Travel faster or Fast Travel – Sri Lanka in 7 crazy days

You would say I was crazy to travel 9 cities in 7 days in a new country – Sri Lanka. No, I did see all the attractions, climbed a mountain, worshiped in temples, prayed in monastery, walked around the world’s end. How did I manage to do it? Yes, that’s the question I am looking for now. For some reason I am usually a very fast traveler. I traveled around Bali in 14 days which was reasonable good amount of time to see most of the places there. But this went crazy when I arrived in Sri Lanka with only 7 days in my kitty and no patience to wait till the next visit to see more.

Yes, I did go crazy otherwise how do you suggest I could travel there in 7 days via public transport and still manage to see most of the things without skipping anything. Of course there was a high level of discomfort, specially when you realize that being a travel doesn’t guarantee you the seat in the 5-6 hours of bus and train can be delayed for infinite time sometimes. But then you get used to of it and you start using your tired brain for nice ideas like accepting the situation and use your time to read a nice book in the train station and sit on the floor on the bus to save yourself from ultimate tiredness.

Now, I didn’t promise it is going to be a luxury trip – did I? So here we go…

1000 KM and 9 cities in 7 Days with 150 USD cash (excluding airfare) – Crazy Travels (You don’t believe? Have a look at the facts then)

Bandaranaike International Airport –> Colombo
31.0 KM, Estimated: 51 minutes, Actual: 3 hours
By Auto and Bus

Colombo —> Anuradhapura
202 KM, Estiamted: 3 Hours and 25 Minutes, Actual: 6 hours 30 minutes
By Train

Anuradhapura –> Polonnaruwa
107 KM, Estimated: 1 hour 39 minutes, Actual: 3 hours
By Bus

Polonnaruwa –> Sigiriya
58.8 KM, Estimated: 57 minutes , Actual: 1 hour 30 minutes
By Bus

Sigiriya –> Dambulla
18.8 KM, Estimated: 20 minutes, Actual: 40 minutes
By Bus

Dambulla –> Kandy
72.8 KM, Estimated: 1 hour 33 minutes, Actual: 2 hours
By Bus

Kandy –> Nuwara Eliya
73.4 KM, Estimated: 1 hour 8 minutes, Actual: 2 hours
By Train (Famous for the view)

Nuwara Eliya –> Ella
64.6 KM, Estimated: 1 hour 3 minutes, Actual: 2 hours
By Bus

Ella –> Kandy
138 KM, Estimated: 3 hours, Actual: 5 Hours 30 minutes
By Train

Kandy –> Negombo
104 KM, Estimated: 2 hours, Actual: 10 Hours
By Bus

Negombo –> Bandaranaike International Airport
9.9 KM, Estimated: 15 miutes, Actual: 30 minutes
By Bus

60 – Approximate walking
60 – Auto in the cities

Now this is an approximate that I was able to get via Google maps and that can result in few KM here and there. So you are ready to start with me? I am going to take you on a brief trip with me now.

I arrived in Sri Lanka Airport and realized that I didn’t have to bring all the jumpers with me looking at the humidity. But that was just the start. Then I decided to take the public transport to get to my hostel and was welcomed by rain on the way to the gate. I had more trust on my strength than any auto around so I started walking to the bus stand which turned to be further ahead than I was suggested by the locals. But then I was being talked into taking an auto to get there only after walking for at least 15 minutes. I was then able to secure the back seat in the bus. Soon I was relaxed after no sleep for one night and two days (My flight was early morning around 5 AM from Delhi to Chennai and Chennai to Sri Lanka, this was the reason I came to the Delhi airport in the night itself to make sure I don’t miss the flight in case I sleep in and also that was a pre-caution for security I thought was worth taking rather than taking a cab in the night in Delhi). So here I was successfully arrived in Sri Lanka on my own.

[Also I would like to add some more details to it. This trip was a result of 3 hours of confusion as to what shall I go for a relaxing week before going to Sydney from India. And then I had to cancel meeting a friend over the weekend as I was now heading to the Airport in the evening..lol…I know it sounds crazy but this is the reason that unlike many other times I had no idea what I am going to do in this new country.]

