Solo Travelled Sri Lanka from top to bottom for 15 days under 500$ (INR 35000)



Isn't it true that everyone wants to travel? Yes, but money plays an important role in making this decision. Therefore, I'll am sharing my journey how you can travel cheaper, longer and safer in Sri Lanka :)

How to travel Sri Lanka under 500$?

Trust me! You can travel even cheaper. I focused primarily on three things.
(a) Accommodation: If you chose the right accommodation. You would save a good money which can be used tor food or transport. So, I used websites like www.airbnb.comwww.booking.com, and www.agoda.com for places to spend the night. Keeping the expense as low as 10$ at most of the places. However, there were a few places where I had to pay 15$ but not beyond that. Also, I searched for homes that provide free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and free laundry.
(b) Food: Make sure that your accommodation provides a free breakfast. Then, you would have to just focus on lunch and dinner. I chose inexpensive restaurants but decent ones. Being an Indian I thought that I would be able to get accustomed to Sri Lankan food. But it turned out to totally different. I was unable to develop the taste for the food. However, there were certain dishes that I did like.
(i) Rotti - very similar to India chapatti (bread) but with filling. The stuffing could be chicken, banana, pineapple, egg and the list goes on and on.
(ii)  Kuttu - it is a mix of chapatti with vegetables, chicken
(iii) Hopper - is a bowl-shaped pancake-like dish. It's made of rice.
Suggestion: 1 Litre Water bottle in Sri Lanka costs around 80-100 LRK (approx. 1$). So, what you can do is a carry a water bottle or two always so that you don't have to buy one. I re-filled them from places where there were water purifiers installed. It saved good 50$ or so for me during my entire trip.
(c) Transport: The whole country is very well connected through its bus and train system. You may have to change a bus or two to reach your destination at times. But it would definitely save some cash. The Auto-Rickshaw's (Tuk-Tuk) charge is pretty high. So, I avoided this medium. However, I did take an Auto-Rickshaw (Tuk-Tuk) once as I had to leave early to climb the Adam's Peak and I had no other option. For trains, I would suggest taking a second class ticket as it is reasonable and the seats are fairly comfortable.
NotePurchase a SIM from a local shop outside the airport. I made a mistake by purchasing it from the airport costing me 1300LRK (250 minutes international, 500 minutes local, 3GB of data). Later, I got to know you could get a similar deal for 300LRK (500 minutes local, 2GB of data. This is a better deal in case you don't need international minutes. 
I travelled as an "unplanned traveller" without any itinerary. However, I was able to cover as much ground as I can in these 15 days.
Colombo | Kandy | Dambulla | Nuwara Eliya | Maskeliya | Ella | Mirissa | Galle | Anuradhapura | Jaffna | Colombo

[googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=1PfuUEFNlyX3B1BAXh_eCknwwdxM&w=640&h=480]

My Journey

I carried a journal during my trip to keep the notes of the trip and also a count of my daily expenses. I would share my entire trip here including the expenses occurred. Hope this would provide you with a fair idea on how you can travel cheap, safe and long.

Day 1 (New Delhi - Bangalore - Colombo - Chennai)

My flight's scheduled departure from New Delhi was 8.35PM but it got delayed by the half-hour. This delay caused another problem for me. It was a connecting flight. I had to board another plane from Bangalore to Colombo and go through the immigration and security checks. All this was time-consuming I felt I would miss the flight. The boarding time was 12.30AM and I reached the queue for immigration clearance at 12:20 AM. Thankfully, the JetAirways executive expedited the process, sorting the issues with airport authorities. And finally, I was in the place.
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A capture all the commotion in the plane after the drinks were served
I was all relaxed and wanted to take a nap. But my luck was not with me. I have never seen such a scene in an aeroplane. There were around 90 odd people travelling together for some kind of a meeting in Colombo. After the liquor was served the plane completely turned into a cheap club. I cannot describe the scene but reminded me of this movie 'Soul Plane', if you haven't watched it - Please do!
Anyways, I looked forward to my amazing trip. I was eagerly waiting for the plane to land at Colombo. I was just an hour from the foreign land. Once the place flew over, my eyes experienced a mystical view from the aeroplane window. The whole city glittered by the deep blue sea, it seemed as thousand stars in the sky and our plane was flying upside down. All this anticipated my excitement. We were getting closer to the ground, preparing to land. When suddenly, the captain throttled the plane flying us back above the clouds. Everyone started looking at each other in amazement.
And, an announcement happened "There has been a technical problem at the Colombo Airport, so we are going back to Chennai". Now, you can image how happy I was.

Day 2 (Chennai - Colombo - Kandy)

