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Ayubowan!

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Ayubowan! ( A form of greeting, much closer to ‘Hello’ or ‘Namastey’).

There’s a land blessed with aquamarine beaches, excellent ancient history, centuries old architectural marvels, immense natural beauty of the hills, amazing hospitality, culture and sumptuous food. On the first look this land looks puny, located in the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent. But it give us more as we dive in! Yes, I am talking about Sri Lanka; the special land where ancient history blends so well with modernity without a crease!

The day began with a walk into the largest fish market in Lanka; the Negombo fish market. As the day dawned, shop owners were prepping up their little shops, displaying their catch from the early morning, cats waking up from their slumbers and a tub of live crabs being cranky, cackling to get out!

Eeek! live crabs

Eeek! live crabs

 

A bunch of big fishes are transfected to be sold

A bunch of big fishes are transferred to be sold

 

Fishing it out!

Some customers have come earlier bargaining a good price for the fishes displayed. A fisherman chops up the large tuna and packs it up into black polythene bags. Just behind him, the sea is calm, occasionally waves roaring big.

 

A find vendor sits in front of his catch

A find vendor sits in front of his catch

Moving into the town of Negombo, I stop for a light breakfast; fish dumpings, onion buns, aaloo stuff buns and fish+ egg bun downed over a pack of Milo drink, from Perera and Sons, a snackery that has a number of branches all over Sri Lanka.

light breakfast – Fish dumping and fish+egg rolls

From Negombo, we move towards one of the prime attractions of this country, that always shows up in tourism blogs and photos of Lanka; The Pinnawala Elephant orphanage. This orphanage caters to elephants who have been mistreated, injured and aims at the wellbeing of these gentle giants as they show up generously in the cultural fabric of Lanka. Spread over a vast land, this centre offers elephants a lovely loving home, with proper food, medication, the Oya river for bathing and fun, and enormous funds from well-wishers. As I look on, smaller elephants play with onlookers, seeking attention with trunks and their gimmicks! Some smaller elephants roll over in the muddy river, and defecate directly on. A few chew on palm leaves as baby elephants attract attention of every animal lover around! Just being cute as they are!

The Oya River and the elephants

 

Attention seeker

Attention seeker

Elephant galore

Elephant galore

A tiny fellow

A tiny fellow

A tourist gets up close with a tusker

 

A good one and half hours spent with these beautiful creatures gave me an opportunity to understand why Srilankan culture has such high values of this animals. And yet, we see them being rides to the tourists, being paraded for the fancy of the foreigners on many occasions. However, I hope that the condition of these animals improve everywhere in the world.

Off Pinnawala, the ancient Rock temple of Dambulla was not so far away. The rock temple is very interesting as it is said to have been built in the first century BC. With beautiful architecture, statues and paintings inside, the cave temple is a place of worship, pilgrimage, and tourist interest. A huge golden Buddha statue sits high just at the entrance. Owing to the extreme ancient art inside, photography is not allowed inside the temple.

The Golden stupa of Dambulla

The Golden stupa of Dambulla

From in front of the Dambulla Temple

From in front of the Dambulla Temple

However, the cave temple is beautifully lit with lamps, surrounded by a number of ancient paintings on the walls, apart from centuries old statues of Buddha and his disciples.

Off Dambulla, as we move towards Sigriya town, the sun lends its last few rays of the day; leaving back the twilight. Sigriya comes in, as a smaller town, with winding roads between lush green landscape and a fortress in the far, my destination for tomorrow.

Sigriya fort is a rock fort and a finest example of ancient art and architecture. This is a UNESCO heritage site as of now and the maintenance of this art is well done! The fort is built on a huge rock with grooves and cuts that serve as steps, and a treasure of ancient paintings on the inside walls. A flight of over 300 steps serve to take one to the top of the fort. Young kids to senior citizens, everyone shows equal enthusiasm to climb up the fort. The fort is surrounded by shrines amidst lust green trees and shrubs. Macaque monkeys jump on the trees and shrines, with little ones tightly hugging their bellies.

DSC_0323

Climbing atop Sigriya

Climbing atop Sigriya

Paintings in Sigriya fort – dating back to 1st BC

 

 

Paintings in Sigriya fort – dating back to 1st BC

 

Ancient fountains and great baths just like the Harappan ones are constructed on the front garden of Sigriya fortress. From atop the fortress, at a height of 660 feet from the ground, a major part of Sigriya town and Dambulla statue can be seen.  It’s a beautiful view and that’s the highlight of this enormous climb.

