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Sri Lanka

Unawatuna, Sri Lanka

Southern Coast

overcast 28 °C
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Unawatuna is a town in southern Sri Lanka. It’s known for its coral reef and its palm-lined beaches. Nestled in nearby jungle, the Japanese Peace Pagoda has a stupa with ocean views. The Sea Turtle Farm and Hatchery south of town protects endangered species. North across the bay is the city of Galle’s fortified old town, founded by the Portuguese and expanded by the Dutch in the 17th century.

24/10/19

KOGGALA SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION PROJECT

On the way to Unawatuna from Mirissa I stopped at the Koggala Sea Turtle Conservation Project. The cost to enter was a very reasonable $1000 rupees ($8.64 nzd). The weather was not that great, it was 27 degrees but pissing down with rain. Lucky the tour was all under cover. The tour with a local guide that speaks good english lasts about 30 minutes.
They care for sick or injured adult turtles as well as having an onsite hatchery for baby turtles which are eventually released into the ocean. Here is a link to their website http://seaturtlekoggala.com/
Most of the turtles that are there have lost a leg due to nets and plastic in the ocean. they either get caught in the fishing nets or eat the plastic which causes them to go blind and eventually die as the plastic is toxic.

You will see in a couple of these pictures where the turtle is missing a leg.

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I also got to hold a baby turtle but the picture is not that good, here it is anyway. Also some pictures of the baby turtles in the enclosure. These little turtles are surprisingly strong for such a tiny animal.

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25/10/19

JUNGLE BEACH

This beach was a 40 minute walk from my accommodation and then about another 5-10 minutes through the bush and own a fairly steep and slippery incline, so caution is recommended. I went here on the pretense that it would be a secluded beach with sparkling blue water. Well it was secluded, no doubt about that but the water happens to be a dirty brown/green colour, not the blue clear water you will find on the internet. Below is a link to jungle beach on Tripadvisor, compare it to the pictures I took today.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g644047-d3331573-Reviews-Jungle_Beach-Unawatuna_Galle_District_Southern_Province.html

Here is a picture of the sign at the top of the bush walk to the beach, it also shows impossibly blue water that does not compare to the water I saw today.

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Pictures of Jungle Beach taken today.

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GALLE FORT

Galle Fort , in the Bay of Galle on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, was built in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch from 1649 onwards. Even after more than 423 years maintains a polished appearance, due to extensive reconstruction work done by Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka.
The fort has a colourful history, and today has a multi-ethnic and multi-religious population. The Sri Lankan government and many Dutch people who still own some of the properties inside the fort are looking at making this one of the modern wonders of the world. The fort has been recognized by UNESCO and the site has been inscribed as a cultural heritage UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Galle Fort, also known as the Dutch Fort or the "Ramparts of Galle", withstood the Boxing Day tsunami which damaged part of coastal area Galle town. It has been since restored.

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UNAWATUNA BEACH

If you google Unawatuna Beach you will see pictures of the most amazing beach with the bluest water you have ever seen. Well I believe they must be photo shopped because I was there and took my own pictures and the water is not that colour. This is one of about 3 beaches I went to on my trip to Sri Lanka that do not measure up to the pictures you see online.

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Overall Unawatuna is a nice place to stay but definately over rated as is Mirissa. Still worth spending a couple of days here or Galle for some time out of the business of the cities.

Posted by Geete01 21:06 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

Ella, Sri Lanka

Mountain Town

overcast 19 °C
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Ella is a small town in the Badulla District of Uva Province, Sri Lanka governed by an Urban Council. It is approximately 200 kilometres east of Colombo and is situated at an elevation of 1,041 metres above sea level. The area has a rich bio-diversity, dense with numerous varieties of flora and fauna.

