RTW TRIP ANARADHAPURA, SRI LANKA DAY 137-138: CYCLING AROUND RUINS
Compared to India, I thought taking local Sri Lankan buses was pretty painless. There always seems to be red buses going in your direction, and the cost is cheap. The only thing you need to worry about is getting your big bags on board, and getting seats for long rides if the bus is busy.
Our next destination was going to take us around the ancient ruins of Anaradhapura by bicycle. We had read that Anaradhapura and Pollonaruwa are a couple places to see ruins and ride bikes, and that supposedly the latter is better than the former, but we opted to visit Anaradhapura anyway.
If you have the time, I felt like it was worth it, as it was just nice to cycle around the ruins. They are not as fabulous as Pollonaruwa, but definitely worth a peek. When we rented our bikes, the local told us where we could cycle for free without paying for the ruin fee, but we were stopped several times, so we just paid it.
During our ride, we noticed a bunch of dogs that looked like they were on the verge of death. Even puppies barely had any fur because they were so sick. We then realized that during our entire travels in the country, we saw sad dogs everywhere!
We stayed in Travel Lodge Lake View Tourist Resort, which unfortunately didn’t have our reserved room ready for us. They were able to give us an upgrade due to the issue, and the host did whatever he could to keep us happy. Also, for those of you who like a good breakfast, this place serves a huge Sri Lankan breakfast, that allows you to try a bunch of local breakfast foods at once. I enjoyed the bowl shaped hoppers. For those of you wondering where we rented bikes, the guy running Travel Lodge suggested a local man living in the neighborhood that rented bikes from his house. You shouldn’t have a problem finding a bike to rent!
They also serve lunch and dinner, but we found a winner of a place called Salgado Bakery. You will quickly learn that many restaurants including this place has absolutely obscene portions, especially when it comes to the fried rice. You definitely won’t go hungry in Sri Lanka!
When we left Anaradhapura and our guesthouse, Travel Lodge Lake View Resort also dropped us off at the train station free of charge which was a pleasant surprise!
Costs for Day 137:
Tuktuk from Backpack Lanka to Fort Bus Station 240
Mini oranges 100
Bus from Colombo to Anaradhapura 500
Coke and 2 roti 160
Tuktuk to Travel Lodge Lake View Tourist Resort 50
Travel Lodge $24.50
Kottu roti and beer 915
Total cost for Day : 3712 LAK + $24.50 = $50.17 / 2 = $25.09 per person
Costs for Day 138:
Travel Lodge Lake View Tourist resort $24.50
Bike rental 800
Water cookies 130
Shoes at dagoba 20
Anaradhapura ticket entry 6500
Salgado Bakery: fried rice, veg roti, Coke, water 350
Total cost for Day : 8380 LAK + $24.50 = $82.46 / 2 = $41.23 per person
What I learned: When going to certain sites like the temples in Anaradhapura, there is a sign that says to wear white for respect for the temple. I of course was wearing a sea of black and felt absolutely ridiculous. If you have light colored clothing with you, wear as much of it as you can when touring Anaradhapura. Also, you can take a trishaw around the ruins (your accommodation will probably offer you a discount since they can get away without paying entry!?!), but I still think it is worth it to cycle around the ruins.
Actual dates of travel: January 18 and 19, 2015.