In an hour we were at the Chennai Airport, refuelled and flew again for Colombo. The plane landed around 5 AM and I was sure that no way I would be able to catch the train for Kandy for which I had made an advance payment. Yes, I did miss it. Immigration and baggage collection took another hour. Finally, I was out of the airport around 7 AM.
Suggestion: The best way to reach Colombo Fort Railway station is to take Bus No. 187. It takes an hour to get to the fort and charges only 120LRK. If you opt for a tuk-tuk it may charge a hefty sum like 1000LRK or more.
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Bus E3-187 from Airport to Colombo Fort
It's a decent AC Bus. But, it will not move until all passenger seats are full. So, one has to wait for a while. In my case, the bus left within 30 minutes. I reached Colombo Bus stand around 8.25 AM, from there the Colombo fort is just a 10 minutes walk.
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The 4-hour journey from Colombo to Kandy is breathtaking. The rides take you through the lush green foliage of the banana and the coconut trees, symmetrically step farmed paddy fields, petite settlements, and massive tunnels, providing the view of the hills that is too incredible to imagine.
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Any traveller would love to experience this enormous exhibition of the countryside. I was tired and deprived of sleep but I deliberately kept myself awake so that I don't miss this abundance of beauty. The only drawback is that the train stops every 30 minutes or so.
Finally, I reached Kandy, around 2.30 PM. I had booked a place to stay for 2 nights which was at a walking distance from the railway station.
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After walking for around 15 minutes I was at the 'Clock Inn, Kandy'. I chose to stay in these capsules as this was something distinct that you don't get to see every day.
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Thinking, I have few hours in hand before the sunset. I thought of visiting places nearby. I could see this huge 'White Buddha' statue from my capsule. So, I took a shower. I picked a map from the reception and started walking towards this Buddha Temple.
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I reached the Big White Buddha temple after hiking for 45 minutes from the hotel. The temple is beautiful and one gets to see the whole city and the lake from this elevation. However, there is an entry fee to the temple (250LRK). You may also be asked to provide donation by different people within the premises ( I ignored those guys). However, I did pay 20LRK to this shop owner who took care of my shoes when I was in the temple.
I walked down the hill and sat on a bench by the Kandy Lake to see the day end. It was beautiful.
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By now, I was starving so I hopped into this local restaurant and requested for an authentic Sri Lankan cuisine. The owner suggested me to try Hopper - Plain and Egg. And trust me "it was delicious".
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Day 2 Expenses - 4265LRK (28$)
(a) Local SIM - 1300LRK
(b) Bus from airport to Fort Colombo - 120LRK
(c) Train to Kandy - 190LRK
(d) Snacks in the train - 140LRK
(e) Water Bottle in the train - 50LRK
(f) White Buddha Entry Fees - 270LRK
(g) Water Bottle - 100LRK
(h) Dinner - 350LRK
(i) Accommodation - 1745LRK

Day 3 (Kandy - Sigiriya - Pidurangala - Dambulla)

SuggestionTo visit all these places in a day, you would have to leave around 7 AM. Second, if you leave early you would find the places less crowded.
My day started with a hefty breakfast. I was not sure when I'll be having my next meal. Therefore, I stuffed myself as much as I could. I was sure that I would be commuting by buses or trains. Thus, I headed towards the Kandy Bus Station, which was not far from the hotel. I wanted to visit the Sigiriya Rock and Pidurangala Temple first and then the Dambulla caves. I took a bus for Dambulla.
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What lovely people we meet when we wander! During my commute to Dambulla. I met Juliashe was from Germany and was also travelling solo. Sitting by her made my journey more compelling as we talked all our way. We shared our experiences about the little big island. She has been travelling solo for some time now, covering a good number of countries. I told her that I would love to be her host cum guide when she comes to India.
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Nice and beautiful people kept coming :)
To reach Sigiriya Rock, we've to change the bus from Dambulla and get on the one heading towards Pidurangala. The bus dropped me at this deserted place with a sign board stating Pidurangala leading to the woods. I followed my instincts and started walking towards the forest.
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After walking for almost a kilometre I saw the Pidurangala Temple. Prayed to the Lord and starting walking the incline. The hike is brief but exhausting, however, once you reach the summit, the view is captivating. I could also see the Sigiriya Rock and I now wanted to visit the rock. Initially reluctant to visit it as the entry to it was 30$.
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After reaching the Sigiriya Rock, I realised that it's not a rock but a fort in the shape of a lion, whose head has dropped off somewhere. This massive piece of architecture makes you spellbound. One has to climb some 300 stairs to reach the top and again the view of the surrounding is astounding.
Now, I had to run to the Dambulla caves. Hence, I walked to the near Bus Stand. There was a bus there for Dambulla but no driver and passengers. Upon checking with some people around, I got to know that this bus was not going in my direction. I wanted to reach my destination before it gets dark, so I raised my thumb at a car coming to my direction. Thankfully, it stopped and offered me a ride till Dambulla. It was around 6 PM and I wanted to reach the cave temple as soon as possible as the entry closes after 6.30PM.
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God Bless this gentleman for offering me a ride! 
After getting off the car, I boarded a bus to the Dambulla Cave Temple but I was late. It was already 6.30PM. Still, I ran towards the entrance considering that I would somehow slip-in but the authorities did not let me. I desperately wanted to get in, so I offered the authorities a donation, to which they agreed and they let me in.




Delighted was I to go around the temple with these little monks, who excitedly showed me the entire place. It was astounding to roam inside these caves at this hour.
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I came out of the temple and walked towards the Bus Stand near the temple. Lucky was I, the bus to Kandy just arrived. I got a seat.
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After 2 hours spending in the bus, I finally reached Kandy. And, slept like a baby as I was dead tired from all the walking I had done.
Day 3 Expenses - 6982LRK (46$)
(a) Bus to Dambulla - 94LRK
(b) Connecting Bus from Dambulla to Sigiriya - 60LRK
(c) Entry to Pidurangala - 300LRK
(d) Entry to Sigiriya - 1250LRK
(e) Bus to Dambulla Cave Temple - 10LRK
(f) Entry Donation at Dambulla - 1500LRK
(g) Bus to Kandy - 98LRK
(h) Dinner - 180LRK
(i) Accommodation - 1745LRK
NoteEntry to Sigiriya Rock is for 30$, however, if your country is a member of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) and you are carrying your passport then you are eligible for a 50% discount i.e. 15$.

