Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens

We are still cooling our heels in Kandy ( flight to India is June 6 and nearby lowlands are flooding) so we’re seeing everything in the area. The most recent was the Royal Botanical Gardens in nearby Peradeniya.

To get there you can take a train, car, scooter, bus, or of course a tuk-tuk. In fact, every single day we’ve been here, a tuk-tuk driver has offered to take us there. It’s as if they knew that it was one of the few local sites we hadn’t seen yet.

The train only leaves at certain times of the morning and we don’t have a car or a scooter, so we decided to mix and match. We walked to the main ( Clock Tower) bus stand, fending off tuk-tuk drivers all the way. We took a bus there and back and then finally a tuk-tuk back to the hotel.

Side note: When we were planning this mega-trip/life change/voyage, walking was a big unknown. How much walking will a 3 and a 5 year old do in a day? Turns out quite a lot. We regularly log 10 km in a day ( we runners are never without our GPS watches, hehe). Sure by the end of the day they’re tired and the little fella is complaining. So far no pitch-a-fit refusal to walk any father though, everyone touch some wood or something.

The entry fee to the Peradeniya Gardens is a little steep at LKR 1500 per adult (about $13.50 CAD). For us, that’s more than we pay for our hotel, and the equivalent of 3 or 4 large beers! It is well worth it though. The enormous tropical trees are mind-blowing, there’s a neat suspension bridge, and best of all you can’t hear, see, or smell any traffic! Honestly, that was the best part for me.

See the next page for photos.

India Itinerary – First draft

As long as Colombo’s not flooded, we’re off to India on the morning of June 6, flying direct from Colombo to Trivandrum. The city is also known as Thiruvananthapuram but I can barely spell that when I’m looking at it on paper. Trivandrum is in the Kerala region of southern India.

After Kerala, we’re thinking Goa region, but haven’t yet done the research to know exactly where.

From Goa we’ll probably fly to New Delhi and explore Rajasthan and definitely see the Taj Mahal. We love the train but we’ve heard that reservations are complicated and not guaranteed.

Check out the map below for a tentative itinerary ( really high level, very little detail) for our two months in India. We really need suggestions for the north ( Rajasthan), possible additions include Jodhpur, and Udaipur and and for the Goa area.

Thanks in advance for any and all input. Again, all dates and destinations are approximate.

Tentative India Travel Route

    Bonus selfie with local girls in the park

    Selfie with school girls.
    These girls wanted me to take their selfie for them.

    Indian Tourist e-Visa

    After almost three months in Sri Lanka our visa is about to expire and we’re ready to move on to India. As you can see from our Progress Map, we’ve covered a lot of Sri Lankan ground.

    The first thing to take care of was the visa. I did a little reading and found some blog posts about applying for an Indian Tourist Visa. Some were very informative, some were very funny, but all of them described a very complicated, time-consuming process. We even went into the Visa Application Center and the Indian Embassy in Jaffna to ask them questions. Add expensive to complicated and long. They quoted us approximately $550 CAD for the four of us!

    Just as I was about to bite the bullet and start the process, I saw this magical link on the Indian Visa Online website:

    e-Visa link button
    Click here for smooth sailing

    I clicked it and lo-and-behold, an Indian double-entry tourist visa for 60 days for the low price of $50 USD each! For the four of us that works out to almost exactly $150 CAD!! That’s a lot of curry money right there.

    The e-Visa application is 100% online and I managed to do it ( four times) paperless-ly in our hotel room in about 3 hours. There were a few complications that I had to work out for the first one, and the website timed out on me a couple of times. Once I figured my way around those, the next three went smoothly.