THE MIGHTY LION ROCK
Sigiriya Rock aka Lion Rock
Sigiriya Rock, also known as Lion Rock, is an ancient palace located in the Matale District, Sri Lanka. According to ancient lore, King Kasyapa built his palace on the top of this rock (nearly 200m high). It derives it’s name from a gateway that was built in the shape of an enormous lion on the side of the rock. After the king died, the royal palace was abandoned. Sigiriya Rock is now a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site and one of the most visited historic sites in Sri Lanka.
In the first part of this series, we toured Ho Chi Minh trying out the local street cuisine, rode through the Mekong witnessing the life of the river people and explored Hanoi’s Old Quarter’s with its authentic local vibes. This next article will bring you through my experience in Halong Bay and Sapa!
PLANNING THE ADVENTURES
Hanoi’s Old Quarter has a multitude of tour agencies from which you can book your trips from. They vary widely in terms of quality and price. There are also many tour agencies which purposefully put similar (or even exactly the same) names as certain popular agencies. This can make things very confusing for tourists. One of these is Sinh Tourist. I decided to go with them after reading pretty good reviews online. I searched for their (real) address online and then navigated through the many roads, alleys and ‘fake’ agencies of the Old Quarter to locate it. I booked the 2D1N Halong Bay liveaboard through them and it cost me USD 80. I booked the 3D4N Sapa tour through my hostel (Central Backpackers Hostel) and it cost me USD 135 inclusive of the train ride to Sapa, hotel and a 2 night homestay (I decided to do 1 night instead when I was there).
SAILING HALONG BAY
Halong Bay; Where the dragon descended into the sea
In the summer of 2015, I decided to take a chance and set off for my first backpacking trip to Vietnam. I spent 13 days exploring Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta, a small part of Hanoi, Halong Bay and Sapa. Join me in this 2 part series which will document my time in Vietnam in a photo journey!
Headed to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
GETTING TO SRI LANKA
There are a few budget airlines which flies to Sri Lanka (from Singapore), most with a stopover at Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia. I opted to go with AirAsia. It took an hour to fly from Singapore to Kuala Lumpar with a stopover of about two hours. The flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka took about three and a half to four hours. The return flight cost me 290 SGD although there was a promotional offer earlier on which I missed. It had the flight at 230 SGD. The stopover at Kuala Lumpur was very comfortable and welcomed. They have a pretty slick food center with some fast food restaurants and it was good to have something to eat before boarding my flight to Sri Lanka.
*Read The Great Sri Lankan Adventure Part 1: An Overview here!
Colombo’s World Trade Center!