The Best Sri Lanka Safari – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , November 8th, 2018

Sri Lanka Safari - The Nomadic Boys

When we visited Sri Lanka, we did a safari at both Yala and Udawalawe, which are the most popular national parks in the country. The reason why we decided to explore both parks is because we just couldn’t choose between one or the other. Online research led us to believe that Yala is the best park for a safari in Sri Lanka, especially for spotting leopards. However, we also found a few forums where people raved about their experiences at Udawalawe, which included spotting leopards.

Therefore, based on our experiences visiting both parks, we’ve put together our comparison of Yala and Udawalawe National Parks side by side, to answer a simple question: which is the best safari in Sri Lanka?

And the answer might surprise you!

Yala vs. Udawalawe: a Few Facts!

Yala National Park is the most visited park in Sri Lanka and also one of the biggest in terms of size. It was the first national park created in Sri Lanka in 1938 along with Wilpattu. It covers an area of 979 square km (378 square miles) and is divided in 5 blocks. Only blocks 1 and 5 are open to tourists, with number 1 being the most popular for sightings (and the most crowded by jeeps). The other blocks cannot be accessed by the public because they are used for research and documentaries.

Udawalawe National Park on the other hand is smaller, a third of the size of Yala, covering 308 square km (119 square miles). Nonetheless, given its smaller size, Udawalawe has a greater density of animal to size ratio, particularly with Sri Lankan elephants. Being a less popular safari destination than Udawalawe, it is also quieter, which makes it a more enjoyable safari experience in our opinion.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

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Queer Kandy, Sri Lanka – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , June 28th, 2018

Queer Kandy

After Colombo, if any city that totally mesmerized me in Sri Lanka was Kandy. Dotted with interesting places to see here and there, you’d see Buddhist temples and ancient relics that represent its former identity as the capital of the ancient kings of this land. From the Tooth of Buddha to some esthetical gardens and beyond, Kandy is the place that had modern architecture build around the historic religious and cultural centers.

I did 7 of these things out of 8. The festival in July or August must be an interesting event to see.

1. Visit the Buddhist Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

As the name suggests, the temple that is situated in the palace complex in Kandy is believed to have a tooth of Buddha. However, tourists and worshippers would be disappointed that they can’t really see the revered “sacred tooth” itself. They kept it in a golden box inside the center of the pavilion. Everyday, they do rituals which is interesting to see.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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Queer Colombo, Sri Lanka – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , June 23rd, 2018

Queer Colombo, Sri Lanka - Keep Calm and Wander

Colombo is an organized chaos. It’s the largest and the capital city of the island country, Sri Lanka. The best way to get around it is by tuktuk – if you don’t mind the heat and the dust. If you do, hiring an Uber is cheap so, your $10 can really go a looooong way there.

These are some of the places where I left my footprints in queer Colombo.

Sri Lanka: Top 9 Things to do and see in Colombo

1. Wander off at the National Museum

Large and sublime, the 19th-century building of National Museum holds the past of Sri Lanka from as far as 1877 to the colonial era and beyond. My favorites in this place were the room 5, which contains the throne of King Wimaladharmasuriya II, and room 2, which has the Bodhisattva Sandals made of bronze. There’s a nice café in the museum also.

2. Take a respite at the Dutch Hospital

Built in the 1600s, a hospital in the past and a busy shopping precinct in the present, the Dutch Hospital houses some of the most premium cafes that are located in the vibrant complex of the Fort. Taking a pause and having a cold drink here made me feel as if I was in some Buddhist monetary in a Hollywood movie.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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Galle Fort in Sri Lanka – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , March 19th, 2018

Galle Fort in Sri Lanka - Keep Calm and Wander

On my walking tour around Galle Fort, I was accompanied by Swiss friend I’ve never seen in a long time. We met and started our walking tour at the Clock Tower and ended it there, too. But before we burned calories and hardened our calves, we had our lunch first at the former Dutch Hospital. And we talked everything that happened in our lives since the last time we saw each other.

Galle Fort. It was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century but heavily fortified by the Dutch in the 17th century. UNESCO declared it as a World Heritage Site in 1988 for it shows a unique fusion of local and Dutch architectural traditions – that are still visible until today.

Multi-religious Community. You’d be surprise to know that people of all faiths live inside the fortress. You’ll see a mosque, a church and a temple within distance from each other.

Free Admission. I have been to may forts in my travels and this is the very first one that is open to the public and tourists – for free. Yay!

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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On The Road From Kandy to Nuwara Eliya – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , March 15th, 2018

On The Road From Kandy to Nuwara Eliya - Keep Calm and Wander

The scenic ride from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya is one I’d never forget too soon. We meandered on a narrow highway that goes nowhere but up. As we ascend, the views down the valleys and hills are getting better and more splendid. I had to open the car window to feel the cool mountain breeze so pure it sent my spine tingling.

