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Sri Lanka Travel Guide / 26 Day Spiritual Journey

Are you thinking of Traveling to Sri Lanka? In this blog, I’ll give you a guide and highlights to Sri Lanka Travel Guide / 26 Day Spiritual Journey, including my favorite places to visit, expenses and how to get around. And let me first start by saying, it was an incredible Spiritual Journey!

Sri Lanka is often not on the radar as a top place to travel. For many years it was a turbulent place to travel due to the 25 year Sri Lankan Civil War. But that ended in 2009.  And having just spent 1 month traveling across much of the country, I can tell you that Sri Lanka SHOULD be on your travel bucket list. Read on and find out why.

The country of Sri Lanka is a laid back, relaxing large island with a glorious landscape. The land ranges from sandy beaches boasting great waves for surfing, lush serine jungles, safari full of elephants and more, ancient temples, cascading waterfalls and epic mountains for a hiking. It’s also home to one of the most scenic train rides in the world, more on that later. It’s religion is mainly Buddhist. The local  people are kind and less pushy to sell you something as in India and not as disillusioned by tourists as in Thailand. They are generally happy to see you. The two local  languages are spoken are Thamil and Sinhalese but most people speak English. Sri Lanka doesn’t have the wild party scene of Thailand nor the hectic high energy feel of India, rather it has a gentle flow where you can relax and explore the diverse landscape and beautiful culture. Tourism is growing but it’s not overrun like other countries on the backpacking circuit. It’s easy to get a visa. It’s best to apply online at http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/visainfo/center.jsp. The 30 day visa cost $35 US dollars and can be renewed if you wish to extend your stay. It took less than 24 hours to receive my confirmation. You will get an email. Just save it to your phone. They actually didn’t even need to see it at the airport as I showed up in the computer system.

I stayed 26 days and loved each one. My favorite spots were Ella, the Nilambe Meditation Center near Kandy and traveling on the train from Ella to Kandy. I started my trip in Colombo, made my way down south to the beaches, then up to Ella for a few days, jumped on the incredibly scenic train ride to Kandy (A MUST DO), onto Nilambe for 5 days of meditation, back to Kandy and then Colombo to fly out. It was super easy to get around and I’ve detailed each step.

The only thing I didn’t like was the incredibly high prices for foreigners to visit the sites. Locals go for free or a small fee. But many of the tourist sites can be up to $30 for foreigners. So you really have to pick and choose your spots if you are on a budget. Also, be savvy of prices, especially for tuk-tuks. They often double or triple prices for foreigners. So get your bargaining skills down. I always inquired with locals or blogs to get an idea of prices. But other than that, it was a blessed journey through this diverse, ancient and spiritual land.

Below is a Guide, Highlights and To Do List based on my 26 Day Spiritual Journey.


The major airport is Bandaranaike in Colombo. You can purchase a local SIM card here for your phone and exchange money, (note, they would not exchange my Indian Rupees). There are many taxis all hours of the night. I arrived around 1:30 AM and everything in the airport was open. I did not stay in Colombo or explore the city at all. Most backpackers stay in Negombo, which is close to the airport, some beaches and many budget guest houses and hostels. I stayed one night in Seeduwa at the Airport Lounge Hotel which was super close to the airport. I paid $15.50 US / 2,419.55 LKR.  The manager was very kind. He helped me to exchange my Indian Rupees and for a fee and took me to the Fort Colombo train station in the morning where I went to the beach town of Hikkaduwa.

How to get out of Colombo and where to go?

Most people either head south to the beaches, or to Kandy.


There are many trains to going all over the island from the Colombo Fort Train Terminal. You can check the times at http://www.railway.gov.lk/web/ or https://www.seat61.com/SriLanka.htm.  It is usually NOT possible to pre-book tickets but you will always get on.  Something to know about the trains, for most of the shorter rides like to the beaches, you have the choice of 2nd or 3rd class. 2nd class does not guarantee you a seat. I had to stand with my two backpacks. The train was very full. Certain longer-distance trains like the train from Ella to Kandy have a designated 1st and 2nd class reserved car and sometimes a 3rd class reserved car, in addition to the many unreserved cars.  Only a few trains have a 1st class car and 1st class seats are always reserved. Additionally, some trains have an observation section with guaranteed seating and larger windows for views.  These are the only tickets that can and must be pre-booked from an agent. I never chose the observation car so don’t know the process. The only difference from 2nd class and 3rd class seats are armrests. None in 3rd class. But since you may not have a seat, who really cares. The announcements are NOT in English. There is an information office at Colombo Fort Station inside near the tracks if you have any questions. The information desk also has a key for the “tourist” toilets. It is sometimes difficult to see the station names at train stops, so I always asked a local on the train to assure I did not miss my stop. They are very happy to help.


