Chenkalady) A5 highway that took us to the Ramboda valley. The Ramboda valley is gorgeous. Waterfalls, tea plantations, streams... would make an interesting trek. The Ramboda falls is the 11th highest waterfall in Sri Lanka. It consists of three section with the middle section...

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Sri Lanka 2013 : Cloud Forest & World’s End

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An early start to the day was in order so that we could make our way to the Hortan Plains national park at sunrise. It was an hours drive from the hotel on well paved (unlit) roads that snaked through small villages and the neighboring hills. We reached the plains just past sunrise with our first (and only) animal sighting of the common Sambar that were grazing nearby past the main entrance. The driver dropped us off at the parking lot right next to the park office/reception that was closed for maintenance. You have to a walk a short way on the path next to it to a gate where they check you for any  polythene...

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Sri Lanka 2013 : Nuwara Eliya

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Unlike Ella, Nuwara Eliya isn't a small village but a town that serves as a tourist hub for a lot of people who come to Sri Lanka. Prices are exorbitant in comparison, you get hassled by plenty of beggars (a first in Sri Lanka for us) and visiting the town at night feels awkward thanks to all those men clambering over at the local alcohol stores. So with such an influx of tourists, you'd expect the town to be up to scratch to meet those needs. Quite the opposite with the food being disappointing, the hotels were so-so and local rickshaws were a rip-off. We had booked our two night stay at a small...

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Sri Lanka 2013 : Train to Nuwara Eliya

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Clear blue skies welcomed us the next morning as we prepared to catch the 9:24am train to Nanu Oya; the closest station to Nuwara Eliya. After a quick breakfast of string hoppers, we made our way to the Ella train station which was about a 10 minute walk. We were travelling by the Podi Menike train which are the new Chinese-built 'Blue trains' that have better suspensions which translates into a more comfortable ride. The 1st class cabins are air conditioned and have cleaner toilets though the windows don't open wide. Most of my time was spent hanging out of the door which gave me uninhabited views...

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Sri Lanka 2013 : Stunning Ella

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There's one tip I'm glad I picked up before our trip to Sri Lanka which was to wake up early for a trek in the mountains. Clouds tend to roll in at around 9am so it's recommended to get to all those points with breathtaking views before that. Also since we were travelling in the month of August-September, it tends to get quite warm so an early start is highly recommended. We picked Ella with the idea of trekking around for a couple of days if not more thanks to its more or less centralized position to plenty of interesting places. It’s also seemed like a quieter place to be in. After reworking...

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Sri Lanka 2013 : Galle

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A trip to photograph and attend a friend's wedding got turned into an extended post marriage vacation that threaded on the touristy lonely planet trail. Being my first self-funded holiday, I went completely crazy planning every possible intricate detail. Obviously plans go for a toss, but surprisingly we managed to do 75% of the things we'd planned for while staying within budget and effectively pampering ourselves with a few added perks. I spent a good couple of months on TripAdvisor, travel blogs and forums planning and booking hotel rooms that met our photographic requirements. Every road, trail...

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