• The famed Nine Arch Bridge
    Asia,  Blog,  Sri Lanka,  Travelogue

    A bridge that was nearly far

    There are bridges, and then there are some more. There are bridges that have been immortalised in countless classic movies; The Bridge on the River Kwai instantly comes to mind. There are bridges that connect countries and people, like the Oresund Bridge that links Sweden with Denmark. And then there are bridges, that, in this age of social media, have shot into the limelight. One such bridge is the Nine Arch Bridge. A train passes along on the bridge Also called the Bridge in the Sky, the Nine Arch Bridge lies between the small-town stations of Ella and Demodara in Sri Lanka. For those who continue their train journey on…

  • The blue train from Kandy to Ella
    Asia,  Blog,  Sri Lanka,  Stories,  Travelogue

    The blue train from Kandy to Ella

    This train journey is today, a rite of passage for any traveller who visits Sri Lanka. As it chugs along on its approximately seven-hour long journey across paddy fields and through tunnels, you get a door-side view of the high hills and lush green tea plantations. Welcome aboard the blue train from Kandy to Ella. View of Kandy station It wasn’t always so though. It was originally built when the British to transport tea from the hills of Kandy to the capital. What initially started out as a 50 odd kms rail line in 1864, has, today, expanded to over 1,500 kms that runs through hills, along the coasts and…

  • Sigiriya Rock Fortress from Pidurangala Rock
    Asia,  Blog,  Sri Lanka,  Stories,  Travelogue

    Scaling a rock to see another rock

    It provides a cost advantage that is hard to resist. It is tougher to scale. And offers you a spectacular 360° view of the surroundings down below and further afield. If you haven’t scaled Pidurangala Rock, then let this be your motivation to do so the next time you visit Sri Lanka. The views of the countryside from the top of Pidurangala Around 46km from Kandy is a town that that has been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Besides being among the best examples of ancient urban planning, it also has a rock towering at close to 200m called Sigiriya Rock Fortress, or Lion’s Rock. One of…

  • A reclining Buddha inside one of the caves
    Asia,  Blog,  Sri Lanka,  Travelogue

    Sri Lanka’s famed Dambulla cave temples

    Sitting atop a rock close to Dambulla, at a height of approximately 160m, is a temple so unique that UNESCO has included it as part of its World Heritage sites – the famed Dambulla cave temples, perhaps Sri Lanka’s best-preserved temple complex. Dambulla cave temples When I was planning my trip to Sri Lanka, I was sure there would be no beachside retreat, unlike my previous visits to this beautiful island. After researching on places to visit, the central part of the country seems the most alluring. From the cultural capital – Kandy, to perhaps one of the most beautiful train journeys anywhere in the world. And then there was…

  • Miss Wong
    Asia,  Blog,  Cambodia,  Resources,  Reviews,  Travelogue

    Welcome to the People’s Socialist Party of Wong

    Step back in time and have a drink or three in a setting that takes you to the 1920s. Step into Miss Wong in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The interiors are a tasteful nod to its history Sure, a pint of beer at 50 cents is ridiculously cheap on Pub Street in Siem Reap. And that means, a few pints and hours later, you are still sitting on the same seat, in the same bar you have chosen to make your preferred spot for the day, or evening. A pint doesn’t get any cheaper But it’s not every evening that you can tolerate doing the same thing, only changing the bar…

  • Rush hour on Park Street at night
    Asia,  Blog,  India,  Travelogue

    Oh Calcutta

    It’s a city that elicits various responses. Some swear by it, while others swear at it. This is Kolkata. A smile can brighten up anyone’s day I had first visited Kolkata in October of 2011, having just finished a week’s stay in Shillong. The idea was to meet with a friend, have a few drinks, and try see a city I’d wanted to visit for many years. As luck would have it, it was pouring. There were parts of the city that were no-go zones, including where my friend lived. So my time was spent at another friend’s home, close to the airport, on Park Street, which is as close…

  • Inside the cave at Pak Ou
    Asia,  Blog,  Laos,  Travelogue

    Ride to Pak Ou Caves and Whiskey Village

    Fancy a boat ride on the Mekong? And then a shot of a drink that is going to jolt your senses? The stairs leading up to Pak Ou caves Why not do a half-day trip to Pak Ou Cave. The tour is combined with a visit to Whiskey Village. The tour itself is roughly around four hours, with the ride to the caves taking about two hours. Take a boat ride to Pak Ou caves Once you arrive, walk up the stairs and you will come to the first cave called Tham Ting. Just be careful as it is dimly lit. Make your way higher and you come to the…

  • Out and about in Kandy
    Asia,  Blog,  Sri Lanka,  Travelogue

    Out and about in Kandy

    It lies amid hills, surrounded by tea gardens, in the centre of the island. It’s the cultural capital of the country and has been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 1988. It is home the famed tooth relic of the Buddha and Sri Lanka’s most successful cricket bowler, Muttiah Muralitharan. If you have a day or two to spare, then Kandy is for you. Triple ride is common across Asia Kandy is a small city. Walking on the streets, it reminds me of other smaller cities that I have visited, especially in Europe. Ljubljana, Sarajevo and Bratislava come to mind, and so does Luang Prabang closer home.…

  • A Kandyan dance performance
    Asia,  Blog,  Sri Lanka,  Travelogue

    An evening of Kandyan dance

    When I was planning a trip to Kandy in Sri Lanka, a quick read of various travel blogs assured me that one of the things I had to do whilst in the city was go for a show that has its origin, and lends its name to this unique form of dance – Kandyan dance. The women added grace and poise as they danced to tribal rhythms I’ll be honest, I’ve got two left feet and dancing isn’t my favourite part of spending an evening. However, when it comes to watching it, I don’t mind doing so, occasionally. Fire eaters Every region in the world, from towns and villages, cities…

  • Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha statue
    Asia,  Blog,  Sri Lanka,  Travelogue

    Keeping watch over the people of Kandy

    Seated on top of Bahirawa Kanda hill, barely two kilometers from the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, is the tallest statue in Sri Lanka – Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha statue, keeping a watchful eye on the people of Kandy. The Buddha statue from the steps leading to the compound A visit to Sri Maha Bodhi Temple, where the statue is located, is among the highlights when visiting Kandy. In fact, as you shuttle around, his omnipotent presence if felt and seen from most parts of the city. However, if superstitious beliefs and internal politics would have prevailed, this statue would never have seen the light of day. The Buddha from…