Kamenskoe Plato @ Almaty

Having spent enough time in downtown to feel like I'd be wasting time by exploring further there, today I ventured back into the hills. Without too much information to go on, I hopped onto bus 5 and held on till the last stop. The route went as though it was going toward Medeu until hanging a right onto a curvy one lane road; from this point it was a couple of minutes before rising out of the hotels and restaurants up into a snowy suburban community of poor Kazak hill dwellers.


Breweries in Almaty

Equipped with a list of addresses compiled from google, I set to the streets of Almaty today to explore and find any local beer I could get my hands on. The walk was long and strenuous; the first couple addresses turned out to be out of date, one replaced with a sex shop, another boarded up and under construction. On the south side of town I managed to find one place called John's, unfortunately after a test glass I decided that it was undrinkable.

Random street on my walk

Shymbulak Ski Resort @ Almaty

Just south of Almaty lies the Shymbulak Ski Resort, one of the most popular attraction in the near vicinity. To get here you can catch bus 12 right across from the Kazakhstan hotel in downtown Almaty, this will drop you off near the famous Medeu Ice Skating Rink (the highest in the world) where you can find a gondola which takes you right up to the ski resort.

Outside Medeu Ice Rink
Gondola from Medeu

Udawatta Kele Sanctuary @ Kandy

Located on a hill right on the north edge of Kandy is the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary, basically the natural version of the Peridanyi Botanical Gardens. The difference here is that the trails are carved out of a natural jungle and you can actually get a bit lost in-between them. Although the nature here is quite beautiful, I highly recommend bringing a couple beers along with you for the hike to help stave off boredom.

Peradeniya Botanical Gardens @ Kandy

With not so much information to work with I picked out the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens as my first excursion around Kandy. It's located 8km to the west of Kandy and takes about 15 minutes to get to in a rickshaw, admission is 1500 rupees (10 usd) for foreigners and 50 rupees for locals. As I waited in line to buy my ticket, watching the locals fork over less then a 20th of what I was paying was slightly painful.

Inside the park walking around was slightly boring at first, just a bunch of  plants and trees in a garden, but eventually a couple things got my interest. You can find an occasional pack of monkeys, bats, a cow or two, and some other weird animals scattered about the garden; although I'm not a vegetation enthusiast, there was still a couple trees which actually stood out for me. On the very north side of the park there is a bridge you can walk out on which has an excellent view of the river which circumvents the park, from here you can see the view of the surrounding area or just watch some locals bath in the river.


Kandy, Sri Lanka

Kandy is a UNESCO world heritage sight right in the center of Sri Lanka, a 3 hour train ride from the legislative capital Colombo. From the constant jostling of the train to the fruit salesmen walking the isles and the occasional pile of burning trash outside; the ride immediately gives you a sense for what level of development the Sri Lanka is. Aside from the burning stuff, the view outside is great; you can see the landscape evolve from grassland to mountainous jungle as the elevation rises toward Kandy.