Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sri Lanka Holiday Part 01: Kandy Perahera Festival & Sigiriya

I have to be honest, when we were planning our holiday last August Sri Lanka was not even in our mind. It was a last minute decision and I had to plan things, book the hotels (Kandy & Colombo) and book our flight in the middle of chaos of finishing work. We even worked for a day during our holiday because we did not manage to finish. 
We arrived in Colombo in the morning, changed money at the airport, rented a car with driver for the duration of our stay, then drove five hours to the town of Kandy, which was our base city mainly for the whole trip. We stayed at the Manor House Boutique Hotel. It is an old colonial house that is converted to a boutique hotel. 
 First Impression is good. The place is beautiful, though it is 10-15 minutes away from the town of Kandy, it was not much of a hassle since we have our own car and driver. We were greeted upon arrival by the owner herself and staff, they were expecting us. We were served with a glass of fresh coconut juice to rejuvinate from the long drive. 
This is the courtyard where our room is located. 
That small fountain makes this really relaxing sound of flowing water which can be heard from inside our room.
and this is the pool area..
Chief was happy. He liked the hotel very much. I did well...YAY!!!. Oh, I found it at Agoda and paid a good deal too for a 6 night stay with breakfast.
We actually arrived in the middle of the Perahera Festival so we were told not to miss it. 
*Image Courtesy of Google
*Image Courtesy of Google
*Image Courtesy of Google
The following day was the last day of the festival and we were encouraged to see it because according to locals, the last night is the best night. We were at the town in the morning to go around, only to be shocked by people who are already sitting on the sidewalks waiting to reserve a good spot to see the festival which will start at 7pm. 7pm!!!!! and we were there around 10am and it was packed! 
Chief bought tickets for two chairs on a balcony of a house where we can watch the festival. YEP, they sold tickets for viewing where they provide chairs on balconies of restaurants, shops, houses where the parade will pass..a business during festival season. We were told to come back around 5pm at the house were we made reservation for two seats. The parade starts at 7pm. According to them it will be very difficult to come back if we go after. 
See that crowd on the street?? That's an area where the parade will pass that's why its jam packed.
The famous big white Buddha of Kandy 
In the end we were so exhausted and we opted to go back to our hotel and miss the festival. We were too tired from the travel. Imagine sitting on a plastic chair for 2 hours to wait for the festival to start, then it lasts for 4 hours and then because of the crowd we are estimating we will reach the hotel estimated 3-4hours.. that's a total of 6 hours sitting on a plastic chair, and another 3-4 hours in the car being stuck in the middle of traffic. No thank you. We just decided that the money we paid for the chairs will be like thrown away money than being stuck. We paid 9000 Sri Lankan Rupees ($70) for the two plastic chairs! If we went I was gonna ask if we can keep the chairs! It was too much!
Anyway, the dinner at the hotel was fantastic. Then we slept so we can travel early to Sigiriya. 


Early drive to Sigiriya was about 3 hours from the town of Kandy. 
This is Sigiriya..
 We immediately bought our tickets to start our climb. YES!! We got to the top of that big rock!!!! 
This is the beautiful park towards the ticket booths
We hired a tour guide to give us information and facts while climbing up the rock. This is the moat around the rock. Sigiriya is actually a kingdom and right at the top of the rock is where the castle is where the king resides. 
This is the moat surrounding the area where the rock is. According to our guide the moat is believed to have crocodiles.
another view showing the bridge to cross the moat
and this is where the journey to Sigiriya starts..later on I will have a photo lookign at this area from the top of the rock!
we started the trek.. then the climb..to go up the rock you will go through a lot of these..
and this..

and this..
and another one of this..
and another..
are you out of breath?? I AM!! Just looking at these photos again reminded me of the climb.. we were gasping for air!!!
then the first stop is right at the top of that last image of stairs... 
only to be wow-ed by this view.. 
you see that small patch in the middle of the trees?? YES! That's where we were before.. 
then from where we are this is the view of where we are heading.. you see the people climbing up that small area?
zooming the view..the right spiral staircase is for going up and the left is to go down.. that small enclosure is the place where you will see the ancient wall paintings 
we continued the climb to reach the enclosure where you will see these wall paintings of the topless women of the king..


It was believed that the 500 women of the king would bathe topless on the big pools and the same women would carry the king up to the castle..

 Shall we continue or climb then?
\

Chief took a photo of the beehives on the big rock..
that is one big scary bee hive!!
all the way up from those steps is another stop..
The Lion entrance..
the view is spectacular..
and yes.. we came from there.. remember the first photos?
and so we continue until we reached the top.. and this is one side of the 360 degrees breathtaking view..
see my man taking photos?? all sweaty from the climb!
and these are a few of the photos taken..


It is so beautiful up there! It was worth it!
Our tour guide made sure we went through all the three entrances of Sigiria, namely The Elephant Entrance, The Lion Entrance and we exited through the Cobra Entrance..
That's it for the first part of this holiday series.. I hope you enjoyed the photos!

CIAO!

-CARMI

3 comments:

  1. Nice pics but the price for the chair in kandy is too expensive, i guess your driver, the guide or whoever booked the chair got 50% commission

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading my blog Zheikk :) Yes! It was indeed a very expensive chair reservation to watch the festival, we were ripped off :( Sadly, it happened several times on our first few days & I got a bit suspicious so I checked at the forums on Trip Advisor (very helpful by the way!) for rates of activities in Sri Lanka. We learned our lesson and was wiser after, we knew how much to bargain for things. I will share more about this experience on the second part of this holiday series, will post it soon :)
      Thanks Again! Ciao!

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  2. Nice pics thanks. Kandy Perehara festival is a very busy, once a year thing. It's very hard to get a spot to visit it. It might was not the chair that expensive, it may was the spot. Some people would get missed to see the festival because of crowed.
    Good blog anyway.
    Thanks

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