A Travellerspoint blog

Singapore Stopover

30 May 2013

Our flight left Colombo on time and flew to Singapore, a short three hour and 20 minute flight.

On arrival, we checked our hand luggage into storage and caught the Singapore MRT train into the city for a walk around ahead of us flying back to New Zealand that evening.

Our first stop, after a coffee break, was to the Singapore Merlion at the entrance of the Singapore River. Across the harbour is the Marina Bay Sands Casino, the design of which is fashioned after a Chinese temple altar.

56548D692219AC6817F7C0DB062197E6.jpg
568556922219AC6817FF2D02AA57C783.jpg

Once we'd visited the merlion, we walked along the Singapore River, past Boat Quay and into Clarke Quay. After a quick refreshment break at Hooters Bar, we walked through Fort Canning Park and found our way to Raffles Hotel.

56A0A6132219AC68176FF38EF18CB838.jpg
56AD4E722219AC6817044E1EA946A9DD.jpg
56B143E92219AC6817B4A4A7769F7136.jpg
56B5D0E92219AC68170F8E8C4257CF86.jpg
56BB047E2219AC68179770C378DE5086.jpg
56EABC8B2219AC68173E8ED52CBCAB26.jpg

Once we arrived at Raffles Hotel, we visited the Long Bar for those who wanted to try a Singapore Sling in the bar in which the drink was made famous (before tax S$26 each). This was also the home of the most expensive beer in Singapore - after tax was applied the jug cost S$68..!!

56EFDBFE2219AC681749FAC97967461A.jpg
56F504902219AC68179736D82AC8BD82.jpg
56FF41F32219AC6817552E9540043299.jpg
57056EE02219AC6817208DF36342474F.jpg
56F9DEE52219AC681781F69DB40E80E9.jpg

After the Long Bar visit, it was time for lunch and many of the group headed to a local hawker's market to sample some seafood - particularly a local favourite, barbeque stingray and were not disappointed.

570D09512219AC6817C03AF3673F6D56.jpg

The last stop was Suntec City, a shopping mall following which the group made their way back to Changi Airport. Wandering around Singapore proved to be a nice way to spend the time and the trip to the city was easily accomplished using the MRT train system. The cost of the train was S$10 for the day.

The flight home was delayed by nearly an hour as the aircraft scheduled was replaced due to a mechanical problem. Elsewise, despite the late arrival, the flight home was uneventful.

Arriving back in Auckland marked the end of the 54 day trip for most of the group. It had certainly been a trip of a lifetime for many - and will take some time to reflect on all that had been experienced in India and Sri Lanka.

Posted by Chris White 22:17 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Colombo

Our Final Destination in Sri Lanka

Our final few days of the tour were spent in Colombo where everyone had a restful time doing as they pleased – a very pleasant stop after the tour.

Colombo from Hotel Balcony

Colombo from Hotel Balcony

Beach from Hotel Balcony

Beach from Hotel Balcony

On our final evening in Colombo, we were hosted for dinner by the Colombo 41 Club on the rooftop of our hotel. This was a very pleasant final evening to our tour and a wonderful opportunity to have our final 41 Club contact for the tour.

976C73EC2219AC6817AE2CDF66D8671F.jpg
9771FC2C2219AC6817F57E5096F75A6D.jpg
97793DD82219AC681764F727149D4A4B.jpg

SOme of the group spent some time at the Sri Lanka National Museum which was very interesting.

9742A8092219AC6817E86303A715F63F.jpg
9749101F2219AC6817BF0D0DF8ED977B.jpg
974D5D3D2219AC681765A6CE207017E7.jpg
975579B32219AC681799CA55EB2FDDEE.jpg
975C85ED2219AC6817D4B4E7C7D9ED11.jpg
9761DCE02219AC68173957F9BDB30CA7.jpg
9767215C2219AC681790A67288233D1C.jpg

Our ride through Colombo to the airport took some time and we were happy to see Ananda, our Sri Lankan guide who came on the bus to accompany us to the airport and provided us with a city commentary on the way.

57BDD5AA2219AC68173272FBFAFC8FE0.jpg
57C134BE2219AC68178DFA489EE114BB.jpg

The group departed for home in the early hours of 29 May 2013 and return via Singapore where the day would be spent before our final flight home.

Posted by Chris White 05:57 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

On the drive back down from Nuwara Eliya, we passed the beautiful rural vistas seen the previous evening.

