Sri Lanka #5 : on a motorcycle trip around Sigiriya, Dambulla and Polannaruwa
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We feel that the more we go to Sri Lanka, the more we appreciate our stays there.
We have to admit that this time we’ve done what we should have done from our first visit: renting a bike.
As the tourism is very well organised there (compared to India) we were wondering if renting a bike would be complicated in term of licence, guarantees… Arriving in Sri Lanka we’ve slept in Negombo, which is a seaside city only interesting because close to the airport and hosting a motorbike renting office… In 15 minutes we were finally driving an impressive Trail motorbike (Honda Baja), very high, nervous and made for the Paris-Dakar race. At least that what we felt. It’s a very different bike from what we’re used to drive but it was a nice experience to try something new.
As in a lot of countries, but even more in Sri Lanka, due to crazy buses, there is a huge difference of driving between the main road, which is hyper chaotic, very crowded and dangerous and the small roads which are wonderful, very calm and full of surprises. We wanted to go to the historic part in the center of the country, which was not a very short trip for only 3 days. We admit that being on this bike is not perfect in term of comfort but we had been very surprised by the efficiency of the suspensions on the unpaved roads. It’s also thanks to these secondary itineraries that we were able to contemplate wonderful landscapes, to find ourselves in the middle of paddy fields, to stop only to admire a piece of life, discover amazing view around a corner, have a quiet pic-nic… Well, it seems that, we don’t really change and travelling on a bike changes completely our overall experience.
We’ve also discovered a wonderful cultural past. We’ve loved discovering Sigiriya, which is a real rock-city overlooking the area. We were there for the opening at 7am so we we’ve also taken advantage of the nice morning light, the low number of visitors at this time to be able to appreciate it at its best, both the natural site and the heritage. On our way we also stopped to Dambulla which contains nice religious paintings in caves. However, we were a bit disappointed with Polannaruwa which is very vast and whose ruins are quite difficult to understand. Moreover the site is not well maintained compared to the other two. Fortunately, the roads around the city, specially one between paddy fields and a lake, are stunning!
We’ll change our visa this summer so it was our last “mandatory” week-end in Sri Lanka. We needed time to find what we could like in this country but now, we feel that we’re going to miss going there. And we can bet there will be a Sri Lanka#6 in few months…