By: Shoubhik Bose & Debanjana Maitra
Shoubhik and Debanjana are senior software engineers based in Boston.They are passionate about travelling and pack their bags to embark upon new adventures whenever they can.
Colombo, Western Province — the capital city
Having reached Colombo at 7.30 in the evening, we tried out the local app aggregator service called “PickMe” to get to our hotel.
Interestingly, the experience of booking the cab was as smooth as Uber, and some of the locals claimed that it is cheaper than Uber.
The hotel was an old-styled house with a courtyard in the middle. Our room had a bathroom with a tropical look, semi-open roof and a Jacuzzi !
Interestingly, Colombo has a vibrant night life — with the Eurasian population having a great taste in contemporary as well as classical western music.
We spent about 24 hours in Colombo before catching a flight at 1 in the night. Our host was kind enough to pack complimentary dinner for us.
Autorickshaws / Tuk-tuks
Sri Lankan Railways
Trains, which are clean, usually run with an offset of 10 minutes. Reservation has to be done at the counter a couple of days prior to the journey. Reserved second class or first class tickets are inexpensive and easily available. Interestingly, a lot of stations have the colonial infrastructure devoid of the typical computerization but surprisingly they have been functioning perfectly.
Sri Lanka has an excellent connectivity of bus routes — though mostly belong to the non-premium range. For someone used to the crowded buses in India, it was refreshing to see most buses having a ‘no-standing’ policy. The 154 km journey to Hikkaduwa, along the coastline, on the first day cost the two of us, 150 INR.
A beach-friendly ‘underwater’ camera coupled with extensive planning of the route to the 5 cities ensured that we could make the most of our 10-day trip stress-free.
We had underestimated how our experience in Sri Lanka would be. None of the locals tried to fleece us by charging more — they were nicer when they heard we were from India Having used the public transport, we got a chance to converse with Sri Lankan families as well as European travelers who were visiting distant relatives in Sri Lanka.
To Be Continued….