Cylon - Sri Lanka     B     may.o18

The island with the friendly people

Progressing route: - KIRINDA - Matara - Sinharaja world heritage - Haputale - Badulla - (arriving to Cylon from Bangkok)

    Kirinda has an excellent beach with granite rocks, on the rocks there is a nice old temple in frangipani trees located which is an excellent location for enjoying sunset with best view at the sea in the winds.
    Kirinda behind the rocks is a small simple village, with some shops and a restaurant which opens during evening, also some souvenir shops with foods and drinks there, the few guest houses have big rooms with shade spending veranda, big open gardens and moskito nets. The village can be reached from Kataragama or further in the south from Tissamharama by rikshaw in 30 minutes (15 km).
    Tissam is near a big lake with a Vihara and has more tourist accomodation and restaurants than Kirinda. I took a room at Kirinda and staied 3 nights as it was sunny, nice village atmosphere, quiet and with best natural beach set with smooth rocks in all sizes. Kirinda has an excellent beach with granite rocks, on the rocks there is a nice old temple in frangipani trees located which is an excellent location for enjoying sunset with best view at the sea in the winds.
    Kirinda behind the rocks is a small simple village, with some shops and a restaurant which opens during evening, also some souvenir shops with foods and drinks there, the few guest houses have big rooms with shade spending veranda, big open gardens and moskito nets. The village can be reached from Kataragama or further in the south from Tissamharama by rikshaw in 30 minutes (15 km).
    Tissam is near a big lake with a Vihara and has more tourist accomodation and restaurants than Kirinda. I took a room at Kirinda and staied 3 nights as it was sunny, nice village atmosphere, quiet and with best natural beach set with smooh rocks in all sizes.

    Next place after Kirinda was Matara, a bigger city at Sri Lankas southwestern coast about 2 hours by bus from Tissamharama (Tissam short) via Hambantota, the new port town with new offices and industries popping in its vicinity.

    At arrival many local couples relaxing there under umbrellas in rainbreaks at the shores of Matare, in back big waves rolling allday allnights. The forts are as well worth a visit, with partly old buildings in renovated or ruin stile, mixed wih new ones set within the fat walls. Beaches are partly inviting if its not too busy and packed with busses in back. It is a typical cylonese city, busy streets but also with nice quiet locations, with forts and ruins, some islands along the coast, one of which is also with buildings, shops and restaurants, schools and viharas, some bridges crossing inland over some big rivers, in some of its gardens you can also watch sunbirds, bulbuls, kingfishers, crows, doves and others in some grown over gardens and green streets.

    From Matare I left by bus to Sinharaja which is about three hours by us in the north. I got to the djungles from the main village Deniyaya, from where you can take a tuktuk or local bus, over a partly steep rising and narrow djungle road. Ther are some guest houses and camps close to Sinharaja heritage site djungle, not many and most quite costly. The region is mostly interesting and tours which guides can be easily done, prices vary depending on length and number of people joining, there are ways with huts for tickets into the national park.
    When I wandered towards the main djungle area during arrival I heared two shots the afternoon over half an hour, which did not sound appropriate for a world heritage djungle site of its class. Tourits get usually guided through the woods, but you can also do minor stretches alone. The area is spreaded with djungles, nice rivers, some small villages at its borders with paddy fields. I wanted to get a taste of the area as it is a main location for huge groups of birds during migration time or winters in the northern hemispheres.

    The morning I left after breakfast 4 Black eagles were showing up, a family and a Shikra in nice open morning skies, impressing.

    The next place on route was again Haputale on way via Pelmadulla, the route sharp at the line to heavy monsoon region which is in the west. Moving further up into the hills, many covered in tee estates. At some corners in the mountains eagles showing up in clearing skies and one time passing some big orchidlike looking plants along street.

    Haputale I knew from before, staied overnight there and took the train next day afternoon to Badulla Leaving times are daily from Haputale at 14.20 and 16.30, the first one usually with half an hour delay. The train was packed with people and all tourists got out in Ella on way which looked funny and made me smile over days, then it was nearly totally empty. The stretch from Haputale to Badulla takes hardly 2 hours, Ella is at about half way.