21/10/19

LITTLE ADAMS PEAK
As this was only a 2 night stop and I arrived in to afternoon yesterday, I had to pack as much as I could into today. So I set out earlyish for Little Adams Peak. It was a fairly easy climb and the peak is 1141 metres high. The last part of the climb is many stairs that can be a little tiring but nothing that most people wouldn`t be able to manage.
On the way to the top you will pass a large tea plantation and near the top is 98 Acres resort which has amazing thatch roofed huts built on the side of the mountain and have beautiful views

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NINE ARCH BRIDGE
The Nine Arch Bridge also called the Bridge in the Sky, is a viaduct bridge in Sri Lanka. It is one of the best examples of colonial-era railway construction in the country. It is 24 metres high and 91 metres long. I arrived just in time to see the train crossing the bridge also. I managed to get pictures from both sides of the bridge to give a better idea of the size. After the train had passed I walked through the tunnel and followed the train tracks back to Ella which took about 1 hour.

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DOWA TEMPLE
I arrived back to the accommodation right on 1pm and the owner was going to pick up his son from school, s offered me a ride to the temple as it was on the way, then he picked me up on the way back which was awesome.
Dhowa Rock Temple is a protected heritage site in Sri Lanka, situated in the central mountains of the Uva province. Dhowa is a small, ancient village situated on the Badulla - Bandarawela main road.
The caretaker at the temple explained to me that it is 2107 years old and the ornate pictures on the ceiling and walls are 407 years old. There is also a 12 metre buddha carved into the rock face which is also over 2000 years old.
You know you are in the middle of the jungle when you get leeches on your feet while entering a temple, hahaha.

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22/10/19

RAWANA WATER FALLS
Stopped at these water falls on my way to Marissa this morning as I did not get time yesterday. Apparently it is one of the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka and is 25 metres high. Standing beneath the falls is a surreal feeling as you get so close you can almost touch the water.

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Posted by Geete01 04:45 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

City of Light

rain 16 °C
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Nuwara Eliya is a city in the tea country hills of central Sri Lanka. The naturally landscaped Hakgala Botanical Gardens displays roses and tree ferns, and shelters monkeys and blue magpies. Densely forested Galway's Land National Park is a sanctuary for endemic and migratory bird species, including bulbuls and flycatchers.

While travelling from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya there was many tea plantations that quite literally were on every hill that you could see. The tea industry in Sri Lanka employs over 1 million people and is one of their largest exports. Tea was introduced in 1867 by James Taylor, a British planter. Also there were the Ramboda Falls. These waterfalls are on both sides of the road.

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18/10/19

Arrived in Nuwara Eliya at 1.30pm today, it was noticeably cooler than the rest of Sri Lanka that I have been so far. First place I visited was the Galway National Park. I was surprised to find that there was not a lot of wildlife here given it was a National Park. They charged tourists $2070 rupees to enter which is $17.84 NZD and I unfortunately only saw 1 bird, it was so far away it was hard to know which bird it was. This is why I have only posted pictures below of the walkway into the forest and trees. The 2km walk around the park is still very peaceful and a nice walk.

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19/10/19

Hiked about 2 hours up the hill behind the hostel where I am staying and there were 2 waterfalls. I managed to get close to one by walking on what I believe were private roads, however the locals didn`t seem to mind.

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Was only in Nuwara Eliya for 1 day so not a lot of info on this Town sorry.

Posted by Geete01 03:25 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

East Coast Town

sunny 32 °C
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Trincomalee is a port city on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka. Set on a peninsula, Fort Frederick was built by the Portuguese in the 17th century. Within its grounds, the grand Koneswaram Temple stands on Swami Rock cliff, a popular vantage point for blue-whale watching.

I travelled from Anuradapura to Trincomalee in a tuk tuk which took about 4 hours. I could have done it cheaper on the bus, but then I could not get the bus driver to stop along the way for pictures and the tuk tuk driver would. As we were driving along the rural roads there were many things to see and it is the only place in the world were I have seen signs on the side of the road say beware of the elephants crossing, hahaha.

These are some of the things I saw including lakes that were almost dry due to lack of rain, there was also crocodiles in the lakes. A religious festiva, a massive beehive in a tree that was about 1.5 metres across and a termite hill that has holes in the top. When I asked the driver what these were he told me they were snake holes, didn`t want to stay too long as these holes were pretty big so the snake was probably also big.

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Checked into my accommodation about 200m from the beach and had these visitors arrive about 5pm last night. These things are huge, around 1 metre tall and make a huge noise when the jump from the trees to the roof of the hostel. There was a family of about 10 in the trees.

