The flight to Sri Lanka from KL took about 3 and a half hours,
and we landed in Colombo early in the morning, Sri Lanka time.
I thought we'd be traveling around Sri Lanka backpacker style via bus and train,
but Clem made sense when he said we only had 1 week there.
Travelers usually take 2-3 weeks to explore the whole country,
so we'd save time by hiring a car instead of having to follow the bus/train schedules.
We went to one of those car rental agencies in the airport,
and managed to get a car for 200 euros for 8 days.
Throw in 60 euros and the driver is included for the entire trip so that's what we did.
First place i made our driver take us to was somewhere for breakfast!
We went to a mamak-like restaurant where we had our first authentic Sri Lankan meal - curries with noodle patties/roti.
It's quite interesting... you simply tear up the noodles and mix it with curries on your plate.
With your hands of course.
The curry was really spicy, even for me!
And i love my spicy food...
I took one taste, looked at Clem and said, "You're going to be in trouble here..."
We decided to travel to the Hill Country (central province) of Sri Lanka,
spend a few days in the mountain and hill areas,
make our way down South to the beaches,
and work our way up the West side and end up back in Colombo to catch our flight home.
So we didn't even stay in Colombo at all...
really explored the other parts of the country,
which i preferred!
First thing i noticed on our road trip were how different the trees and foliage are!
The trees spread out really wide, and make me think of India (which i've not been to)
so it felt really exotic!
First place we decided to head to after breakfast was Sigiriya,
a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated right in the middle of the country.
It's a huge rock that juts out of the earth's face,
and is thought to be a former palace (on top) and gardens.
Archeologists think otherwise - that it was a long-standing Buddhist monastery.
built in 3rd century BC.
It was quite expensive to visit the area,
as, i discovered later, is common in Sri Lanka.
The entrance fee to visit Sigiriya rock is 1,500 rupees / RM52.
Comparable to the fees to the Mosque of Cordoba, which is in Spain.
One of the pools that was allegedly built in the 5th century AD by King Kassapa,
who reputedly murdered and overthew his own father off the throne.
That's Sigiriya rock behind the dog.
Tiny dot of white is a person... so you can guess how far away we still had to walk to it.
Entrance to the start of the climb!
Oh did i fail to mention how high the climb is?
The other day i flew up 3 flights of stairs in Uptown and completely lost my breath.
The 12,000 steps in my near future was... daunting.
Not to mention i didn't have anywhere to change at the entrance (the toilet was really filthy!)
so i was still wearing my Old Blossom Box leggings and black Jimmy Lim jersey shirt i wore in the airport.
I thought i would survive the climb in that,
but OH HOW I REGRETTED IT LATER cos it was SUPER HOT CAN DIE x 10000.
The Lonely Planet book was our bible the whole week.
So useful! Think i'll be buying Lonely Planets every country i decide to explore now!
These signs were everywhere, think Ashley might never venture in Sigiriya...
she's got stung before and is damn paranoid.
The start of 12,000 steps.
I think we did 100 by the time i took this picture.
On the way up, there are natural cave shelters that have ancient paintings...
More formidable steps...
We took a rest and took Wilson out for a picture.
'Twas very risky cos the wind almost blew him off the ledge and Clem caught him in time!
Didn't put him too close to the edge after that!
The colour of the rock and my Blue Hat reminds me of my pix in Elba...
We bumped into lots of schoolchildren
who shouted out greetings, asked us our names, where we're from,
and laughed cos they thought Clem's name was funny.
Below is the last series of flights of stairs to reach the top.
My face was as red as a lobster
and my thighs felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger had just put me through the gym.
Note the big stone claw(?) on the lower left
There was an old auntie climbing the stairs right in front me who was so painfully slow, she held up a long line of people behind her in the hot sun...
We couldn't say anything of course, and waited as patiently as we could...
First thing i did when i reached the top was to HIDE IN THE SHADE.
The scenery was GORGEOUS.
We could spot the glimmer of faraway lakes amidst the jungle!
The gardens below
Lots more stairs and terraces to climb and explore at the top.
Must say i've never had a more bonding relationship with stairs.
It was really something.
And we don't regret climbing the 12,000 steps.
In fact, i think we would have done it if it were 24,000 steps!
It ended up being our favourite spot to visit in Sri Lanka