Their journey begins in Sri Lanka and the wonders of ‘the pearl in the Indian Ocean’ clearly leave their mark on the travel writer.
Starting off in the hustle and bustle of Colombo city, the journey heads south-east to the world famous Yala National Park which is renowned for its high leopard population. They keenly spot “monitor lizards, wild boar, buffalo, grey languor monkeys, spotted deer and mongoose”, as well as countless birds. Bird watching enthusiasts find Yala National Park a treat, having over two hundred species of bird, seven of which are endemic to Sri Lanka.
Next on the journey is the colossal Sigiriya rock fortress – an imposing 650ft slab of rock which was home to the royal palace of King Kasyapa who feared his brother and wanted the crown for himself. The rich history of Sigiriya and its royal legends, as well as the beautiful frescoes, the lion gateway and the panoramic views that stretch out for eternity at the top of the rock “certainly takes some beating” according to the travel writer.
On their final day in Sri Lanka they go sightseeing in Anuradhapura City, visiting the many ancient temples, its stupas and the Tree of Enlightenment. The Bodhi Tree Temple in which the tree is housed is among the most sacred places in the country and the Bodhi tree there has been guarded for over two thousand years.
The writer ends with her amazement of unexpectedly coming across an eight-strong herd of wild elephant crossing the road when travelling in her bus back to the ship, calling the amazing encounter “an apt parting gift” before heading on with her travels across the Bay of Bengal.