5DAE0F4F2219AC6817261005A4BF7C7B.jpg
5DB259152219AC6817C7182EDF4563E2.jpg
5DB65B6B2219AC6817973CD38170BBEC.jpg
5DBAB8912219AC6817DB4219B9201A2F.jpg

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Our visit to Pinnawala was a wonderful conclusion to our animal encounters on the tour. Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is a place where over 80 elephants are cared for which have been abandoned or found hurt. No sooner had we parked the bus when the entire troupe crossed the road in front of us – a very wonderful sight.

5E2A49432219AC6817D97621DBBFBAEA.jpg
5E2EBB872219AC6817D839106DFC7FD4.jpg
5E32A9622219AC68173CE19FEAFE6196.jpg
6EB6837C2219AC6817089889782EBDFB.jpg
6EAD9C512219AC6817D6BD9172FF289A.jpg

We had lunch in a hotel overlooking the river frequented by the Pinnawala elephants and while lunch was being prepared, we were encouraged by the orphanage staff to go and see several elephants in the river below us. It was a wonderful encounter for those of us who did make our way downstairs.

5E3C8C262219AC68173ABB58914E9DE8.jpg
5E4067382219AC681777E99EE656AFCE.jpg
5E4443C72219AC6817DDB9F445AD1F5A.jpg
5E4987ED2219AC6817B92249E5086203.jpg
5E4CFB732219AC68179797D4DCCC645F.jpg
5E50812F2219AC681778104E1EEA3CEA.jpg
5E5495A62219AC6817F68634F1CA10A1.jpg
5E580E4E2219AC68175DC3AE7E781E6A.jpg
5E5B09222219AC681768BE60ABFA423F.jpg

After lunch, we went to the elephant orphanage across the road and watched two baby elephants (of around four months in age) being fed bottles of milk.

6ECEDDEF2219AC6817BE9DBBC90C6E11.jpg
6EDB6C652219AC681711966E493221F8.jpg
6EE2D0522219AC6817527BDB931D6DA1.jpg
6EF12BE72219AC6817DB824C9A764198.jpg
6EF9DBAD2219AC6817D14B75DD9EBAE9.jpg
6F0040212219AC6817F881B1FE9A32E0.jpg
6F0B7B052219AC6817DB5B43130FC1F5.jpg

Following that, we went to the area within the orphanage where the elephants roam freely. This large field had no barriers other than a row of rocks between us and the elephants – really very natural feeling.

6F2486BD2219AC6817E9F1F8C0B56BB9.jpg
6F2BF79B2219AC68173F9AEBB60BD30F.jpg
6F32F3E72219AC6817BF53C447A4613F.jpg
6F4542A22219AC68170B57351432CA45.jpg
6F4DE3612219AC68172B72153C09C32A.jpg
6F5654162219AC6817EFBD94A944FF03.jpg

After around 40 minutes we returned to the hotel balcony we had eaten lunch earlier and watched the elephants return to the river. Again the orphanage staff were keen for us to go and see the elephants and have photographs taken (for a tip).

6F7277E22219AC681742A6C98431E6F2.jpg
6F7964292219AC68171E4B2E2549923D.jpg
6F83A5E42219AC6817FC9B4FB899816A.jpg
6F8BBB342219AC6817F45DACD409C5C7.jpg
6F94D5272219AC68175D3FAA0E7F366B.jpg
6F9D68F82219AC6817D2AA107F6B96F9.jpg
6FA6D6762219AC681709D1FFA95EF362.jpg
6FAF8B4A2219AC68173DC12F536A430E.jpg
6FB530072219AC68176A3BF32EFB32DE.jpg
6FBEA16E2219AC681715E6E0BF6AE73F.jpg
6FC68EEE2219AC6817088DC925BAB288.jpg
6FE00BD02219AC6817914B4DF06C030D.jpg
6FE6F4F72219AC6817E5DF2D71855A71.jpg
6FF0ABD22219AC68179FF220BEA8F413.jpg
6FF88D842219AC681725F0154B51A4E1.jpg

Once done, and after a bit of retail therapy in the nearby shops, we boarded the bus for Colombo, our final destination.

Posted by Chris White 03:30 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (2)

Kandy and Nuwara Eliya

We arrived at Kandy and checked into our hotel for a bit of a breather.