Day 4 (Kandy - Nuwara Eliya)

I was suggested by a fellow traveller Logesh to visit Nuwara Eliya. So, I decided to change my plan, instead of going north I changed my direction to south. But before I could start my travel to Nuwara Eliya. I had to visit one more place in Kandy - The famous 'Temple Of The Tooth'. I had a lot to do today. Thus, I woke up early had a heavy breakfast as always and headed towards the temple. I was told that the entry fee to the temple was 1500LRK for the foreign nationals. Thinking of the amount, I thought I would stroll around the place and will not enter the temple.
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Asankya carrying the offerings
Fortunate was I that I bumped into Asankya. I local from Galle. After a chit chat about where I was from and where I am heading to. He told me that he can get me into the temple without paying a penny. It sounded like a plan and my mind I was happy that the amount that I paid as a donation at Dambulla Cave Temple would get compensated.
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He asked me to stay mum till we pass the entry gates. And I did. Once I was in the temple a feeling of advantage came over me. I was happy.

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We offered the gifts to the Lord. Then, Ashankya showed me around the temple and the museum. I was grateful to him. He told me that he would try to meet me again at Galle when I go south and parted our paths. I returned to the hotel to pick my stuff. It was around 10.45 AM and the train to Nuwara Eliya was about to leave in the next 10 minutes. I was sure I would miss it and wait for the next.
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Luck was on my side today. The train was running late and it arrived at around 12 PM, a few minutes later after I reached the railway station. I got the window seat and couldn't be more thankful as I got to know that this route was the most beautiful one in the entire country.
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Hakeem and I sharing the lens!
Next to me was this gentleman named 'Hakeem'. Once, he got to know that I was from India, he started narrating his experiences of his travel to India. I was good to hear good things about my country. I saw the ticket checker approaching so I put my hand into my pocket to get the ticket. I realised it was not there. Probably, I had dropped it somewhere. I ran to the ticket checker and told him that I've lost the ticket. He calmly responded suggesting me to buy one from the next station. Hakeem helped me get the ticket from the next station. Also, when he dropped off at his destination; he got me some snacks too so that I don't have to get down at any station if I was hungry. I had no clue how to thank him. Before I could say anything he was gone.
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Beautiful Nanu Oya Railway Station
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Reached the beautiful town of Nanu Oya but this was not my destination. So, I boarded a bus to Nuwara Eliya. I liked the weather, it was raining and it was cooler here as compared to Kandy. After reaching the Nuwara Eliya bus station. I used Google Maps to locate the hostel I had booked online. Maps showed me that it was 10 minutes walk from the station. I started walking, making my way through the woods.
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I booked a dorm bed at the hostel for 2 nights believing I would be able to cover as much as I could. It was around 5 PM and I wanted to see a couple of places before it gets dark. I decided to visit the 'Ashok Vatika'; today's 'Seetha Amman Temple' as everyone back in India had suggested me to visit the place.
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There was no one in the temple. I was the only person at this hour. From my childhood, we've heard stories about Ravana's Lanka and places associated with Ramayana like any other Indian. I sat near the Feet imprint of Lord Hanuman for a while. The place made me feel a deep connection and I got hysterical.
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I wanted to stay longer but due to the brevity of time. I had to leave. The bus stand is opposite to the temple.
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While I was waiting for the bus, I met these two gentlemen from India. We talked about the food, the people, the places. They were kind enough to give me company till I boarded the bus. I reached Nuwara Eliya bus station around 8 PM, went to this restaurant on the opposite side. I ordered Masala Dosai and a glass of milk. Once done, I walked back to the hostel. In less than 15 minutes I was in the hostel; good that I was carrying a flashlight because the path to the hostel turned dark.
Day 4 Expenses - 2060LRK (13.50$)
(a) Snacks - 130LRK
(b) Train Fare Kandy to Nanu-Oya - 160LRK + 150LRK (for the new ticket) = 310LRK
(c) Hostel/ Dorm Charges - 1330LRK
(d) Bus to Nuwara from Nanu-Oya - 25LRK
(e) Bus to Hakgala (Seetha Amman Temple) - 30LRK
(f) Bus to Nuwara Eliya from Seetha Amman Temple - 30LRK
(g) Dinner - 205LRK

Day 5 (Nuwara Eliya)

I got up around 6 AM. Freshened up, had breakfast and left for Lover's Leap Waterfall. I was told by the caretaker that the waterfall was just 3 Kms walk from the hostel. Within half an hour I was at this beautiful waterfall. I immensely enjoyed the walk as it provided me with a beautiful view of the town. You get to see trails of beautiful flowers along the route accompanying you.
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There was no one here at this hour of the day. So, I sat near the waterfall listening to the harmonica of the water splashing on the rocks. I was a marvellous feeling - Mother Nature and her child.


Realising that there were other places too that I had to see. I scuttled down the slant and luckily met Mr Nazim Zubin who offered me a ride to the bus station. It did save some time.
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I took bus No. 311/1 which dropped me off a location leading to the Single Tree Hill. It's a 2 Kilometre hike and every bit of it worth it. Firstly, You tend to see the whole town from another level of elevation. Secondly, you get to meet the locals collecting tea leaves from the tea garden. Also, there is a beautiful stupa on the way up.
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After reaching the summit I realised that there was no tree named 'The Silent Tree' instead the hill that I had just climbed was called the 'Silent Tree'. I was not disappointed I sat there for a while and let the cool breeze lower down my body temperature.
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After climbing down the hill. I boarded a bus heading towards the Ramboda Falls. Within 30 minutes or so I was at the Ramboda Waterfall. People were clicking pictures and leaving the spot. But I observed a narrow path leading to the up the source. So, I climbed all the way up and found the real fall. Water was falling from a height of 390 meters and the view was mesmerising.


