Thursday, March 6, 2014

Shining, shimmering SPLENDID Sri Lanka

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Sometime wanderlust hits you spur of the moment.  Specially when you had a rough couple of months, and you just need to get away.  I think that's what happened here in our Sri Lanka trip. For people like me who like to plan ahead, a last minute trip is usually a source of stress.  But surprisingly, this was a stress-free one. Thanks to Tine's colleague, everything was arranged professionally in a snap.  All we had to do was to show up at the airport and let everything come as a surprise.  So August of last year, there we were, Tine, TY and I with our bags in tow at the airport waiting for splendid days in Sri Lanka.

We loved Sri Lanka.  I honestly thought it would be a little underrated but instead we met inspiring people, saw magnificent sites and the adventures were just too awesome.

We arrived at Mattala airport, welcomed by a very friendly local and took a very long 40+ km drive to Kirinda.  We reached a very eco-friendly themed hotel, the Kirinda Beach Resort (a group of monkeys on a tree greeting you every morning and surprise visits from frogs in your toilet kind of nature-themed place).  It was very late when we came so we just had dinner by the beach, and we were so tired we slept almost immediately after several attempts to connect to the WiFi by the reception hut.  

Feeling Dora =)
Na-miss ko ang kulambo!

Nidangalawella Road
+94 770 200 897 | +94 770 088 440

We had an early start on our second day.  We had breakfast by the beach and we came to appreciate the amazing view.  I mean hearing crashing waves while having dinner is dazzling enough, but the view is totally a cherry on top.  The resort was great, except for the monkeys that really freaked me out. 

YALA NATIONAL PARK - A huge safari jeep picked us up at the resort around noon.  It was my first every safari so I was really looking forward to it.  And I wasn't disappointed, it was like the Jungle Book came to triumphant life.  Yala National Park is located on the coast of Southern Sri Lanka. It is a nature reserve covering 126,800 hectares of land. We spotted elephants, jackals, peacocks and monitor lizards,crocodiles, eagles, storks and wild boars. We waited patiently for the leopards to come out.  Our guide and driver know of the perfect spot.  Yes patience is a virtue, I think we stayed for about 20 minutes and sadly we weren't rewarded.  We missed out on the perfect moment.  

Moving on, here are a few of the hundred photos we took on that day.

Is that what I think it is?
Jeep situation
With our guide
The road to...
Spotted: Dumbo
  Instagram moment
Do you see the small monkeys?
On the move
Happy kayo?
Care for a swim?

TSUNAMI MONUMENT - Just before sunset our guide led us to the beach area where they built a monument for the 47 people who died during the tsunami in 2004.  As we were looking the horizon, it was just horrifying to think that something as beautiful can be so disastrous at one point.  

Jeep beauties
Us three
My gash Beb, this is like Milan all over again! =)
Fedora queen!
Kiranda Tissamaharama,Moneragala,
Colombo,Southern Province, Sri Lanka
Phone:+94 47 3 489297

DINNER AT A LOCAL FAMILY RESTAURANT - Nothing feels better than to be invited to someone's resto for dinner.  Our guide actually owns a family restaurant (stupid me, I forgot the title sorry!!).  Sri Lankans are the friendliest bunch you could ever meet.  They introduced us to the local beer, Lion lager which became an instant favorite. I kind of miss it really.  We love the food, they are such great cooks.  The family was too friendly they offered us Mary Jane for dessert, we would have loved to but we politely declined, our hotel was not that near the resto.  

Cheers to an adventure-filled day
I forgot the title, but this is yummy
Best squid ever, pramis!
Happy kids
After breakfast the next day, we left for Hikkaduwa.  It was a long drive but we had quite a few interesting stop overs along the way.

Galle Fort - Galle city is famous allover the world due to Galle Dutch Fort that is facing the Indian ocean. The are is very peaceful and historical.  Though it's a Dutch fort, it where the Portuguese's port of entry when they first came to the island. The place is romantic - it is full of cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops. Definitely a place to I would go back to.

F na F
Mahangin ba sa labas?
Sige day, i-emote mo ng i-emote!
Amazing view

Galle Fort
65a Lighthouse St,
Fort Galle
Sri Lanka
Tel: +94 (0) 91 223 2568/9

Turtle Hatchery - My heaven in Hikkaduwa.  I love turtles! They always make time to enjoy every moment life has to offer - even at a slow pace.  Sea turtles are endangered and we need to help them last.  There are several hatcheries in Sri Lanka and their aim is to protect these turtles.  They start with the eggs - collecting them or bought from the locals which they bury in the sand hatchery.  They should hatch between 48-60 days.  The baby turtles are then placed in the tanks for a couple of days then released into the sea.

I love this fella!
Turtle whisperer daw siya
Lazy guy
Mr. Care taker explaining the entire process
High FIVE!
Baby turtles
Egg Hatchery

Mama's - After being told that Mamas is the place where locals go for seafood we decided to give it a tryThe place is very unpretentious, nothing fancy... what you see is what you get. The location is perfect too. Take a dip in the ocean (we can't when we were there it waves were so huge), sip some beer and enjoy the seafood.

By the sea
 Take a walk
I forgot what this was, but it was tasty
Saya nung bata oh!
  Looks weird, but yum
I miss you!
Patiently waiting
Inom na inom!

No.338, Galle Road Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka
(+94) 91 227 5488 (+94) 77 281 4429

Citrus Hikkaduwa - After that heavy lunch, finally we reached the hotel. We stayed at Citrus Hikkaduwa. The hotel is situated in an area close to what you need - shops, stores, restaurants and bar- everything was walking distance to it was perfect. The rooms were not that fancy though, yet I love that we got the room below near the pool. It was a great place to just sit down, drink all you can and do nothing. I finished 2 books in 2 days!

So I just dumped all the photos below of what happened in the next few days. Pretty much the same everyday, vacation mode was totally on.

Inom + Basa
Love her
Parang ambabait
Ayun naman
By the pool
Free kisses
An art shop just beside the hotel
Breakfast of champions
I love Sting and the POLICE
Please explain
One of the many lunches we had at this resto
Tourist hogging the mic
Bar night
Bagong ligo
  Pool area at night
Forgot the name of this bar, it was 5 minute tuktuk away from the hotel
A new day
Love her top!
Di na nagsawa
It was a great morning
Thanks for this relaxing trip TY and Tine!

Citrus Hikkaduwa
No.400 Galle Rd.
Hikkaduwa, 80240, Sri Lanka

It was said that doing nothing is the key to happiness.  We became so distracted by technology that we miss out on the simple things.  I was glad there is a designated WiFi area by the resort so I wasn't at all times connected to the internet.  It felt very peaceful.  The point of doing nothing is a way to calm the mind.  Gives you an opportunity to see the true nature of things. From that stillness, your actions become more clear.  I was glad that even for a short period of time, I was in a worry-free zone.  The only thing I was anticipating was the next chapter of the book I'm reading.  After this trip, I was ready to engage my "normal" life again - face work, responsibilities, problems, heartaches and stress.  

"Sri Lanka long has been described as a paradise by travelers."

- John Richardson


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