Kandy was my first stop after Colombo Airport. The city of Kandy was buzzing with travellers, natives and traffic. Not a place for me for too long, but an amazing place to observe the city culture of Sri Lanka. However, just a day trip away lies the beautiful Hill Country, which has all of the qualities I was seeking. Beautiful views and temples.
I got myself a sweet ride in shape of a Tuk Tuk with a nice Sri Lankan chauffeur. For 5000 LKR ($28 - 180 DKK) for the whole day, he took my to every stop he thought was worthing seeing! Including some local rice and curry, small local temples, lakes, rice fields and the Herbal Garden.
The Golden Temple is a must when you're in Dambulla. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Buddha on the roof is HUGE and is made of real Gold. Remember to cover your shoulders and knees when going here. I didn't have anything that would even come close to my knees (typical Westerner I know), but my Tuk Tuk driver took me to a little shop to buy a scarf before entering Dambulla. DO NOT wait until you are in Dambulla - everything will be more expensive here.
By the Golden Temple you'll also find the Cave Temples, which has hundreds of Buddhas inside the temples build into a huge rock. Be prepared to walk a couple of hundred steps up the rock to enter. It's not that bad, when you see all the small monkeys playing around on the steps!
The Golden Temple & The Cave Temples costs 1500 LKR ($8 - 50 DKK) to enter.
The Lion Rock
Half an hour away lies the famous "Lion Rock" or Sigiriya as it is called in Sri Lankan. It's an ancient rock fortress about 200 m (660 ft) high. To go there, you'll have to climb a lot of stairs and probably wait in line for a while. Probably worth it if you like to look at ruins.
My best advice is to go to Pidurangala Rock - the sister rock. From here you can see Sigiriya rise above the landscape and as a bonus you'll also see some beautiful scenery all around the rock!
My Tuk Tuk driver had never been asked to go here - travellers always want to go to Sigiriya - and he was stunned by how much better he thought this was! The crowd was small. We shared the mountain with only a few others. The views were incredible. And it only cost me 100 LKR (50 cent - 3,5 DKK)!
My Tuk Tuk driver went there with me (hence, I'm in the pictures) and he told the story of the sister rocks. There was a prince, who murdered his father to become king. He was so afraid, that enemies would come and kill him, therefore, he built a fortress on top of Lion Rock to make enemies confused of which rock was his hiding place. The fortress is not visible from the bottom and therefore, they might climb the wrong rock.
I am happy that I climbed the wrong rock. Because it might be wrong, but the views was definitely right.
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