Kandy

2 04 2008

The trip to my hotel in Kandy takes about 30 minutes, as it is actually south of the city, overlooking the Mahaweli Ganga (River). It is still rather early, but as the hotel is mostly empty, they check me in.

My room is nice, but is a bit worn around the edges. After unpacking and a quick shower, I have a Coke in the lounge, which has a wonderful view. I call for a Tuk, and I make my way into the city. Kandy feels about 5 C cooler than Colombo, as well as much drier.

The city is dominated by Kandy lake – a man-made lake built by the last King of Kandy – the last kingdom in Sri Lanka. Overlooking the lake is both downtown, and the Royal Palace and the Temple of the Tooth, or Dalada Maligawa. This group of structures were built over the last 200 years, but some of the temple was destroyed by a bomb 5 years ago — since rebuilt.

I got a guide for the tour itself, which was useful, but I found he was a rather bit rushed in his presentation :\ I would suggest getting the recoded audio guide, or maybe just another guide than mine *shrugs*

The temple itself was very impressive, with many different buildings of different ages. I took some photos, but thy didn’t turn out very well. It is an active temple, and while photos are allowed, I decided to minimize it as not to impose too much on those who were there to worship.

The tour itself, which was rushed, took about 2 hours! At the end my feet were sore as you mostly walking barefoot, and generally tired from the early start.

From there, I walked Kandy Town, which felt much more intimate than Colombo, with a much less oppressive security situation. More touts though, and I do mean more…

About the touts. Generally every couple minutes a single man would appear, walking with you starting a conversation. Such as, I am a cook at your hotel, or something similar. It got tiring after awhile. I don’t begrudge them, I have money. It still is tiresome having to ignore people, which is something not really in my nature. I imagine if I was not traveling alone it would not be as bad.

After finding a bank machine, I went to the town market, to shop for clothes. I bought three polo style shirts, one Polo, two Lacoste. Funny thing, everyone mentions how Lacoste is cheap in Sri Lanka — well the shirts I bought were made in Peru! Matthew, how were the shirt prices there?

After my purchases, I was rather wiped. My options were to go to the Elephant Sanctuary or the Botanical Gardens. I had little interest in walking with the elephants, so I was about to go to the Botanical Gardens when it started to rain a bit — nix that.

Instead I went back to my hotel for a nap and drinks as I watched the sun set over the valley, which was very pleasant.

I had dinner at the hotel, Italian of all things (they had a very limited kitchen for the 12 guests in the hotel)

To bed early as I had to be up for 5am to make the train back to Colombo!

More about Kandy.