The view was so compelling that it urged me to take a dip under the waterfall. But there was a problem, there was no defined path to reach the fall. Anyhow, I removed my shoes, tied them to my bag and made my way through. I did stumble in between due to the presence of algae on the rocks but somehow I reached the point of bliss. I removed my clothes and jumped into the pool, feeling the love of nature. Once done, I came back to the highway from where I started the climb for the Ramboda Waterfall and asked a local for the direction to the 'Hanuman Temple'. He said that I need to walk 2 Kilometres straight and I would reach my destination. And so I started walking....
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This walk was not exactly 2 Kilometres. It was far beyond that. Initially, I did not realise that but now it did not matter to me because the charm it offered me was priceless.
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I walked through tunnels, saw beautiful waterfalls, lush green pine trees. The pure air filled my chest and I walked along the artistic road.
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There were no cars on the road. Just a few locals selling vegetables and fruits besides the highway. They smiled when I walk passed them.

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I walked for good 5-7 Kilometres until I reached a small restaurant. I was starving, so I asked the waiter to get me 2 glasses of Avocado Shake and noodles. After regaining my strength, I asked the restaurant owner how far the 'Hanuman Temple' was. He replied "it's just 2 Kms from the restaurant" but he suggested that I take a bus, which I did. It took 5 minutes for the bus to drop me near the temple.
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I bought offerings for the prayers from a shop near the entrance of the temple. And walked the 500 meters incline towards the temple.
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It was at the entrance of this beautiful temple. Photography was prohibited inside the temple so I was unable to click more pictures. I was taken aback when I was told that I had to pay for the prayers. This was unusual, anyhow I did pray the priest.
This was my final destination for the day. It was getting dark so I decided to return back to the hostel. I boarded the Bus heading to Nuwara Eliya and reached the hostel around 7 PM. While I was lying on my bed, these two guys (a Chinese and a Korean) come to my room and asked me if I wanted to join them for dinner. I accepted their invite and we headed to a local restaurant. The Sri Lankan food we'd ordered was pathetic, we told the owner of the restaurant that the food was bad and left the place. Then, we headed to this Chinese restaurant where we were well fed.
Day 5 Expenses - 2252LRK (15$)
(a) Bus to Silent Hill - 20LRK
(b) Bus to Ramboda Waterfall - 50LRK
(c) Lunch - 300LRK
(d) Offerings for the temple - 100LRK
(e) Prayers - 20LRK
(f) Bus to Nuwara Eliya - 52LRK
(g) Dinner - 380LRK
(h) Hostel Charge - 1330LRK

Day 6 (Horton Plains National Park - Maskeliya - Ella)

I was suggested to leave early morning for Horton Plains and The World's End as it gets really hot during the day. Therefore, I got up around 4.30AM and left in an hour. I pooled up for the taxi and entry to the park with 3 other travellers in the hostel - 2 Chinese girls and an English man.
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We stopped at a small eating joint before entering the park for a quick bite. After entering the park, we realised that it was crowded though we reached the place quite early.
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We started walking towards the Mini World's End initially and reached the location in good 30 minutes or so. Others got to see the Sri Lankan Sambar, some wild birds, and monkeys but I was not that fortunate. However, I enjoyed the walk though.
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Mark and I walked along the narrow path sharing our travel experiences, of people, places, and food. He had been travelling from the south of Sri Lanka towards the north and I was doing the opposite.
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Mark helped me get some great pictures of the Mini World's End, the World's End and the Baker's Fall. It feels marvellous to meet nice people and sharing cultural differences.
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After returning from the Hortons Plain. I started packing to move to my next destination - Adam's Peak. Initially, I was not planning to visit climb the Adam's Peak but after learning from Mark and Julia about it I added it to my itinerary.
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I took a bus from Nuwara Eliya to Nanu-Oya Railway Station. I was about to miss my train to Hatton but I ran like a horse towards the ticket counter, got a ticket and hopped on the train.
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I reached Hatton around 1.30PM and it was pouring. But I was fortunate that a bus was waiting just outside the Railway Station. It was heading to Dalhousie. During my commute, I was searching for an accommodation in Dalhousie but all options were out of my budget.
I dropped off at Maskeliya for a cheaper accommodation. I found a place to spend the night but it was really far from the bus station and a good 5 Kms from the Adam's Peak. Anyhow, I walked towards the "Madhusa Rest" house. Somewhere in between, I felt that I was lost but there some these school kids who helped me find the place.
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Madhusa
I told the caretaker not to disturb me until the dinner was ready because I really wanted to rest before the excruciating hike. The caretaker also arranged a tuk-tuk for me who would take me to Adam's Peak at midnight.
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I had a typical Sri Lankan dinner. It looked great but I was not accustomed to the taste, so I left in between and slept. Around 1 AM I heard the sound of a tuk-tuk arriving, I freshened up and left to the climb.
Day 6 Expenses - 7004LRK (46$)
(a) Taxi to Horton Plains - 1250LRK
(b) Breakfast - 190LRK
(c) Horton Plains Entrance Fee - 2900LRK
(d) Bus to Nanu-Oya - 24LRK
(e) Train to Hatton - 60LRK
(f) Bus to Maskeliya - 70LRK
(g) Snacks - 120LRK
(h) Accomocdation and Dinner - 2390LRK

