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Sri Lanka – Calling out to the Beach bums!

This post is just an extension to my previous post on my first trip of 2018 – to Sri Lanka, and in this one I’m calling out to all the beach buffs out there.
In this post I will be talking about the last three days(the best ones) of my week long trip.
But first things first. A lot of people asked me about the trip expenses, so I’ll try and break it down here.
The return tickets cost 15k per person from and to Delhi. It can be as low as 6-9k if you take a flight from Bangalore or Kochi or even Chennai,
and if you plan it well in advance.
The Visas can be applied for online and cost 20 dollars each. You receive the visa within two hours of application, so it’s no hassle at all.
Our first stay, Oreeka – in Negombo, was booked through Airbnb and cost us around 17k per night for 4 rooms. The next stay Amagi Aria was booked through Booking.com and cost us 35k for 2 nights and 3 rooms. Our third stay was in Koggala, right by the beach.
We booked it through Airbnb again and it cost us 15k for 3 rooms and 2 nights. Damn cheap, right?
So this was about that stay and the travel, the major costs. This apart, we booked cabs for our commute everyday, which cost us around 40k LKR for those 6 days.
For anyone planning to visit, get your INR converted to dollars and you’ll get a brilliant rate at the Colombo airport.
Food ranges from place to place so it really depends on your choice of place.

Now that we’re done with the numbers, lets get to the fun part.
On the 4th, we headed out to Koggala, a good 4-5 hours long drive from Negombo. The resort called South beach resort had a private beach opening and was a fairly new place. For people traveling with friends, this place would be ideal. They offer rooms with 7-8 single beds so all of you can stay together in case you have any FOMO 😛
Even though it wasn’t a luxury resort per se, I enjoyed every minute there. The staff made us feel at home and what could be better than waking up
to the sound of waves lashing out at the shore, and the sun rising right over those waves, right outside your window!!

 

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Beautiful paintings adorning the walls of the Resort

 

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My spirit animal is a flamingo 😀
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Yoga in my heart, yoga on my mind
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With my soul sister!
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Dancing, anyone?
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Private beach overlooking the South Beach Resort

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If you’re a beach bum like I am, you’d know that the secret to happiness lies in the sea. Be it a dive in the mighty waves of the master, or a walk along the ocean at sunset, or maybe yoga at sunrise on that huge rock in the sea, or it could just be in sunbathing or creating rock castles at the beach.
Whether you’re a die-hard swimmer, a veteran shell collector, a serious sunbather, or simply like to sit under an umbrella and read a book, there’s nothing like a day at the ocean, because true beach lovers know that sand in the shoes (or pants!) is the mark of a day well spent.

Beach life is the best life. Period.

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Also what amazes me most about the sea is how a beach looks different everyday. It’s never the same, thanks to the ever-changing pull of wind and tides.
You could live there 365 days a year and still not get used to its pattern!

We spent the next three days in absolute peace and calm. We started with breakfast by the sea and ended it with dinner and a long walk by the sea.
The first day we spent at the beach overlooking our resort, just chilling, alternating between dips in the sea and dips in the pool. Guess who slept like a
baby that night? And oh, did I forget to mention how much I love what the beach does to my hair?
There’s some unknown elixir in the sea salt and the sun that my hair just becomes way softer.
The curls become more defined and the lustre, oh, the lustre is almost enviable!

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Reality might be hinting towards Silk Smitha, but atleast in my head I am a Kingfisher model 😛

The next day we headed out to Hikkaduwa Beach which is best known for its
clear blue waters and water sports! I was really looking forward to Scuba diving, but the sea was damn rough that day, to my utter dismay, and so, most people advised against it. So I tried Surfing. Boy is it tough or what!! I loved it. It’s exhausting, sure, but what fun!
To get the perfect timing and balance over those waves is tougher than you would’ve thought!
I’m definitely going to do surfing more often, and try and get better at it. We spent the whole day dipping ourselves in the sea, swimming and surfing, drinking beer and eating pineapple! It was just how I would describe a perfect day in my life – With the family at the beach 🙂

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They are the best!!

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We’re a family of giants, what can I say!

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Sunset at the Hikkaduwa beach

IMG_20180128_155729_693.jpgOn the last day of our trip we headed out to Galle. Galle, the capital of Southern Province of Sri Lanka, is a city you must not miss if you are a fan of good architecture. The whole city has Dutch and Portuguese inspired architecture, and a mix of beautiful colours, with white forts and houses of colonial times taking the lead.