Buses are the cheapest way to travel and were fine. You have the choice of local (red bus) or AC buses (blue and white). Whichever bus you take, it’s a good idea to get to the bus stand early if you have bags. There is big space by the driver where you can place your backpack. In all the travels, I never paid more than 180LKR for a local bus or 320LKR for an AC bus.

Where to keep you bags on the Sri Lanka busses

Space by the driver for your bags if you get on early enough

The AC buses are a trip!  They look like they came out of 1960s psychedelia. If you can imagine a funky, shiny electric blue and white, spiritual, magic bus complete with interior flashing lights at the front windshield surrounding glossy icons of Buddha and Ganesha. Like I said, trippy! These buses are pretty new and rather comfortable.

Psychedelic Tourist Bus in Sri Lanka complete with neon lights of Buddhist and Hindu deities.

Local Red Bus Sri Lanka

Local Red Bus. You can catch them anywhere on their route just my waving them down. Look for the destination on the front and make sure you are going in the proper direction to your next stop. For instance, your bus could be coming to or from Matara.

Ticket purchases are made day of travel. The bus stand can be chaotic, so I always asked a local where to get my bus and was guided in the right direction. Just hop on the bus and once it gets on the road, someone will come by and collect your money. Always ask them to tell you when your stop is, otherwise you might miss it.

In whatever city or village you may be, if you know the road your bus comes through, you can wave it down. The bus conductor will slow down so you can tell him where you are going. There are buses going all over.  You most likely will not wait more than 20 minutes before you find one going your way. Sometimes the buses just pass you by. I never really figured out why some stop and some do not.  There didn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason. They run from early morning until about 10PM. Any guest house or local can give you an idea as to what time your bus leaves and where to get it.


You can take tuk-tuks almost anywhere. Get your bargaining skills down because they will most likely start with double the rate. It is possible to befriend one and he’ll be glad to take you all over. I had such a driver in Mirissa. He always gave me a great rate and I called him whenever I needed a ride. Having a local phone can be very helpful.

Here is the route I took:


HIKKADUWA (6 nights)

This southeast beach town is about 3 hours by train from Colombo. Train ticket from Colombo was 160LKR for 2nd class ticket and 85LKR for a 3rd class. At one time, Hikkaduwa was the spot for hippies to hang. It’s still frequented by some backpackers and tourists. The undercurrent of the waters were very strong while I was swimming there; and at one time I felt myself getting dragged out to the sea. It was at that point that I went back to shore 🙂 I spent 6 days in this town. That is actually a bit long. There is not much to do but chill here. You can check out the underworld snorkeling, see turtles on the beach in the morning and there are a string of local shops, cafes and restaurants on the main road.  You can also book a tour to visit the turtle hatchery, whale watching and Tsunami museum. The agents and guest houses can book you for jungle, gem and safari tours. I did not do a tour. I was tired from my two month Spiritual Journey traveling across India and needed a break. I spend my days relaxing in my coconut bungalow at Chami’s Place (link below). It was just minutes from the beach. 


Stroll down the beach from Hikkaduwa

Stroll down the beach from Hikkaduwa


Monks on the Beach in Sri Lanka

Spiritual Journey on the beach. It was so sweet watching these monks stroll the beach



Just a short 10 minute walk from the railroad station is this tropical and funky garden hostel and guesthouse enclave. The best place I stayed at in Sri Lanka! The owner, Chami is a local Sri Lankan. He put his heart, art and soul into his coconut garden hostel and guest houses. The first night I stayed in a two bed dorm room and had the room to myself. But then he showed me his new Coconut Tree House with terrace. I fell in love with the space, so I upgraded. At the time of this trip, during slightly off season, the dorm room was $7 and tree house around $25. Check out the coconut paradise tree house on Airbnb.com. Just click on the photo below. The dorm rooms can be found on Booking.com. I got you hooked up with a discount if you use these linka.