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It is extremely quiet here due to it being the off season for tourists and also the terrorist attacks that took place in April 2019, the tourists are still a bit nervous. I can 100% say that there does not seem to be any hint of danger and the people are the friendliest I have met so far in the last 6 months of travelling. The country is beautiful and the scenery and nature is amazing.
I was down at the beach earlier today and the Sri Lankan children were patting deer like they were dogs, they just sat there.

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13/10/19

FORT FREDERICK

Fort Fredrick, also known as Trincomalee Fort is a fort built by the Portuguese at Trincomalee, It was completed in 1624, built on Swami Rock-Konamamalai from the debris of the world-famous ancient Hindu Koneswaram temple.
This place is huge and now houses the Sri Lankan Army. It juts out into the Indian Ocean and looks down to Dutch Bay Beach which is stunning.
The first pictures are the old buildings inside the fort and then pictures of Dutch Bay.
Sorry the first few pictures are on the outside of the fort, I saw some guys playing cricket next to the stone wall of the fort.

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DUTCH BAY BEACH

This is the bay that sites directly beside the fort.

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THE MARITIME AND NAVAL MUSEUM

The Maritime and Naval History Museum is a Maritime museum has been established near to Fort Fredrick where the Dutch first landed to the island in the 16th century. This was an interesting hour spent looking at many artifacts that date back as far as 1100 AD. they include things that have been recovered from the ocean floor from sunken ships. These include coins, pots, bowls, bottles, cannons and they even have photos taken of the sunken ships themselves.
Well worth an hour of your time to learn some interesting history. Sorry I could not get any pictures inside the museum.

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Had dinner at a little cafe off the side street I am staying. The food was excellent and cost $5.24 nzd. The cafe was called la Prince Cafe and I would highly recommend it.
Hilariously there was another lost in translation moment while looking at the menu. I think this is supposed to be Pineapple but I was to nervous to order it to find out, hahahaha.

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14/10/19

UPUVELLI BEACH

This beach is located just 300m from my accommodation and was almost deserted. The pictures below were taken at 11.30am it was 32 degrees and probably only 5 people on the beach. The water is super warm and unbelievably clear.

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NILAVELI BEACH

Nilaveli Beach on the east cost of Sri Lanka has to be one of the most beautiful spots I have seen. The water is very clear has so many fish you will see and the water is super warm, today the local website indicated the sea temperature was 30 degrees. I swam in the ocean and it was like taking a bath.
Again the beach was almost deserted, I felt like I was on my own private beach paradise.

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MARBLE BEACH

This was the last beach I went to in Trincomalee and again I pretty much had the beach to myself.

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On the way back from Marble beach we saw wild Elephants fighting which was amazing to see these giant animals. They are also very graceful when walking which I did not expect.

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Posted by Geete01 10:38 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

The First Kingdom of Sri Lanka

sunny 31 °C
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Anuradhapura is a major city in Sri Lanka. It is the capital city of North Central Province, Sri Lanka and the capital of Anuradhapura District. Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of an ancient Sinhala civilization and is also the first kingdom of Sri Lanka and a world heritage site.

10/10/19

Vessagiriya Ruins

Vessagiri, or Issarasamanarama, is an ancient Buddhist forest monastery that is part of the ruins of Anuradhapura, one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka. It is located about half a mile south of Isurumuniya, among boulders. Begun in the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa (mid-3rd century BC), the site was expanded during the reign of King Kasyapa (473 - 491 AD) to become home to about five hundred monks. The Vessagiri monks lived in rock shelters that were constructed by quarrying from local materials.

After arriving in this place, I had literally stepped out of the tuk tuk and taken about 10 steps when this baby cobra slithered past, saw me and went into attack mode. So I took a few steps back and decided i would take some photos.

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In the front of this old city are the ruins of the buildings and the temples, as the modern city has progressed they have build a road straight past the front of this old city, so access is very easy.

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As you walk through the front of this place you can access the rear of the property by going through these rocks. Once you get through the rocks it opens to a vast and peaceful reserve with many types of birds.

