Train Ride to Kandy from Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2012

Our latest Sri Lanka travel blog is the train ride we took from Colombo to Kandy in the middle of Sri Lanka. The train ride was awesome. I have always read about the trains in India and Sri Lanka and was really looking forward to the ride. We initially thought we would take the bus to Kandy since we weren't sure of the schedule but it turns out we had plenty of time. The train we took was a local train. We were spoiled with great views of the hill country and enjoyed trying the samosas on the train being sold by the on carriage vendors.

Train to Kandy
Along the Tracks


Pettah Market, Colombo, Sri Lanka 2012

Our first morning in Sri Lanka (after a long breakfast) found us heading into Pettah Market, a wholesale market in the middle of Colombo. We went there because we decided to try to follow the one day Colombo tour detailed in the lonely planet. The market itself is a tough introduction to Sri Lanka. We were the only foreigners in the market (that we saw), it was hot, noisy and crowded. I was feeling sick and both Queenie and me were jet lagged. It was a tough place to be first up. At any rate, we soldiered through the market first visiting the Hindu Temple, the Mosque, the Catholic Church and the Dutch museum. Although it was tough we did have a rich experience in the market.

Queenie in Pettah Market
Queenie in Pettah Market, Colombo, Sri Lanka


Beautiful Sunset at the Galle Face Hotel Sri Lanka 2012

One of Colombo's most famous hotels is the Galle Face Hotel that was established in 1864. It is located right on the shore of the beach in Colombo and is easily found. Friends had recommended to us that we go there, if only for a drink. We initially tried to book a night there but it was full. We went there at the end of our first day in Colombo and enjoyed a wonderful sunset after a really good afternoon tea buffet. The sunset was amazing and we enjoyed watching the sun go down over the Indian Ocean. I have seen a thousand sunrises on the Indian Ocean but I honestly think this was the first sunset I saw on the Indian Ocean: beautiful.

Colombo Sunset - Sri Lanka - 2012
Colombo Sunset


Sri Lanka 2012

In 2012 we had an amazing two weeks in Sri Lanka. It was a great trip and we had a tremendous time. We spent a day in Colombo and then traveled to Kandy, Nuwareliya, Ella, Yala and along the south coast all the way to Galle. We had a fantastic time wandering the streets in the cities, drinking tea in the highlands, hanging out near Kandy lake and of course, meeting all the awesome people. The posts below are some of the things we did and saw in that wonderful country.

Baby Elephant -  Pinnawela - Sri Lanka, 2012

Elephant in Yala, Sri Lanka 2012

Earlier in 2012 when we were in Sri Lanka we visited the Yala National Park in the South East corner of Sri Lanka. We were in a jeep on a narrow dirt road when we came across this elephant blocking the path. The elephant seemed to be quite happy in the middle of the road but when three jeeps came close to it, it got nervous and retreated into the bush.

Elephant in the Road, Sri Lanka
Elephant in the Road


Around Taiwan - Final Overview

Riding around Taiwan was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It was hard and challenging. At the end of the trip I had cycled  1,230km over the 15 days. It was great to be home and to catch up with everyone again. It was also great to be able to rest my legs and not really do much for the next few days. I did need to clean my clothes and unpack. The final route is shown below.

Circuit of Taiwan
Final Route

Around Taiwan - Day 12 - Keelung ~ Taipei

The twelfth installment on my "Cycling Around Taiwan" series. Day 12 was the last day. I have ridden from Keelung to Tamsui before (see Cycle Trip to Tamsui, Via Keelung) but that time my bike broke in Tamsui so had to taxi home. This time I made it all the way home with no glitches or breaks. Once again I knew what the road and actually was quite happy to meander my way slowly all the way to Taipei. There was a little bit of rain on the North coast, but nothing major, and I had a great ride home.

Keelung Island
Keelung Island

Around Taiwan - Day 11 - Ilan ~ Keelung

The eleventh installment on my "Cycling Around Taiwan" series. Day 11 would see the end of the unknown for me the start of the known. I have previously ridden from Fulong to Keelung (see Rain Riding to Fulong and Back) and also from Keelung to Tamsui (see Cycle Trip to Tamsui, Via Keelung) so I knew what those roads had in store for me. The weather was still holding out (no rain) so was looking forward to a hot ride to Keelung. Day 11 would also prove to be one of the more dangerous roads of the whole trip, but also, I would get to enjoy the scenery far more than I did that time before.
North East Coast
North East Coast


Around Taiwan - Day 10 - Suao ~ Ilan

The tenth installment on my "Cycling Around Taiwan" series. Day 10 was the shortest day from a riding perspective. I started in Suao around 11:30am and rode the short 30km from Suao to Ilan with a short stop for lunch in Suao. It was a really hot, sunny day but it was to be a very short ride so I wasn't too fussed. The road condition to Ilan was pretty good and there were no major hiccups. Once in Ilan I just walked around the town and enjoyed a slow afternoon and early night.