Day 7 (Adam's Peak - Maskeliya - Ella)

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I underestimated the climb. But soon realised that it would get tough as I go further. I wanted to grab a perfect point to view the sunrise from the summit so I walked as fast as I could without stopping anywhere in between.
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Somewhere I between I looked at the sky. It looked beautiful, it seemed as if the stars looked at me guiding me through the deserted path. I wanted to stop and stare at the sky but due to the brevity of time, I kept walking.
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By 4.30 AM I was at the summit. The hike was gruesome and it tested my endurance and agility at all levels. But every bit of it was worth it. I took a seat at a seating area near the temple and meditated till dawn.
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The sunrise was too majestic to describe. I looked it until I had completely grasped the beauty of the moment. I roamed around the temple for few minutes and then started running down the stairs. I took 45 minutes to come down.
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I took a bus from the Adam's Peak bus station to Maskeliya. Within 20 minutes I was at the guest house. I took a shower, packed my stuff and headed towards the Bus Station to take a bus to Hatton.
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Though I left early for Hatton, I missed the 11.30 AM train. So, I headed for lunch and returned to the railway station around at 1.45 PM to catch the 2 PM train.
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During my commute to Ella, I met Vicky from China. We talked about the countries we've travelled. Shared our experiences. She wanted to know more about India like why certain people wear turbans and why the married women wear vermilion on their forehead. I explained her as much as I could and it was fun to talk. Around 6 PM, we reached Ella and bid farewell to each other.
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I had booked a bed at the 'Sleep Cheap - Ella' guesthouse, which was not far from the railway station. While I was walking towards the hostel it started to rain and I had to take out my poncho and hurried.
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Once, it stopped raining I left for the Ella market. During the evening hours, Ella seems to become a different place altogether. You see people walking, hear music from the pubs and happy hour boards placed outside all bars. Without any delay, I stepped into a restaurant and offered ginger beer and pineapple roti. Once done, I went back to the hostel.
Day 7 Expenses - 3070 (20$)
(a) Tuk-Tuk from Madusa Guest House to Adam's Peak - 700LRK
(b) Bus from Adam's Peak to Maskeliya - 40LRK
(c) Bus to Maskeliya to Hatton - 45LRK
(d) Snacks - 110LRK
(e) Lunch - 200LRK
(f) Train to Ella - 160LRK
(g) Dinner - 320LRK
(h) Accommodation - 1500LRK

Day 8 (Ella - Little Adam's Peak - Ravana Falls - Ella Rock)

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Next morning during breakfast, I met Quan and Aines from China. They were in Sri Lanka for a week. I was planning to climb the little Adam's Peak, so were they. So, they tagged along with me.
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We walked through this path exhibiting us the beautiful landscapes, talking about the similarities of China & India. Our education system, people, government, etc. The places we want to travel and not get married soon enough.
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Aines shared her story, how laboriously her parents worked for her education. At one point, she really got emotional. At that instance, I realised for similar people are though we are from different worlds.
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Aines and Quan had to catch a bus so they left. I bid farewell to them and I moved to the next peak. Little Adam's Peak is an easy trek. So, it did not take us long to reach the peak. The view was amazing and in front, I could see Ella Rock, which I had to climb before the end of the day.
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The view was majesticI so I clicked few pictures and sat there for a while. Then, I walked down the hill for the Ravana Waterfall.
Google Maps showed me Ravana falls at a distance of 6 Kms from my location. To save some time, I thought of hitchhiking. So, I raised my thumb high. I could see a motorcycle approaching, it stopped and offered me a ride.
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The rider's name was Sumit and he came to know that I was from India. He told me how big a fan he was of the Indian Cricket Team. His favourites were Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni.
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While we were lost in our conversation, we saw a police barricade ahead and I guessed it that we were in trouble. I was not wearing a helmet. The policeman on duty stopped us. He asked me to leave. I tried to give an explanation but I was waved-off. Even Sumit asked me to leave the spot. Feeling guilty, I left. I walked a few hundred meters and could see Sumit coming towards me. He stopped and said that the police gave him a verbal warning and let him go. The policeman was a nice man, he made him think of a scenario where a foreigner meets with an accident then what would consequences he would have to face. It was thoughtful for me too. Anyhow, Sumit did leave me till Ravana Falls.
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I didn't find this place amusing. Just a waterfall by the road with few people getting pictures clicked.
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My last attraction to cover in Ella was the "Ella Rock". Therefore, I boarded a bus to Ella and started walking towards the rock.
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One has to walk along this railway track for good 2-2.5 Kilometres first. Then, there is narrow passage along the forest leading to the Ella Rock. During my walk along this wonderful foliage by the track, I met a lot of hikers returning and they guided me through.
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I was lost somewhere in the forest. But by God's grace, I met Anil, a villager from Ella Village. He walked with me till I was back on the trail. I gave him 100LRK for helping me out.
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In total it took good 2 hours for me to reach the rock. I sat on the edge of the rock enduring the cool breeze. The view of from the rock was thrilling. One can see the Little Adam's Peak in front, the petite village at the bottom and enormous ranges all around.
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While I was grasping the beauty around. I saw Priyantha and Pradeep approaching. They were curious to know where I was from and what I was doing here all by myself. I told them all and it clicked well. We talked about all kind of stuff from Cricket to Buddhism to how we are missing good things in our lives of hectic work schedule.
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While I was returning back, I met Mark and Eleonora. I've been bumping into them for a while. First, I met them at the Nanu-Oya Railway station then the Little Adam's Peak and now the Ella Rock.
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On my way back, I lost my path. Thankfully, my phone had enough juice to guide me though. I finally reached the hostel before dark. For me, the most memorable part was walking along the track.
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In the evening, the town turned hazy. Looking at that I went to this pub playing some great music and ended my day there.
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Suggestion: When visiting Ella Rock, keep track of the path and continue asking the locals for the route. Don't take a guide, it's not required.
Day 8 Expenses - 2825LRK (18.50$)
(a) Accommodation - 1500LRK
(b) Bus to Ella from Ravana Falls - 25LRK
(c) To Anil - 100LRK
(d) Dinner - 1200LRK