We had a couple of stops, too – either for more fresh coconut juice or for panoramic views. We stopped for an hour at Blue Field Tea Plantation and Factory for a quick tour and photoshoot. On our way, we passed by so many tea plantations that I lost count.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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The Pedro Tea Estate in Nuwara Eliya – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , March 9th, 2018

Pedro Tea Estate - Keep Calm and Wander

Nuwara Eliya is known for its Pedro Tea Estate. Lucky me, the House of Leisure where I stayed is overlooking the tea plantation. The views were stunning from my vantage point – the balcony. We arrived at the accommodation just in time for the sunset. After admiring the stunning scenery below, I asked the receptionist which way I could go down to the tea estate. I grabbed my jacket and explored the emerald field – alone. I didn’t see anyone there. The tea pickers must have resigned for the day already. Down the valley and across the field, three kids waved at me and I waved back. I sat down on a huge rock and enjoyed the golden sun hiding behind the mountains.

Tea Factory Tour

Pedro Tea Estate Factory offers a 20-minute tour during the day. However, I was told that there’s not much going on inside because the factory does their production at night – when the temperature is low. And oh, while on tour, you’ll get to wear their green uniforms!

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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The Lion Rock of Sigiriya – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , March 8th, 2018

Lion Rock of Sigiriya - Keep Calm and Wander

The Lion Rock of Sigiriya is touted by Sri Lanka’s Tourism Board as the Eight Natural Wonder of the World. In its tourism campaigns, Sigiriya Rock (its other name) is a ubiquitous poster attraction – to the extent it’s almost becoming synonymous to the country itself. Ask anyone who had been to Sri Lanka about what to see – the usual response would be: climb the Sigiriya Rock. Google Sri Lanka – and guess what image pops up first? That’s right – Sigiriya Rock! There’s no doubt that this is the country’s most-visited tourist destination.

A Massive Rock. The Lion Rock of Sigiriya is an enormous rock that sprang out in the middle of a jungle. You would really wonder why and how on earth this happened in a middle of a forested flatland. The other towering natural formation you could find in the area is the Pidurangala Rock that stands less than a kilometre away. These two gigantic rocks are the only “skyscrapers” you could find, surrounded by endless plains shielded in tropical trees and vegetation.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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The Hindu Temple in Matale, Sri Lanka – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , March 5th, 2018

Hindu Temple in Matale - Keep Calm and Wander

This Hindu Temple in Matale is incredible and it has a very long name: Arulmigu Sri Muthumariamman Thevasthanam. Can you read that in 10 seconds? I bet you had to do it by syllables!

After climbing the Pidurangala Rock in Sigiriya, we started driving to Kandy. Along the way, we stopped twice for some fresh coconut juice. Then, at Matale, while we were driving so slow because of the traffic, I saw this imposing temple in a quick glance that I had to tell the driver to stop. It took us 10 minutes to finally find a parking space but we had to walk back for 300 meters.

Arulmigu Sri Muthumariamman Thevasthanam Hindu Temple. The name is too long, right? But the locals, however, call it as Muthumariamman for short. Muthu means pearl; mari means rain; and amman means mother. This temple was built in honour of Mariamman, the Hindu goddess of rain and fertility.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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Dambulla Cave: The Sistine Chapel of Buddhism – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , February 28th, 2018

Dambulla Cave Temple - Keep Calm and Wander

I haven’t been to many Buddhist temples but I can surely claim that Dambulla Cave Temple is The Sistine Chapel of the Buddhism world. And I’ve been to both. Everything inside this Buddhist temple – from its craggy floors to its painted walls and roof and life-size statues – is incredibly magnificent! It is also called as “The Golden Temple of Dambulla” or / and “The Rock Cave Temple.”

Buddhism and Hinduism. Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist. Thus, visitors will find Buddhist temples on plains, mountains, and rock caves. In fact, in Dambulla area alone, more than 80 rock temples were discovered. Another interesting fact is that, some of the Buddhist temples in the country also include the deities of the Hindus. My mind was blown away at its combination but I think it’s a beautiful testament of two major world religions sharing a place of worship.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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Sri Lanka Views – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , February 27th, 2018

Tea Plantation Liptons Seat Haputale Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka – on our way up to Lipton’s Seat, the views are breathtakingly stunning. I had to tell the driver a couple of times to stop here and there so I can take some photographs. The emerald views seem endless as hills and mountains roll high and low.

Lipton’s Seat is, of course, the seat where Sir Thomas Lipton, used to sit (or maybe stand :D?) to survey his lush green tea estates.

Where is it? Take the train and get off at Haputale.

Hike. Yes, you can hike to the top. You can start from the paved road at Dambatenne Tea Factory. Remember that it’s an 8-kilometer hike – one way – and make sure you’ve got enough time to walk down.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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