Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Train Travel in Sri Lanka - inexpensive & intriguing

Train Travel in Sri Lanka - inexpensive and intriguing
Traveling by train is a quintessential Sri Lankan experience. Your trip to Sri Lanka won't be panoramic enough in case you miss those unhurried and quaint train journeys. If you care for my opinion, I would suggest- hop onto a train whenever and wherever you can, while you are backpacking Sri Lanka. Before I proceed let me clarify, I haven't been commissioned by Sri Lanka Railways to promote their service. Forget about sponsoring a travel blogger, they are so happy-go-lucky in their attitude that they haven't set up an online reservation facility yet to boost the railway tourism in the country. The second disclaimer is, I'm a train buff. If you go through my Sri Lanka backpacking itinerary you'll find I had commuted on trains in multiple occasions. Keeping aside my intrinsic bias towards train rides, in this article I'll try to give you a comprehensive idea of exploring Sri Lanka on trains, especially from a backpacker's point of view. I'll also mention other transportation options at your disposal, so that you don't feel logically deprived when I emphasize- train rides are mandatory components of your Sri Lankan travel plan. But then, investing your faith on a railway network that still thrives on technologies and infrastructures dating back to nineteenth century might not seem like the smartest move to many of you. It'll be like judging a book by its cover. Today we'll turn more pages before drawing the ineluctable inference- train travel is the most comfortable, affordable and kaleidoscopic mode for getting around this tropical backpacker's paradise

Friday, 22 March 2019

Backpacking Sri Lanka - my island Itinerary

Backpacking Sri Lanka - my island Itinerary
Sri Lanka is a tropical paradise, blessed with unspoiled bounties from nature, myriad golden beaches, unique wildlife population, and home to an ancient Buddhist culture stretching back to over 2,500 years of rich, unbroken history. I had traveled to Sri Lanka twice in 2017. Those visits were very short and I had blogged little about those experiences. Although, exploring its tourism facet was not in my agenda that time, I had passively imbibed a fair bit of Sri Lankan intoxicating aroma to respond back to her call in 2019. It was an unhurried two weeks of solo backpacking in the later part of February. I had went out with my old backpack, return tickets, e-visa, fifteen days in hand and of course few hundred dollars. Honestly, the travel plan wasn't chalked out till I landed in Colombo. Reasons could be many. Exactly a month back, I had returned from my Uzbekistan trip. There were a hell lot of pending priorities to wrap up. For some uncanny reason, whenever I sat with the island map in my leisure, focusing mind on any particular thing seemed almost impossible. Moreover, my subconscious mind knew that the destination was not unfamiliar to me. Although the journey had begun without an itinerary, I knew which places I wanted to touch in my two weeks of Sri Lankan sojourn.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Glimpses of Uzbekistan - exploring Bukhara

Glimpses of Uzbekistan - exploring Bukhara
Pardon me for the inevitable delay in publishing this final chapter of my Uzbekistan trip. I was backpacking in Sri Lanka for good two weeks, and soon enough you'll get to see myriad colorful collages of the erstwhile Ceylon. In the earlier post I had narrated a fair bit of our day trip to Samarkand. Today I'll introduce you with Bukhara, another historical city located about 600 kilometers west of Tashkent, prominent on the ancient Silk Road map, and also popular among tourists for being one of the four UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Uzbekistan. It was the fifth day of our itinerary. We had a return flight to board that midnight. We could either spend the day lazily exploring market areas of Tashkent, or hop onto an early morning high-speed train to Bukhara for a whirlwind guided tour. By now, you already know which button we had pressed. Well, it wasn't an easy call. Just understand the mathematics first. Afrosiyob dropped us at Bukhara railway station by 11:15 AM and we had to catch the train back for Tashkent right at 3:45 PM. So, practically we had less than 4 hours to get a decent glimpse of the city. Was that time slot sufficient to explore Bukhara? Hell no! Was it worthy for us? A big 'yes'!