Day 9 (Ella - Mirissa)

After breakfast, I left for the Ella Bus stand to catch a Bus to Mirissa. But, there is no direct Bus. So, I boarded a bus to Matara. It's a four-hour journey from Ella to Matara. And, Mirissa is 30 minutes distance from Matara. I reached Mirissa in the afternoon. It's a beautiful town, with a lot of restaurant and shacks by the beach.
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I stayed at the 'Sun Vivanta Resort' which was is and managed by a cute couple. I was offered a king coconut, freshly cut, from the tree to quench my thirst, when I arrived at the resort.
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Though I had booked a single-bed room, they offered me a comfortable double-bed room. Laundry was not a part of the amenities offered but they allowed me to use their washing machine.
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The owner suggested me to go for 'Whale Watching' the next morning. I agreed to it. He made all the arrangements. Later in the evening, I thought of taking a walk by the beach. And I met this lovely couple from Czech - Mark and Eleonora again. I sat with them for a while and told them that, there was kind of power that was making us meet every now and then. For dinner, I had cheese roti which had a stuffing of eggs, cheese and vegetables; it was delicious.
Day 9 Expenses - 2590LRK (17$)
(a) Accommodation @ Sun Vivanta Resort - 1500LRK
(b) Bus to Matara from Ella - 400LRK
(c) Bus to Mirissa from Matara - 40LRK
(d) Lunch - 250LRK
(e) Dinner - 400LRK

Day 10 - Mirissa

Early morning around 5 AM, the owner of the resort, woke me up. He had arranged a tuk-tuk for my pickup from the resort to the harbour. I got ready and reached the place by 6.30 AM. We left for the ocean at 7 AM.
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Exhilarated was I, as the boat sailed on the sea in a harmonic pattern. I felt a profound connection to my soul with the deep blue water of the ocean. It took good one hour or so to reach the spot where the big mammal is spotted.
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We had to wait for some time to see the big blue whale. Our boat stood still in the blue water, all of us waiting to see a glimpse of the creature. The captain said that the whale comes every 15-20 minutes to the surface. So, we were waiting patiently.
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We did see a couple of whales. After which, we headed back to the port. I fell asleep and got up when we were about to reach the harbour. I was famished by then, I headed to this restaurant near the resort for lunch. As it got too hot during the day, I stayed at the resort and relaxed.
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In the evening, I left for the beach. The blue water and the blue sky complemented each other. I got into the shallow water and while I was enjoying myself two mammoth size waves hit me. First, I tumbled into the water and as soon as I tried to get on my feet, the second wave pushed me to the ground. I felt an excruciating pain on my right knee. I sensed something bad has happened. Somehow, I came out of the water, changed and headed for the resort.
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I knew deep down that I may not be able to continue my trip with an injured knee. So, I stopped that thought from getting into my head. Rather, I thought of enjoying the moment.
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I went a little off my budget. I took a seat at a table by the beach and ordered few beers and barbequed chicken. There was no one around and even in pain, I was content.
Day 10 Expenses - 5510LRK (36$)
(a) Accommodation @ Sun Vivanta Resort - 1500LRK
(b) Whale Watching - 2000LRK
(c) Lunch - 560LRK
(d) Dinner - 1450LRK

Day 11 (Mirissa - Galle)

Next morning, I got up a bit late. I was unable to bend my knee, the pain had worsened. The owner of the resort gave me some kind of ointment but it didn't provide any relief. I made my mind and thought of continuing my journey. I had breakfast which the owner's wife had cooked, it was some authentic Sri Lankan food; it was exquisite.
I boarded a bus from Mirissa to Galle around 11 AM and reached Galle in an hour. It was getting really hard for me to travel. I met this English couple on the bus who gave my some painkillers by looking at my state. I wish I had clicked their picture but I was not in the right state.
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It took me good one hour to walk 1.5 Kilometres to reach my hostel from the bus station. It was painful and the day felt really hot. This became the most memorable day of my trip for me. I stayed at the 'Pilgrims Hostel'. Thankfully, it was not far from the Galle Fort, Lighthouse and the beach.
I was exhausted from walking in this state and wanted to rest. Moreover, it was too hot and humid during the day. So, I took a nap during the day after having the pain killers.
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Around 3 PM, it rained and the weather got pleasant. I took a seat at the balcony and looked at the sky as it rained. By this time, my pain had reduced or I would say, I got accustomed to it. Once, it stopped raining, I thought of taking a stroll around the fort.
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As I walked around the fort, I saw couples walk holding hands, school kids clicking pictures, pedlars selling toys and candies. People swimming at the beach, some girls collecting seashells. Everyone seemed gleeful. I took a seat at a corner and saw the sunset steadily.
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Day 11 Expenses - 2654LRK (18$)
(a) Accommodation Pilgrims Hostel - 1800LRK
(b) Bus from Mirissa to Galle - 54LRK
(c) Dinner - 800LRK