During the fortress climb

During the fortress climb

After Sigriya being hungry was beyond doubt. So, I head over to a cozy lunch shack for an authentic Srilankan lunch. For a meagre amount of 250/- Srilankan rupee, I get a good mount of white rice, sided by fresh vegetable curries including dal, spinach, bottle gourd and a fine slice of fish. It’s sumptuous and so nutritious, all made on a coconut base.  The food so has similar flavours as that of Malayali food, that I just feel right at home!

The yummy lunch of rice, fresh dal, bottle gourd curry, spicy fish! Mmm

The yummy lunch of rice, fresh dal, bottle gourd curry, spicy fish! Mmm

Polonnurawa ancient city was my destination after the fabulous meal as the city of the Polunnaru kingdom is much talked about for its art and architectural beauty. As a world heritage site, this city is constituted by architectural relics over an area of 10 kilometres in periphery. Stupas, minarets, palaces, halls, temples, statues and mini-fortresses make this site as impressive as it claims. Neatly manicured shrubs adorn the gardens in front of these buildings.  Monkeys thrive alongside komodo dragons who bask in the sun on the lawns.

Palace - Polonnaruwa

Palace – Polonnaruwa

Ruins- polonnaruwa

Ruins- polonnaruwa

Ancient Polonnaruwa city and its ruins

 

 

Stupa ruins- Polonnaruwa

Stupa ruins- Polonnaruwa

Ancient Polonnaruwa city and its ruins

Ancient Polonnaruwa city and its ruins

Some tourists can access cycles to roam around the ancient city, thereby reducing their carbon footprints. Hawkers and shop keepers sell SriLankan masks, stone statues and fresh king coconuts. I bargain for an exquisite art piece made of clay, make my purchase and carefully toss it into my bag.

Curios on display

Curios on display

Kandy is located amidst the hills of the Kandy plateu located in the central region of SriLanka. As the second largest town, this city boasts of lakes and gardens topped with a great hill view. Slightly cold the city is, during mornings, but by the evenings, its charm just doubles. Neat roads and shopping malls, hemmed by tradition, temples and restaurants are the main attractions of this city for a foreigner.

Kandy Lake  in the evenings

Kandy Lake in the evenings

 

City of Kandy

City of Kandy

 

 

The Temple of the Tooth Relic

The Temple of the Tooth Relic

 

Kandy City

Kandy City

 

The sumptuous meal at Kandy Muslim Hotel

The sumptuous meal at Kandy Muslim Hotel

From Kandy, Nuwara eliya is a couple of miles away. Called the tea-garden and Little England of SriLanka, this hill town was a much coveted town for the British rulers, after they were tired of the hot climate, throughout the rest of the country. With a picturesque landscape and chilly climate, Nuwara Eliya is a sought after destination for the honeymooners in Lanka.

The hills of Nuwara Eliya

The hills of Nuwara Eliya

Lake Gregory Park with Swan Boats for a short ride in the waters

Lake Gregory Park with Swan Boats for a short ride in the waters

The well kept Nuwara Eliya Gregory Park

The well kept Nuwara Eliya Gregory Park

A dad takes the photo of his princess on a horse

A dad takes the photo of his princess on a horse

 

Lake Gregory park is a great place to sip up the essence and beauty of the place during evenings. Small restaurants serve the tourists on the sides of this park. Horses trot around with customers on its back, through the green lawns. A bunch of people play golf not so far away. As the sun sets, the weather becomes cooler, the lake less bustling with swan boats and Nuwara Eliya’s mountains go to sleep.

Nuwara Eliya’s famous tea plantations have been making tea ever since the British set foot on this town. The tea from Nuwara Eliya is branded as Ceylon tea, to be exported and consumed all over the world. The very expensive white tea is also cultivated on these hills. I have a cuppa fresh brew from the Blue field tea factory with a wedge of squeezed lemon, to indulge myself in some shopping of exquisite tea produce.

The Blue Field Tea factory

The Blue Field Tea factory

Hot Cuppa!

Hot Cuppa!

White water rafting at Kitugala is a not to miss adventure at Srilanka. The Kelani river is a fast moving river with frequent gush of water through wedges of huge rocks here there on the fast riverbed. A trivial fact learnt here: the movie, ‘The Bridge on the river Kwai’ was shot from over this river, the highlight being the wooden bridge over this river, Kelani!

