Tripin 2017 - 2018 - page 128

Sri Lanka
Last year, whilst staying in the impressive surrounds of
Sigiriya rock, the 5th century abode of King Kasyapa,
throwing away a plastic shampoo bottle got me thinking…
How can I travel more ethically without leaving a footprint
on the landscape that I admire and respect?
In a country like Sri Lanka, where nature is so bountiful,
and there are many traditional forms of packaging, I soon
realised this would not be too difficult. It would just require
a little extra thought and awareness. Here are a few ideas
to help lighten our impact:
Refill your water bottle
Take a bottle on your travels, and ask restaurants and hotels
to fill it for you. Check to ensure the water comes from a
bottled source. Most places buy large 5 or 10 litre barrels that
are regularly replenished by water companies. Over a two-
week trip, by carrying your own, you will be saving at least
14 bottles from going through a lengthy recycling process
or to landfill.
To rehydrate, opt for coconut water
Stopping for a roadside thambili (orange coconut) is
one of the delights of travelling in Sri Lanka, whether at
a thatched shack in the deep south of the island or in the
north as you explore the colourful temples of Jaffna. For an
extra challenge, ditch the plastic straw, and master the local
technique of drinking the coconut from the expertly cut hole
without spilling a drop!
Share transport
One of the joys of travelling around the island is the number
of people that you meet along the way. Therefore, it is
a fun experience to share a taxi to your next destination
whether it is the golden sands of Arugam Bay or the cool
climes of Ella. This can often be arranged by speaking to
the manager at your guesthouse or hotel. Bus rides with
friends are memorable experiences too, as are some of the
scenic train lines, particularly the Colombo to Kandy, as well
as Tea Country routes. Finally, depending on the distances
you want to travel, it is worth renting a bicycle rather than
a scooter. This is an excellent way to explore inland areas,
meandering your way peacefully through paddy fields.
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