Of the many countries I visited in 2015, I’d say Sri Lanka was the highlight. I was fortunate enough to be working with the Jetwing Hotel Group for a portion of my trip, and so was able to experience some really amazing hotels. When I wasn’t reviewing these properties, however, I chose to stay in homestays across the country: families who have turned their spare rooms into lodgings for travelling guests. (Another post about that here.)
I fondly remember one family that I stayed with in Sigiriya, an ancient city in the central Matale District of the country. My hosts, Bandula and his wife, took me in for three days while I explored the area and climbed to the top of Sigiriya Rock. After the bus dumped me off from Kandy at an intersection in town, I walked down a dusty road for about twenty minutes not quite sure if I was heading in the right direction. A guy on a motorbike slowed down beside me and asked “Bandula’s House?” I said yeah and he told me to hop on the back of his bike and he’d take me there. This is one thing I absolutely love about Sri Lanka. People are nice because, well, it’s nice to be nice. That’s it. They don’t want money or anything in exchange for help. Citizens of Marrakech in Morocco, take note.
Bandula’s house was what you would expect from a homestay in the middle of nowhere. No hot water, and only electricity when he decided to switch it on. But what his house lacked in amenities it made up for in friendliness. Each night his wife cooked us an amazing dinner, and I would sit out in the porch and write. Good times.
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Bandula Homstay is listed on booking.com and Trip Advisor, so if you are passing through Sigiriya yourself, please consider staying there and giving him some business!