 

After the extremely engaging and fun White water rafting

After the extremely engaging and fun White water rafting

Winding down the hairpin curves of Nuwara Eliya, moving down to the plains of Tissamaharama which hosts the huge lake of Tissa was a pleasant change. After the Tissa river comes the towns of Akuressa and the seaport of Galle. Galle calls itself the Dutch town after the colonization by the Dutch.  The famous fort of Galle is situated here from atop which one could see the panorama of the town of Galle.

Galle - Fort

Galle – Fort

The Tissa Lake

The Tissa Lake

At Hummanaya

At Hummanaya

Drying the fish

Drying the fish

... and it's fried!

… and it’s fried!

From the town of Galle, the beach town of Hikkaduwa is not so far away. Hikkaduwa is one of the most famous beaches of the world, for its surf scene, after Arugam Bay. Hikkaduwa is a clean, blue beach, much like any other beach in SriLanka. Hemmed with coconut trees, the shallow beach is a great place for enthusiasts to surf. Little kids play in the gushing waves. A few youngsters play volleyball on the beach sand.

Bentota Beach

Bentota Beach

 

The calm beach front of Hikkaduwa

The calm beach front of Hikkaduwa

 

A kid runs to fetch his treasure

A kid runs to fetch his treasure

 

Boats wades lazily as the evening closes

Boats wades lazily as the evening closes

 

The Orange of the skies

The Orange of the skies

Boats are latched to the beach by anchors. As the sun sets, the rays lend an orange color to the sky, the water, the sands silhouetting the people and boats. The aquamarine water turns into a steady red, and the wind blows harder. The beach tide rises, as though to close the day.

The boats are waiting…

During nights the same wind rushes into the beach street, lightly swaying the colourful beach- clothes on sale in the shops dotted along the beach road. Music rises with flavorful aromas of great food in the making.

Yummy tasty date lunch

Windchimes cling and drums play, welcoming the night. I swoon, looking at the moon, rising over the dark cold beach. The waves are welcoming me, I know.

The beachside shacks of Hikkaduwa

 

Oh, SriLanka! What Magic you have in your hands!

 

highly expressive, roaring appetite for books, food and design; have occasional bouts of flippancy to all things needed. Always hungry for Biryani. Nomad. Binger. Lover.

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Beach destinations around the world that you should know about

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The beach is one of the favorite tourist destinations to enjoy your holidays. Beach is relaxing, there are landscapes for natural, reduces stress, there are many activities available for all ages and tastes.

Many people think they won’t be able to go to the beach this season but there are destinations with warm weather at this time of year. If you want to get away or take a few days off right now, this is your chance. You have several options to choose: Alicante, the Canary Islands if you stay in Europe, or travel to Latin America to visit Punta Cana.

Alicante is a very comfortable tourist destination

If you decide to stay in Europe, Spain is your best option. In Alicante you can enjoy the beach with many comforts: it is close to the city and there is nothing better than the Mediterranean area on holiday. The atmosphere is calm and with a perfect climate.

To make your stay easier, it is best to rent a car. In this link you can see the available options. You will be close to the city, so take advantage of the opportunity to be comfortable without worrying about transportation. Just make sure you reserve the car for the days you will be in Alicante, read the contract carefully and return it in better condition than when you received it.

A good tip is to check the condition of the car when you receive it. If there is any damage, notify the agency so that you are not responsible for that fault. Compare several car rental agencies so you can choose the one that’s best for you for price, warranty, and insurance.

Why choose Gran Canaria to enjoy the beach?

You can go alone, as a couple or as a family. There are options for all types of tourists. Activities are varied and there will always be to satisfy all tastes. In the Playa Taurito in Gran Canaria there is a lot to do, it is difficult to get bored thanks to all that this site can offer. If you want to know more, here is more information to you.

It is one of the most comfortable beaches to go to relax thanks to all the hotels, nearby beaches, restaurants very varied and cheap. Located between Mogan and Puerto Rico, this beach goes unnoticed, is not very crowded and is very quiet. In high season is easy relaxing in this place.

Activities in Playa Taurito

There are many activities for all kinds of people. Adventure and tranquility are in one place.

