So today is a free half day, with some scheduled excursions first followed by a free afternoon! And wow did we do some exploring, I urge you to watch the YouTube footage because it was all so beautiful and amazing.
We woke up and headed over to our usual breakfast spot located directly across the road from the mission called Kandayan King!
Just getting across the road was a mission itself. Although there is a zebra crossing you are lucky if they stop for you! You have to wait for solid lul in the traffic to get across. Then once you’re halfway they’ll stop for you! But only if!
Here we had our typical breakfast of Toast, spreads, fresh fruits and omelettes. Ready for a day full of tea, spices, gem factories, amazing street markets and Buddha views!
Gurunanda Tea Factory!
We arrive at the tea factory in our busload and were taken around the factory itself to see how tea bags and loose leaf tea is made! It was amazing to see.
We saw where the tea leaves are dried and then where they are placed in machines to be sieved and it is incredible how fast it can go from harvesting tea to drinking the tea itself! It was a very nice and fast insight into how the tea is made in the factory.
Once we had seen all the machines and learnt how everyone was processed we were brought upstairs to a nice dining area where we were able to try some fresh tea, it was so lovely and I LOVE a brew so I was over the moon.
Afterwards I brought an entire tub of loose leaf Jasmine Tea and Vanilla Tea to bring home with me. They are without a doubt the nicest flavoured teas I have ever purchased or had and taste amazing.
The Spice Gardens
Once we were done with drinking tea we headed over to a Spice Garden!
Once we arrived we were ushered down a pathway where we were given fresh coconut water straight from a coconut! We watched him hack the top off and pop in a straw! It was so lovely and fresh. There was also the most beautiful puppy, so naturally we were all crowding around the fussing the little furball.
Once the puppy and coconut excitement had passed we were given a full tour of the area where they grew pineapples (which I learnt in my 21 years of life are grown from the ground? I was absolutely astonished). We also saw where all the other herbs and spices are grown, cinnamon, garlic, aloe etc. It was really interesting especially when they grind and blend these herbs into herbal remedies.
We were then seated and had a lesson on how these remedies were made and what they could assist with medical wise and then were given the best shoulder and neck massage with their homemade Aloe Vera. Man it was amazing I could’ve quite honestly gone to sleep afterwards I felt so relaxed.
Then we were shown to their store full of herbal remedies, where everything was massively overpriced so I bought nothing. I enjoyed the massage though and cuddled the puppy instead of browsing their shop, a great alternative.
Our next stop was the gem factory.
Here we learnt about the mining of diamonds and the process in which is taken to get these diamonds into our jewellery and just as they are! We arrived and were taken down a fake underground mining area where it showed how the miner would dig these stones out from these shafts and bring them up with them.
The gem industry is huge, we then watched a 15 minute video on how these gems were brought to manufacturers and how they are made. We were shown how these gentleman within the building were cleaning these precious stones and shaping them ready to be placed in jewellery or sold as they are. We were taken into a small viewing room where there were all different types of diamonds and gemstones dotted around with explanation of their origins and where they were found.
It was really fascinating to see the process and afterwards were lead downstairs to their gem shop. My favourite gems being the Topaz gem stones, a beautiful pure blue gem which was only £17! It makes you wonder how much of the gem trade is a real hoax.
LUNCH? DOMINOS M8
We were dropped off back at the mission with a mission to find FOOD. And we had seen on the bus through our journey in Kandy that there was a Dominos not far from the mission. You best believe we found that Dominos and ATE our body weight in pizza. It was SO tasty and everything we needed ready for our free afternoon!
TEMPLE OF TOOTH
So the first place us group of girls headed was Kandy’s sacred Temple of Tooth. A beautiful temple where you could visit at a price. We headed into the ground and enjoyed the building for what it was but we did not pay to go inside as it was very busy and you can only go inside at certain parts of the day.
I personally enjoyed putting on our sarongs, we all had such beautiful and colourful clothing options as you cannot bare skin so shoulders and legs must be covered due to be it being a place of worship. It was also located next to the Kandy lake, or Bogambara lake, and was just such a beautiful setting for a beautiful building.
The Temple of Tooth is named this due to housing the sacred relic of the canine tooth of the Buddha and was erected in 1595. The building itself is all white on the outside and is known to be very calming even though it does get very busy, it is recommended to take flowers as offerings for the Buddha! There are stalls located outside of the temple where they are lined with the most beautiful of flowers to offer to the Buddha!
MARKETS (& UNDERGROUND MARKET) OF KANDY
Next up was the markets!
We walked over to the markets that were inside a large white building with rows and rows of tuk tuts outside! It was SO Busy, these stalls included fresh meat and fish, little trinkets and souvenirs, endless hareem pants, sarongs and general items of clothing! It was really interesting to see how this is where the people of Kandy would do a lot of their shopping. We even saw red bananas!?
The market itself was two stories high, we headed into a small shop that offered lots of incense sticks that smelt heavenly and we all collectively brought half the shop. I love burning incense.
There was also an underground market which was centred in a roundabout! There was amazing street art and it was so cool knowing that this hustle and bustle of the market was going on underneath a busy road and roundabout!
we split off into two groups and then re-conveined afterwards by the entrance where all the Tuk Tuks were for the next and BEST part of the day!
BAHIRAWAKANDA VIHARA BUDDHA STATUE
We jumped in 2 separate tuk tuks and it was amazing! We were heading straight for the Bihirawakanda Vihara Buddha Statue at the top of the mountain in central Kandy!
They tuk tuk drivers agreed a price for all of us and also agreed to wait for us whilst we explored and also drive us back down the mountain! it certainly was a rickety journey and terrifyingly tight at some points with the cars and trucks zooming past as as we made our way up! We were even holding hands between tuk tuks!
The views were stunning and the Buddha itself was beautiful. We covered ourselves up and headed up the stairs where we were given a piece of paper of instructions and rules and then said a small price as donation. We had a photoshoot on the stairs up to the buddha because it was an absolute must, and then headed upwards to explore!
The top of the Buddha was closed but that didn’t stop Shaista and I from climbing as high up on the Buddha as we could! It was late afternoon and the sunset was just phenomenal. It was so beautiful and serene, Me, Mel, Shannon and some of the other girls bought flowers as inside the Buddha itself you could give the buddha offerings!
It was a really beautiful experience and I was so happy to share it with the most amazing girls!
We got the tuk tuk down the mountain once more and headed back to the mission. All in all a very successful day!
Stay tuned for the final few excursions and days of the trip!