Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Island Life

Last month I went to Sri Lanka as part of our annual team offsite. We were a group of twelve people and as vary as I am of travelling in groups, I am happy to report that I had a lovely time. 

Sri Lanka had been on my travel bucket list forever, but I was worried I’d never end up going because you know who takes countries close to us seriously anyway! I mean we’d rather spend shitloads of money and time and trot off to Paris, or the US, but who the hell cares about a Bhutan, or a Sri Lanka- you get the drift! But Sri Lanka is gorgeous and you should totally go. 

Plus the Indian Rupee stretches so much further there. 1 Sri Lankan Rupee is around 50 Paise in Indian money, which made me feel like a white person in the third world, ensuring I came back with bags and bags of shopping. 

We were in Sri Lanka for four days, out of which two days were spent travelling (something we unfortunately didn't account for while planning the trip) and so we ended up with long hours on a bus with a very patient guide, who didn't mind as we shouted and sang at the top of our voices. We spent two nights in Hikkaduwa (a lovely beach-side town) and one night in Colombo. 

At Hikkaduwa we stayed at this lovely resort and had a pool and beach all to ourselves. Since it was a short-ish trip I didn't end up getting any reading done, but we did go to Galle Fort and that my friends was the absolute highlight of my entire trip. A city inside a fort, Galle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is building after building of some of the most remarkable colonial architecture.

 I was thoroughly impressed by how Sri Lanka has managed to preserve these beautiful 17th century colonial buildings, built by the Dutch and later the Portuguese. Since Galle is a World Heritage Site, no renovation is allowed and hence the fort still has these narrow, cobblestone alleys flanked by quaint old colonial buildings. 

On our way back to Colombo we stopped by for a river cruise on the Madhu Ganga River that also has a mangrove forest. It was hot as hell and I was convinced I would be cooked by the time we got off the boat. But the Mangroves were, well interesting and I’m glad I saw them because I don’t think I’m going to the Sunderbans anytime soon. 

Colombo was clean, very clean and the best part? There were no men leering at us. The one night we had in Colombo was spent shopping and then gate crashing a Sri Lankan wedding. Needless to say, it was a lot of fun. 

My verdict: Sri Lanka is beautiful and the people are lovely. In fact I liked the people more. I mean there are beaches all over the world, but the kindness and friendliness of Sri Lankan people was very touching and will be one the biggest reasons I’d visit the country again. 

P:S- I've discovered Instagram as a wonderful way of maintaining a photo travel diary of sorts and so I Instagram most of my travel pics on the go. For more of my travel (and other) pics, you can follow me on Instagram here