  • The Buggy. You can live the adventure driving a vehicle: th Buggy. Enjoy the wonderful views of the Taurito nature, go into wild spaces and enjoy the native fauna and flora of this area.
  • Banana Boat. Teamwork seems to work for everything, but not to maintain balance on a giant banana while swinging between the waves. How long can you stay on board?
  • Waterpark. Lago Taurito is the star of this place. All of the water from various park attractions comes from the ocean. Keep enjoying the beach experience while inside the park. It has activities for the whole family: tennis, mini-golf, toddler areas and bowling. Come and relax in the spa.

Visit the Caribbean

Punta Cana is one of the most beautiful regions of the Dominican Republic. It is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world thanks to its perfect climate and great variety of beaches. Tourism here is a priority, so the city emphasizes the comfort of its visitors.

There are many hotels for all tastes. Click here to see some of the best on the island. The suites are luxurious and offer all the necessary comforts. Hotels are usually fully-equipped in their common areas to provide the best service to tourists: spas, swimming pools, casinos, children’s areas, nightlife and much more.

The culture of the Dominican Republic is very striking, with opportunities for endless fun. Urban life, family games on the beach, golf, paragliding, fishing and a number of water activities.

The local gastronomy is wonderful, with many different flavors. It is one of the best internationally. There is a great variety of fruits, vegetables and fresh fish. The restaurants are a great tourist attraction for having great chefs working on them.

Some tips

  1. Don’t forget to have travel insurance. This is the best decision you can make on vacation, so you won’t have any worries. You will be able to relax even when you have problems because the insurance will take care of everything.
  2. Take a suitcase with only what you need. Excess luggage can be very annoying because of the weight and packing back will be very difficult. Don’t forget to leave space to store the gifts you want to buy during your trip.
  3. If you are traveling with children, take them to their designated areas if you want to rest. They will have activities to have fun with the supervision of specialized personnel to take care of them. It’s your moment of relaxation.


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A holiday experience for all the family

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dog family holiday

Finding the perfect location for your family holidays is often a tedious task, especially when kids are involved in the equation. Thankfully, there is a new 5-star resort especially created for the whole family.

A place for everyone 

Planning the perfect family holiday is never an easy task. We need to look for a place that would make everyone in the family happy, no matter their age. Traditionally, parents had to adapt their holidays plans to meet their kids needs for fun and entertainment. Thankfully, the tourism industry is aware of this issue and, over the last years, alternatives that fulfill the whole family needs have been developing. 

A place that has become renowned for having the best all inclusive family resorts is ESTUDIO Playa Mujeres. ESTUDIO Playa Mujeres is a 5-star resort located in Mexico, on a paradisiac beach just 15 minutes away from downtown Cancun. It was especially designed keeping the needs of the whole family in mind. 

It does not matter if the visitor is a kid or an adult, relax and a pleasure experience are ensured in this place. 

The perfect location for adults to relax

family resort

If you are looking to get away from the world and relax, Estudio Playa Mujeres has everything you need in order to have the best holiday experience of your life. 

The resort’s luxurious design and its wide range of activities available make it the best spot for your vacations

All the suites vanguardist concepts were designed by Mexican artists and on them you can see a modern architectonic display along with some luxury items like the revolutionary Total-Rest Beds®. These beds are especially designed to ensure you have the best resting experience during your stay and feature top-quality bed sheets. 

The suites are also equipped with a modern private bathroom, a 24 hours room-service and a minibar that is restocked on a daily basis. 

Once you leave your suite, a world full of marvelous experiences awaits you. The whole resort is decorated with artistic pieces created by contemporary Mexican artists. There are multiple installations you can make use of during your stay.  The resort has a 18-hole golf course, 6 restaurants to meet even the pickiest gourmet needs and, our personal favorite, the nuup spa. 

The nuup spa is equipped with everything you may need for relaxing in your luxury Spa Vacations. Distributed among three different levels, this luxurious  spa includes:

  •  18 treatments cabins equipped with  private showers
  • Relaxing lounges to chill before and in between treatments.
  • A fully equipped hydrotherapy circuit which includes a sauna, a steam room, a sentations shower and a ludic pool. 
  • A tea station with all sort of flavours from around the globe. 
  • A beauty salon with the best hairstyling, pedicure and manicure experts. 
  • A Bridal Dress-Up Lounge®. On this private space brides and their maids can get ready for the ceremony while enjoying features like a private bar or bathroom. 

