Yesterday was a bit of a transit day which saw us get a very crammed and stinky bus from Dambulla to Kandy, the historical and cultural capital of Sri Lanka. So far we haven’t met any other tourists on the bus journeys and the locals tend to look pretty bemused as we clamber on with our huge backpacks, stumbling all over the place.
We booked a really lovely B&B slightly out of town in the hills, so jumped in a tuk tuk as soon as we arrived. Hathana House is built into a hill with the most beautiful views of countryside and jungle. Our room had an awesome balcony overlooking pure greenery so we chilled out for the rest of the afternoon and read.
The serenity of the afternoon was abruptly ruined by a monstrous spider that took a liking to our room. We were not gonna get this bad boy with the old cup and coaster trick so we called in the expertise of the B&B owner to sweep him out. Despite being assured that he wasn’t poisonous, from now on I will be insisting on a daily snake AND spider bed check.
That night we had a feast of curry and rice cooked at the House. The veggie curries are so damn tasty and there is always a variety of about 6 little dishes. We also had our first taste of Curd and honey which is another Sri Lankan favourite. The curd is made from Buffalo Milk and is like a super creamy yogurt and the honey is the syrup from a kithul palm which is super sweet.
Following an awesome breakfast of pancakes with sweet coconut filling, the next day we headed into the city for sightseeing.
Our first impressions of Kandy were slightly marred by the insane traffic, choking fumes and hectic bustle that surrounded us as we hopped off the bus. However today we were refreshed and in the blazing sunshine, Kandy was much more impressive than we initially thought. First stop was the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which is a shrine dedicated to a Tooth of the Buddha purloined during the funeral pyre. The temple was full of locals praying and giving flower offerings and burning incense. The elusive tooth is hidden away inside a gold casket within another closed room which is a bit disappointing. The overall experience was still worthwhile. I particularly loved the colourful paintings on the ceilings.
We then took a leisurely stroll around Kandy Lake which is a little green oasis in the center of the hustle of the city. We saw lizards and plenty of birds including a kingfisher.
We fuelled up on street eats and ice cream before heading to Udawattakele forest which is a nature reserve sat above Kandy, offering awesome views.
By this time it was unfortunately tipping it down and in flip flops we were sliding around all over the place. Based on the downpour we didn’t expect to spot anything in particular but we were super lucky to see two wild boar, four deer and a load of turtles in the lake. Never seen wild boar before so we were really chuffed. They looked exactly like pumba from the Lion King. Needless to say we didn’t see another soul on the walk.
Having had a great day we headed back to pad for another epic curry.