The ambiance and food at Chami’s was great. He seems to draw in the best people. Everyday a tribe of backpackers gathered for meals and talk under the stars, accompanied by great music coming off the speakers; and the food was amazing. Try the Veg Kottu, a veg stir fry with chopped up pieces of roti bread. The avocado salad was amazing too. Great breakfast and my travel friend said it was the best cappuccino he had in all of Sri Lanka. You can gather a group together and take the cooking class. We made a killer Veg Curry! Chami took us to the market to buy the ingredients and lead us in the art of making this Sri Lankan favorite dish. He can also book your island wide tours. And when there is a yoga teacher around, you can catch a daily class. I taught yoga here during my stay.

Chamis Place Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka

The larger family sized coconut guest house at Chami’s Place in Hikkaduwa


Julie Jewels Bertrand teaching yoga in Sri Lanka / Shine by Jewels

Julie Jewels Bertrand teaching yoga in Sri Lanka / Shine by Jewels


I enjoyed most of my lunches and sunset dinners on the beach at the Sunset Cafe, which is actually Chami’s mother-in-law’s place. It’s less then a 5 minute walk from Chami’s. It has two floors, upper balcony and a few tables on the beach. The food was great. I usually had either the deviled calamari or deviled shrimp dishes. These dishes were medium spicy sautéed with peppers, onions and tomato. Highly recommend. The owners and staff are lovely too.


Sun Set Coffee Bar Hikaduwa Sri Lanka Shine with Julie Jewels Bertrand

The view at Sunset Cafe where I enjoyed many lunches and dinners in Hikkaduwa



Salty Swamis is another good spot. Super clean with healthy food options. About a 10 minute walk south of Chami’s along the main road or beach. Have a cold coconut and healthy breakfast. The owner was cool and held my iPad for me while I went off to the beach to swim for a few hours. This place draws in a cool mix of yogis and bohemian backpackers. Great vibes. At time of this blog it’s ranked as #1 out of #119 restaurants in Hikkaduwa.


Chill vibes at Papa Mango's in Mirissa Beach

Chill vibes at Papa Mango’s in Mirissa Beach

My next stop on my spiritual journey was down to Marissa Beach. I stood on the street with some travelers I met at Chami’s and we flagged down a bus bound for Matara. It stops at Galle, Weligama  and Mirissa before it’s final stop to Matara. The bus was full but I eventually got a seat, yet I had to be strategic holding my bag. I think the ticket to Mirissa was less than a dollar, but I forget how much exactly. The trip was about 1.5 hours.


Mirissa is a charming beach town. The beaches are prettier than in Hikkaduwa. All along the beach are lovely restaurants serving fresh fish dishes and more. Prices are great. I never spent more that $10 on a meal. I didn’t go out at night other than for a meal, but from what I understood, the parties rotated from different restaurants/bars each night. I could hear the music from my guesthouse. Seemed like your standard party music with techno pop drum beats.  I stayed at the Bird House Mirissa, a funky little tree house bungalow hidden in the neighborhood about 10 minutes from the beach. I just love tree houses. This one is a little older, but super cute. I sat on the balcony watching the stars and exchanging stories with a traveler friend. Love those kind of nights.

WELIGAMA (day trips)

Most come to Weligama for surfing lessons. Water is always a part of my spiritual journey. If you are a beginner, its good because the waves are small. I didn’t stay in Weligama but took the bus there from Mirissa everyday. You can flag the bus down from the main road. All local red buses buses going north stop at Weligama. I paid $18/ 2800 LKR for my lessons. They used a foam board. I got up on my second try. I surfed for hours. I went back the next day and rented a board for $160 / 250 LKR for 2 hours. So much fun!!! You might also catch a good photo of the Stilt Fishermen in the waters.

Shine On Spiritual Blogger Julie Jewels Bertrand learning to surf in sri lanka

Learning to surf in Sri Lanka

Surf and Shine with Julie Jewels Bertrand Welligama Sri Lanka Surf

Surf’s up. I may be a California girl, but I’m a newbie at surfing. The guide had me up on my 2nd try!


