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SRI LANKA

‘A flavoursome teardrop of India’

Good to know:

1 GBP (British pound) = approximately 202 LKR (Sri Lankan Rupee)

For the girls – if you’re a girl solo traveller then I recommend you wear a ring on your wedding finger to fend off the sometimes forward Sri Lankan men. I was approached and followed when I walked alone a few times so I told them I was going to meet my boyfriend.

It was a last minute decision to travel to Sri Lanka. I was researching where to go next while sitting on my hostel bed in Langkawi when I got talking to a girl about Sri Lanka. I’d heard good things from other travellers too so I spontaneously booked a flight for the next day.

I flew into Colombo and took a bus straight from the airport to the Colombo bus station taking around half an hour.

Hectic. That’s what my first impression of Colombo was – hectic. I stepped off the bus and straight into a tuk tuk’s way who refused to acknowledge my presence! They come out of no where, appearing from behind cars and buses sounding their high pitched horns with every turn. The tuk tuks’ are like snakes, slithering their way through traffic hunting for naive tourists to lure into their care.

I advise that you only spend the one night here as it can be just like any other city: busy and dirty. I stayed at the ‘Colombo City Hostel’ which I booked through HostelWorld costing £3.65 per night for a 6 bed female dorm. They do not have aircon but a small fan above your bed with a huge locker to store your luggage. If you walk up to the roof you can see a great view of the city and the nearby beach.

Take a train to Kandy for a cheap 190 Rupees (94p) and enjoy the scenic route taking approximately 3 hours. I stayed at a hostel within a 10 minute walk from the station called, ‘Bunk Planet’, a comfortable capsule hostel with a lot of privacy. If you are travelling alone I recommend that you stay at a hostel in the city centre as mine was a 20 minute walk away.

Take a walk around Kandy lake where you’ll find a stunning view of the houses built on the mountains and the famous Buddha Tooth Temple. I didn’t go inside the temple as it came with a price of 1,500 Rupee.

Eat at a local restaurant for some authentic Sri Lankan dishes. My favourite was the rotti as I can’t handle spice (yes I know, great idea going to a country oozing with spice). Rotti is a traditional bread-like meal, sort of like a naan bread but lighter and more stretchy so you can tear pieces off and dip them into curry sauces. You usually get two or three sauces to eat with it.

Juice me up! You must try the fresh fruit from the markets, the mangos and bananas are to die for. I was wandering through Kandy market when a man offered me some of his mango for free and it was possibly one of the juiciest pieces of mango I’ve ever tasted.

Take a tuk tuk to a waterfall within the mountains. If you tell the driver you want to do a waterfall hike then they will know which to take you to depending on the weather. Me and a girl I met hired a tuk tuk and was driven up the mountains where we got to witness the beauty of Sri Lanka’s countryside.

The weather was overcast but that did not take away the shine of blossoming tea plantations around every corner.

“How much you pay?”. Kandy market is a great playground for your bartering skills. Always half whatever price they make first and go from there because they will try to rip you off massively. So stay savvy. I tried on a gorgeous orange sari which is a part of their traditional women’s clothing in Sri Lanka. I immediately wanted to go to a Sri Lankan wedding so I had an excuse to buy one!

Don’t fall! Now for the famous train ride from Kandy to Ella…

Which class to go for? I advise to buy a second class ticket but bare in mind that you might not get seated straight away. Third class is full of locals making their way on their probably daily/weekly train ride to work/home. First class is an observation carriage and much more expensive than second.

Your best chances of getting seated straight away is if you stand in the middle of the platform, do not stand at the beginning, keep walking down towards the end. Once the train pulls up everyone will rush onto the train like ants disappearing back into their holes underground so be careful with your belongings.

The 7 hour train ride from Kandy to Ella is considered one of the most scenic train rides in the entire world and it did not disappoint. Feel the wind race beneath your feet as you hang off the side of the train. Be careful to watch where you’re going though, tourists have been seriously injured because they didn’t see a lamppost ahead.

Wave to field workers, admire the 50 shades of green and rolling hills as you pass by…

Ella reminds me of a small town in Thailand called Pai. It breathes out fresh air and sits high in the mountains housing a small population of people. Ella has one main road with mainly local restaurants. I recommend eating local food a lot as it is really cheap and very tasty!

Take a hike up to Ella’s Rock for a nice walk and a fantastic view. You can easily do this hike by yourself even though you will get locals trying to make you go the wrong way and then hire them to lead you there for a hefty price. So trust yourself and just say no!

The hike starts from Ella station where you can walk along the train tracks to the left until you reach the next train station, then there will be a grassy pathway to enter and you basically follow the tracks all the way. However, it does help if you have google maps handy just to make sure you’re still going in the correct direction. It took us around 2 hours from start to finish.

As you can see, we were robbed of a great view by the spooky fog so if I were to do it again I would start my hike earlier from 6:30-7am.

