The guide motioned for us to stay where we were and be quiet. He scrabbled up the hill to take a look. “Elephants,” he whispered when he returned and pointed up into the trees. At first I could only see motion in the leaves, but eventually I spotted a trunk and an ear. One by one five elephants including one baby passed through the trees into view.
Walking with the flow of the crowd surrounding the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, India, I turned the corner and saw a large billboard labeling the public toilet. My first thought was, “I didn’t think India had public toilets.” And my second thought was, “Hey, that’s Ron Swanson!”
Women in colorful saris filled the street. The men wore cloth wrapped around their midsections and nothing else. Horizontal stripes of paint in red and white, representing the god Shiva, lined their foreheads. Above me towered the medieval Hindu temple that had attracted the crowd. As my family weaved in and out of the throngs of devoted Hindus, I realized that we all had huge smiles on our faces. Our travel smiles were back!
We are a family of 5 traveling on a tight budget. Here’s what we thought of the guesthouses we stayed at in Sri Lanka.
People seem to love Sri Lanka. Bloggers, travelers we meet, almost everyone. We, on the other hand, were not big fans.
For all of south and south east Asia our budget is 100 USD per day. In Sri Lanka this was not an easy budget to keep.
We finished our tour of Sri Lanka in Colombo. Many people who have visited Sri Lanka report hating the city, but I had a feeling we might like it. And I was right.
After dealing with the transportation hassles of crowded trains and buses and finding mostly overpriced guest rooms in Sri Lanka, we decided to hunker down on the beach in Mirissa (where we found a reasonably priced room with pretty good wifi) for the rest of our time on the island until we needed to return to Colombo.
We left Ella and made our way by bus to Tissamaharama, often called just Tissa, the gateway town to Yala and Bundalla National Parks.
Unlike most towns just outside national parks Tissa is not much of a tourist trap. Continue reading
We didn’t really do anything in Ella, yet it was one of our favorite places in Sri Lanka.
In fact, there is not that much to do in this little mountain town, and maybe, that is its appeal. We thought about doing some hiking in the nearby hills, but it rained everyday we were in Ella. Continue reading