Day 12 (Galle - Anuradhapura)

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I left for Galle Railway Station after having an awesome breakfast. My knee continued to hurt. I was thankful to this doctor in the hostel who gave me few painkillers. It helped me for a while. I planned to travel the north before I leave. So, I purchased a ticket for Anuradhapura.
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It was a long tiring journey. To add more to this torment, the train took multiple stops. Though the journey was tiring, it was not monotonous as I got the company of Joshua and Michael; they were from Canada.
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The train was crowded and we did not get seats. Thus, we stood by the door, talking all kind of stuff. They got off at Colombo and I got a window seat. I reached Anuradhapura at 7 PM. It got dark so I took a tuk-tuk to the hostel.
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I stayed at this place called 'Lion Rest'. An average place, with minimal amenities but it served the purpose. I went to a local restaurant, had noodles, returned and went off to bed.
Day 12 Expenses - 2490LRK (17$)
(a) Accommodation Lion Rest - 1500LRK
(b) Train to Anuradhapura - 310LRK
(c) Snacks & Water - 200LRK
(d) Tuk-Tuk from the Railway Station - 100LRK
(e) Dinner - 380LRK

Day 13 (Anuradhapura)

My injury had made me weak and to some extent killed my enthusiasm. I woke up a bit late. I was running short of cash. So, I walked around few ATMs and finally found the right one. It was the Commerical Bank ATM that read international cards. Anuradhapura was different from all cities/towns I visited in Sri Lanka. Everything was pretty scattered here. So, I took a tuk-tuk and asked the driver to take me around the city.
First, I went to see the Sri Maha Bodhi tree. One has to remove their shoes/slippers before the entry. After which you have to walk into the temple from any of the four gates.
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The Sri Maha Bodhi is said to the oldest and longest-surviving tree in the world. It was planted in 288 BC. It grew from a branch taken from the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India where Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment and became known as Buddha more than 2,500 years ago.
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One gets to see a huge number of devotees coming to the place with offerings. Several of them tend to spend hours sittings by the tree and its whereabouts.
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Suggestion:  Carry a pair of socks, you would be requested to remove your shoes. The floor gets really hot and it's very hard to walk barefoot.
After the Bodhi Tree, I asked the driver to take me to Mahiyangana Stupa, is believed to be the site of Gautama Buddha's first visit to the country.
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Then, I went to a temple which had some 500 statues of monks meditating with Lord Buddha. There was no one there as it was too hot at this hour of the day.
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I roamed around the place. It was very peaceful. Even the tuk-tuk driver clicked pictures of the place. And we sat there for a while.
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We then headed to the Isurumuniya Temple. There is an entry fee to it. It is one of the oldest Buddhist temples of Sri Lanka. I was not wearing socks which made it really tough for me to roam around.
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I was hopping around the place with an injured knee. Also, it was extremely hot. But, I did tour the complete temple.
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I also climbed to the top from where one can see the whole city. It took me good 10-15 minutes to reach the top but I loved it there. I stood there for a while till my body regained its strength.
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While I was getting down, there was a family climbing up. Looking at my agony, they asked me why I was limping. I narrated the whole incident. They asked if they can see my knee. I said yes. Later, I found that 3 people in that family were orthopaedics. What Luck! They checked my knee movement and the prescribed me some medicines. They believed that I had suffered a ligament tear. I thanked them and headed to my last destination of the day.
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The tuk-tuk driver left me outside the Royal Park - Ranmasu Uyana. This place gave me shade from the scorching heat of the sun.
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This place has a rich history of the Senegalese empire. The ruins were once an ancient play area for the kings who ruled the country. Depicting the luxurious facilities and technology used in that era.
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If you are really keen in knowing the history of this place. I would suggest you take a guide.
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After all the roaming around the ancient city. I asked the tuk-tuk driver to drop me at a pharmacy near the hostel. I purchased the prescribed medicines and returned to the hostel.
In the evening, I left for the Anuradhapura Railway station to purchase tickets for my travel to Jaffna and a return ticket to Colombo from Jaffna. The ticket counter operates from 4 AM till midnight.
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While returning from the Railway Station, I went to this Chinese Restaurant for dinner. Had noodles and ginger beer. Returned to the hostel, did packing for the next day's travel. Then, went off to sleep.
Day 13 Expenses - 2850LRK (19$)
(a) Accommodation Lion Rest - 1500LRK
(b) Tuk-Tuk for going around the city - 1000LRK
(c) Entry Fee Isurumuniya Temple - 200LRK
(d) Dinner - 150LRK

Day 14 (Anuradhapura - Jaffna)

I left the hostel around 9 AM. There was bus stand nearby, boarded a bus to the Railway Station. Sat at the station waiting for the train for a while.
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Thankfully, it was an AC train. But there were hardly any people on the train. It seemed not many people were inclined to see this part of the country. Yet, it did not kill my zeal.
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While I was on the train I booked a room at the R&B Guest House, they were providing accommodation at a moderate price and also it was pretty close to the Railway Station. After a 3-hour journey reached Jaffna around noon.
I was picked from the Railway Station by Subraj, the caretaker of the guest house. On our way to the guest house, he told me all the places I can visit. Also, showed a great place to eat.




