The Cultural Triangle

From the West Coast of Negombo, we headed onward inland to spend the next four nights in Sri Lanka’s ‘Cultural Triangle’.

The cultural triangle is said to encompass the three ancient cities of Kandy in the South, up to Anuradhapura in the West and Polonnaruwa in the East.

Although we did not have time to reach Anuradhapura or Polonnaruwa on this trip, we were able to spend time in Dambulla, Sigiriya & Kandy.

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Dambulla is a small and quiet town, but we were able to find a home stay with a local family. The rooms were basic and full of toads and mosquito’s, but the location was good and the family were friendly (although the language barrier was hard!).

The main attraction in Dambulla are the Dambulla Caves, which were located a short walk away from our accomodation. Through the walk, we were struck with how friendly the locals were; the children would run over and say hello with big smiles on their faces, and a local shop-woman gave us some coconut pancakes to try for free, just so that we could try her food!

The caves were a long walk up a hill in some serious late afternoon heat but were well worth the visit by the time we got to the top. Some of the ancient carvings of Buddha looked very cool and were still in immaculuate condition.

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The next day we headed to one of Sri Lanka’s most well known landmarks – Lion Rock in Sigiriya. It was well worth the visit – it took us a couple of hours to reach the top but the view was fantastic!

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On our way back we encountered a friendly local on the bus who was heading home from work and was able to advise us on a few local restaurants to check out for dinner. Another example of just how friendly the Sri Lankan people are!

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After two nights in Dambulla we embarked on a three hour bus journey to Kandy. Catching Sri Lankan public transport is always an interesting experience but we couldn’t complain for a cost of R100 (A$0.80) each!

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Kandy is one of the biggest tourist draws of Sri Lanka and it didn’t take us long to discover why, city is built around a beautiful lake and with spectacular views into the nearby mountains. The climate was also much cooler compared to the dry heat of Dambulla, and in even better news, there were much less mosquito’s!

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Kandy itself isn’t packed with tourist attractions but there is plenty here to do to occupy a couple of days, and due to its central location, many people use it as a base for day trips out to other parts of the country.

The most well known attraction in Kandy itself is the ‘Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic’, which attracts visits in the form of both international tourists and local Buddist pilgrims from across the country. There are daily worships at the temple along with a large museum with various dioramas illustrating buddhism in each Asian country. Standing outside in the temple grounds was a nice way to spend sunset before heading on to dinner.

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On our final morning in Kandy, there was still enough time to squeeze in a walk around the lake before and sampling more delicious food before it was time to catch the train to tea country.

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