4FC4FEBD2219AC6817EB87F4A6E68D4C.jpg

Kandy Cultural Show

At 5pm, we gathered and drove to a local Kandy Cultural Performance. The show went for an hour and was very entertaining. The finale was fire walking in the courtyard outside the theatre.

4FC940B22219AC6817869B285DB93003.jpg
4FCCE69F2219AC68173847A85FB69202.jpg
4FD14BD02219AC6817E05ECAD0F9CD82.jpg
4FD869992219AC6817C0FDEB8041E9E3.jpg
4FDC55D22219AC681780169546D4557E.jpg
4FDFDA872219AC68172F6AD47B59F992.jpg
4FE2F4422219AC681747878D8FF6A313.jpg
4FE88BA32219AC6817793B71D83A4595.jpg
4FEF0B4E2219AC6817C2834B8C9C13D2.jpg
4FF2FA492219AC6817F90A212DB1D71D.jpg
4FF695412219AC68172A61FD52CC7C83.jpg

Temple of the Tooth

We left then for a visit to the famous Tooth Temple in which a canine tooth of Buddha is enshrined in golden caskets. Since ancient times, this relic has played an important role in local Sri Lankan politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. The whole of Kandy was decked out in lanterns and lights due to the May celebration of Buddha’s death and enlightenment.

50100ED22219AC681797078B1AABF65D.jpg
5014AB9C2219AC68173EF41E03ACDA66.jpg
5026F5A22219AC68175A9916506856EA.jpg
503100DC2219AC68174E30275D35C714.jpg
5035122E2219AC681718743020D67E30.jpg
50393CDA2219AC6817E3B9EEC7B39662.jpg

The Temple of the Tooth was full of people due to the Vesak Buddhist Festival and we decided as a group that given the time to enter the temple would be prohibitive, that it was better to take a little time to walk around the surrounds and to leave.

The following morning, we visited the very gracious Suisse Hotel in Kandy which during the Second World War from 1943 to 1945 was used as the Headquarters of the South East Asia Command, under the Command of Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Supreme Allied Commander.

5C873C492219AC681787634222C4DC45.jpg
5C8BA33D2219AC681769224282F1BEA7.jpg
5C9023952219AC68173A7FA5B521CD67.jpg
5C94217C2219AC681793D6371B46233F.jpg
5C9DD7DD2219AC6817287862CEAF6E9F.jpg
5C98041B2219AC6817D5A9C8163E3303.jpg

a jewelry shop and before viewing the showroom were shown a video of how mining for gems is undertaken in Sri Lanka. It was very informative – an interesting insight to the way in which gem mining is conducted. Many of the group purchased jewelry – particularly sapphires including star sapphires which are only found in Sri Lanka.

504693F52219AC6817FDE474ABDB3046.jpg
504CA6F62219AC68179252D73E57A175.jpg
5053788B2219AC6817465F3E3D4BC7EF.jpg

Kandy Botanical Gardens

Once we left the jewelry shop, we visited the Kandy Botanical Gardens which are very beautiful. There is an orchid house at the gardens which contained a number of beautiful blooms.

505DE5212219AC68170FA96745584B2F.jpg
5062D45D2219AC6817464F53BCA587FE.jpg
5067190C2219AC68171FE0E249076721.jpg
506B10592219AC68177C5055170C802B.jpg
5070008A2219AC68178C39580D3D877C.jpg
50745D292219AC6817DA7B6FC340A247.jpg
5078C4DB2219AC681788F4340C1D4285.jpg
507CA1DC2219AC6817963BF6CB6FD607.jpg
508137322219AC681797C28ECD20040A.jpg
5086A86D2219AC68173AEAD6678A6329.jpg
508B3FFF2219AC681754067FC0708973.jpg

A number of trees within the gardens were planted by world leaders. The most fascinating of which is a tree that was planted in 1891 by the then Tzar Nicholas (the last Tzar of Russia). By comparison, Queen Elizabeth’s planting was a replacement and propped up by a large metal warratah.

50921E762219AC6817AB4C864621A9FB.jpg
5096D9652219AC681707275308AB6AA4.jpg
509D2B162219AC6817D41010C0E27ADB.jpg
50B87E972219AC6817DE89986C92088A.jpg
50BF43132219AC6817407A2D8EBA5808.jpg
50C3507C2219AC6817767DCFA9363C47.jpg
50C73B442219AC6817076968AE93CD65.jpg
50CC24D92219AC6817104D943CAE106B.jpg
50D33D9C2219AC6817528FADF448323D.jpg
50D883202219AC6817EEC9D44F08EE5D.jpg

Once we were finished at the gardens, we left for Nuwara Eliya and the drive through the mountains was one of the most beautiful drives experienced in either India or Sri Lanka with many waterfalls and tea gardens and other crops being growun up to nearly 2000 metres above sea level.