Yilan Rice Paddy House
Beautiful Rice Paddy and House in Ilan


Around Taiwan - Day 09 - Hualien ~ Suao

The ninth installment on my "Cycling Around Taiwan" series. Day 9 was finally here and Suhua highway lay before me. I was ready, nervous and excited all at the same time. I would get onto the highway and make tremendously slow progress all the way Suao but had an amazing time on the road and some of the most stunning views of the whole trip. It was Friday and Queenie had booked two nights in a luxury resort in Suao so I had the promise of an amazing two days ahead of me with my wife. The ride itself was AWESOME and I do recommend it, but be safe and be sensible.

View over Taroko
Taroko in the Early Morning from Xincheng


Around Taiwan - Day 08 - Chenggong ~ Hualien

The eighth installment on my "Cycling Around Taiwan" series. Day 8 would take me to Hualien from Chenggong. It was the most ordinary day of all. I was used to riding and the routine of riding at this stage and my legs were also fine: for the first time there was no real pain anywhere. It would be a day of spectacular scenery, beautiful weather and a nice ending in Hualien with a Thai food dinner. All in all it was a fairly"normal" day.

Ocean View
Beautiful East Coast View

Around Taiwan - Day 07 - Dawu ~ Chenggong

The seventh installment on my "Cycling Around Taiwan" series. Day 7 was the first time I woke up on the East coast on this trip. The little town of Dawu early in the morning is awesome. It is very quiet and the rain had stopped. The weather from this point would prove to be amazing all the way home: not too hot, not too cold and no rain. Perfect weather for riding.  The day started with a lot of anticipation: the plan was to ride to Taidong, catch the ferry to Orchard Island, and then spend a day or two riding around Orchard Island and then coming back onto the East coast. Turns out I missed the boat by 10 minutes so I carried on riding up the East Coast to Chenggong were I spent the night.

Sea View out of Dawu
East Coast View Close to Dawu

Around Taiwan - Day 06 - Kenting ~ Dawu

The sixth installment on my "Cycling Around Taiwan" series. Day 6 of the trip from Kenting to Dawu on the East coast was the most difficult day and the most rewarding day. It was difficult because it rained very heavily and would be the highest climb of the whole trip (nearly 500m) but it was also awesome because the downhill onto the East Coast was fast and exciting. Sadly, the bad weather on this day, and my own laziness, would ensure I missed the following day's ferry to Orchard Island so I would miss the Island on this trip. Despite the cruel weather though, I was still spoiled with amazing views, new friends and a great (but tough) ride.

Southern Taiwan
Bike in the South


Around Taiwan - Day 05 - Kaohsiung ~ Kenting

The fifth installment on my "Cycling Around Taiwan" series. Day 5 started in the beautiful Hailan Hotel in Kaohsiung and ended on the beach in Kenting. Along the way I met a couple of new friends, had an awesome lunch and green bean soup and the start of the fantastic views that would stay with me pretty much all the way back to Keelung in the North. I was looking forward to this part of the ride and was glad to see the weather in the morning was still holding out and it was still nice and sunny.

Kaohsiung from our Hotel
View of Kaohsiung from our Hotel


Around Taiwan - Day 04 - Budai ~ Kaohsiung

The fourth installment on my "Cycling Around Taiwan" series. Day 4 started in with breakfast in the market in Budai and ended in a Love Hotel in Kaohsiung. It was a really hot day: sunshine all the way on the hot tarmac of the road. I met my mate Peter in Tainan for lunch and was going to meet Queenie and my niece Rochelle in Kaohsiung on Saturday. The day promised much and delivered all (including more sunburn).

Morning Market in Budai
Morning Market in Budai


Around Taiwan - Day 03 - Taichung ~ Budai

The third installment on my "Cycling Around Taiwan" series. Day 3 started in Taichung and ended in the beautiful fishing village of Budai in Chiayi county. Although it was a hot day it turned out to be a fairly decent ride, especially towards the end of the day with some beautiful sunsets off the wetlands. It was also a weird day as, although I was riding fairly close to the sea, I didn't see it much. It would also prove to be the longest stretch I did on any day during my circumnavigation: it was a great ride.

West Coast Sunset
Sunset on the Wetlands


Around Taiwan - Day 02 - Hsinchu ~ Taichung

The second installment on my "Cycling Around Taiwan" series. Day 2 started in Hsinchu and ended in Taichung with me in the emergency room of a hospital with a drip in my hand. It was hot and windy riding out of Hsinchu and since I was riding along the coast and into the wind I was exhausted by the end of the cycling trail in Hsinchu. Nevertheless, along the way I met some awesome people doing the same thing as me and at the end of it, it was a pretty good day even though it was tough.

Hsinchu Cycle Trail


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