GALLE (day trip)

Galle is a nice day trip. I took the bus from Weligama. It took less than an hour. Walking the streets in this old town was a treat. The architecture is old colonial reflecting the times of the Portuguese, Dutch and British rule. There are many churches and I had fun watching the locals play cricket. The main site to see in Galle is the old Portuguese Fort. It’s a massive site by the sea. Great place for sunset with the views of the sea and lighthouse. The Fort Shri Sudarmalaya Buddhist Temple was a beautiful site for meditating on my spiritual journey here in Sri Lanka. Stop for a tea or coffee at Pedlar’s Inn.

Shine On Spiritual Blogger Julie Jewels Bertrand Meditating in Galle Sri Lanka

Shining On into the sunset in Galle, Sri Lanka


Twilight time in Galle Sri Lanka

Twilight time in Galle Sri Lanka

ELLA (3 nights)

This was my favorite spot in Sri Lanka! Ella is a chilled out, small, hillside station town. Its diverse landscape of mountains, waterfalls, viewpoints, tea plantations, picturesque railroad track, palm trees, deep green fields and tiny but energetic village center is what draws most to spend some days while traveling Sri Lanka. Situated in the center of Sri Lanka, it’s the perfect spot to stop while making your way north or south.

The spots to see here are Ella Rock, Little Adams Peak, the MUST see 9 Arches Railway Bridge and train tracks, tea plantations and Ravana waterfalls. The small city center has a great vibe with lots of tasty restaurants serving local and vegetarian delights. This town is also full of Ayurvedic spas. I had a two hour massage at Healing Hand. Hmmmm, a must to sooth my achy bones from carrying my backpack for months! Sometimes Spiritual Journey Travel is not easy!  The guest houses are pretty inexpensive. Most are in a family home.

Shine On with Jewels Bertrand on the view point of Ella Rock Sri Lanka

Shining On the viewpoint of Ella Rock Sri Lanka


Demodara Nine Arch Bridge and Railroad Track Sri Lanka

Demodara Nine Arch Bridge and Railroad Track Sri Lanka



Nuwara Elia is another village that many visit. Although I didn’t make it here. It’s known as little England and it has the same cool and rainy weather pattern. Places to see are Horton Plains National Park, tea plantations, Ramboda Fall, Vitoria Park and Gregory Lake.



Another notable site that I did not get a chance to visit is Adam’s Peak. This peak is 7362 foot (2243 meter) high mountain known as the ‘Holy Footprint’. The footprint has a few legends. One being that when Adam was expelled from heaven, God put him on the peak to make the shock less terrible and he stood for 1000 years on one foot. Hindus, believe it was the world-creative dance of the god Shiva that left the giant footprint,  Buddhist theory is that it was left by the Buddha during the third and final of his legendary visits to Sri Lanka and lastly, Portuguese Christians claimed the impression to be the footprint of St. Thomas who, according to legend, first brought Christianity to Sri Lanka. The weather pattern here is cooler and rainy.


SCENIC TRAIN FROM ELLA TO KANDY ( approximately 5 hours)

The train from Ella to Kandy or visa versa is a must see! This in itself is a Spiritual Journey. It was a favorite from all who I met on my travels to Sri Lanka and is noted to be one of the best and most scenic train rides in the world. This serine 5hr? train ride takes you through a serine, lush green landscape full of waterfalls, mountain views, little villages and rice fields. You will feel like you are traveling in a time forgotten though a magical land. I had a first class ticket but really never used it. The first class seats are $9 / 1400 LKR. I chose 1st class because I thought the train would be over crowded in 2nd class like the case when you travel from Colombo to the beaches. This is NOT the case. The difference between 1st and 2nd are the windows are larger in 1st but do not open due to the Air Conditioning. 2nd class window open and you will get a seat. I spent the entire time sitting in the open doorway with my feet dangling out where I wrote most of this blog while gazing at the scenery with the wind blowing in my hair. It was an unforgettable experience that will last in my mind forever. At each stop, a vendor come by selling local street food so you won’t go hungry. Although most of the food is fried. I was lucky to get a yogurt, nuts and some sort of sweet nutty bar. 2nd class seats will run you 650 Rs / $4.20 and 3rd class 400 LKR / $2.60.


The scenic Kandy - Ella train ride in Sri Lanka

The scenic Kandy – Ella train ride in Sri Lanka. A must do on your travels!


