Archive for the ‘Sri Lanka’ Category


Monday, March 9th, 2009

Colombo is the capital and the largest city of Sri Lanka. Found in the western coast of the country, Colombo is 14.4 square miles of colonial ruins and modern establishments. The name Colombo was given by the former Portuguese colonizers, in 1505. It is thought to have been derived from a classical Sinhalese word meaning “port on the River Kelani.” There are yet other theories as to how the capital city’s name came about. Colombo is home to 6.5 thousand people!

Colombo at present is a mix of several cultures and ethnicity. The most populous city in Sri Lanka, it is a real melting pot of races and cultural influences. This is because it has been under three countries at various points in history. It has been under Portugal, the Netherlands and the British Empire. The people of Sri Lanka were already made up of several ethnicity; the colonial periods added Europeans to the mix. In the end, it is great for tourists: modern and colonial thriving side by side. Though troubled in the past, Colombo now welcomes visitors; this is made possible by peace talks.

If you really want to visit Colombo, you will have to book interconnecting flights ending at Katunayake. From there, you can take a taxi to Colombo; the journey by land will last about an hour. To get around the city, you can travel by bus, train or taxi. Do not take the bus if you cannot understand Sinhalese, however; you may not get to where exactly you want to go. As for the weather, expect steady temperatures all year round ranging from 74 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit on average.

If you are visiting Sri Lanka, you will need a passport valid for at least six months. You also need to present your return ticket from Sri Lanka. Make sure you have other pertinent travel documents ready, just in case. However, you are not required to get a visa if you are from the United States and staying for only up to 30 days. If you want to extend your stay, you have to consult the nearest embassy for a visa.


Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Maha Nuvara, Kandy in English, is the center of the Kandy District and the Central Province in Sri Lanka. Colombo may be the nation’s seat of government but Kandy acts as the cultural capital, being the last kingdom of Sri Lanka. Kandy may be only 115 km away from Colombo but it is starkly different in terms of both its cultural offerings and its climate. The 500 meter altitude is responsible for its largely different climate. As for culture, Kandy is the center of the last Sinhalese Kingdom. Associated with it then are evidences of history, such as antiques and old architecture. Kandy does offer modern hotels but activity seems to come to a halt at night. This calm and quiet place is home to only about a hundred thousand people.

The people of Kandy are mostly Buddhists. The cultural capital is then generally calm, with few incidences of crime. It is evidently more peaceful than other parts of Sri Lanka. However, Kandyans are no longer as trustworthy as historical records proclaim them to be. So when you do visit Kandy, take care of your belongings as you would in any place.

The best way to reach Kandy is from Colombo. You can travel to Kandy via bus, train, taxi or mini-van. Your best choice will be to ride the train so that you can enjoy the view. Choose the intercity express train and book it on advance to avoid having to ride other trains, which can be both late and crowded. You can also take an air-conditioned bus. However, women are warned against sitting with men they do not know; it is best to sit next to another woman. In Kandy, you can experience its local transport, the Three-Wheelers or Tuc-Tuc. You can also walk around to best appreciate the place. The cultural capital’s temperature is generally warm, in the high twenties or low thirties, in the Celsius scale.

Coming from the United States, you will need a passport which is at least six months valid. You are not required to have a visa, however, but you need to show proof of return travel.