5CF957E52219AC681737012611B8FA27.jpg
5CFF1F512219AC6817E76C38A3BD1141.jpg
5D02DB5D2219AC68173CFE7D22AAB01B.jpg
5D06F7372219AC681765E71EB5C9A3E6.jpg
5D0C1D032219AC6817718451B36AD220.jpg
5D10DEA22219AC68171F2E401FDBC24A.jpg
5D14DB4E2219AC68179EDBF8BD0D0B0B.jpg

We visited a tea factory along the way and sampled some lovely black tea.

5D29D7EC2219AC68177AC4305AD2854D.jpg
5D2DD1422219AC6817A53E29D6C77BFF.jpg
5D31E1BC2219AC6817D252AEEA182B6A.jpg
5D3660232219AC681796C6F596DFE529.jpg
5D3A54D92219AC6817F539DE759B61FD.jpg

Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya contains a number of 19th century colonial style buildings and hotels. We stayed that evening in the St Andrews Hotel – a beautiful 19th century hotel. It was also the 40th wedding anniversary for Bill and Judith Manson and they were treated to a present and small cake to commemorate that significant milestone.

5D58494B2219AC6817F16520DD994BDE.jpg
5D5D0FFE2219AC681779ADF4C30DD3C0.jpg
5D643A662219AC681781644F65458445.jpg
5D69ACCB2219AC68174B65FAE96F54BB.jpg
5D6ED05B2219AC68173B2186F9E33FEE.jpg
5D74467F2219AC68178F03C278F54D02.jpg

The following morning, we visited the grounds of the Grand Hotel in Nuwara Eliya, another fine old colonial hotel with beautiful gardens.

5D7FA9952219AC68177DDCC6951D27BD.jpg
5D8462142219AC6817CED360A414F788.jpg
5D88D6D32219AC68176DD96220A83A25.jpg

Posted by Chris White 21:13 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

Trincomalee and Dambulla Cave Temple

A Days at the Beach

We arrived at Trincomalee by bus and checked into the Sea Lotus Park Hotel located in Uppuveli, a few kilometers north of Trincomalee. Everyone welcomed the opportunity to swim both in the pool and across the fence on the beautiful beach.

291FD19C2219AC681704F3D59A4F3CD0.jpg
292989AD2219AC6817829FC121E5B0B1.jpg
2930EEA22219AC68172E3171D2C1889F.jpg
29355A512219AC68177E69EF4AB5A298.jpg
293A44602219AC6817CC0AFD59B5D88F.jpg

Of interest is that Trincomalee is located on the East Coast of Sri Lanka and was hit by the 2004 tsunami. During our stay, I was shown photographs of our hotel pool covered in debris from that fateful day.

Pigeon Island

The following morning, a few of us took the opportunity to snorkel on nearby Pigeon Island National Park. We took a 40 minutes boatride to the island and spent over three hours snorkelling on the abundant coral viewing the plentiful fishlife including reef sharks and on our final swim were lucky enough to swim with a turtle - very special. Probably a swim too far for me given my back resembled a lobster later that evening, but ces't la vie.

296354312219AC681788A650E601A884.jpg
29681D642219AC68179A747C0E5C7939.jpg
296CC7582219AC681774D59EE270BBB2.jpg
297077372219AC68171B2784B8448C94.jpg
29746B9E2219AC6817C9932B3C92F0F2.jpg
2985828F2219AC68170D5827FD250365.jpg
298A10CB2219AC6817F40C125AE99C41.jpg
2991B5552219AC68175872025019408C.jpg
29960E362219AC6817CB30923493494C.jpg
299AEBDF2219AC6817ED35C40F709239.jpg

Sightseeing Trincomalee

Later in the afternoon we boarded our bus and went to a newly opened maritime museum in Trincomalee. Ananda our guide had specially arranged for us to visit the museum which has been completely restored by the Sri Lankan Navy and funded to some degree by the Dutch Government. Permission to visit was required from the local Sri Lankan Navy Base Commanding Officer as the building has not yet been handed over to the archaeological people and is under Naval guard.