    I chose that route from Sinharaja north because there was no other way possible and I liked Haputale and Badulla from before as I also wanted to take the train through the tee and djungle hills from there then.

    From Badulla later I decided to take the way to Polonnaruwa which is a longer stretch of road but can be easily coverded in a day, also in local busses. At half way was Mahiyangana which I also knew allready from before, in the waiting time for bus I visited my guest house from the time before whith the mother and her young daughter who had the same name as my brother, lovely. Before leaving for the days later destination I visited Raja Vihara with one of the most important Stupas in Cylon, if not the most important one. It is set in a nice artificial plateau with huge shade spending Bodhi trees and a parklike area around where in its huge old trees an unusual big group of Pied Malabar Hornbills where hopping around, a good sign.

    At the end of the day reaching Polonnaruwa I took the way to the lake where I got into a good guest house. It is the place of the old royal city form the 11.th and 12.th century AD (1055 - 1196) of which many interesting ruins are left and can be visited, tickets can be bought at the museum. The ruins are spread over a bigger area of which most are with fences, a fewouter places can be visited without ticket, most of them are worth a visit. Also coins of the royal times got found and chinese pottery of finest royal Sung dynasty art got uncovered there, which gives proove of trade with China allready at that time.

    Nearly everyday I took a bath in the big nice lake beside Cormorants and fisher men, usually with heavy winds blowing allday at that time of the year. There are also some public places for taking baths with demarcation to No bath- deep water zone. Many local people enjoy time in refreshing waters and shadespening trees.

    After some little days I took the way to Trincomale, a city palced on a huge crosslike looking half island along Sri Lankas northeastern coast with a huge seabay to inland. It got once used as save seaport during times of colonisation. The city has two main beaches one to the outer coastline with fisher people and many of their mixed colourfull boats ashore, the sea is also smooth and clear there, and to the other side a nice stretch of open beach with clear waters and good option for swims, joy and relaxtion during evenings, many local volks, families, couples and some tourists, also some tame Axis deer can be watched roaming free at the area from mornings to evenings. There are some close more or less fency hotels there but also some good less costly ones.
    Trips to the close huge area of old Fort Frederick (1675) can be done on rent cycles or tuktuks moving through the narrow gate in its fat walls. Inside you find the big old military compound spred with buildings, squares and old trees, quite spacy, partly bordered by steep cliffs and rocks to seaside. The fort got built and taken over by different foreign powers over the centuries, first the Portugese, then Dutch, followed by French and later the British who kept it till 1948 the year of Sri Lankas independency.
    The inner parts of Trincomale city are easy to be done on a cycle, if it gets not too hot during days, it also has a travel agency which is not so common in most cylon cities of its size, usually flights get booked in Colombo. Overall WiFi (Wlan) connections are good in cities and main tourist locations and its hotels or guest houses, which was not the case in Trincomale. Trincomale is worth visiting for its historical sites and beaches, which are very different of type and atmosphere.

    In Trincomale the main fency restaurant with hotel close to beach did not charge service tax as in many other hotels in Sri Lanka usually, so as with Sudu Araliya at Polonnaruwa lake they should mention charging taxes in the menue.

    On way south later via Candy which is a traffic monster set in the djungle hills, specially during weekends, also cities in its vicinity even as its streets are often big and its main bus station is mostly packed, busy and chaotic. Maybe a seperate busstand for north or south of the island would do it a release.

    Good with many busses is that you can read on them, also in latin letters beside Sinhalese and Tamil where they depart and head to. The times between departures on same route are usually below 1 hour, usually much less. Music in some busses can be disturbing, you can ask then for reducing volume or put earplugs.

    Polonnaruwa is a great place, its lakes waters are good for refreshing, take care in heavy winds and waves, there are designated bath zones. A main stretch of its shores are with stones and a big stretch over the half island is flat water zone with many water birds and nice islands. During evenings many birds return from their fishing grounds to the islans for staying overnight. The last days also Wholly necked storks showd up, within many Openbills, Cormorants, Ibis and Herons on top kites and the couple Whitebellied Seaeagles.


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