We have had a few days without internet access so we are getting a bit behind with the blog, sorry about that. We will try and catch up now so stand by for several new posts!
After our adventures in Habarana it was time to move on to Kandy, cultural and spiritual centre of Sri Lanka. We broke the journey at Dambulla where we visited the Buddhist cave temple (what do you know, it was at the top of a steep staircase…). A series of caves in the rock feature statues of Buddha and remarkable frescoes telling the story of his arrival in Sri Lanka, the earliest of these cave temples dates from the 1st century BC and the caves have been sacred to Buddhists continually since then. Each of the caves was established at a different time and this is reflected in the materials and styles used to create the statues and the style of the paintings. Continue reading Kandy→
A flight from Penang to KL and another from KL to Colombo brought us to Sri Lanka, known as the pearl in the Indian Ocean. We were greeted at the airport with garlands of Orchids and introduced to our new driver/guide Odi, who will be with us for the whole of our three weeks in Sri Lanka, Odi transported us to our hotel, the Kingsbury down on the waterfront in the centre of the city and arranged to meet us in reception at 10.00 the next morning. After a day travelling, and a two-and-a-half-hour time difference we decided to have dinner in our room, watch a film and get a good night sleep. Continue reading Colombo→
Our final stop in Malaysia was George Town on the island of Penang, the journey from Tanah Rata to George Town took us down the mountains and joined the main road running up the west coast, we crossed to the island over a bridge stretching over 13km and drove into the city. George Town is a prosperous modern city with a flourishing tourist trade and a lot of high end apartments for foreigners who spend six months a year there. At the heart of the city is a UNESCO World heritage site covering the old town created by periods of, Portuguese, Dutch and English rule and extensive trading links with India and China; the old city blends buildings, cultures, religions and cuisines from all of these to create a wonderful vibrant town. We were staying at Muntri Mews, an old mews stable block which had housed the horses and carriages of the wealthy families living in townhouses in Muntri Street. The hotel had about 12 rooms arranged on two levels along one side of a courtyard, our room was upstairs, it was quite big with a sitting room area at one end, a bathroom in the middle and a bedroom area at the other end which was dominated by the biggest bed we had ever seen, it stretched from wall to wall and must have been 10 foot across. Sadly, the top sheet was only about 8 foot wide! Continue reading Georgetown→
The drive from Singapore to Malacca took about three hours, we had to stop twice for customs formalities, once to leave Singapore, and a second time, across the bridge to enter Malaysia. The road to Malacca was new, fast and not too busy so it was an easy journey. Along the way we were interested (alarmed?) to see the endless mile after mile of palm oil plantations, native rain forest is burned to clear ground for this lucrative crop, in the process valuable diverse forest is lost and the habitat of Orang Utans and other animals destroyed. Continue reading Malacca, Malaysia→
After the bustle and unfamiliarity of Indonesia it was nice to touch down in Singapore which is much more westernised than Yogyakarta and Surabaya, cleaner, and more familiar as we have been there before. We were looking forward to a chance to catch up on some domestic chores; laundry, haircuts, travel arrangements for our trip across Europe; and also, to catching up with our friends Mark and Jennifer who live in Singapore. At their suggestion we had booked into the One 15⁰ Marina Club on Sentosa Cove just west of downtown Singapore and very close to where they live. We had a very comfortable room with a balcony overlooking the marina. Continue reading Singapore→