The last Buddhist temple visit for a while, I guess.

Sunday 31 March 2012 – Tangalle.

Another month gone, this year is disappearing so quickly!

I was awake way far too early for comfort, 4:30 or so, so I was up and ready for breakfast when the restaurant opened at 7:00. A large pot of coffee to start the day. My room comes with free breakfast, normally it is standard guest house fair of toast, eggs and fruit, but today was Sri Lankan breakfast day and finally, after three weeks in Sri Lanka I got to try string hoppers and dhal. I will say it was mighty fine…

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I had originally planned on staying here for two nights but decided on doing three as I was enjoying the atmosphere. The catch was I had to move rooms this morning, which was not such a hassle. After breakfast I packed my stuff up and left it in my room before heading out to the road to meet the tuk-tuk driver I had booked yesterday – and he even turned up on time.

He was taking me out see the cave temple at Mulkirigala which were built approximately fifteen hundred years ago and started by King Saddhatissa. The temple is built on three layers up a rock bluff that stands out from the surrounding countryside. We got a wee bit lost on the way and ended up doing a bit of three wheel driving – well sort of, at one point I thought we were going to tip over, it was fun 🙂


The temples are accessed through a school for monks and as usual there is little signage. I sort of wandered through in what appeared to be the right direction and hoped I was right – and this time I was! After a short stair way I found the ticket office and the first layer of rock temples.


As well as the ubiquitous troop of monkeys – eating all the offered food and flowers.



The reclining Buddha figures in the caves were all behind glass, but I guess most of you who read my blog have probably seen enough of them, I think I finally have as well. I admired the lovely old stupa inside one of the caves as well as the murals on the walls and ceilings.




I decided to walk to the top and then work my way back down through the levels, get the climbing done once and as early as possible. So I started up the stairs.


Followed by some more.


And then some more.


Man, the Sri Lankans loved to put things up high.


Wahoo, the top.


Well almost, but finally there. 530+ steps later.


Frustratingly there was no view from the top ! Too many trees, and only a small stupa as well, oh well. I enjoyed the climb and there was a reasonably cool breeze at the top so I relaxed for a short while before heading back down again to the second level of cave temples.

I could kick myself sometimes, instead of relaxing and taking time to cool down – even at 9:00 am I was pouring sweat, I was worried that I was holding up my tuk-tuk driver – even though I was paying him.

I do wonder about myself…. I did peruse the caves at my leisure, but I could have taken more time. I do not know much about the paintings, but most of them are dated from the 18th century.




And there was a view from here too.


Back at the base I took a shot back up the bluff and then we left.


We did not get lost on the way back to my guest house and I only paid the agreed price. I have heard tales of people getting lost and then being charged an additional fee to cover petrol. Some tuk-tuk drivers cannot be trusted – a surprise I know!

I was back at the guest house by mid-morning and found I had been moved to my new room, equally as nice but the wifi was not as good. After a bit of washing I lazed for a while, had a swim, lazed some more before a nice long Skype with El over a glass of wine in the sun.

I had pizza again for dinner, it was mighty fine, especially as it had a good covering of delicious cheese – I do miss cheese so much 🙂 Dinner was over by 8:00 and the place was just about shut down when I left the restaurant. With not much else to do I retired to my room, finished this post and started watching the classic rock move “This is Spinal Tap”, though I did not make it very far in to the movie – too tired, so I elected to read for a short while instead.

I am reasonably sure this will be my last opportunity to visit temples for a while, there are only a few more days left in Sri Lanka and I hope to get a scuba dive in on one of those days. Never say never though!


Saturday 30 March 2013 – Tangalle.

Now that I am in Tangalle and on my own I pretty much intended on doing not much at all. I am looking forward to some time on my own – just chilling. I know it sounds like my life is one big holiday and you may question my need to chill, but I find travelling tiring – especially when it is so damn hot and humid. I am also keen for some alone time with a month of enforced company on a yacht coming up in a few days I want to maximise the opportunities that I have for some solitude.

After breakfast I did not do much for a while before heading over the road to check out the local beach, I had heard the beaches close to Tangalle were not that nice but this one seemed perfectly fine and it even had a wee spot for swimming in, which was even finer. So I took the opportunity and had a quick dip, the water was incredibly warm. The surf was good but the beach was so steep it was impossible to body surf in, a shame as being able to body surf would have been very nice indeed.


I walked out to the point for a look and found numerous remains from the buildings that were devastated in the 2004 tsunami that caused havoc along this whole section of coast.


Sadly greed and stupidity has meant that not too many lessons were learnt and buildings have cropped up right on the beach again.


I lay on the beach in the sun for a while, I want to start building a base tan before I get on the yacht, hopefully it will prevent me from getting burnt. I took it easy though and only spent a short time. While I was out my room was cleaned. Like being in a hotel !!! I have paid a whole more for a whole less in some places.


In the afternoon I took a tuk-tuk over to the eastern side of town to the big beaches where the bulk of the guest houses are, I was looking for a piece of street art by my favourite artist Phlegm and thought this would be the most likely place. I had a brief walk around, but the place is bigger than I expected and I could not find it. I also did something radical and asked some people if they knew it at all, I even showed them pictures on my cell phone, but no one knew it. Even the infamous tuk-tuk drivers could not help. Oh well ! I wandered down to Medaketiya Beach and started heading east. I had not gone too far when I hear my name called from the road and there was my German friend Benne, heading back to his guest house up the beach. We had a wee chat for a while before he went to his room and I carried on walking up the beach. It is terrible 🙂




I walked for forty minutes or so and never really got any closer to the end so turned round and headed back towards town, finally grabbing a tuk-tuk on the edge of town and back to my place. I arranged with the tuk-tuk driver to meet me at 8:30 tomorrow morning to go to some cave temples which are about twenty five minutes out of town. I was going to do it today, but in the end could not be bothered. Even though it was late afternoon it was still hot and I was in need of a shower and a cool down.

I had agreed to meet Benne for dinner at one of the local Lonely Planet recommended places with a specialty in kottu roti, it was OK, definitely not as good as the Muslim Hotel in Kandy. I had to walk all the way back into town to get a tuk-tuk to take me back to the guest house. Most things were shut, even though it was only 9:30 in a tourist town – I like it!  It was a long dark walk, but I felt totally secure – more so than I would in Auckland, Sri Lanka is like that!

A very chilled day, and one I enjoyed immensely…