Beautiful Sunset in Taipei

Just couldn't resist posting this picture. Took it from my apartment yesterday (24 July 2012). Such a beautiful sunset. This is looking North towards Tamsui.

Taipei Sunset

The tall building in the picture is the Shin-Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store. I have great memories of that building. It used to be the tallest building in Taipei and on my first night here in Taiwan (22 December 1998) I was very disoriented and confused and alone in a new city: first time out of my own country. I landed up going to the viewing platform at the top and enjoyed the tremendous views of the city I would come to love and call home for nearly 14 years.


Bus Ride to Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, 2012

Our latest Sri Lanka travel blog covers the incredibly beautiful bus journey from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya. Nuwara Eliya is also called Little England because it used to be a small place that the colonials built in the likeness of home and, do to the temperate climate, was a popular destination for the colonial administrators to retreat to to stay warm. Nuwara Eliya is important for the tea industry in Sri Lanka and lies at an elevation of 1,800 meters, 1,300 meters higher than Kandy. As you can expect, we drove through some of the most beautiful hill country covered in super green tea plantations. It was one of the more stunning bus rides we have been on. The videos and pictures below, we are sure, show you the beauty.
Beautiful View (by Queenie)


Scenes from Kandy, Sri Lanka, 2012

After Colombo our first stop was Kandy, a small town in the middle of Sri Lanka with a long and storied history. We got to Kandy after a long (four hour) train ride from Colombo. We landed up staying in Kandy for three nights before moving on to Nuwara Eliya. Kandy itself has a number of tourist attractions including Kandy Lake, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandyan Dancing and the world famous botanical gardens. Day trips from Kandy to the elephant orphanage and places to ride elephants are also available as are trips to Srigiya and other places. We both felt that Kandy was beautiful but we were disappointed with the food and thought it has really become overrun with tourists. The guest house we stayed at in Kandy was the best one of the whole trip and our hosts were amazing. We had fun in Kandy but felt the best part of it was visiting the elephants and the lake.

Kandy Lake
Kandy Lake


Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandy

Kandy is famous for many things including the lake, the dancing and the botanical gardens. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is one of its biggest attractions that draws a lot of pilgrims to the temple everyday (it seemed). The tooth that is apparently in the temple allegedly was the tooth of Buddha and dates back a couple of thousand of years. The history of the tooth and the temple is a long and storied one. You can see a lot more information of the temple on Wikipedia

International Buhddist Flag
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic


Turtle Eggs in Tangalle, Sri Lanka, 2012

Tangelle is a small seaside town on the South Coast of Sri Lanka. It has some beautiful beaches but is most famous for the turtles coming onto the beach and laying eggs during the night. We stopped in Tangelle because Queenie wanted to see the turtle laying eggs. It is a beautiful experience: sitting quietly on the beach with the moon overhead listening to the waves breaking in the dark while waiting for the turtles to arrive is just a wonderful experience.

Tutrtle Eggs, Tangelle, Sri Lanka
Turtle Eggs Tangalle, Sri Lanka


The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Sri Lanka 2012

The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is a definite highlight of any trip to the central part of Sri Lanka. The name is a bit misleading because it is not only an orphanage but also a place where captive breeding of elephants takes place. Despite this, the place is awesome. Once again the entrance fee I remember was a bit steep but it was worth every penny. As soon as we arrived we saw elephants crossing the road going to the river for a bath. After gong into the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage we were also quickly treated to a view of the baby elephants that could be fed and then a big field where the elephants spend their days. After that we followed a herd of elephants down to the river, sat at a hotel and enjoyed watching the elephants at play in the water. It was an awesome and worthwhile experience and we highly recommend the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage to anyone who is traveling in the vicinity.

Baby Elephant -  Pinnawela - Sri Lanka, 2012
Baby Elephant at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage


Elephant Ride at the Millennium Elephant Foundation

After a few days in Kandy we took a trip to The Millennium Elephant Foundation on the way to the Pinawella Elephant Orphanage. We spent a couple of hours there washing and riding the elephant as well as just hanging out and watching others do the same. It was a great experience and the first time either of us have been on the back of an elephant. Sri Lankan Elephants are smaller than those in Africa but, when you are on them, you are still quite high. The whole experience was certainly worth it and the foundation that hosts the elephants seems to treat them pretty well. We both would recommend going here to ride the elephants as it seems they do take their conservation responsibilities seriously and genuinely do care for the well being of the animals.

Elephant Pose
An Elephant's Smile


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