Culture Vultures in the footsteps of Duran Duran

Suzanne Barney on 29 March 2023
Our trip to Sri Lanka was a 14 night tour of all the best features of this amazing country Our group consisted of '5' travellers from Australia ,Spain , the UK our wonderful guide Sam. The age group was 40 -70 and we all got on so well with similar sense of humour

So the plan was to leave the west coast from Negombo and then travel to the 'Cultural triangle' staying at Dambulla for 3 nights -which is an excellent base for the Culture triangle We knew there would be a lot of travelling between destinations the bus was air conditioned and we had plenty of water.

My inspiration for visiting Sri Lanka was a video Duran Durans - Say a prayer - which features many of the sites in the cultural triangle - watch it

There is a lot to take in - our first stop was Sigiriya Rock - we arrived early afternoon which maybe wasnt ideal as it was really hot and humid . This is where I realised how unfit i was as there was 1200 steps to navigate . Lions Rock looks like the profile of a lion from a distance and begins with a walk through two lions paws It is a killer especially if you are as unfit as me - but you do feel a sense of accomplishment when you get to the top and the magnificent views There are a few monkeys hanging around before the climb too . How come Simon le bon wasnt all hot and sweaty!

From here we headed to our hotel Jetwing Lake Dambulla wich was in a such a lovely peaceful location surrounded by nature the view from the balcony was stunning

So our next day we visited Anuradhapura ( don't ask me how to pronouce this) This was dress for temple day so we had to cover knees , shoulders plus we had to take our shoes off a lot ( remember to take socks) This is quite full on as we visited ancient temples and stupas and there is a lot of history dating back 1500 years ! This is more local than touristy with plenty of processions and offerings

The following day we visited Polonnruwa This is the place where I recently saw a documentary on planet earth about a troupe of monkeys living here - it so reminded me of 'jungle book' and expected king louis to appear in the ruins . It is a huge site with some impressive ruins . The monkeys were here but not scattered over the ruins - they were in the trees and grass areas this day Here you have the amazing buddhas carved into the rock they are really impressive

There are also a lot of Elephants in this area so we took a side trip to Habarana after a lunch of 32 curry dishes - between 7 of us if you include the guide and the driver! We saw lots of elephants too even on the side of the road

Dambulla is famous for its caves more steps but really impressive and well worth the walk. The caves have paintings and statues inside cut into the rock I had a bit of a monkey encounter on the way up as he liked the look of my bag and had sussed I wasn't a fan of steps but you will be glad to know I won the stand off