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Exploring Sigiriya and the Cultural Triangle

Sri Lanka Pt. 1 | Elephants, Temples in Polonnaruwa, a cooking class and much more


Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle plots a vaguely triangular expanse between three key historical Sri Lankan centres. This stretch of Sri Lanka’s scenic hinterland is home to the majority of the country’s UNESCO World Heritage attractions and a rich collection of the world’s most important Buddhist sites. These include the ancient Cultural Triangle cities of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya.


How to get to Sigiriya

Wow. This was a long-ass trip. While planning we decided not to stay in Colombo but heading straight into the Cultural Triangle towards Sirigiya. We skipped the option to take the local bus (6h ride) and talked our way into a taxi. Our taxi driver supplied us with the first fresh coconut of the trip, avoided about 6-7 possibly fatal car accidents with insane bus drivers and last bit not least took a lunch break right in front of a monkey meeting spot.

When we finally arrived, after a 24h trip, at Roy’s Villa, we vowed to ourselves not to commit to such a lengthy journey anymore. After all, we’re not 20 anymore (we sometimes forget with the good looks still going strong). By the way. Found out about an interesting stat. Elephants are the number two reasons for farmers to be killed. Number one is the mosquito 🦟. Well, that will freak out Benzino even more after his dengue experience in Thailand a couple of years ago. Good luck amigo.

Cooking like the locals

Our initial plan was to get a beer in the evening and head to bed. Turns out, they are running a cooking class and as avid vegan chefs, we couldn’t deny this opportunity. Katharina found her secret skill in opening coconuts as we were preparing a jackfruit curry and lentil dhal. It was the first time we were cooking with a fresh jackfruit and produced the coconut milk ourselves from some fresh coconuts.

What should we say? Food was delicious and overall a great start into the trip. PS: yes, we also had our beer.🍻

the ancient city of Polonnaruwa

Roy offered an organized trip to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa so we decided to join in.

Polonnaruwa once was the capital of the 2nd kingdom of Sri Lanka (approx 1100-1300 ad). It was destroyed by the Chola dynasty, but besides ruins you can still find intact temples, stupas and the remains of the palace (as well as the swimming pool the king🤴🏾had treated himself and his mistresses to). Since the premises are quite extensive you are best off exploring by bike.

We cruised on our Dutch roadsters and were educated by a great guide with major umbrella-in-sand drawing skills. It turned out we chose a special day: full moon 🌕 was coming up the following night, so many pilgrims had come to pray and offer sacrifices to the Buddha, as did we in the form of flowers. 🌸

On the way we were treated to a quick roadside safari with elephants 🐘 monkeys 🐒 and peacocks 🦚 on the way. Our system has yet to acclimate and so by the time we got back we were were exhausted. Fun fact: the island is the second most humid place in the world. 😓

Sunrise Hike to watch the famous Lion Rock

What was Katharina most excited about during Easter break? Yep, sleeping in. And no, not the luxurious and vain kind of sleeping in until 10 or 11 - but maybe something like 8? Nope, alarm rings at 4am this morning ⏰ in order to hike and see the sunrise from Pidurangala, a rock just across the famous Lion Rock.

Off we go to hike up in a line with the hostel kiddies from all over the area, sweating with every step. After 30min we reach the top and look at an amazing wall of clouds ☁️. So instead of the sunrise we focused on influencers in the wild and the things they do in order to get the perfect shot for the gram (or I guess TikTok it is, nowadays?).

Our guide Sunny also used the time to tell us the story about the kings of the area and made sure we got the perfect group selfie.

Sigiriya city Tour by bike

After a delicious breakfast and a quick nap we waited for the midday heat to explore the surroundings by bike in 35 degrees.

Left-hand traffic posed quite a challenge to Katharina who made sure to dodge oncoming traffic to the right. But, we made it into town, enjoyed some stewed food and got 💰 from the ATM.

After that: SPA time 🧖 🧖‍♀️ with a great massage and facial.





Dates travelled: 23.-26.03.2024


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