More tea darling? If you want to see a tea plantation while you’re here then I strongly recommend that you pay ‘Amba Tea Estate’ a visit. What’s so special about them? Tucked away in the mountains only a 40 minute tuk tuk ride from Ella, Amba Tea Estate is a fresh, organic company who treat their workers, community and environment with respect.

Picking by hand, they select only the best tea leaves for their tea. I hate drinking it (poor English person) but I was happy to accompany a friend and I’m glad I did. The grounds were beautiful, I loved learning about the different types of tea and how they are unique to other tea farms in Sri Lanka. The tour was absolutely free of charge and you can tell that the workers are so passionate about tea from the way they explained the process and history of tea in Sri Lanka.

There is also a guest house for people who want to stay and relax for a few days.

“Hey mister, can I please take a spin in your car?”

Wild things…

My favourite memory from Sri Lanka will be the day I went on safari where I saw beautiful elephants, lazy water buffalos, multicoloured peacocks, cheeky monkeys, creeping crocodiles, prowling jungle cats and many species of bird.

Pay Galle Fort a visit for a Dutch infused town full of spas, healthy restaurants and jewellery stores. Listen up girls! Galle Fort Spa saved my life, I had been looking for a place to sugar (wax) my legs and was having no luck until I found this heavenly place! I paid 1000 rupee for my full legs which is equivalent to just under £5!

Beach hair and salty skin please…

If you’re looking for a beach to chill out on then I can recommend Mirissa Beach. The waves are high and the sand is soft, lounge around on free sunbeds while sipping on fresh fruit juices.

Unawatuna Beach is also a great place to chill out. Lay under a funky cabana while sipping fresh coconut water.

What a way to end my Sri Lankan trip!

Thank you for reading, I hope you have found my post somewhat useful.

Happy travelling!

xoxo

Love Thy Traveller

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M A L A Y S I A

So this post is going to be short and sweet as I didn’t spend much time here.

With not knowing what to expect from Malaysia I was pleasantly surprised…

Good to know:

1 GBP (British Pound) = 5.5 MYR (Malaysian Ringgit) so just divide by 5 and you get a rough price.

Eat the local food!

Getting there: I took a 6 hour luxury bus from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. I say luxury because it really was; my seat fully reclined, a movie playing at the front of the bus, it also had a phone charger and seat massager. Why fly when taking the bus is so much more fun? The company I booked with is called StarMart Express’ which sounds like a corner shop but I promise you won’t be disappointed.

The bus drops you off at the KL bus station where you can order a Grab or Uber to your accommodation. I stayed at the ‘Reggae Mansion which surprisingly didn’t play any reggae music in its’ roof bar. This hostel is great, I would definitely stay here again if I were to travel to Kuala Lumpur in the future.

Luckily for me, Diwali was the day after I arrived so I went to Little India and explored the main street which was full of locals playing music and dancing. I ate at a place called ‘Seetha Ram’where I demolished the best garlic roti naan. This is a thinner version of a naan bread; they serve it with dipping curries which are absolutely delicious and not too spicy. Favourite meal of the trip…

Explore the Batu Caves. I recommend that you visit in the late afternoon when the floods of tourists have gone and the sun is starting to sink lower in the sky. There will be a man at the bottom of the stairway asking you to carry a brick up to the top as the caves are under construction and maintenance. I don’t know how many steps there are to reach the top but it felt like a lot…

Getting around is easy, there are machines at every station for you to select where you want to go. Instead of a paper ticket you receive a coloured coin which you give back to be allowed to leave the platform in which you got off the train.

Make your way to the skywalk bridges at the Kuala Lumpur Eco Park canopy walk. Here you can see a cool contrast between the jungle and skyscrapers within the city.

Happy Diwali!

I spent the night wandering down the main street of Little India watching the locals celebrate by playing the loudest music, setting fireworks free on the streets just metres from our feet and dancing with their families.

I was hypnotised by their culture; the bright colours, upbeat music and vibrant traditional clothing made me smile all night long.

Next stop > Georgetown

Home to the creatively painted graffiti streets. Being a lover of expression, I was in my element when exploring this quirky town.

Need a ride?

Let’s play ball!

It’s fine, I’ll just hop on the back…

More please?

You can’t swing with us…

Row your boat.

While you’re wandering around make sure you try a freshly squeezed orange juice from a fruit cart.

Georgetown is full of nice surprises around every corner, I am a huge old building nerd so when I see a cool building I just have to stop and admire it!

When you see nice floor tiles, you have to stop and take a foot selfie…

Next stop > Langkawi

Langkawi is a small island in the north of Malaysia almost touching upon Thailand. Rent a scooter and ride through the meandering roads to explore the7 well waterfall’…

Or drive down to the beach for a perfect day of beach bumming.

Here in Langkawi, my trip in Malaysia was cut short as I made a spontaneous decision to fly back to Kuala Lumpur to then jet off to my next location….