Spiritual Travels Blogger Julie Jewels Bertrand on train in Sri Lanka

KANDY (2 NIGHTS then went to Nilambe Meditation / 2 nights after meditation)

The main sites to see in Kandy are the Temple of the Tooth which is said to house a tooth relic of the Buddha. The temple also has an impressive Buddhist museum detailing the history of Buddhism from countries across the globe. Entrance fee is 1500 LKR / $10 for foreigners. Be sure to dress modestly and cover your shoulders and knees.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum

If you are still around in the evening you can catch the cultural dance performance outside the gates of the temple. Fee is 1000 LKR / $6.50. I did not go. Let us know in the comments if you went, how it was and if you feel it was worth the price.

The Royal Botanical Gardens is another lovely site. Price is 1500 LKR / $10 for foreigners. I enjoyed an afternoon here with two backpackers. The palm tree lanes were impressive. It seemed to be a popular date place for locals. It was cute watching them sitting under the trees in loving conversations.

Peradeniya Botanic Gardens Kandy

Love is in the air. It seems that this garden is the date spot in Kandy. So many couples enjoying their time together.

Take a nice stroll along the lake and then make your way into the shops in the city. There is also a large flea market located by the train station.

Scenic Kandy

The bus station is around the corner from the train station, so you can check prices and times of your next destination. You purchase onwards tickets day of. If taking bus, you have the choice of AC Tourist bus or local.

My favorite place to eat in Kandy is Secret Alley. You can find it on google maps. It’s a funky little spot tucked away in… an alley of course. They have a great smoothie bowl, coffee and salads. For the healthy eater and vegetarian, this is the best place to eat.

The alley to Secret Alley Healthy Food Cafe, Kandy, Sri Lanka

The alley to Secret Alley Healthy Food Cafe, Kandy, Sri Lanka



As for accommodation, I stayed at Hipster Hideout Lounge. It’s a lively backpacker hangout about a 10 minute walk from the Temple of the Tooth. They have dorm rooms and single room options. There is a large restaurant area where travelers gather, listen to music, play pool and share stories. The kitchen serves great food and there is a full bar. They usually offer yoga in the mornings. Hipsters is run by a super cool Sri Lankan local, aptly named, Lanka.  Hustler, the large bull mastiff is the mascot of the hostel. Be warned though, this sweet and large doggie thinks he’s a small lap dog. It was funny watching him play with the guests.

The Hipsters at Hipsters Hideout Lounge. Great hostel if you like music and meeting people.

The Hipsters at Hipsters Hideout Lounge. Great hostel if you like music and meeting people.



If you are not interested in a hostel vibe and want something more tranquil, stay at The Mango 



If you have some days to sit in silence, I highly suggest Nilambe Meditation Center. I spent 5 days of reflective silence at the beautiful Meditation Retreat Center just outside of Kandy. This Buddhist meditation center is lead by the soft spoken and humble, Upul Nishantha. It’s located in a lush mountain garden about an hour outside of Kandy. You will stay in basic buddhist accommodations which is a small room with a mat on the cement bed, a warm blanket, pillow and shared bathroom. The food they serve was amazing! It’s not as hard core as vipassana. Meditations are no longer than 1.5 hours at a time maximum. It’s broken up with walking meditation, working meditation, breakfast, lunch, snack and some free time. You are able to read as well unlike in the traditional Vipassana where reading is not allowed. This is silent, so no talking. If you want to read more, head over to my Nilambe Blog Post. Upul, the kind facilitator shares beautiful knowledge regarding the path of joy and happiness from a Buddhist perspective. I LOVED my visit here and will come again on my next journey to Sri Lanka.


DAMBULLA: Sigiriya, Pidurangala and Cave Temples (1 Night)

Sigiriya or Pidurangala?

Sigiriya is a massive ancient rock fortress and the ancient Sri Lankan capital. According to legend, King Kassapa build his city on top of this Lion rock. It’s name comes from the lion shaped gateway he had build on a plateau on the side of the rock. The journey climbing to the summit showcases impressive frescoes and the and the famous colossal lion’s paws imbedded the rock. Sigiriya is a UNESCO world heritage site. The landscape boasts 360 degree views, lily-pad-covered moats, water gardens and cave shrines. There are about 1200 steps up the 200m to the top. The journey up and down will take the average person about 1.5-2 hours. I heard there were many wasps so take caution. The fee is 4,683 LKR / $30 USD for foreigners and only 60 LKR (about 40 cents) for Sri Lankans. So if you are on a budget you may wish to climb the equally impressive Pidurangala and catch the view of Sigiriya from the top of this rock. Many go early to see the sunrise.


