Thursday 19 April 2007

Unforgettable Sri Lanka

Dambulla cave Temple

Stuck in the mud at the safari

Fishing boat coming in with catch in Negombo

Village kids
Bullock cart

At the Ayurveda Spa

Typical market street scene

Pinnawela Elephant Sanctuary

It’s that time of the year again when I'm bitten by the travel bug. Traveling is one of my biggest loves. It doesn’t matter where I go, how near or far, I always follow my heart. Some of the most memorable places I've been to are off the beaten path. I am happy staying in a tribal village amongst rice fields or a nice hotel by the sea, for every trip is a new experience. I travel whenever there is an opportunity and before I have any regrets. Take this trip to Sri Lanka for instance....

When we were there in Dec 2005, we already witnessed soldiers patrolling the streets of Colombo and gun-totting men in uniform manning checkpoints in villages. Today, it is no longer safe for tourists. Recently fighting between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE (Tamil Tiger) faction is intensifying. The security situation remains very uncertain and travelers are advised to avoid visiting if possible.

It’s a shame really because Sri Lanka is such an interesting place. We spent a day in Negombo, a quiet beach town against a backdrop of palmtrees and blue sky. How can I forget the sight of colourful wooden boats coming ashore with their early morning catch? Or the fish market along the beach lined by decrepit buildings, shacks and beach hotels along the shore. Though picturesque, it was also a scene of poverty.

Sri Lanka is one of Asia’s richest treasure troves of both natural and man-made wonders. Of course we did the touristy thing and visited the UNESCO heritage sites like the magnificent Cave temples of Dambulla, the awe-inspiring Sigiriya Rock Fortress and the royal city of Kandy. We rode through the village on a bullock cart, shopped at the factory outlets, toured tea plantations and spice gardens, walked through the botanical gardens, stopped by the elephant sanctuary, witnessed the rich wildlife at the Safari, visited the local markets, experienced an Ayurvedic massage …

I was impressed by their progressive and modern economy, the high literacy rate, cleanliness around us and friendliness of the people. I hope the security situation improves for we certainly like to visit again.


The Real Mother Hen said...

Nice! Wish I were there too :)

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