Sri Lanka Introduction
As I promised in a previous article, in this article we will talk about visiting Sri Lanka. For information on a fabulous Ceylon can be easily found on Wikipedia. But we are interested in Sri Lanka, in terms of the self traveler.
We arrived in Colombo (capital of Sri Lanka) from Male by SriLankan airlines. The flight did not take a long time, it was something about 2 hours.
On board, we fed enough poorly – it was some obscure traditional bun with stuffing.
In the Colombo airport, we passed customs control and ended up in the arrivals area. I want to warn self travelers, to visit this country you will likely need a visa. Visa to Sri Lanka provided in electronic format and can be easily ordered at the Government of Sri Lanka.
My advice is to change a considerable amount of money at the airport, or to use only ATMs for withdrawal by personal funds. Sri Lanka, though more civilized than India, but be careful, fraud still present.
I planned Our trip to Sri Lanka not a long time. In general, I had only 2 days to plan travel to Sri Lanka through the Maldives.
I immediately realized that to explore Sri Lanka as a minimum, you must visit the capital, and after visiting any resort town, so I booked one hotel in the capital Colombo and the other in the resort town of Bentota.
From the airport we went straight to the hotel. We unpacked and went to explore the local attractions.
The capital of Sri Lanka
In my view, Sri Lanka was similar to India, so I expect to see on the streets of chaotic movement of elephants, the tuk tuk’s and the people. None of this I discovered.
Colombo – is a very large city, it is easy to get lost. We caught a tuk tuk and decided to eat. We asked the driver to take us to the inexpensive restaurant so that we can taste the local cuisine.
The driver took us to a restaurant “Gallery”. When you exit the tuk tuk, I immediately realized that this restaurant is hardly inexpensive institutionalized – as it turned out. The driver took us to one of the most expensive restaurants in town.
In the restaurant we tried the 100% European cuisine. I can not say that I was unhappy, but we paid the restaurant about $ 100 and not very nourishing ate.
This was not the first trick of the tuk tuk drivers. When leaving the restaurant, we caught a new driver. We asked him to take us to the center.
That’s where the fun begins…
The driver started to arrange our trip forced, a few minutes later, he decided to show us all the sights of the city. We asked several times to stop his tuk tuk, but he did not want to listen to us.
The driver quickly went in the different directions, waving his hands and muttered something incomprehensible. We saw a park, and I firmly asked the driver to stop.
After stopping, the driver asked me a considerable sum. When I asked, for what I have to pay? He said – you have to pay for the excursion. I have long argued with the driver, in the end gave him the amount which is less than 10 times (than he asked), and we got out of the fat from the tuk tuk taxi.
Park in Colombo
The park was located in front of the building, which was reminiscent of the U.S. White House.
Inside the park was really beautiful. Immediately in front of the park for us met another local man who decided to make us the second compulsory excursion. I thought long and implored him to leave us alone, but he did not calm down, he showed us ID gardener and simply continued to beg for money. I was very angry and asked to leave us alone in rough form.
I loved the park. Everywhere there were different kinds of palm trees, flying birds and bats, storks go near people. This entire picture soothed and gave inspiration.
We walked through the park and decided to go shopping.
Shopping in Colombo
My wife by preparing for a trip read that in Sri Lanka there are factories popular brands of clothing and even found one of those stores where the clothes on the cheap you can buy.
I caught a taxi. I immediately told him where we go and how much money I’ll pay him and we went shopping.
Frankly, I was rather skeptical about buying things inscribed in an Asian country, but when I got to the mall, I have changed my opinion.
There was everything in a Shopping center: D & G, Versace, Gucci, Boss Hugo Boss, Armani, Dsquared, and still many other brands.
I will not focus on that – whether it is really a real brand, or it was a fake, I can say only one thing – the quality of things has been just amazing.
As far as I know, in Sri Lanka, 10 or 15% of the products of famous brands should remain in the country.
Many things have been cut labels, which confirmed my assumption that things still were not fake.
I specifically studied the costumes Boss Hugo Boss and Armani, they were not only branded labels, but also full flash internal wiring and even factory stamps.
Believe it or not, but the Italians bought clothes there whole bag.
I needed some summer clothes, so I bought a couple of shirts, T-shirts, swimming trunks, shorts, what’s there to tell, along with a suit from Ermenegildo Zegna)))
In the end, we bought two huge suitcases of clothes and even a lot of the “right” things.
After the shopping, we went to the hotel. We wanted to dine traditional Sri Lankan food, but again we did not. We performed in the hotel restaurant, where we dined in the same 80-100 dollars.
On the way to Bentota
The next day we had to travel to the Bentota Resort. For the implementation of this trip we had two options:
- Travel by taxi
- Go by train
I decided to go by train to be more extreme, on the one hand and a right in terms of the independent traveler with another.
We caught a tuk tuk, download our huge suitcases into it and went to the station.
Railway Station Colombo
On the way to the station, the driver of the tuk tuk warned us that the station – it is not a safe place for us and we need to keep track of things and were very careful.