Now back to the actual story – I felt a pull on my purse and realized a guy sitting near me was trying to take my purse. As soon as I realized this I lost no time in shouting over him and rest of the people came to help me but he was quick enough to run when the bus driver stopped the bus hearing all the noises from the back. I some how managed to get the second bus to my destination now after the bus driver and conductor tried to rip me off by telling me wrong currency conversion. Thank God I knew how much it was though. A nice local helped me in the next bus to get the correct fare finally and I got to my hostel. I was tired and angry with the situation but didn’t take much time to cool off when I met other travelers from different countries. See this is why I love hostels at times because its always good to meet people when you are in such a situation. First of all its distracting and then it helps to share and cools you down a little. Not that I am an angry woman but wrong doings can make me really agitated to be honest. Till then I am a happy go lucky person πŸ˜‰

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Then me and another guy took out the map and started planning my next few days itinerary as I was there for the shortest time. And that way we both were also making notes of nice places to see in various cities. I took few pictures of map afterwards as there was only one map in the hostel (Yes I know I am so badly prepared with any thing at all). Then next day I left Colombo to go to the city of ancient kingdom, the first capital of Sri Lanka – Anuradhapura. It was supposed to be 3.5 hours by train but it took 6.5 hours. So don’t be amazed as it happens there as well as in India. So have a buffer whenever you are planning to take train there. And also the trains run only few times a day so be careful and make sure you plan accordingly. Finally I arrived in Anuradhapura with no booking for hostel as I was assuming to get there in the afternoon and find the place accordingly. I met few locals on the trains and two ladies from them called a known auto-rickshaw driver for me to search a hotel. I finally found a nice place that was way out of my budget so I had to use my bargaining skills to convince them that its not a loss for them to give me room as at this time when they have half of their hotel empty not many tourist are going to come. I got the room and took a much needed sleep after a day long train trip. Next day I was ready with my back pack and called an Auto to show me around and then planned to catch a bus to my next destination – Polonnaruwa (Second capital of Sri Lanka).

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I loved this little cave….place used for prayers

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At this place more than 300 monks used to pray almost 1000 years ago

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I have never met such an intellectual auto-rickshaw driver in my life. This guys knew each and everything about the town. Its a common practice there that if you book an Auto then the driver is also your guide. And one more very important thing – there is an entrance fees almost everywhere in Sri Lanka. So there is an option to either buy the ticket yourself and roam around at your own. Or you can book the auto in the same price and they arrange the ticket for you and show you around. I was aware of this fact from the guide that I read a day before coming here. So I chose the second option due to lack of time. So I was able to see the old town in few hours and he even dropped me to the bus station.

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Bath for royal family

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Remains of Stupa

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Cave Temple

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Luckily people in Sri Lanka were celebrating festival

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Prayers

Oh it seems that my post is getting very long and I have to share the pics as well so why not I post the rest of it in next post πŸ™‚ I would love you to come back and have a look at the next one as then I can tell how was I able to spend so less and still have a wonderful experience in this beautiful country πŸ™‚

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Stupa – Sign of world peace

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I was told that the circle of life is represented by this half moon

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53 comments on “Travel faster or Fast Travel – Sri Lanka in 7 crazy days

  1. Terrific post. But, honestly, is it safe in Sri Lanka? For so many awful years we heard about the terrible violence. Are independent travelers safe?

    • Thanks a lot Mike for visiting and liking my post. I would say if you can travel in India then it is the same. And its also up to the traveler and you know we need to be more vigilant in Asian countries anyways. And trust me this country is so beautiful that you would love to visit there once. And also I was travelling more risky way without any planning and stay booking but you can avoid that by booking places in advance and be prepared with a proper plan. I would share the place to visit and more tips in my coming posts so keep an eye on it πŸ™‚

  2. Wow, those are gorgeous places you visited in Sri Lanka. I was there with my husband in 2010, and we visited a few places, but the best I liked was Adams Peak, and we’d climbed 2,243m. of it. I agree with you, Sri Lanka is so beautiful, and quite clean, and the food is awesome! Thank you for reliving my memories of SL! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much dear friend…wow you did climb it all…my goodness you must be fit…its great …Adams peak is awesome..although I did the little one not the big one considering the time I had ..and I am glad that we both enjoyed our trip so much…thats true the food was so much different than India (my origin) and so delicious. I would love you to read my next post on the place πŸ™‚

      Have a lovely day!

  3. Hey Kavita,
    That is soooo cool!! The trip and the pictures!! Looking forward to see the next post!!! Talk to you soon!!! πŸ˜€
    β™₯GOD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU SAFEβ™₯
    ~TeenFaith777~
    Psalm 119:105

  4. Amazing post,the pictures are so beautiful.Thank You Kavita for liking my post ( Boston Marathon.) hope to read more about your next trip.Best regards,jalal

    • sure Jalal…I will share it may be today or tomorow…with some more beautiful pics as this place is just wonderful lush green and very natural…thank you so much for visiting here and being a regular reader of my post as your comment motivates a lot. Regards,Kavita

  5. I absolutely love to read this post because i am planning to visit Sri Lanka as well this year.. me and my friend are planning to travel without any plans as well, kind of the same you did!

    So it is kind of motivating to read this wonderful post.

