Sri Lanka

Kelsi and I had absolutely zero expectations about Sri Lanka. Until the night before we arrived, in fact, the only thing we knew about the country was that Colombo was the capital and it has tea. Yes, we’re ridiculous. We had expected Sri Lanka to be our relaxing vacation time. Check out Colombo for a day or two, then lie on the beach for 5 days and unwind. Then we googled it…
Sri Lanka has SO much to offer. It has pristine beaches, ancient ruins and abandoned palaces, a rich history of Buddhism, and some of the most incredible tea plantations in the world. It has the most Unesco World Heritage sites for a country of it’s size (8 in total) and is home to the ancient fortress Sigiriya, that is considered by many to be the 8th Wonder of the World. On top of that, Lonely Planet has rated it as one of the top ten places to visit in 2013. For a place that was wrapped up in a brutal civil war until 2009, the country is still off the beaten track to most tourists. Wow.
This meant both good and bad news. The good thing was that we were about to see most, if not all, of these things. The bad news was, our relaxing five-day beach holiday was going to have to be put on hold.
In only a few hours we put together a 14 day sightseeing tour of our own. The problem was, we only had 5 and a half days, and a small budget. What to do?
Wen it came to our week in Sri Lanka, I think the phrase should be “where there’s a will, there’s a way!” We were not about to let limited time and money get in our way. We would wake up at the crack of dawn, figure out the local bus systems, eat the cheapest street food we could find, and make it work!
Our first hour in the country was almost discouraging. We stopped at a tourist office in the airport to ask directions to the bus.
“Why would you take a bus? I can organize a taxi for you to Colombo no problem: 1600. Or we can organize a whole tour for you! What’s your budget?”
“$25 a day!” we replied with a smile.
“$25 a day?!” The two tour agents laughed and laughed at us. “That’s impossible. The entrance fees to
Anuradhapura and Sigiriya are $25 and $30 alone! You can’t have that low of a budget!” They laughed until finally pointing us in the direction of the bus stop. We were going to do it! We didn’t have any more money, and we weren’t going to miss out on anything.
And in the end, we came back 6 days later having spent $28 a day and we managed to visit BOTH Anuradhapura and Sigiriya! It could have been $25 if we hadn’t spoiled ourselves with beer and seafood on the last night! As I said, where there’s a will, there’s a way! Sri Lanka, here we come!

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