Let your kids have the time of their lives

family holiday kids

At Estudio Playa Mujeres, kids are very important. They have a wide range of activities to enjoy while their parents relax. Kids can enjoy the Doodle Land® program, where creativeness is encouraged by the means of interactive workshops and programs and fun activities by the beach and the pool. Kids up to the age of 15 can also join the kids club, where they will learn while having fun. 

Your pet also deserves the best holidays

Estudio playa mujeres are Pet Friendly Resorts. Pets are welcome and encouraged on their installations just as one more member of the family

The resort provides all the things our furry friends could need for a fun experience. Estudio Playa Mujeres counts with a team of professionals that offer doggysitting and veterinary services. 

The food necessities of our pets are fully covered with a luxurious 5 plates menu especially designed to meet their needs. 

Fun is also assured for pets within the resort. There are a wide range of activities and happenings along the resort that will bring our pets and us an unique experience. Toys and accessories are also provided inside the suites so our pets are always entertained and feel just like at home.

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The Must-Know Before Booking Your Next Flight

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aircraft flight travel packing

One of the essential things that will keep you happy throughout your traveling is booking a flight that caters for all your needs without necessarily paying much. Whether you are going on a business trip or you just want to spend your next holiday away from your country booking the right flight will be your very first crucial thing to do.

When it comes to flight booking, getting the right airline that will suit all your preferences, needs, and taste can be a bit tricky especially if it is your first time. Making even the minutest error in the choice of your flight can easily ruin your entire journey. That’s why in this article, you will learn some of the factors you need to know before booking any flight. So let’s get started.

Ticket Price

Of course, this is one thing that many people are sensitive to and definitely, it is one of the most crucial factors you should consider. Flight ticket prices usually vary depending on the airline you have chosen.

Definitely, you need an airline that will save some bucks for your ice cream, that’s more than often people tend to go for cheaper ticket prices. It is always advisable that you check whether the price of the ticket has included or excluded the taxes. Besides, check whether the luggage fees are separate.

The duration and stops of your flight

Sometimes, even if you are taking a direct flight, it has several stops before reaching the destination. It could be for technical checkups or fueling. By checking the number of halts and flight stops you will be having, you will easily determine the duration of your flight.

The actual value of your ticket will also largely depend on the number of stops and duration you will be in the air. The direct flight usually charge high prices because they are faster compared to indirect flights that have several stops. It is always advisable you check on the duration your flight will take besides the attractive ticket prices.

The Airline

This is one of the factors that cannot be overemphasized having in mind the many airlines that have stormed the air transportation industry. It is always advisable that you choose an airline that has a good reputation for its safety, prices, and treatment of its customers.

You also need to check the number of years they have been in the field and how well-maintained are their planes. Turkish Airlines could be your choice in your next flight because of their efficiency, effectiveness, the number of years in experience, and diverse quality services. Why not give it a trial?

Flight time

Well, the time of your flight is crucial in saving you some money and for your safety. You may have noticed that there is a peak hour where almost everyone likes flying. In such hours, you dig deeper into your pocket. Such hours are usually during the day, perhaps in the morning to afternoon hours.

It is advisable to travel at such peak hours if you don’t know your destination very well. However, if you are conversant with your destination, you can take odd-hour flights which are basically cheaper. 

Travel Dates

This is another crucial factor that you will need to consider. Always plan your trip very well to suit your preferred dates of travel. Choose different days for your flights and eventually choose the one that is best for you. However, this may be impossible if you are on an emergency schedule.

It is advisable that you be as much flexible as possible when it comes to the dates of your flights. If you stick to one particular date, you might end up spending more than you had planned for in case some ugly incident occurs.

The flight itinerary

For indirect flights, you will need to change your planes; you will need to take another flight to connect you to your destination. Some airliners are hostile enough that they don’t even provide you with transport to the next airport. If you have some tons of luggage it becomes chaotic for you.

Some passengers may be having Visas that don’t allow them in certain countries and this will be very frustrating for them. Always check at the distance between the airports and the entire itinerary to avoid frustrations in your flight.

Final Remarks: You can make your flight joyful or irritating by the choices you make. The above factors can make your flights comfortable. However, it is advisable that you book your ticket 6 weeks before your date of travel. This will save you some good money. Consulting travel agents is also a great idea. Now make it happen the right way.

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