The 17th century building was the Dutch Navy Commissioner's House in Trincomalee and was renovated with the assistance of Dutch Government at a cost of 75 million rupees to establish the Naval and Maritime Museum. was the Naval Superintendent's house originally. The museum has yet to be completely stocked with exhibits, but to see what had been accomplished in bringing a building back from the dead was remarkable - a job very well done.

29E153D32219AC6817B573002616055E.jpg
29E792712219AC6817B813B353B4DD99.jpg

Once done, we visited Fort Fredrick, the local Army Garrison which had been built by the Portugese and later occupied by both the Dutch and British.

2A024ABB2219AC6817B22F2F4664E428.jpg
2A0778D12219AC6817DB1EECC21632A9.jpg
2A0B4FD42219AC6817B6138966D74B19.jpg
2A10C47E2219AC68172318BEBE7AD758.jpg

The other thing that was interesting was that we were in Sri Lanka for the May full moon. This is celebrated as the time in which Buddha died and attained nirvana or his enlightenment.

2A684E572219AC6817A18589B8AF2045.jpg

Dambulla Cave Temple

The following morning, we checked out and departed for Dambulla Cave Temple on our way to Kandy.

As we departed Trincomalee, some coconut toddy tappers were spotted in some nearby trees so we paused for a quick photograph. Toddy is an alcoholic drink that is harvested from the flowers of coconuts. It was interesting to see how effortlessly the trees were climbed.

2A4229F32219AC681784B7E150262522.jpg

The countryside was quite lovely with significant cultivation of rice in places.

2A6CBED82219AC6817EA0348341B5A54.jpg
2A70DE882219AC681723EBACD6D2CF5B.jpg

Dambulla Caves is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. The rock towers 160 metres over the surrounding plains. There are five caves in the complex which contain statues and paintings. These paintings and statues are related to Lord Buddha and his life. There total of 153 Buddha statues, three statues of Sri Lankan kings and four statues of gods and goddesses. The murals cover an area of 2,100 square metres. Depictions on the walls of the caves include Buddha's first sermon.

2A9AE4A62219AC6817C220B324C1D2FD.jpg
2AA147712219AC6817E62F93D8965DC8.jpg
2AA611912219AC6817299275C9C9F825.jpg
2AAC694A2219AC6817EA840ABFE4D493.jpg
2AB0BD022219AC6817415ED9388063F9.jpg
2AB60C282219AC68171E479E3AB61333.jpg
2ABACFDC2219AC6817D57299BE4E5F78.jpg
2ACAEEB02219AC681751F17940D3DE29.jpg
2ACF66D92219AC6817522DA13BC674AE.jpg
2AD3A7812219AC68173D245D3F4D4EDC.jpg
4F275CC62219AC6817440A7E3907501E.jpg
4F2B85912219AC6817FCD61BDA0D6121.jpg
4F2F8B722219AC68175E15C649B98E4F.jpg
4F3436722219AC681772038173345EC0.jpg
4F37DE982219AC6817B659158378FC0F.jpg
4F3C43E72219AC68179AB9E89F5963E8.jpg
4F4075A12219AC68172D5C040968E3A9.jpg
4F4506BB2219AC68178905713485FFE6.jpg
4F4A0E3F2219AC6817CC7FF28814FE9A.jpg
4F4E02262219AC6817F020BF5FC8E943.jpg
4F529F1B2219AC68173C36391BFE4416.jpg
4F5827E02219AC6817CC792F66768761.jpg
4F5CB1C12219AC6817183F57E38488E3.jpg
4F6348092219AC68170EB86C4E0D98AE.jpg

Our final visit for the day was to a furniture and woodwork manufacturing shop. There was a fascinating demonstration given about a local timber "rainbow wood" which when sawdust was added to hot water turned purple and then when citris was added to the same water turned yellow. Apparently some forty different colours can be made from the shavings of the rainbow wood tree and had been used extensively in the paintings we had just seen at Dambulla Cave Temple.

4F92A23B2219AC681764203EC63E7B76.jpg
4F97256F2219AC681735CBC570D20936.jpg
4F9C40582219AC68171C3F4389E52BD9.jpg
4FA1C4232219AC681765D7F47B109B5E.jpg
4FA7FE122219AC6817E4AB26361136CC.jpg

Posted by Chris White 03:27 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (3)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 28) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 6 »