A visit to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage – Get up close to the gentle jumbos!

If you have an interest in elephants or simply are an animal lover, make sure that you visit Sri Lanka’s splendid Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Here are some facts about this wonderful place.

Image result for Pinnawala

Bernard Gagnon, Pinnawala 01, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Orphanage has the distinction of featuring the world’s most numerous herds of tame elephants. You will find more than 80 elephants here including males, females, and calves. The Orphanage was created to provide protection and care for the many baby elephants who are lost, orphaned or abandoned by their mothers. These orphans, usually still dependent on milk, would otherwise not survive in the wild.

Getting there
The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage located close to Kegalle plays a significant role in rehabilitating and ensuring a safe future for elephants that have been badly affected by the human-elephant conflict. If you plan to travel from your hotel accommodation the likes of Birds Park Polgahawela you are sure to be at the orphanage within two hours, making it one of the best things to do in Kurunegala.

What to see
Around eighty elephants roam freely in the premises. They are guided by their mahouts who seem to know the art of communicating with them. The elephants are fed and bathed at specific times. You could be part of these daily rituals. As the elephants comfortably splash around and play with each other, you can watch, a safe distance away and hope those sprinkles of water reach you.

Get personal with jumbos
The jumbo bath times are 10am-12 noon and 2-4 pm. Make sure to perfectly time your visit, so as to be a part of this memorable experience. Endearing and huggable, baby elephants are the centre of attention at the orphanage. Bottles and bottles of milk are gulped down by these precious beings.


Explore the Rainforests in Sri Lanka – Discover the Bounty of Nature

A vital part of the country’s ecosystem, the rainforests of Sri Lanka are rich storehouses of endemic flora and fauna, each one offering something new to discover.

Udawatta Kele

Udawatta Kele | Image Credit : Nyanatusita, Udawattakele Forest scene 4, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Sinharaja Rainforest

When it comes to primary tropical rainforests in Sri Lanka, Sinharaja is the last viable area and thus of immense importance. Nature lovers can stay at a Sinharaja eco lodge Sri Lanka has to offer at the reserve’s border such as The Rainforest Ecolodge and explore this UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve; it is home to over 147 bird species as well as a vast amount of endemic trees, butterflies, mammals and reptiles.

The Makandawa Forest Reserve

Located near the island’s white water rafting hotspot of Kitulgala, this pristine reserve features a secondary lowland rainforest. The forest ecosystem is blessed with waterfalls, rock pools and a wide number of rare fish, bird, butterfly and dragonfly species.

The Kanneliya Forest Reserve

Another UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Sri Lanka, Kanneliya has lowland rainforests which have plenty of endemic flora and fauna. Amongst the highlights here are the varied snake, fish, lizard and bird species along with natural attractions like the Narangas and Anagimale waterfalls.

The Udawatta Kele Sanctuary

Located in the hill capital, Kandy, this sanctuary is made up of small forest areas where one will find a wide range of plant species as well as endemic bird species. Easy to explore, the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary is also known for its endemic mammals as well as amphibians and reptiles.

Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life. Google+

Bird Watching in Sri Lanka – Embark on a fantastic birding tour

With a wide variety of environments ranging from forest to jungle, wet to dry zone, and low lands to the hill country, Sri Lanka has no shortage of fascinating sites to spot diverse bird species.


Sinharaja Forest

Being the most bio-diverse wet zone forest cover in the country, Sinharaja must be explored by foot. The place declared a World Heritage Site in 1989 is home to a wide variety of endemic as well as migratory bird species. You can spot a Green Billed Coucal, Yellow Fronted Barbet, Ceylon Blue Magpie, Scaly Thrush, and many more fascinating species. Sinharaja is an ancient forest home to many magical aspects and is covered by local tour operators like Cinnamon Nature Trails.

Kumana Bird Sanctuary

When it comes to bird watching in Sri Lanka, you should not miss visiting the Kumana Bird Sanctuary. This bird sanctuary features a massive swamp lake which plays host to a wide range of nesting waterbirds, especially between May and June. Migratory bird species that can be spotted here are the Indian cormorant, lesser whistling duck, little egret, purple swamphen and spot-billed pelican.

Kanneliya Forest Reserve

Accessible from the coastal city of Galle, Kanneliya is another forest reserve where one can spot many endemic bird species. Keen birders can keep a lookout for the oriental dwarf kingfisher, brown-capped pygmy woodpecker, black eagle and Indian blue robin that have also graced the reserve with their presence.

Bundala National Park

The first Ramsar wetland site in the island, the Bundala National Park offers birdwatchers some of the best avifauna sightings be it for migrant water birds or resident species. The lagoons within the park attract many birds including large flocks of migrating greater flamingos, one of the highlights of bird watching here.

Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life. Google+

A Fun Day at the Dino Water Park in Khon Kaen – Thrills Galore For the Family

If you are holidaying in Khon Kaen with the family, make sure you put down Dino Water Park on your itinerary. From thrilling rides to laid-back fun in the water, it offers a memorable day out for all.

Getting There

Billed as Southeast Asia’s largest water park, this popular attraction can be found on Mittraphap Road (or Highway Number 2). Within a 20 minute drive from AVANI Khon Kaen Hotel & Convention Centre, this site is right near the Pratunam Wholesale Market.

The Thrilling Rides

Spread across 40 acres, Dino Water Park features nine zones with different attractions. Kamikaze, Looping Rocket, Aqua Tower, Freefall, Giant Body Slide and Space Hole are amongst the most exciting rides to try here. Tip; since there is so much to do, plan to get here early from your hotel in Khon Kaen so you have more time to enjoy.

Laid-back Fun

This water park is not all about action-packed rides; The Lazy River which offers a relaxed adventure, the Wave Pool which simulates an ocean setting and the Aqua Tower play structures that encourage creative minds can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Opening Hours & Tickets

Dino Water Park is open from 10am to 6pm from Monday to Friday and from 10am to 8pm on Saturday and Sunday. A Casual Day Pass and Lite Day Pass are around 200 and 300 Thai baht respectively and offer access to a few attractions. The Premier Day Pass on the other hand, which is about 600 Thai baht, offers access to all zones.

Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life. Google+

Sri Lankan Sloth Bear – The nocturnal solitary bear of the island

Sri Lankan sloth bears with their shaggy black coats are now restricted to the Northern and Eastern lowlands jungles of Sri Lanka. They normally aren’t easily seen as they are quite the shy animals and enjoy their solitude.

Sri Lankan sloth bear

It is a sub species a little different to its Indian cousin and are omnivores, so they enjoy eating small fruits, bee hives and even small insects like ants and termites. They have specially developed a lower lip for gathering these small insects. You will most often find the young cubs sometimes ride on their mother’s back or perched on top of a tree as these animals are excellent climbers.


Sri Lankan sloth bears are found in jungles especially in the dry zone. This bear can easily be spotted in Yala and Wilpattu national parks. There are many instances where humans have been attacked by the she bears with her cubs and some tribal villagers have suffered as a result of this. Therefore, close encounters are best avoided while on your jungle trek.

How to view these sloth bears

The best way to see them is to get assistance from a tour operator like Cinnamon Nature Trails, one of the many Sri Lanka wildlife tour operators that provide customized packages for customers.

Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life. Google+

Exploring the Isaan – adventure hats on!

There’s an old saying which says, ‘if you haven’t explored Isaan, you haven’t experienced Thailand’, this rings true to almost everything that’s on offer here. Want to know more?

Image by Diego Delso, Isla Tapu, Phuket, Tailandia, 2013-08-20, DD 36, CC BY-SA 3.0

1) Ton Tann Night Market

Generally considered a little more upscale than the conventional night market, here at the Ton Tann Night Market you will find various traditional food stalls and street vendors. There are many boutique shops as well, and even a large centre stage that features an array of live performances.

2) Bueng Kaen Nakhon Lake

Of all the lakes in Khon Kaen, the Bueng Kaen Nakhon Lake located to the southeast of the city centre features a variety of bars, coffee shops and restaurants all around it. Food stalls which pop up towards the evenings serve an assortment of local delicacies. If you’re looking for a hotel, Khon Kaen has many that you can check out, such as the AVANI Khon Kaen Hotel & Convention Centre for example.

3) Wat Nong Wang

Learn about the culture of Buddhism and the history behind it at the Wat Nong Want temple which feature many relics as well as a gorgeous panoramic view of the town.

4) Horse Races

The horse races on Sundays are something to treat yourself to. You can grab a bite and even bet if you feel like it, all while enjoying a spectacle of a sport.


Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life. Google+


Friendly Advice for Parasailing Thrill Seekers – Parasail like the Pros

Parasailing has become a popular pastime on many coastal resorts around the world. Although this is definitely one of the safer extreme sports, there are still a few things you should know before you sign up.

Get to know the ropes

Most parasailing accidents are caused by the ropes breaking. This could be because of strain, overexposure to the elements, knots and numerous other factors. Even if your instructor has years of experience, always check the ropes yourself. If the ropes look frayed or dirty, insist on changing them.

