We made it to Sri Lanka. It was a long 26 hour plane ride but we made it. A few things to know about Sri Lanka. We got our travel VISA to Sri Lanka ahead of time. this was STRONGLY recommended to us, and it turns out on our transfers to Sri Lanka the airports checked it often. So good thing to get.
This tour is called Treasures of Sri Lanka. It was a private tour with just me and Andrew and our Guide. We were met at the airport by our guide. We did not know at the time that we would have one guide for the entire trip. So at the time we thought he was just our driver to the airport. Turns out he was with us for the entire trip.
We arrived at Sri Lanka at 5 am. This was a bit unfortunate as the hotel did not expect us until 3pm. However our guide did manage to help us get a room for only $30 US. So not bad when you are sleep deprived and wanting a shower.
First impressions of Sri Lanka from our drive at 5am in the morning to the hotel. Well it was different then I thought. There were no sidewalks. I some how thought there would be. And walls around every house, making the streets really intimidating and not a place you want to wander around in. We took one of two highways to the hotel, which seemed crazy. And we were advised by our guide not to leave the resort for meals, only to eat in the restaurant. I am unsure if this was the correct thing to do. But being sleep deprived as we were, we decided to follow this advice.
First thing we learned is that food in Sri Lanka at the hotels is expensive. Not only the food, but the water. Any place that is touristy – is ten times more expensive then what the locals pay for food. So travelling on a budget is not easy.
The only thing we set up to do our first day – is to go on a boat cruise through the jungle. So at 3pm we dragged ourselves out of bed and found our guide in the lobby. This was the best decision we made the entire trip. So we are very happy we took our guides suggestion. On the way we stopped at a fish market. As Sri Lanka is an island, a lot of the locals fish for a living. The local fisherman leave the shore at 8pm and fish until dawn where they then go to the fish market. Their families will then spend the day selling the fish they brought in and mending and untangling the nets they used to catch the fish. Fish that is not sold that day at the market is then laid out to dry on tarps in the sun. The place smells awful, but would be a bustling place at 6 am.
Next our guide took us to a local market. This was a market the locals would use to buy clothes, food, toothpaste. It was definitely not a tourist market, there was no painted bowls or souvenirs too be seen. It was cool to walk through – to experience what it is like for the locals of this village, but one thing we noticed here and would notice on the trip a lot – we were the only white people.
After the market we went to the boat tour. We stepped into our private boat tour. We has a smiling 17 year old kid take us through the canals of the Jungle in a speed boat for lack of a better word. It was a lot of fun, we were able to see water monitor lizards in their natural habitat.
We visited an orphanage and met a 70 year old man who would climb the trees to harvest coconut flower milk for tourists in hopes to raise money for the orphanage. We saw 4 types of king fishers, but the best part was seeing the sun set on the indian ocean.