I chose to climb this rock as I needed to stay on budget. The price to enter the museum is 500 LKR, a mere $3.20 and includes a ticket to a temple. You enter the same place off the main road as you would for Sigiriya. Just follow the signs in the park area to Pidurangala instead. Caution, I saw a large alligator in jump into the canal. Many monitor lizards too. I love the monitor lizards. I have one who frequents my yard at my Thai bungalow in Koh Phangan. The climb took about 20 -30 minutes. The last part is a bit strenuous, steep and involves climbing strategically up and through rocks, but fairly doable for most people. I saw children and elderly climbing the path, but doing it slowly. There is a beautiful reclining Buddha statue embedded in the rocks on your way up. The views of the landscape and Sigiriya rock are incredible. I sat and meditated on the top while gazing at Sigiriya. It was so grounding yet so high up in the sky.

Sigiriya rock Sri Lanka Shine with Julie Jewels Bertrand Blog

The epic view of Sigiriya Rock from Pidurangala Rock.


Pidurangala Rock Buddha Sri Lanka Shine with Julie Jewels Bertrand blog

Peaceful reclining Buddha at Pidurangala Rock, Sri Lanka

Getting to Sigiriya and Pidurangala.

I took a (2hr) local bus from Kandy to the village of Dambulla and spent the night at the Takashi Inn.  The bus cost 200 LKR / 1.30 USD. You can take the AC bus -for Rs.400 LKR / 2.60USD per person. The local bus drops you off in front of a bakery in town. I paid 50 LKR / $0.30 for a tuk tuk to take me to Takashi. But if you don’t have heavy bags, you could walk. It’s about 10 minutes. I took the slightly more expensive the room on the bottom floor in the line of rooms that have balconies. There are cheaper rooms on the other side of the property. The kind owner offers a great Sri Lankan breakfast for 350 LKR $2.30. It’s a close local bus ride to Sigiriya and Pidurangala and you can catch one anywhere on the main street. from the main road.  These buses run between 6:30AM to 6:00PM every day at intervals of 30 minutes and cost 40LKR $0.25. You only need to wave them down and ask if they are going there. I think it took me 20 minutes until the bus heading to Sigiriya arrived. If you wish, you can travel by tuk-tuk 800-1000 LKR. Sigiriya is about 25 km from Dambulla. Be sure to catch the last bus back to Dambulla at  6:00PM. Buses arrive just outside the main entrance to the sites.



From Sigiriya
I took the bus straight to the cave temple. Price is 1500 LKR / $9.60. You will only need about an hour or less here. There is also a massive Buddha in the front entrance. From here I proceeded back to my guest house to gather my bags and I was on one of the last buses to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa.

Dambulla Cave Temple Sri Lanka Julie Jewels Bertrand

So many statues at the Dambulla Cave Temple. What a site to see!


This is of the most beautiful ancient cities I have seen on all of my travels to over 40 countries. And another must if your are on a Spiritual Journey in Sri Lanka.  I was actually planning on going to Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka’s first capital and also ancient city. But upon reviews, I decided to come here instead. Other travelers said that most of the ruins in Anuradhapura had been destroyed and that the grounds too large and spread out to do in one day. Considering my time schedule and budget, I am glad I chose Polonnaruwa. I arrived in the night, around 9:30PM. The bus dropped me off in the main street. It was a 10 minute easy walk to my guest house. Manal Guest House. Great guest house! My room had a balcony with views of serine rice fields. The room was super clean, decorated nicely in a zen like motif and bed was very comfortable, bonus! The staff was incredibly helpful and guided me on how to get to the ancient city. I enjoyed a nice dinner, free breakfast and in the morning, rented a bicycle from them and was off to explore the ancient temples.

