After a very bouncy train ride we headed to the famous Royal Botanical Gardens, 6km from the city centre. It was nice to relax in a quiet, tranquil place with beautiful scenery after all the noise of the train. Shame that most of the time it was pouring with rain. We had to resort to hiding in a cafe for a couple of hours and, unfortunately, didn’t have enough time to explore the extensive (147-acre) grounds of the park.
The garden dates back to 1371 when it was known as the queen’s pleasure garden and it was officially made the royal garden in 1780 for King Kirti Sri Rajasinha. It receives ~1.5m visitors per year which is not surprising given the amount and variety of Sri Lankan and international flora (including plants from Kew Garden, Slave Island and Kalutara Garden) on show.
I loved the trees (huge, hundreds of years old with beautiful exposed roots) but was a little disappointed with the orchid collection after seeing them in their full glory at the 2012 Hong Kong Flower Show.
The Royal Palm Avenue.
Joanna standing amongst giant bamboo.
Amazing drunken pines.
There were hundreds if not thousands of fruit bats (flying foxes) in the trees. They looked as big as chickens!
Entry for foreign tourists: 10USD (Rs1100)