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Once you emerge through the rocks the first thing you will see is an are that the monks used to meditate. This is very cleverly under the overhanging rocks to shelter them from the rain. there is also still writing that has been carved into the rock.

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The monks had a very ingenious way of cutting or splitting the rocks to use for construction. They would make holes in the rock where they wanted to split it then make a liquid with the local plant leaves and pour the liquid into the holes. Apparently it acting like an acid and after about 3 months the rock would split.

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Here is another very clever use of the rocks by the monks. They have carved depressions in the rock for 4 monks to be able to sleep, this is also under the overhanging rock to protect them from the weather. If you look to the right of the picture you will see they have also carved a channel in the rock, this is to keep any water away from where they are sleeping and directs the water elsewhere.
Sleeping on rocks sounds uncomfortable but I lay down on this and it was not that bad.

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The last few photos are just a selection of the same area.

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11/10/19

Mihintale

Mihintale is a mountain peak near Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. It is believed by Sri Lankans to be the site of a meeting between the Buddhist monk Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa which inaugurated the presence of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It is now a site of pilgrimage and has several abandoned structures and religious sites.
To get to the top you need to climb about 1800 steps in 30 degree heat. Once I got there my clothes were so wet, it was like someone sprayed me with a hose.

This is the beginning of the climb, looking up the first of many steps.

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Just hanging out with some of the local wildlife on my walk to the top.

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Once again there are many old structures left over from monks about 1400 years ago. Here is just a selection.

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When you get to the top there is a huge rock that has a walkway to the top where you will get a fantastic view over much of the surrounding area. This is not great if you don`t like heights, hahaha.

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Posted by Geete01 06:21 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

Negombo, Sri Lanka

West Coast Waterfront

sunny 29 °C
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Negombo is a city on the west coast of Sri Lanka, north of the capital, Colombo. Near the waterfront, the remains of the 17th-century Dutch Fort now house a prison. Negombo Lagoon, lined with fishermen’s huts, feeds into the Dutch-era Hamilton Canal. The canal leads south to Colombo. Neoclassical St. Mary’s Church, completed in the 1920s, features a ceiling decorated with vivid religious paintings.

Here is a sample of the money they use in Sri Lanka. It seems very colourful with intricate designs compared to other countries I have visited so far.

5000 rupees = $43.76 NZD
1000 rupess = $8.75 NZD
100 rupees = $0.88 NZD

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8/10/19

After arriving in Negombo at 9.30am this morning I was able to check in to the hostel that I am staying early (Molley`s House) which was great because check in is normally 2pm. So I decided to have a look around and got talking to some of the locals (the Sri Lankan people are amazingly friendly) One guy even showed me around on the back of his scooter. I found out that there is a big following for the catholic church in Negombo, which surprised me given that the largest religion here is Buddhism at 70%. here are some pictures of just one of the churches that I walked past.

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The coastline which is about 500m from where I am staying.

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I also went to a fish market. As Negombo is a fishing town the market was huge and the amount of fish they catch everyday is astounding. Below I have posted some pictures of fish drying in the sun, they have them on a type of net to dry but look how many there are.

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I went back down to the beach at sunset and snapped some more pictures. I could not decide which ones were better some here are all the pictures I took of the sunset at Negombo on the beach.

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As Negombo has a huge following of the Catholic church, there are some very large and beautiful churches dotted around the city. Here is just one of the churches that I came across while looking around last night.

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Trying to get anything done in Negombo is like pulling teeth. I have been here 2 days and already considering going to another country.
Wifi where I am staying is terrible so I am not able to get anything done online. I tried to get a local sim card this morning and they kept asking what my phone number is, I finally got through to them and said I needed a sim card as I do not have a phone number. They then said I need your passport to activate the sim card, after walking around for about an hour trying to sort this sim card out I just about lost my shit. (nobody that I know walks around with their passport) I asked why they needed my passport to activate a prepaid card that I am paying cash for and they said so we know your name, I said I can tell you my name but according to them that is not acceptable. Passport or no card. It annoys me that all the reviews you read online about different countries only say how beautiful they are, nobody seems to have the balls to tell the truth about all the little things that will drive you crazy.

Next stop is Anuradhapura.

Posted by Geete01 02:38 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (1)

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