The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

Archive for the 'Sri Lanka' Category

WoWasis book review: Nihal De Silva’s ‘The Road from Elephant Pass’ Sri Lanka

Every so often an exceptional book by an emerging author reaches out and strikes the reader unaware. Less often does the book encompass over 400 pages.  And rarer than that are cases in which the author, in some sense, predicts his own upcoming death. In an apt metaphor, the finally-fledged Sri Lankan writer Nihal De […]

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WoWasis visits Dambulla, home of Sri Lanka’s Buddha cave temples

Sri Lanka’s cave temples of Dambulla lie approximately 2 hours north of the city of Kandy, and one hour south of the ancient city of Sigiriya. The site, at first, certainly doesn’t appear to be very holy, with a garish, kitschy front entrance, hoards of hawkers, and an aura of commercialism that you won’t find […]

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WoWasis book review: of tea plantations in Sri Lanka

Herman Gunaratne is a well-known Sri Lankan tea planter, executive, and politician, who worked himself up through the ranks at the lowest levels in plantation life. He has written his fascinating memoirs in The Suicide Club (2010, ISBN 978-955-0000-02-9), the title of which refers to an exclusive and informal club, of which his illustrious grandfather […]

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WoWasis travel clothing road test: the Sri Lankan handloom sarong

Virtually everyone in Sri Lanka seems to own a number of sarongs, wrap-around garments that keep one cool in the hottest of seasons. You can buy colorful sarongs — identical to the longhi from Burma — in just about any marketplace. They are typically machine woven in Sri Lanka or India, and usually sell for […]

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WoWasis visits Anuradhapura, ancient city, and Sri Lanka’s first capital

The ancient city of Anuradhapura is located roughly a 4 hour drive northwest of Sigiriya, which, along with Polannaruwa, comprises Sri Lanka’s three most significant ancient cities. This city is, to a large extent, defined by a series of dagoba’s, monumental stupas featuring massive domes.  Although the small museum at GPS: N08°20.897’  E080°24.225’ is nothing […]

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WoWasis visits Polonnaruwa, home of Sri Lanka’s monumental rock carving masterpieces

  Polonnaruwa, roughly a two-hour drive east of the ancient city of Sigiriya, is famous for its monumental rock-hewn Buddha images, but also boasts remains of some finely-designed palace and religious structures as well. Declared a UNESCO World heritage site in 1982, the site is extensive, best traveled by auto or bicycle. The ruins are […]

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WoWasis visits Sigiriya: Sri Lanka’s answer to Machu Picchu

Most western visitors looking for the South Asian experience travel to India. In doing so, though, they run the risk of missing out on Sri Lanka, home to the amazing World Heritage site of Sigiriya. This site comprises a series of foundations, walls, terraces, waterworks, and frescoes, leading up to the remains of a rock-top […]

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WoWasis visits an ayurvedic spa in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

Polannaruwa is one of the three ancient cities that we here at WoWasis feel everyone visiting Sri Lanka should see. The star attraction is the multicolored, stratified, monumental reclining Buddha, but there’s enough everywhere else to make it a one-day stop. And it can be one hot, sweaty day, too. So we here at WoWasis […]

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5 rules to hiring a car & driver in Asia: avoid these mistakes and you’ll have a great time

(Also read our post on avoiding scams in Sri Lanka) As much as we love to drive ourselves in Asia, occasionally we here at WoWasis find it necessary to hire a car and driver. Sri Lanka was one such country that pretty much required it. Our GPS unit was virtually useless, as the roads aren’t […]

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WoWasis book review: The Tragedy of Sri Lanka: William McGowan’s ‘Only Man Is Vile’

Sri Lanka has stabilized, to the extent that the country is now charging for tourist visas, instead of for years practically begging people to come. Here at WoWasis, we’re going there next month to investigate. So what were the Civil War years, from 1983-2009 really all about. As journalist William McGowan so cogently describes in […]

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