It’s funny how being a part of a tropical Asian country, the city gave us major European feels. Everything about the place- the forts, the colours, the vibe – was European!
Galle’s biggest attraction is the 16th century Dutch fort surrounding the city. Unbelievably, the fort protected Galle from the tsunami in 2004.
While surrounding areas like Unawatuna were ravaged by the tsunami, Galle escaped with only minor damage.
You need no more than half a day here to wander around the old churches, colonial buildings, museums and walk the ramparts admiring the views out to sea.
Places to visit in the city are the Galle Fort, the Galle Lighthouse and the beautiful churches and Buddhist temples around the old town!
We roamed about the markets of Galle which had some beautiful but expensive stuff. From paintings to handicrafts, from silk to gems, from postcards to souvenirs,
you can find them all here!

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Buddhist temple in Galle
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Galle Lighthouse
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Beautiful Colonial Houses

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Cycling around the city

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Just how beautiful is this!

Galle is still super fresh in my memory. For all Indians, it has a very Pondicherry feel to it, if you know what I mean. I would love to go back there!
This summed up our last day in Sri Lanka, after which we headed back to Colombo and got on our planes back to the harsh reality of jobs and bills.

Some other things that I loved about Sri Lanka and missed in my last post:

  • I love how religiously diverse this place is and how the people co-exist peacefully. With Buddhists taking the maximum population, followed by Hindus,
    and then lots of Muslims and Catholics too!
  • The different vibes that each city holds. Galle with European feels, Colombo with Indian vibes, and so on and so forth
  • Tea. I brought back home Vanilla tea, peach tea and a lot of other flavours and I am in LOVE with them
  • The rich Heritage. Sri Lanka has some six archaeological World Heritage Sites – Galle fort being one of them, and they’re all wonderful!

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I will definitely plan another trip to Sri Lanka. A solo one this time maybe. Or with a group of friends.
I hope to cover the National parks and the rich heritage sites that I missed this time, mostly up north. The Whale and Dolphin watching tour in Mirissa.
The train ride from Kandy to Nuwara eliya and trekking to the world’s end once up there. Go check out the Rawanaella falls and other mighty falls that the
country beholds.
Writing this makes me want to go back there even more.
Hoping it fires a desire in your hearts to travel to Sri Lanka too! 🙂
If you do, I’d love to hear all about it!

Till the next time then,
Love galore,
TwofoldChic

 

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Sri Lanka – the Pearl of the Indian Ocean

New Year. New Resolutions. New Travel Plans.

Every year, my family and I go to Goa first week of January. This year we decided we wanted to take a break from Goa, and explore a new place, or a new Country even. Beach bums that we are, it was a prerequisite that the place have beaches in plenty! Sri Lanka wasn’t even on my mental list of places to be covered, but thanks to the sudden hike in flight prices for Bali, we settled for Sri Lanka. I’m thankful for that because, otherwise, I never would’ve visited this beautiful jewel-shaped country!

I scribbled multiple itineraries, scourged the internet for suggestions, booked the flights and then, just like that, our first trip for 2018 was planned!

To cover all of Sri Lanka, you would need at least a fortnight, and I had just half of that, so I settled for the West and South of Sri Lanka, which was a good choice for the season too, but I ended up picking the sea and the ocean over the places of historical interests!

In this post, I will show you through the first 3 days of my trip in which we covered Negombo, Colombo and Bentota.

We landed in Colombo on the 1st of January, and headed straight to our stay for the night, in Negombo. Funny thing is that Negombo is closer to the Colombo airport than Colombo city itself. Whaaaaaa? Yeah, that’s right.

I booked an Airbnb property, Oreeka – which, being just 9 kms from the airport, was perfect for a one night stay. We reached there to find a cute little place nestled between a swarm of coconut trees, overlooking a pool and a beautiful garden. It was only until next morning that we got to see how beautiful the place was!

It had a boat in the garden, a boat, yes! And multiple vintage cars, and a great pool, and a big garden and a DJ console and dancing area. It was just perfect!

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Skirt – Street shopping

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Outfit details: Crop top – H&M, headband, shoes and leggings – Zara

We spent the morning lazing around the place, finding out about Negombo and Colombo, chomping down some bacon and sausages. So, the places you should expect to see in Negombo are:

  • The Dutch Canal
  • Negombo Beach (you can find much better and prettier beaches in this country though)
  • Angurukaramulla temple
  • Mary’s church

Having said that, you can totally skip Negombo and head to Colombo directly. You won’t be missing out on much.

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FamSham

On the 2nd, began our actual trip. We moved to a more luxurious resort – Amagi Aria.It is built right by a lagoon which has tastefully done up rooms with bright paintings. My room opened directly to the pool, and the lagoon. It was a mesmerizing view, to say, in the least. The buffet breakfast was exceptionally good, the lunch options not too much. The staff is very helpful, almost going out of the way to help their guests. We dived into the pool the minute we checked into our rooms, to enjoy the sinking sun by the lagoon. We went on with our touristic pursuits in the latter half of the day.

