2 Weeks in the Pearl of the Indian Ocean 🇱🇰

Dear Readers,

In May 2017 I decided to visit my motherland and explore it properly for the first time in over 25 years. This was my first proper visit since leaving Sri Lanka a decade ago. Myself and two of my friends set off on our trip to Sri Lanka. Initially when I was doing some research, I was thinking about hiring a driver to drive us around and to see the sights as people do normally. After weeks of researching I came across so many articles, which indicated that backpacking would be the best option to explore Sri Lanka.

Planning the time to visit 

First and foremost the thing to consider is weather, like you would for any destination. Sri Lanka has two major monsoon seasons and to make things a bit more spicy it has another monsoon, which basically is there throughout the year.


MONSOON SEASON

May – July (South-West Monsoon)
October – January (North-East Monsoon)


BEACH SEASON

January – April (South)
May – July (East)


As you can see that irregardless of the time you go to Sri Lanka even if its during the monsoon season, you can simply travel to the region where the monsoon is not active. This makes Sri Lanka an all-year round destination.

Let me suggest some places to avoid/alternatives

Pinnawala elephant orphanage – I avoided this based on the fact that animals should be out in the wild and free to roam. This place charges a ridiculous amount of money for tourists to feed the elephants and I personally think its outrageous. Sri Lanka has the highest density of elephants per square meter. The chances are that you’re going to see one crossing the road or you have several national parks to choose from, where you will get to see plenty of them.

Sigiriya Rock – 35 USD pp and none of the money goes to preservation of the site? I don’t think so. The locals pay a mere 60 LKR. However, if you really would like to do it then I suggest you start your hike early in the morning and if not see my suggested alternative for a fraction of the price with equally amazing scenery.

Suggested Two Week Itinerary for Sri Lanka

  • Colombo
  • Habarana
  • Minneriya National Park
  • Pidurangala Rock
  • Nilaveli, Trincomalee
  • Pigeon Island, Trincomalee
  • Paasikudah, Batticaloa
  • Kandy to Ella Train
  • Talalla
  • Hiriketiya
  • Galle
  • Colombo

Colombo

Airport arrival 

  • When you arrive at the airport it would be a good idea to pick up a sim card. It only costs around 1800 LKR and choose Dialog as they have the best coverage. Trust me it goes a long way if you’re backpacking around Sri Lanka. There is good 3G and 4G coverage so you’re never left without emergency internet.
  • Also if you’re going to stay in Colombo then download uber or and an app called pickme (first app is self explanatory, the second is an uber like app for TUK-TUKs) http://pickme.lk/app/
  • If you got yourself a sim at the airport and looking to get a taxi into Colombo. Look for the prices on uber and pick me and book a taxi via the app. Airport pickups and drop offs are fixed and I would highly recommend not to get a taxi waiting outside the airport as you will end up paying more than you need to.

Continue reading 2 Weeks in the Pearl of the Indian Ocean 🇱🇰

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A day in the Dam 🇳🇱

There are some places that you can visit for a day and you would get the feeling that you’ve seen it all. Not to say that it was not a good experience or anything like that, but to just get the feeling that you’re content with the fact it was a short visit yet it was a lovely experience.

I got the same feeling when I went to Milan with my love and also to Amsterdam, Netherlands. It was my first time to Amsterdam, despite all the pre-assumptions about the place I always knew there was something beautiful about the city. So I was excited and made my way to the ‘Dam’ with my love.

The first thing I would like to point out is, that you can walk around the city centre pretty easily, therefore if you travel by train to the main station then refrain yourself from buying a day ticket to get on the trams. I did the same and it turned out to be a waste, as the beginning of the city was not  even a stones throw away.

You’re immediately attracted by the winding canals and the bike aficionados of Amsterdam. Oh dearie me,  the January chills cut you like blades but with the excitement to explore the city and my love for the company, I marched on.

First stop was food. Old habits die hard they say, as I saw a wagamamas I ran in there quickly and ordered my all time favourite ‘Prawn Firecracker’. In my humble opinion it is the best thing on the menu especially if you love the spicy side of things in life. To all the katsu curry lovers sorry but not sorry. Also you can find the wagamama right inside the ‘Amsterdam centraal station – ij-hal’ 

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After that it was time for the exciting part of the day the “Amsterdam Light Festival”. The festival ran from Nov 30,2016 – Jan 21,2017. It also runs every year, therefore if you’ve missed it last year make sure you don’t miss it at the end of this year. The tickets for the cruises can be bought in advance, Cruise details. The cruise also offers free hot chocolate and Glüwhein, trust me you would need it. Opting for a brave open boat option to see the festivals we began our experience. There were over 35 artworks from different artists from all over the world. Each of them were unique in their own way, despite the cold we were awestruck by some of the art that was installed along the canals.

One of my favourite one was the artpiece called the ‘Brigde of the Rainbow’ by a French artist called Gilbert Moity. It symbolises open-mindedness and diversity.

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Another one of my favourite was the artwork from an Italian Duo where ‘Love Is Contagious’ is translated into 5 different languages and it was displayed in varieties of colours and light sequences

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If you want to know more about the artwork that was posted in the festival, head over to  Amsterdam Light Festival . My only wish was, that my iPhone could have stayed alive throughout this journey as it couldn’t handle the cold and decided to kill itself many times.

This was definitely one of the most beautiful day in my life, even though it was for a day it was a beautiful experience and sometimes ‘memories are souvenirs’ too!

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