For weeks I had been saying that I wanted to spoil myself for a night, I was growing travel weary, tired of dorm rooms, long buses and constantly moving. When in Galle I had talked with another traveler who had hear if you wanted to splurge for a night, the Sigirya Hotel was worth it, mostly in part for the pool and view of Sigirya Rock. I knew I was going to spend at least one night in the city so I considered doing so at this hotel, but a little research persuaded me otherwise, and for good reason.
The main draw, and what I really wanted to take advantage of at the hotel was the large T shaped pool set in a jungle, with a pretty spectacular view of Sigirya rock. One night at the hotel was really not so bad, the cheapest price I found hovering around $50, but then I read something that spiked my interest. Outside guests are allowed to use the pool with a day pass for only 300 rupees ~ $4, which definitely beat the sticker price of a room. After my morning at the rock an afternoon of sunbathing and swimming sounded ideal so I walked over to the hotel, wondering how many others would have my same idea. It turns out no one, I had the pool entirely to myself, for the first few hours anyway. Eventually a few hotel guests came out for a swim, but otherwise it was me, the pool staff and a few curious monkeys.
People are often asking me how I travel, “How do you know where you’re going? What do you eat? How do you find buses” etc. I’m not a big fan of guide books, they’re often out of date or mention only the high traffic tourists hot spots. Even when they claim to find something ‘off the map’ the pure fact that it’s in the book means it no longer will be. Instead I read travel blogs, people of my similar age and background if possible, check out Instagram and ask other travelers and local and so far this method has been fool proof.
I’m so glad I didn’t stay at the hotel, but not because there was anything wrong with it. Based on what I saw in the lobby, restaurant and pool area I’m sure the rooms were beautiful, but as I sat there trying to relax I remembered why I hate fancy places. The feeling of customer to wait staff is amplified to a degree I can’t stand. The pool boy stood by on hand, waiting for something to do and when a couple came out quickly rushed them some towels. Sure, this is his job, but everything about the interaction was so stiff. I enjoy my hostels and guesthouses where I feel like a guest in someone's home, rather than a customers, even if that is what I really am.
To be quite honest I have no idea where my desire to travel to this country originated, but it festered and grew for nearly 3 years. In a sense it's a cleaner, safer, smaller India and having always had that country on my radar it seemed like the perfect test drive.