I decided to buy first-class tickets, as I understand that we are in Sri Lanka – it is almost India and the train will be, to put it mildly, not very comfortable.
Once inside the rail station, I realized that I was in a movie (the feeling of filming a movie, in the future, do not leave me for all the trip to Sri Lanka).
The station was old, dirty and very strange, but it was fine. The picture I saw at the station was like a film in a series of “Indiana Jones.” All the station was an old, strange and interesting.
We went out to the platform. I’ve been lugging suitcases, so I wanted to drink. But I could not leave my wife at the station with a bunch of suitcases. Luckily, we met with two tourists from Germany, who kindly agreed to look after my wife.
I bought the water and returned to the platform.
We stood for a moment on the platform and all of a sudden I saw one local man, waves his hand at me. At first I did not understand why he does it, but I soon saw a huge crowd local people rushed to the edge of the platform.
As the train pulled up to the platform and did not even stop, the locals started to jump on it and get into the train through the window!
And then I realized that I will never see my “first class”)))
My suspicions have not been deceived – our seats were occupied. The only place that remained on the train was on the aisle, near the toilet! It is “this place” we stood the whole trip.
An adult pair of tourists from Austria joined to our company.
Our entire company of 6 people were self travelers and “our place” was near the toilet.
Dear Friends, I admit that if I had booked a tour to Sri Lanka at a travel agency, I would not be in this situation, but, on the other hand – it’s interesting! Only self travel planning can be accessed in various funny situations and even get pleasure from it
So, all the long way to Bentota we stood on our feet. Legs tired, wanted to sit, but the options were not. I had to stay in place, as I have to keep my wife and our things, besides, we were in good company of Germans and Austrians and we had to talk about.
We are fortunate in the fact that our fellow travelers Austrians stayed in Bentota, so that they could show us the way to the hotel.
Frankly, if it were not for our Austrian fellow travelers, I would never have known our stop. We got off at the station “Bentota.” At the station, did not even have signs. The station was dilapidated and there was no one there!
We descended from the platform and moved in the direction of the hotel.
I forgot to say, in our description, the Austrians came to the conclusion that we live in the same hotel. In practice it was not.
My wife was a little ahead with the Austrians and me alone with four huge bags trailed behind.
We went up to the hotel, where the Austrians stayed and asked the guard – where is our hotel? The guard pointed to the beach and we went to him.
We wandered around the beach, but we could not find our hotel.
Finally, we went directly to the beach. I already fell off my feet. I’m tired of just dragging bags on the beach, and finally, we found our hotel.
Our first few hours at the Wunderbar
No one was waiting for us at the hotel. In a small summer house sat several local residents, or staff – at the time it was not clear.
I began to show the voucher booking.com, I began asking where the reception desk. One of the locals just got up and led us to a hotel room.
The room was just huge, given the fact that I book a standard room. Although the description has been written that area of the room is only 20 square meters, it seemed much longer, possibly because of five-meter ceilings. My feeling is, I still would rate room size of 30-35 square meters (Perhaps we were given a superior room, as the hotel was empty.)
The room had a huge terrace, about 12 square meters, the truth instead of a bath, shower, or rather just a shower.
Member of staff brought us complimentary drinks, but to talk about the payment and check us at the hotel so no one wanted.
Wunderbar Hotel Overview
«Wunderbar» – this is more than a hotel – it is a private villa with guest rooms and its own turtle farm (Read the article Turtle Farm in Wunder Bar Hotel, Bentota, Sri Lanka). It was about 12-15 total hotel rooms, respectively, for no more than 30-35 travelers, but we were there alone.
The hotel was small, but very neat territory, again, reminiscent of private ownership. Next to the hotel is the railway, but it would not hurt one little bit.
Directly behind the railway was a private beach. More precisely, this was not even the beach – it was a huge expanse. View from the beach at any point either side went into the horizon.
As a result, we were alone in a private villa, we had 50 people staff, a personal swimming pool and a pretty good number.
The fact, that we are alone in this hotel on the one hand happy, on the other scarecrow. The fact is that we were constantly under surveillance. Staff are constantly running after us, cleaned, dragged us chaise-longue, fed.
As for the food, it looked like this:
– May I have the menu?
– You tell me what you eat and we will cook!
Consequently, the staff satisfies all our desires, but I realized that in all that have to pay.
Within 5 days, I was trying to find the owner and to pay at least for the hotel room. All my searches have failed.
In the end, I still found the owner and told him emphatically that I want to pay for the room. Owner long resisted, but I still talked. As it turned out was not in vain!
I took out a bank card and gave the owner. The owner suffered a card to the terminal and told with a straight face – NO MONEY!
At this point, I really got scared, because I knew that if my card is blocked, then I can stay in this paradise forever…
As a precaution, I shared my budget amount by 2 and put the money on 2 cards belonging to different banks. The second card was activated and I calmed down.
Update: Please read the continue in my new article: Solo Travel to Sri Lanka Part 2