Holiday in Sri Lanka. Part two. Expectations vs Reality

Walking in Mount Lavinia beach, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Before going to Sri Lanka, I read information about this island in both – Russian and English. So, I would know what to expect, since I had absolutely no idea where we were going. Mainly I was reading posts and reviews written by other travelers. Some positive, some negative. And just like a puzzle they came together into a whole picture.

So, what I’ve learned? Sri Lanka is truly an exotic place, with fascinating nature – beautiful and breathtaking. Country is full of history and huge amount of historical and cultural sights. And of course, it’s famous for its tea – Ceylon tea. May I add – one of the best in the world?

Some of you probably already guessed that there comes a ‘’but’’. But… it is dirty. Although many travelers who has been to Sri Lanka said that it’s much cleaner than India. I haven’t been in India so I can’t compare. But what I saw on the streets was exactly what other people described – big piles of garbage just lying around here and there. And finding garbage bin feels like a mission impossible sometimes.

Center of the city and popular touristic spots are of course kept clean.

Personally for me the saddest part was to see Indian Ocean and Mount Lavinia beach swimming in garbage: plastic bottles, hygiene products, ice cream covers etc. Here are some photos instead of thousand words…

The beauty…

The beauty of Mount Lavinia beach, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Mount Lavinia beach

And the disappointment…

The dissapointment of Mount Lavinia beach, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sad situation in Mount Lavinia beach

The dissapointment of Mount Lavinia beach, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Lots of garbage everywhere…

The dissapointment of Mount Lavinia beach, Colombo, Sri Lanka

…also in the water…

The beach area of Mount Lavinia Hotel on the other hand is nice and clean. Looking around and watching other hotel guests I realized that when you sit on the terrace of a 4-star hotel, slowly sipping cocktails and enjoying a refreshing breeze and first-class service, you see and notice only the good things. Everything around you seem to be simply wonderful. It’s like bad stuff doesn’t even exist. And you live your life like you don’t have a care in the world…

Mount Lavinia Hotel beach, Colombo, Sri Lanka

The other side of Mount Lavinia

Mount Lavinia Hotel beach, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Little paradise…

Small crab at Mount Lavinia Hotel beach, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Not what I imagined when I was thinking to have a crab for dinner…

Mount Lavinia Hotel beach, Colombo Sri Lanka

Peaceful and relaxing Mount Lavinia beach

Feeding hpmunks at Mount Lavinia Hotel beach, Colombo Sri Lanka

Friendly chipmunks

Feedeing chipmunks at Mount Lavinia Hotel beach, Colombo Sri Lanka

Feeding locals

Mount Lavinia Hotel beach, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Mount Lavinia beach

Other thing what travelers warned about was the traffic. And when you hit the road you should know that there is only one rule: there are no rules! I’ll be honest with you – it made me feel terrified and petrified in the beginning. Most scary thing was crossing the road. My God! Sometimes it felt like a suicide mission. But as they say, it is possible to find something positive in every situation. So true! This experience made me more religious person. No doubt! Because every time I crossed the road I prayed and hoped it won’t be my last time.

We quickly learned that it is not common for tourists to travel by feet in the city, – everyone expects you to use tuk-tuk. So, our “European style traveling system” didn’t work in Sri Lanka. At all. That is why I would suggest using tuk-tuk on a regular basis – it’s easy and cheap (of course if you take a metered one).

Riding tuk-tuk, Mount Lavinia, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Tuk-tuk ride

But if you are interested to see more of the island then you can travel by train. Preferably in the first class. Don’t get overexcited though, because on the “European scale” it is closer to economy class than luxurious first class. Also note that prices for tourists and locals might differ massively and for some unknown reasons they don’t show this information on Sri Lanka Railways official page.

Other choice is to hire a driver, which in my opinion is easiest. I will tell more about our experience of hiring the driver in upcoming posts.

Renting a car is another way to travel and see this beautiful country. But for doing that better to have at least some experience in Asian style of driving. Because if you don’t… then I can only wish you good luck! Trust me, you gonna need it. And remember that in Sri Lanka you must drive on the left side of the road (like in UK or Australia for example).

To be continue…

 

Related blog posts:

Colombo. Part 1

Colombo. Part 2

Mini adventure. Part 1

Mini adventure. Part 2

The Beauty. Part 1

The Beauty. Part 2

Delights of Sri Lankan cuisine

Accommodation

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