Day 6 – Sigiriya 🇱🇰

We’re up early this morning for an 8am departure on day two of Sanjays tour. Today he’s taking us to Pollonuwara, a temple complex around 90minutes away from where we’re staying.

Onward on our journey Sanjay is full of local anecdotes and tips for us to not pay over the odds as tourists. He pulls over and we try a new fruit today, a bright red, almost conker like fruit which he said was similar to a lychee. Hey pays for this for us from his own money, and doesn’t expect us to pay.  After a long and winding journey, with some interesting driving, we arrived at Pollonuwara.

With a 25 dollar entrance fee for tourists we were ready to spend the whole day inside the historical site. We’ve noticed this a lot in Sri Lanka so far, that tourists (especially white and western) are expected to pay much higher entrance fees than locals or people from the east. They even have separate toilets for tourists, something about that makes us feel uneasy.

As we entered the temples Sanjay advised we visit the museum, this was ok, nothing too special, but on exit we enter the first temple ruin site on the side of the lake. Ryan spotted something moving in the water, it was a huge maybe 7ft long water monitor lizard. We stood on the banks watching him as he swam around the shore, we can’t deny we were a little scared of his size, and knew they could move at speed! Upon research the water monitor is the fastest moving lizard with speeds of 25mph on land, bone crushing jaws with a poisonous venom.

We toured the park with Sanjay driving us around the first few temples, we then hired bikes to continue our half day tour. It was hot! and we couldn’t help but compare the place to Angkor Wat which we visited in Cambodia, Pollonuwara was definitely smaller and less grand, but still we enjoyed the day and found some peaceful shady spots to sit and rest throughout the day.

As we drove back Sanjay stopped at a restaurant serving an all you can eat Sri Lankan buffet, we tried local foods, and hoped we wouldn’t get ill, we were fine! As the sun was setting we drove the hour and half back to the homestay, this road runs through Minerva nature reserve, and to our delight we were lucky enough to see many wild elephants grazing at the side of the road. We’ve never seen them in the wild before, so this really was a special moment.

When we arrived back home exhausted from another full on day in the heat and the excitement of elephants, Mali prepared us ginger tea and biscuits outside on the veranda for us to enjoy before bed time. We slept well.