Keep an eye on the weather

Parasailing during strong winds is a big no! Some countries have strict rules about parasailing, and even large resorts like Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas, for example, a luxury resort in Maldives, have guidelines. However, others are based solely on the decision of the instructor. The rule to follow is if it’s too windy for an umbrella, then stay on the ground.

A seated position is safer than standing

There are two positions for parasailing: sitting in a gondola or hanging upright in a harness. The first is the safest choice, the latter might sound more fun, but the possibility of an accident is much greater.

Don’t stick too close to shore

The accepted rule for parasailing is the 3-to-1 distance from the beach. Basically, if the instructor gives you 500ft of rope then he should keep a minimum of 1500ft distance from the shore. If he boasts about going closer, pass on the ride.

Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life. Google+

The Sir Bani Yas Challenge – A challenge like no other! – An outdoor challenge for all

The first of its kind, the Sir Bani Yas Island challenge is an outdoor triathlon organised by Husak Adventures. The challenge consists of a run-bike-kayak race across the island and is meant to be an enjoyable experience for all.

Image Credit- JKrabbe at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Challenge Summary:

A Fun outdoor triathlon open to anyone over the age of twelve with various fitness abilities.

Event route

Using three different disciplines the event route covers the entire island a complete distance of 50 km. The breakdown of the route consists of 10 kilometres of trail running, 37 kilometres of mountain biking and finally three kilometres of kayaking. Campsites will be alongside the beach usually at one of the two Anantara Abu Dhabi beach resorts. The participants will switch between two legs of trail runs and mountain biking to conclude with a couple hundred meters run after the final a Kayaking leg.

Your checklist

Your checklist should include a sleeping bag, headlight, change of clothes and swimwear since the camp is located at Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Yamm Villa Resort which is beside the ocean. For the challenge, it is recommended that the participants wear sportswear and/or synthetic shirts.

Provisions by the organiser

The challenge organisers will provide you with a kayak and a mountain bike, water, a map of the course and the stations closing time, a challenge t-shits and finally the challenge medal.

Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life. Google+

Springbrook and Tambourine Rainforest Tour in Brisbane – A Glimpse into Brisbane’s Vast Outdoors


Submerge into the lush greenery and to a multifarious fauna that is hidden on the outskirts of Brisbane. Visitors in Brisbane are often spoilt by the variety of outdoor activities available for them to enjoy.


Springbrook is a world heritage listed, a national park located on a 23-million-year-old volcanic plateau whilst adjoining Tamborine is also a mountain plateau and rainforest with a 360 view of Queensland from the Surfer’s paradise to the Rim Mountain Range. With waterfalls, caves, brooks and even nature’s own bridges, these rainforests are an ecosystem of those.


If you are joining one of the rainforest tours expect to stop at the winery for a hearty lunch. To enter the Cedar Creek Estate Vineyard and Winery in Mount Tamborine you would have to go through the estate’s purpose-built glow worm cave.


Located near the Queensland & NSW border, the rainforest is over an hour’s drive south from Brisbane CBD. Hotels in the business district also host a wide variety of long stay accommodations like the Oaks Lexicon Apartments which would be ideal for you if you are hoping to stay in CBD to explore Queensland.

Additional facilities

End the day in Tamborine by taking a gallery walk browsing the arts and craft stores. Grab an ice-cream on your way out or simply get a coffee at The Tree House café which on Long Road and sharpens your senses for your journey home.

Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life. Google+

Here’s a curiously delightful venue which drifts across the Beira Lake in Colombo – A floating event pod!

How about spending a memorable evening in an unrivalled above-the-lake event space featuring a meticulous interior and exterior design? Do read on to know more interesting facts.

Beira Lake

Away from the lavish lifestyles of the bustling capital city is the “8° on the Lake”, the floating restaurant of Beira Lake which comes across as a fascinating venue for your evening functions. Docked at the Cinnamon Lakeside’s pier, it captures the hearts and minds of everyone especially at the coming of the dusk. This will be the best spot in Colombo to celebrate your private parties and special celebrations.

The large windows and the transparent dome allow you to catch a glimpse of the breathtaking Beira Lake and beautiful night sky adorned with stars. The wood panelled floors of the upper deck make it an incredible space for a great dance floor. It’s better to spend time during an evening because the heat during the day can ruin your fun.

Those who are holidaying at a luxury hotel in Colombo the likes of Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo, should definitely go a dinner cruise along the picturesque Beira Lake to indulge in an exceptional experience in the bustling capital city of Sri Lanka.

Entice your taste buds!
While enjoying a nice time with your friends, you’ll be able to savour a wide array of Western and South Asian cuisine. Sip your favourite cocktail while feasting your eyes on the stunning vistas of the lake. What’s more attractive?



Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life. Google+