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Dress – Zara, hat – Shein
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The private dock of the Resort we stayed in

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Swimsuit – Pretty Secrets | Myntra

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We visited the following places and you should totally check them off your list too, if you’re in Colombo!

  • Gangaramaya Temple – This one is not only one of the most beautiful but also one of the most iconic Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. It is more than a century since this temple was constructed. The ceilings and walls contain pictures and miniature paintings that explain stories from Buddhism religion. In the main sanctorum, a huge Buddha statue exudes a brilliant sense of calmness in the devotees. Built in a mix of various architectural styles including India, Burmese, Thai and Chinese, this temple also houses a museum.
  • Beira Lake – Close to the Gangaramaya Temple, in the heart of Colombo, is a huge lake – Beira Lake. In the middle of the lake is a small island containing the Simamalaka Shrine, which makes for a beautiful place to just sit, relax and meditate.
  • Galle Face Green – This one is right by the Galle beach, a huge stretch of road for all the nature lovers. Go there for a nice walk post dinner, enjoy the winds from the Indian Ocean and lip-smacking treats from the vendors on the road! This road has all the five star properties and makes for a great sight!
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    Enjoying a light moment with the daddy 🙂
  • Old Dutch Hospital – No, it isn’t a hospital. It houses some of the best sri lankan restaurant, cafes and shops! Go there for a good meal sometime
  • Odel – Odel is the shopping hub of Sri Lanka. Expect some expensive shopping. Do not buy your souvenirs from here. The courtyard right outside Odel is something I loved. Absolute Thalassa feels (for all Goa lovers) amazing food, great ambience and lovely live music!

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  • Pettah Market – This is the street market of Colombo. Do not expect Sarojini and lajpat prices, but you can find yourself some good souvenirs, batik print clothes and also the famous Sri Lankan masks. You can bargain and get yourself a good price here.
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    Haggling with shopkeepers to get me some good discounts!
  • Nelum Pokuna Art street – One of my favorites from the city, this street bang opposite the Viharamadevi Park is full of artists displaying their art on the roadside. Such talent that I was awestruck! Must visit!

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Such a bright tuk tuk! you’ll find millions of these in the country

We also went to the Pettah Floating Market – not at all worth it. Just skip it.

These were just the places that I could manage to squeeze in to my itinerary. You could also visit the National Museum, Mt. Lavinia and Buba Beach, Viharamadevi Park. The Old city Hall and Independence Arcade area are other places tourists visit when in Colombo.

The next day, we traveled to Bentota for a day trip– which is on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, all of 110 kms from our resort, and just 85 kms from Colombo. The beach in Bentota is a fold of pristine gold sands along the mighty Indian Ocean. We spent the entire day till sunset at the bentota beach, monkeying around, making time lapses and sipping on to beer! From the beach, we headed straight to one of the turtle conservation projects. You can find many in this part of the country. They have varieties of turtles and you can even release a turtle into the water. Good for a one-time experience!

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Shorts- Forever 21, Top – H&M, Slip ons – Westside, Hat – Shein

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Slit Skirt worn as tube dress – Global Desi
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At the Turtle Conservation Project in Bentota

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This pretty much summed up my first three days in Sri Lanka!

So here’s a list of some of the things I loved about Sri Lanka:

  • The people – so warm, makes you feel as if you’re in India 😊
  • Egg hoppers!!! Egg hoppers are the Sri Lankan version of egg in the hole, where an egg is cracked open into a paper-thin bowl shaped Dosa and cooked. It’s delicious. Must try!
  • Coconut water – everywhere!
  • Beaches – so pristine – amazing for surfing and scuba diving!
  • Tuk tuks – Sri Lankan version of Indian Autos, except they’re much more vibrant- in bright blues and greens and reds!
  • MANGOES – All year round! Can you beat that?

Things I did not like about the country:

  • Travel is expensive, by road – A six seater or an eight-seater van cost us 6500 LKR for 60 kms
  • The rupee has no value at all – I didn’t understand the pricing there at all. It was absurd. A packet of lays costed 300 LKR, a Dairy milk silk priced at 1050 LKR, and even tampons were priced at an exorbitant 1500 LKR! Very weird
  • Shopping – Sri Lanka wouldn’t exactly be a shopaholic’s paradise. The country is great for its varieties of Tea, and the masks, but other than that you won’t really find anything else!

If any of you plan to visit the country anytime soon, let me know, and I can include the list of must-visit places, eateries and whatever else you guys need to know in the very next blog post!

Hope you guys enjoyed reading 😊

Till the next time then!

-TwofoldChic