Blogs from Western Province, Sri Lanka, Asia

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Asia » Sri Lanka » Western Province » Colombo March 25th 2019

yes, 2 days ago i was in colombo, sri lanka touring in a tuk tuk. tomorrow, the 26th of march we will be in mumbai. dubai on the 29th and 30th. muscat, oman on the 31st. transiting through the suez canal on april the 6th. then 2 days in haifa, israel on the 7th and 8th. seville, spain on the 13th, then disembarking in southampton on the 16th of april. i can't believe how quick this cruise has gone. the days have just sailed by! on march 17th we arrived in singapore for 2 days. very hot and humid. it was 34 degrees by noon. i was booked on a tour and was pleased to see tony from my dining table was on the same tour. the majority of the population in singapore are chinese (76%), ... read more
in singapore

Asia » Sri Lanka » Western Province » Colombo March 9th 2019

After about 420 kms of riding our last full day was a 150 km drive to Colombo initially along a new toll road to the outskirts of Colombo where traffic slowed to a crawl. Brief stops made at Independence Square & Parliament as well a brief orientation drive around the old town before lunch & browsing at the Barefoot Fairtrade store, a showcase of handicrafts from around the country. After lunch we took a walk through the bustling Pettah Bazaar. Colombo is now a big modern city set on a huge natural harbour where office blocks stand shoulder to sholder with Colonial-era buildings reflecting the different eras of the Portuguese, Dutch & British empires. China is now the new empire, building huge new towers plus a massive sand reclamation of prime land around the port so ... read more
Busy speed sign
Moving goods in compact Colombo market
End of ride group with celebratory beer.

Asia » Sri Lanka » Western Province » Negombo March 1st 2019

We spent the night at Tunes hotel at KLIA2. We stayed at the same hotel in 2009 prior to going to India. How the airport has changed in that time.... The hotel is four times the size and a massive shopping mall is now between it and the main terminal area. However it was only a two minute walk in the early morning gloom to the airport transit bus which took us to the international terminal. Our flight from Kuala Lumpur on Sri Lankan airlines was comfortable and the three and half hours passed quickly, helped again by Netflix and in flight movie. We had prebooked a taxi but it did not meet us so we had to negotiate with another company to take us to the hotel, hoping the hotel would pay the bill as ... read more
A boisterous games of cricket on the beach at sunset in Negombo
Selling coconuts on the footpath near our hotel.
Sunset drinks in Negombo

Asia » Sri Lanka » Western Province » Negombo February 23rd 2019

Arrived very late into Colombo (5 am by Qld clock) and transferred to our nearby costal starting point at the Lavinia Hotel Negombo. Negombo is a low key fishing village and a popular beach alternative to the bustling capital city of Colombo. Had a short but sound sleep but then lay awake waiting for the late winter sun to rise with the muezzin’s call to prayer announcing a new day. Next day was a casual adjustment for time & travel with a long morning walk to a thriving fish market taking in the local scene and atmosphere before returning by a beautiful beach front. Middle of the day is incredibly hot. We finished the day with an evening briefing and meet-up with the rest of the group. The tour has 15 riders supported by a guide, ... read more
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Asia » Sri Lanka » Western Province » Negombo September 18th 2018

We were up and out of the hotel by the crack of dawn (I’m talking 6am) and at Ella train station. We were finally going to sample the world famous Sri Lankan railway system. We were travelling from Ella to Nuno Oya, which we were told was he most beautiful part of the journey, and the early time meant that whilst there were lots of tourists, there were substantially less than there would have been at half 9 which was the next available train. It may have been the early start coupled with the colossus of yesterdays expedition, but the train journey itself was a mixed bag. I will sum it up like so. The Good: 1. I know it’s a repetitive thing for Sri Lanka but again the journey itself is beautiful, it doesn’t really ... read more

Asia » Sri Lanka » Western Province » Negombo September 18th 2018

I’ve been a bit grumpy today, the swimming pool has done my ears in (I’m long suffering with ear troubles, as family and friends will well know, but I wasn’t not going to go in the pool on the beach. Simple as.) I also managed to hit myself in the head with the shower door and now have a small mark on the top right of my forehead, hidden just beneath the hair line. Excellent. When I woke at 8.30am Meg was already up, and out for a jog and a swim, returning shortly after. After our packing and ensuring that our baggage was aeroplane friendly, we put our luggage in the hotel hold and went out to source breakfast. A “Full English Breakast” consists of 2 grilled mini hot dogs, 2 pieces of grilled toast, ... read more

Asia » Sri Lanka » Western Province » Colombo September 11th 2018

We got off the plane at half 11 Sri Lankan time, it was only a very small flight. Free wi-fi in the airport allowed us to book a taxi through “PickMe” which is the Sri Lankan equivalent of Ola. We changed our money (everywhere in the airport does the exact same conversion rate, however they only accept cash, as one stereotypically rude brit abroad found out (not us)). Immediately from the airport to the hotel, a half an hour drive, the roads seemed cleaner, palm trees scattered everywhere matched only in number by the large bodies of water. I’ve already had the talk with meg about staying 5 metres from the waters edge, as the island hosts thousands of Marsh Crocodiles along with a few saltwater crocodiles too. No thanks. We stayed in the Star Anise ... read more

Asia » Sri Lanka » Western Province » Negombo August 23rd 2018

So here ends my 17 night stay at the Cinnamon Grand. Now I have one night up the coast in Negombo, then back here for 3 nights over the weekend before heading off into the Up Country. Last night I made the slight intestinal error of eating in the food court in the basement of the Crescat Mall, a set plate of prawns (tiny and unshelled, just had to crunch my way through them), rice, vegetables, omelette and other stuff for 350r. It was tasty but maybe unwise. I thought I’d risk it as I wasn't working today. At least the price wasn’t inflated by 25 per cent as it is in the hotel, for tax and service charge. At breakfast the Fly Man materialised. He’s the blurry one in the photo carrying a tennis racket. ... read more
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Asia » Sri Lanka » Western Province » Colombo August 19th 2018

After researching the many ways to see the sights of Colombo, from the budget version of the negotiated tuktuk to the super expensive jeep, we all decided to do the City Sightseeing tour, in the red open top bus. It seemed quite pricey for where we are, 30USD, but it picked us up from right in front of the hotel and dropped us back here 4 hours later. We had to go to breakfast at 7am and it wasn’t even a school day. It arrived at 7.45 and drove up to the Galle Face Hotel where we had to wait 20 minutes for some Aussies who’d been given the wrong pick up time. 2 more got on at the next hotel and that was it, 7 of us. We first went round the Fort area and ... read more
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Asia » Sri Lanka » Western Province » Colombo August 18th 2018

Hurrah for a free day to explore, and not having to be at breakfast at 7am, I had a plan today to walk around the lake at the back of the hotel, visit the Gangaramaya Temple and go to the Independence Square Mall. It was surprising on a number of fronts, but was a lovely day. The road at the side of the Crescat Mall leads down to a big lake with a temple on a tiny island. There’s a path around the edge, a few men hanging around or working cleaning and sweeping. Perfectly OK for walking around in the daytime. There was a scratchy noise which turned out to be a 3 foot monitor lizard, and a few birds. At the entrance to the temple on the island a man was sitting on the ... read more
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