Before I showed up in Kandy I expected it to be completely different – like smaller and less urban. My train arrived there on a drizzling evening and the place was busy and crowded. Furthermore it was a mission to find an affordable, central place with WiFi so I just hopped into a Tuk Tuk that drove me to some old lady’s place, we bargained a price and made sure my phone gets connected to the world wide web. After paying and settling in it turned out that being connected doesn’t mean it works, so I headed back downtown to find a café that offered the desired network function. The downside was: I had to order a beverage that happend to be disgusting, cold ginger tea – worth it though to be able to chat with my sweetheart, who I had to leave at home…
Next day I was determined to check out some cultural highlights – Dambulla, the cave temple and Sigiriya, a monolith with the ruins of an ancient fortress on top of it. A two hour, crowded and slow bus ride brought me to Dambulla, which was well worth the effort. Five caves accomodated buddha statues in all variations – standing, sitting, meditating, laying.. The walls were full of beauty- and colourful paintings, outside you had stunning views and if you’re into monkeys – Jackpot!
Not far from there is Sigiriya, one of the world’s largest monoliths, a magmatic plug from a long eroded volcanic system. Pictures of it haven’t convinced me really, but I thought: f*** it, I might as well go. It’s $ 30 (!!) to climb the top, which was nice but not overwhelming. Neither the ruins nor the views did it for me since it’s just a huge rock surrounded by flat jungle landscape. The only appealing things about it were mysterious frescos of topless ladies (maybe really old school soft porn?), painted on the rock – their idendity however is unknown (klick the link for more Information). All in all, the experience might have been better if it woulnd’t have been drizzly and foggy the whole time. It was nice enough but in my view not worth a 3 hour bus ride and 30 bucks.
Talking about bus rides: I have read that they are awful, but always thought these people are just spoiled pussies. I must say, sorry guys for judging you! Bus rides in Sri Lanka suck. There’s no other way to describe it. A bus only departs when at least all seats are taken – but then it just honks and stops literallly every 200 meters to let more people in. Even though it’s rammed already, I have not experienced a driver passing by a waiting passenger on the side of the street. There is no way anyone gets any private space. If you sit at the window you’ll eventually get squeezed in and you soon experience what it’s like to be claustrophobic. If you have an aisle seat the genital regions of other people may or may not interfere with your face which I found highly unpleasent. If you have to stand up it’s just annoying because on those bumpy roads it feels like people are grinding and you can’t escape.
So, if you don’t have a budget – I recommend taking a cab for your own pleasure of travelling!