Temple Ruins of Pollonawara Sri Lanka

Temple Ruins of Pollonawara Sri Lanka

The best way to visit is on bicycle. You purchase your tickets at the museum. Your guest house can give you directions. You do not need a guide but there are many at the museum who can take you for 3000 LKR/$20. Honestly, the museum is so informative and inside the grounds there are plenty of signs telling you about each temple. From the museum go back to the main road, take a left, cross the river and keep riding about 10 minutes, the entrance to the temples is on the right. Ride along the pathway until you see all the other bikes parked. It will take you about 4 hours to see everything including the museum. Most of the temples and statues are in great shape due to the recent renovation project. The moss growing on the old stone made it look like a scene straight out of Indiana Jones. For me, this site is in my top 3 ancient temples I have had the pleasure to see. My other favorites are Hampi in India, Angor Wat, Cambodia and Macchu Piccu, Peru. I also love the Golden Temple in Amritsar, but that one is a whole different feel.

Temple dog at polonnaruwa sri lanka julie jewels bertrand

I just love temple dogs! Polonnaruwa was one of the most incredible temple towns I have ever visited and I have been to many across the globe!

I enjoyed the day with two sweet travelers, Jordan and Matthew. On the way home we got caught in a torrential downpour! The skies open and the rains came down in a fury. Wow. We took shelter in a local restaurant and enjoyed a delicious vegetable kottu and hot chai.

I then retired to my room for a good night sleep. In the morning I headed to the main bus station bound for Kandy. Omg. I honestly thought this bus trip would end my life! The bus driver drove like a wild maniac. I usually have no fear. I’m quit used to the crazy driving in Asia. But this driver took it to a different level. I actually wrote a long message to my sister telling her that I might die. It’s funny the things you reflect on in those moments of near death. Even during this scary moment, I felt nothing but gratitude for all that I had experienced in my life.

Fortunately, I made it back safely to Kandy where I was welcomed back by Lanka, Hustler and the staff at Hipsters. I enjoyed the sites for two days and then took the bus back to Colombo where I met up with the super cool and talented Social Media Marker, Content Writer and Editor in Chief  Head of aXtream Youth. Vindy is from Sri Lanka, we first met virtually on the amazing FB Group GIRLS LOVE TRAVEL. We enjoyed a coffee and exchanged travel stories and tips on social media at Tea Avenue.  Tea Avenue is just across the street from the Thai embassy where I needed to pick up my 2-month Thai Visa for my return to my home away from hOMe, Koh Phangan. She’s amazing. Contact her if you are looking to hire someone to increase your marketing projects, blog or events.

Me and Vindy sharing tips about social media marketing. Vindy gave me the route I took in Sri Lanka. It’s always good to have a local friend!

NEGOMBO (1 night)

After our meeting, I took a taxi to Aurora Budget Guesthouse in Negombo. Price for the night should have only been around $8.10 US /1,264.41 LKR. But this was an expensive trip for me. I may be a deep, meditative yogi, but I am sometimes so forgetful. I somehow forgot my bag at the cafe! With rush hour it took us 2 hours to get to Negomb which is when I realized I forgot my bag!  Oh my Buddha. I can not tell you how many times this has happened to me! My taxi drive was so good with me. He calmed me in minutes. We called the cafe and asked them to hold my bag. It was a long and expensive taxi ride!

It was great to get to my Guest House! The Aurora Guest House is run by a sweet Sri Lankan woman. Her english is not very good but she was so kind and helpful. The room was clean with a shared bathroom and free Wi-Fi. My room had a balcony but not a good view. There is a seating area outside on the ground floor. They offer a huge Sri Lankan or Continental breakfast for only 350LKR – $2.30. I had the Sri Lankan. It included tea, omelette, dahl, shredded coconut (YUM), and a fruit plate. Room rate was $9. I took a tuk-tuk to the airport in the morning. It would have been wiser to stay a little closer to the airport as it was a 30 minute drive, but I thought I would have enough time to go to the beach, which I did not.

I have to say, I loved my trip to Sri Lanka. I will come again and highly recommend it!!! I would love everyone to take a spiritual journey here to this divine land. If you do, I really feel you will come back home more at Peace.  Let’s spread the word. Feel free to share this blog on your facebook and with your friends.

Now I’d love to hear from you? Does this sound like an amazing spiritual journey to you? Have you been to Sri Lanka? What was your experience? Where have you been or would like to go on your Spiritual Journey?

Wherever in the world you are, Shine On!

With love,


PS: If you want a discount to stay at any of the guesthouses I mentioned, use this link. It’s a win / win. I get a referral fee and you get a discount. Love spreading the savings! https://www.booking.com/s/13_6/yogaje94

Spiritual Coach and Blogger Julie Jewels Bertrand