Boy it was beautiful to wake up to sound of wings flapping, crickets chirping, birds singing, and breathing in the fresh morning dew. I stretched out like a starfish in my oh-so-comfy double bed and lifted the mosquito net to turn on the fan. My pillows felt like clouds but my favourite part of the room is actually the bath towel! Whatever laundry detergent they use, IT’S AMAZING. I could sniff this towel all day. Anyway today was the day for Polonnaruwa and the weather was looking just fine.
I wanted to go back to the diner from last night and try the hoppers for breakfast, but after walking to the kitchen this morning and seeing breakfast being prepared I was keen to try the breakfast here. Was most definitely worth $3 AUD :O
The bus took around 1.5 hours all up – 45 mins to Inumawela, then an hour to Polonnaruwa. While waiting for the bus I met an adorable Italian couple, Santon and Laurena, who were also staying at Lion Lodge and we ended up spending half the day together. They come from a town between Cinque Terre and Bologna an after 16 years of living together they finally got married and were now on their honeymoon! 🙂
We reached Polonnaruwa around 10.15am, rented our bikes for 300 rupees ($2.5 au for the day), and we were off! The first stop was the museum since it was attached to the ticket counter. For an adult it cost $25USD (a child ticket is labelled ‘half ticket’). Photos weren’t allowed but I snuck one in 😛.
To get to the offical entry of the ruins we had ride along the main road for a couple of hundred metres. I spotted a fruit stand selling mangoes and rambutan – i was definitely coming back for them! We got our tickets checked at the book gate and started exploring.
Polonnaruwa is made up of hundreds of ancient tombs, temples and statues, all of which could be divided into five groups – royal palace, the quadrangle, northern group, southern group, and another small group toward the far end. All the main structures had plaques with useful information and the paths are well signed. I found the entire site was well maintained and it was nice that there were vendors every few hundred metres selling drinks / snacks. There’s a few locals also who roam around trying to sell maps and elephant figurines but they weren’t annoying at all.
I decided to venture through the ruins on my own, just stopping the more impressive ruins. To actually step food on the ruins you had to take off your shoes and most of the grounds were sandy plus it rained quite a bit so I ended up leaving my shoes and socks off and ride my bike barefoot!
I personally don’t enjoy seeing ancient ruins and historical sites very much and I sort of just wiz through them. But it was delightful to cycle through at a leisurely pace and just enjoy the peaceful vibe.
After visiting the sites I took a leisurely ride along the lake as well. I got my first glimpse of what ‘rolling hills’ look like in real! The lake is pretty huge but nothing more than a view..
I had lunch at an eatery just opposite the bus station – they kindly made me a vegetable fried rice with chicken, omitting onion, garlic and tomato. 280 rupees – the cheapest and best eats are the local ones 😉