Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sri Lanka 2013

Tea pickers
I've just gotten back from a 6 day trip to Sri Lanka (my frist!) and I must say that I was very impressed by the country.  Sri Lanka is a very beautiful country and is rich in natural resources. Unfortunately, their civil war which lasted about 30 years has stunted its development until recently. In the last 3-4 years, it has developed very rapidly.
Cultural Dance
Why go to Sri Lanka? Other than being in National Geographic's list of the best countries to go to in 2013, it's relatively cheaper than many other countries. 100 Rupees is roughly equal to SGD$1 so your dollar can go a really long way. Its definitely a place to go if you're looking for a holiday on a budget. It'ss only 3.5hours away (I always thought the flight time was >5hrs but it's really much nearer than I thought!)
Ramboda Falls
I booked a tour with United holidays (a Sri Lankan company, through a Singapore tour agent, but I won't really recommend you to go through this agent since you can book directly with them). There was an option of having a tour guide plus a driver, but we opted to just go for the tour with a driver (partly because our main aim was to relax, didn't want the information overload, but if you are interested, it about SGD 1k more per person for a week, min 2 people to go).
Fire eater
Before I went to Sri Lanka, the ignoramus in me didn't know the difference between Singhalese and Tamil (now I do! I can also recognize the different script they use though I most definitely cannot read it).
Their literacy rate is a whopping 97% and they have compulsory education up to 18 years of age. Nearly everyone we met could speak English - even the road side sellers could speak perfect English - I was most impressed - even better than most Singaporeans.
Jetwing Blue Hotel - near the airport
Things that I would do differently if I were to go back - allow an extra day for the beach side resorts - they're comparable to those in Thailand - pristine beaches, blue skies, luxurious rooms (depending on what accommodation you've booked) and probably slightly cheaper.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage 
If I had time, I'd also definitely go for the safari - lots and lots of animals (btw Sri Lanka is malaria free - so don't need to take your malaria prophylaxis).

I'll probably go during the cooler months as I was really dying from the heat everyday - and being mostly in my climate controlled work place doesn't help - it has made me even more heat intolerant.

Also, the flight timings are really very horrible - there's one SQ flight out of Singapore at 11pm, and you'll arrive at 1.30am. The flight back from Colombo is also at 1.40am and you'll reach Singapore at about 7am. Don't know why they have such weird flight timings...

I'll be posting up more photos on my trip in the next few posts so stay tuned!

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