Thank you for reading, I hope that you found this post somewhat useful if you were thinking of travelling to Malaysia.

Happy travelling!

xoxo

Love Thy Traveller

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BALI Chapter 2 & LOMBOK

Welcome back!


If you’ve just read my Bali Chapter 1 then get ready for more chilled vibes starting in Ubud. This charming town is flourishing with quirky vegan cafes, travellers whizzing around on scooters and looming waterfalls.


Hungry? Yes me too…

Check out ‘Creperie’ for a magical place to enjoy breakfast or a light snack before heading out on your adventures. I ate here twice within the three days I spent in Ubud. Try the Nutella crepe covered in chopped up strawberries and mango if you have a sweet tooth like me! With a packed menu listing mystical sounding dishes and drinks, the ceiling painted intergalactic and cute pillows for seats, what’s not to love about this hippie cafe?


Don’t go chasing waterfalls. Oh wait, yes please do!

Ubud is close by to many enchanting waterfalls and is just an hour scooter ride away from my favourite – NungNung. Type it into maps.me or google maps and it will lead you through windy roads of lush countryside, past small villages and locals waving to you. Walking to the waterfall from the car park will take around 10/15 minutes and is downhill, however, the way back up to the top is a different story as it is very steep but definitely worth breaking a sweat for. Get there early to have this magnificent product of nature to yourself…


I’ll be your Jane… swing above the jungle or hide away in a nest within the trees. This was a fun activity to do just outside of Ubud, take your scooter and ride through the rustic villages along the way to ‘BaliSwing’.


On your way back to Ubud, take a detour to the rice terraces where you’ll find beautifully crafted landscapes open to anyone who fancies taking a stroll. You can also find cute signs and photo points along the meandering walkway. I would recommend that you get here an hour before sunset so you can witness the sun shining low through the trees.


Hike up Mount Batur during the early hours of the morning to catch a breathtaking sunrise over the ocean and surrounding mountains. Pastel colours present themselves accompanied by the brisk fresh air hugging your neck and a sweeping fog running across the sky.


I woke up at around 2am to drive down to the bottom of the mountain. On arrival I was given a torch to help navigate my way through the darkness. It took two hours to hike to the top along with hundreds of other tourists flashing their lights along the way. Tip: carry water and snacks as you will find yourself tiring quickly without them!


Get creative! I took a silversmith class at a shop called ‘Studio Perak’ where I made a silver feather cuff for my beautiful mother and a crescent moon necklace for myself. The course was three hours long in which time you could make as much as you want. I definitely recommend this experience, costing £40 in including the silver!


I’m already planning my next trip to Ubud, here’s a few more photos I captured in and around this quaint town…


Next stop > Gili T

An island full of bars, restaurants, villas, hostels and a long stretch of beach! I loved staying on this tiny island. The ferries pull in straight onto the sand where people are sunbathing and enjoying the crystal clear water. The only form of transportation is if you rent a bicycle or pay to sit in a horse and carriage which I thought was quite charming.


Under the sea you’ll find turtles and statues if you swim out far enough towards Gili M. You can also pay £20 for a three island snorkelling tour lasting for around 4 hours where you’ll get dropped off at various points around the Gili islands. You’ll find turtles swimming gracefully and scuba divers exploring as you venture deeper into the blue sea.


I love the water. Coming to the Gili islands is perfect for you if you’re wanting a chilled out beach vibe but with plenty to do at night. You can relax by the beach, cycle around the whole of Gili T within 40 minutes and sip fresh coconuts whilst swaying in a hammock.


For the foodie: eat at ‘Scallywags’ for the best meal on the island! A beachside BBQ with a mouthwatering unlimited salad buffet. I ordered a fillet steak cooked medium rare with a side of fries, I then loaded my plate with crispy iceberg lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, coleslaw, breadsticks and the best dips I’ve ever tasted! I love a good buffet.


Do not leave Indonesia without visiting Lombok! This is by far my favourite beach island because it is still yet to be developed; the villages are still running off dirt tracks for roads and locals live in charming bamboo houses sitting on small stilts. I spent most of my time in Kuta, south of Lombok, where I fell in love with TanjungAn beach. As soon as I parked my scooter under a large tree, I was instantly hypnotised by the soft white sand and the crystal blue water in front of me.


I spent full days admiring the warm ocean, stunning mountains and calm waves.


For the sunset I hiked up to a viewpoint  to the right of Tanjung An beach where I could see the dark blue horizon and Lombok’s beautiful backdrop as the sun sank behind the mountains.


Make friends with the welcoming locals… I was swimming by myself when a family nearby invited me over asking for my name and where I was from. Within minutes I was teaching their children how to swim like a mermaid and dive backwards into the water over and over again. This is probably my favourite memory from Indonesia as I felt peacefully content surrounded by wonderful strangers.


Thank you for reading, if you have any questions about what I have done then please feel free to ask! Here’s some more photos I took when exploring the surrounding area of Kuta by scooter…