    • Wow..I am so happy that you are going there and would love to upload more pics and things you can do there..Its exciting..you would have loads of fun and its also awesome to have someone to share it with πŸ™‚ It will be an adventure for sure with no planning πŸ˜‰ can’t wait till you start your travel

      All the best for your planning part and keep me posted dear…would love to hear from you….have a wonderful day πŸ™‚

  6. As I read your travels and embraced the images I felt like my spirit was with you in every place, enjoying the wonderful soothing beauty and just enjoying life! Though a lot of places were visited in a short amount of time…it seems you really did enjoy it very much…i know that I did just reading it and using my imagination! God bless my sister!

    • Yes Wendell, it was hectic but I love traveling so it is like my eyes are hungry to see more and heart is eager to feel more. So its never enough really πŸ™‚ And I am happy that I am able to make you feel this through my posts as it feels amazing when you can imagine and feel the joy of being at such places. That means the mission is accomplished πŸ™‚

      Regards,
      Kavita

  7. Hats off to you dear for your patience ( happily waiting for long, due to deviation from the estimated time ) and your zeal to travel despite of all the hassles that come your way.. Also thanks for sharing insights into the beautiful country, Srilanka

    • Awe such a lovely comment dear ..you just made my day really and I love the way you read my posts on regular basis and appreciate it at the same time. Thank you so much dear Shilpa. I am glad that you enjoy my posts and places I share with you πŸ™‚ My next post is few minutes away as I am getting it ready with some pics of the places in continuation of this post πŸ™‚ Let me know how you like it πŸ™‚

  8. Pingback: Go go go….Rest of Sri Lanka is waiting – Part 2 (Travel faster or Fast Travel – Sri Lanka in 7 crazy days) | Talking Experience

  9. Pingback: Time to Slow down? Wait one more day to go before that – Part 3 (Travel faster or Fast Travel – Sri Lanka in 7 crazy days) | Talking Experience

  10. Really liked your post. It definitely made me want go there. As for the way you travel: don’t you ever feel rushed on such a tight timetable? It would be very stressful for many to travel at such a pace. Cheers

    • I totally agree with you as it is rushed a lot of times..but now I see a pattern in my travel when I do not have enough time and I still have the desire to see everything…so it’s a nice change every day and knowing my limits and reaction at certain situations…I think it has also made me very confident with travelling at my own..I don’t say that people should travel my way but from my article then can decide atleast at what place they might be more interested to stay longer and where they would just give few hours…I also think that a lot of places that I expect sometimes are not worth living for long so it kind of works for me…and I do get overwhelmed sometimes but then I just tell myself – you love challanges, don’t you ! and it just gets better πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for writing here dear..looking forward to hear more from you

      • Hi Thanks for your reply,

        I don’t think there is such a thing as “the best way to travel” as this is very personal and varies with time and location. There have been times I rushed through places, literally ticking them off the list thinning “ok, seen it now, not such a big deal, what’s next?” Other times, I stayed at one certain area longer than most people to really get to know it.

        What is the most interesting part of the world you have visited and what part is still top of the list to visit?

        Cheers

        • Oops…I wrote this big reply and lost it 😦
          Thanks for such a nice and big reply here dear…Love to read back from you. Yes, travel is more about finding yourself when you visit places and people. And it is very personal and varies person to person as well. I have been only few countries so far so still don’t know where my heart lies. But Nepal, Hawaii, Fiji and New Zealand are some of the best places I would love to explore more. But as of now my dream is to go to Greece. I would love to visit Europe as well as I have never been there. So I am not sure whether I will re-visit the places I have already been or not. As there are so many places to visit first at least once. Also Florida is on my bucket-list for this year end so let’s see.

          How about you? What are the places you remember the most fun memories of? And what are your top 5 places in your list?

          • Hi, So true that travel is personal. As I grew up in Europe I have visited many countries there. Not that I have seen everything or that there is not nothing left, far from it. I have visited about 30 countries in Europe but to see everything would take more than a lifetime. There is always something left to desire. Never been to Scandinavia for example.
            On my hit list now: Central America, Namibia, Cambodia, South Africa, Indonesia.

            This is just a random selection as my next top 5 could be different altogether. I could even do a top 5 of Australian places I’ve never been too. There is so much left to explore.
            Cheers

            • wow…you have been to many places really..I was trying to find the about you section in your blog couldn’t find 😦 as I got a bit curious to know more about my new friend here…I can’t wait to explore Europe and before that I would be learning Spanish πŸ˜‰ So that it would be easier to communicate in few places atleast.

              After Hawaii, America is on my list as well as I am a bit intrigued by Americans I guess..

              • Hi, I have travelled quite a bit, but the list of travel destinations still remains long. As for the about page, honestly I haven’t got around to doing it yet. It seemed less interesting to me write about myself than writing a new article. Perhaps I should revisit this strategy to attract some readers to my articles. Critical comments by your audience will help improve your next work after all.

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