In the afternoon, first, we went to the Mantri Manai or Residence of the Ministers. I am sure this place had its relevance in the past but now it was in ruins. And none was done by the Archaeological Department for this monument. There was scribbling on the walls and the whole structure was wearing off.
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Then, we went to the 'Jaffna Public Library'. It opens from 4 PM to 6 PM for visitors. Due to the brevity of time, I did not enter the library. From outside, I could see this beautiful building between the Jaffna Fort and the city centre.
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Now, it was the turn of the famous Nallur 'Kovil Temple'. It is considered as the most sacred temple for the Hindus in Sri Lanka. I was asked to remove my shirt before entering the temple and was not allowed to click any pictures inside the temple. One gets to see the impressive architecture, interesting history and significant devotion. I was on time, so I attended the puja.
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It was almost evening and the sun was about to set. So, Subraj hurried to the Jaffna Fort before it got too dark. He had to leave me at the fort as another traveller had arrived at the guest house. In the meanwhile, I roamed around the deserted fort.
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There was no entry fee fort. I roamed around the whole fort. It was sad to see this colonial masterpiece in such a miserable state.
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Later, I sat at a corner near the fort waiting for Subraj and also to witness the setting of the sun.
Subraj returned in an hour or so. By this time, I was starving. I asked him to take me to some Indian Restaurant. Thankfully, there was one - Mangoes Indian Veg.
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After all the tripping, we went to Mangoes. The food was delicious and inexpensive. Subraj then dropped me at the guesthouse and left for his home.
Day 14 Expenses - 4170LRK (27$)
(a) Accommodation - 1750LRK
(b) Train from Anuradhapura to Jaffna - 1000LRK
(c) Lunch - 500LRK
(d) Snacks in the train - 120LRK
(e) Dinner - 800LRK

Day 15 Anuradhapura

Next morning, Subraj came with a plan. He wanted to take me to few places. I was dead asleep and woke up when he started banging my room's door. He told me that he would be taking me to a beach and a U-shaped sacred pool. I got ready and we headed for the day trip.
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We headed for the beach first, it took good an hour or so to reach the spot. During our ride, I saw Sri Lankan military keeping guard. One could sense the place still recovering from the civil war.
Finally, we reached the KSS or Kankesanthurai Beach. It was the most beautiful beach so far. The water was so clear that I could see the stones at the surface. Another good thing about the place was that there were no people. I was overwhelmed.
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I swam at this clean salty water until I was exhausted. Even my knee pain was reduced due to the upthrust of the water. After a while, few school kids came and we started playing Volleyball with them. I couldn't understand their language but I knew what they were saying.
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We had spent almost half of the day at the beach. I was all tanned and I skin started to itch, I had suffered a bad sunburn but it did not concern me at all.
Then, we headed to the U-Shaped - Yamuna Eri. The U-Shaped pool is made of carved stones and it is also one of the neglected attractions of Jaffa. There are two similar pools, one of the men and other for the women.
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I did swim at the pool but came out of it pretty soon. The place was not maintained that well. I was not comfortable staying in that water. There were huge rocks under the water with algae on it which made the water stink and it was hard to find ground to stand.
It was almost evening and we both were dead tired. Also, we were famished by now. So, I asked Subraj to take me to Mangoes again for dinner. After returning to hostel, I went off to bed and slept like a baby :)
Day 15 Expenses - 2550LRK (17$)
(a) Accommodation  - 1750LRK
(b) Gasoline for Bike - 300LRK
(c) Dinner - 500LRK

Day 16 Jaffna - Colombo - New Delhi

In the morning I left around 9 AM from the guest house to the Railway Station. Subraj came early to do his regular chores with that he wanted to drop me to the Railway Station.
It was a long tiring journey. And, there was no one in the train compartment in which I was travelling, therefore it turned monotonous too. It took good 8 hours or more to reach Colombo from Jaffna.
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After reaching Colombo. I boarded the bus No.187 for the airport. I reached airport around 10 PM which was too early. My flight was scheduled for 4 AM, I had good 6-7 hours in hand. I wanted to sleep but there was no place to sit. So, I laid on the floor and slept till I was woken up by airlines officials.
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And finally, I reached New Delhi at noon :)

Day 15 Expenses - 1620LRK (11$)
(a) Train Jaffna to Colombo - 750LRK
(b) Snacks - 250 LRK
(c) Bus to Airport - 120LRK
(d) Dinner - 500LRK

Hope you guys enjoyed my journey. I have made a video of my travel. If it interests you please like, comment and subscribe to my channel. Would really appreciate it!

Comments

  1. Have been wanting to visit Sri Lanka for some time and your pics and blog just reignited the wanderlust.
    INR 35k for 15 days looks super duper awesome.

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  2. wow!I cannot imagine a more comprehensive Sri Lanka post, a place I have not given much thought to recently! I love your bandana... incredible pics and tips!

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  3. Sri Lanka is amazing, but it is possible to make with way less money than that. But okay, I mostly hitchhike and try to stay with local people haha
    Well done, man!

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  4. This is very informative post about Sri Lanka. I havent been there but i will take some tips from your post on my visit. Good stuff

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  5. This is certainly the coolest solo trip you have had! Sri lanka certainly looks amazing! I would love to do Solo trip like this once! Cheers!

    ReplyDelete

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