We all know that the United Arab Emirates are known as one of the most modern and fast developing countries, but at least for the moment they have forgotten about one rather important thing in their development – good public transport. However, why bother with the establishment of regular bus and metro lines, when the price of gasoline is at least half the price compared to ones in Europe. This is perfect for locals who like to drive huge and especially greedy cars.
Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is also the largest emirate. The city is the political, economic and cultural center of the country. Like in Dubai, Abu Dhabi is also in extremely rapid development and urbanization in recent years… but (at least at first glance) life in the capital is much friendlier than in Dubai – a large number of parks and, above all, greater cleanliness and orderliness of the city.
When we speak about United Arab Emirate, each of us first think about Dubai. A modern city on the Arabian Peninsula, which is visited by more than 15 million tourists every year, and the number is rising steadily every year. This is also reflected in the increasingly intense construction of hotels, shopping malls and other attractions that attract even more people to the city.
Our trip to the United Arab Emirates started in Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven emirates that is approximately two hours’ drive away from Dubai and three from Abu Dhabi. The city itself cannot yet compete with the above-mentioned neighbors, but nevertheless, it is developing very rapidly… hotels with private beaches, relatively large shopping centers are being built, and additional tourist offer is expanding → they can boast with longest zip-line in the world!
It’s finally time to check off United Arab Emirates from our bucket list! Modern cities, with of course, Dubai and Abu Dhabi at forefront, which are still filled with rich history and permeated with fragrances of perfumes and spices.
We thought about the Emirates for a good time now, but we always choose other destinations. A good year ago, we even bought ourselves a Lonely Planet, but until now it was only sitting on the shelf and served as an excellent dust catcher 🙂
Even before we turned our thoughts directly to the potential financial savings in Sri Lanka, we would just like to add a few words to the purchase of airline tickets. If you’re not interested into this, you can just skip the paragraph without any problems…
Sea, sun, beach… what could be much nicer than that in mid-February? In this style will we complete our journey through Sri Lanka – in Galle. The seaside town surrounded by the most beautiful and famous beaches on the island, can also boast with the old town centre build inside the old dutch fortress, which is now under Unesco heritage. When you step inside, you can feel a touch of Europe, in particular with its orderliness and boutique shops.
Although the travel around this country is coming to an end, obviously we still didn’t get used to, that here every trip with the local transport is chapter by itself. With the train on the road Nuwara Eliya – Ella we enjoyed several hours of delay, indescribable crowd and not even so crazy view, which it’s described in all the books and on the web. If you already came to Nuwara Eliya with the train, we don’t recommend you further train ride, it’s better to continue with the bus (but this is just our opinion).
From Ella we switched our train ride to direct bus to Tissamaharama. Why to go in Tissa? Of course, because of safari in the most famous Yala National Park. Park stretches over 1.268 square kilometres and is divide into five zones. Safari is held in the district known as Block 1 – in the past it was intended for hunting, which is already 80 year strictly prohibited. Throughout the park live about 300 elephants, leopards, 200 species of birds, buffalo, snakes, crocodiles and many other things that crawls and walks…
As is known, the purchase ticket for a famous journey from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya and to Ella should be a real challenge. The trains are always full and the seats reserved for a couple of days in advance. As the locals and staff at the train station informed us, it is only possible to buy a ticket on the same day, one hour before departure. On a daily basis is a huge crowd of tourist at the tickets window, who hope to be still among those lucky enough to be on the next train to Nuwara Eliya. We were lucky enough to be among them and we afford a little more, so we bought two tickets (reserved seat, third class) and paid Rs 800.
The relatively short drive from Polonnaruwa to Kandy should last somewhere around three hours, but they flew one after another and we were not even close. After five hours that we spend driving on the steep, winding roads and breaking through the roadblock (work on the road, along the road and elsewhere), we finally get to Kandy, where we came across the real traffic chaos. People drive like maniacs here, they don’t obey the rules at all. Crazy. The owner of our guesthouse explained us that this kind of chaos last for at least two weeks, because of all kinds of roadblocks.
Kandy is a real transport hub for trains and buses, which is reflected in the number of tourists. Compared with Polonnaruwa, Kandy seems like a completely new world, a lot of people, bakeries, shops – they even have one true European shopping centre. For locals Kandy is the most holy place because of the temple, where is kept a tooth of the Buddha, which is considered for holy sacred relic of Buddhism. For the tourists are in addition to the temple with its surroundings, interesting also the Royal Botanical Garden and the elephant orphanage in the near Pinnewala.