We arrived in Colombo in the early hours to be greeted by our driver Anoj, booked via withlocals.com. After a 11 hour flight we were shattered, so took the opportunity to have a snooze in the car as we had a three hours transfer to Sigiriya.
On route we stopped at the side of the road, welcoming the opportunity to stretch our legs. Anoj treated us to our first taste of King Coconut, a local favourite here in Sri Lanka and a perfect way to refresh after a long journey. We watched as a guy expertly opened up the coconut, stuck in a straw and handed them out. They were surprisingly full of coconut water too.
We arrived at the Hotel Sigiriya in Sigiriya and took in the amazing view of Lion Rock whilst enjoying our welcome drink of fresh watermelon juice. The afternoon was spent snoozing by the pool.
We decided to venture out into the local town for dinner, so after a few local Lion beers we set out. I knew I wanted to go to the top rated Wijesiri Family Restaurant, a family run restaurant known for its tasty food at amazing value. We were not disappointed (only that they didn’t serve beer!). We quickly ordered a fresh pineapple juice and perused the menu. Chicken curry and rice – served with 8 curries was definitely happening, along with their local speciality of devilled king prawns. And for good measure a portion of the vegetable kotthu roti.
The curry was something else, so many dishes of tasty daal, okra, green beans and curry. We probably could have shared but that would have been boring. The devilled prawns reminded us of a sticky Sichuan style Chinese dish, really tasty. The kotthu roti is a mix of diced up vegetables, noodles and herbs and a famous snack in Sri Lanka. I have a feeling we may be eating more of this over the next few weeks.
Wijesiri Family Restaurant KATER Score 8/10 – £11 for two inc. service
The following morning we were up with the birds for an early breakfast Sri Lankan style followed by a hike up Lions Rock. Breakfast was a buffet serving everything from hoppers to curries – the perfect fuel for our walk.
Climbing Lion Rock was tiring in the heat, but well worth getting there early to beat the crowds. Over 1600 years old and a UNESCO world heritage site it’s impressive, with fantastic views across Sigiriya and surrounding areas. It’s £21 entrance which for Sri Lanka is steep.
We were back by the pool at 9.30 and a rewarding beer ordered by 10am – we are on holiday after all!
That night we ate in the hotel, enjoyed their buffet of various local curries including a rendang style beef curry, vegetables and sambals, the coconut sambals being my favourite. We treated ourselves to a bottle of red which cost more than our meal – what are holidays for!
The following day we relaxed by the pool some more and decided to venture out and climb Pedurangula Rock later that afternoon. This rock looks over Lion Rock, is a fraction of the cost and overall felt like a much more rewarding walk (£2 entrance). The views are spectacular, the climb hard especially in flip flops (don’t believe all you read on trip advisor) and I’m not surprised this is favoured over the two rocks. Oh and be prepared to do a little rock climbing at the top.
A quick walk down we found the only bar in town (or so we thought) that served beer, the Rasta bar. It was a bit run down and full of mosquitos so we quickly moved onto to Pradeep Restaurant for dinner. We were happy to discover they too sold beer (whoop) so another round of beers ordered along with their vegetable curry and some chicken fried rice. All very nice but not a patch on its neighbour Wijesiri.
Pradeep Restaurant KATER Score 6/10 – £8 for two inc. service
For our last breakfast in Sigiriya I enjoyed an omelette with chicken curry and Sam had his first egg hoppers filled with daal and sambals.
Next stop Kandy.