Guide To Minneriya National Park – Visit The Gentle Giants

A safari through the wilderness and rugged jungles of Minneriya National Park will offer you plenty of opportunities to see Sri Lanka’s gentle giants; the elephants!

Where is it?

Minneriya National Park is located in the North Central Province of the island. There are many ways to get here, either by bus, car or plane! As flying the fastest and most convenient way to travel to the park, you’ll be able to arrange a flight through Cinnamon Air. Those interested in driving can rent a car through the many car rental groups in Sri Lanka.

Minneriya National Park | Image Credit - Photnart, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia Commons

Minneriya National Park | Image Credit – Photnart, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia Commons

Elephants

The Sri Lankan elephant is a treasured beast on the island. The Minneriya National Park has approximately 150 – 200 elephants and The Gathering inside the park is known to be one of the largest wild elephant gatherings in the world.

Threats

Sadly, the Minneriya National Park faces a huge threat of being wiped out; the animals with it, due to human encroachment, overfishing, poaching, water pollution and the clearance of the forest.

Other animals

The other wonderful animals that reside in this park include the Sri Lanka leopard, deer, sloth bear, toque macaque, monitors, jungle fowl and much more.

Intrigued by history, art and food, Lavinia Woolf is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary and writes of the exhilarating and enchanting.

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River Safari in Galle Sri Lanka – Glide through lustrous mangroves.

Boat safari on Bentota River

Boat safari on Bentota River | Img. Crdt : Jetwing Hotels

Apart from the beach bound excitement, visitors of the west coast of Sri Lanka may engage in boat safaris in the many rivers flowing into the Indian Ocean. This is usually a laid back boat ride ideal for bird watchers and nature lovers.

Where to find river safaris
The Bentota river is popular for these outings and is only about one hour away from Galle; a key tourist city along the west coast of the island. Thus visitors seeking accommodation in Galle boutique hotels or other luxury accommodation such as Jetwing Kurulubedda may drive down for a relaxed nature infused experience.

Prices
The Bentota River is used by most hotels and resorts in the area for jet skiing and other water sports. Boats are stacked in the riverbank can be hired by those wishing to explore the river and its mangroves. A one hour excurision will cost you about Rs1500.

What to expect
The southern side of the river is infested with dense mangrove plantations. This is a lush green canopy screening the warm sun rays. You may catch a glimpse of kingfishers, vibrant butterflies lurking about and even huge water monitors chilling under the sun if you are lucky.

Keep in mind
Tourist boats are usually supposed to have life jackets. Do not get on a boat without life jackets and make sure to fasten your jackets before leaving the bank.

 

Intrigued by history, art and food, Lavinia Woolf is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary and writes of the exhilarating and enchanting. Google+

Travel Around Sigiriya -There’s Much More to See Here Than That Famous Fortress

Located in the central highlands of the paradise nation called Sri Lanka, is a town that gained quite an international reputation. Sigiriya, as it is named, is a wanderer’s delight. Why? Let’s find out!

The Eighth Wonder of the World

Eighth Wonder of the World | Image Credit - Wikimedia Commons, CC By SA 3.0

Eighth Wonder of the World | Image Credit – Wikimedia Commons, CC By SA 3.0

A sight of pure magnificence. Built during the 5th Century, the Sigiriya Rock Fortress is an impressive creation by the wayward King Kasyapa who committed patricide to gain the throne for himself. The fortress has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site due to being “one of the best-preserved examples of ancient urban planning”. Its international fame has resulted in throngs of crowds visiting the little town every year as well as the rise of many boutique hotels in Sri Lanka such as the Water Garden Sigiriya. Such hotels are also offering special tours that will take you through the highlights of the Sigiriya Fortress such as the Mirror Wall, the gorgeous frescoes, the water gardens and the gigantic lion’s paws which give the fortress its name.

An ancient Buddhist Monastery

The Pidurangala Monastery is located on the Pidurangala Rock which stands just a few kilometres away from Sigiriya. According to the ancient scriptures, when King Kasyapa was looking for a spot to build his fortress he found Sigiriya which was at that time occupied by Buddhist monks in meditation. He moved the monks to the nearby Pidurangala Rock and as a form of compensation for taking their former home, built a monastery there.

A Jumbo Spectacle!

Love elephants? Then this is your chance to see them in all their glory in the wild! The Minneriya National Park is located just 20-30 minutes away from the rock fortress. Why visit? Not only is the wildlife reservation placed among the top important bird areas in the country; but it’s also the venue for one of the most renowned of natural phenomena- the spectacular Minneriya Elephant Gathering!

Take A Glimpse Into The Past

Take a step back in time and find out the amazing history of the ancient citadel and the country at the amazing Sigiriya Museum. It features an excellent diorama of the Sigiriya fortress and offers a thorough overview while explaining its cultural importance.

Filled with wanderlust that seeks to explore distant shores and captivated by the colors and vibrancy of exotic cultures, Kanya Mae writes on the beautiful, exciting, and enchanting wonders of the world. She is a writer who not only has a passion for travel, but also has a background in fashion, art and media.

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Snorkelling Trip to Khai Island – Swim in Paradise

Khai Islands are located about 10 km from Phuket. Comprising of three small islands; Khai Nok, Khai Nai and Khai Nui, each island is blessed with an abundant number of marine life. The sands at Khai Islands are picture perfect – almost as if popped out of a postcard, with white soft sands and clear blue water that allures you from the moment you set your feet down. The waters around each island are safe and ideal for swimming and snorkelling and the white sandy beaches are best for relaxing and basking under the warm glow of the sun.

If you’re staying at a Phuket resort, you must take a traditional long tail boat ride to the Khai Island for a snorkelling adventure. Some accommodation providers such as COMO Hotels & Resorts, offer day time excursions for those who wish to explore the beauty of marine life living within the warm tropical ocean waters. A boat ride from Phuket should take on average 45 minutes to Khai Islands. A planned tour will first take you to Khai Nui which is surrounded by the colourful reefs that are teeming with fish like eels, clownfish, giant clams and many more. After you spend a couple of hours exploring and snorkelling here, you’ll be transported to the second island known as Khai Nok. This island is the best place to buy some fresh seafood, which will then later be grilled on a BBQ, as you unwind and relax with a chilled beer or a refreshing cocktail by the side of the beach. You can also rent jet skis and go for a spin on the azure waters around the islands. Khai Nai is the largest island of the three, while Khai Nui is comparatively the smallest.

Tourists who spend the day snorkelling here are advised not to feed the fish and leave as little a mark as possible so as not to damage the natural environment and its eco system.

 

Intrigued by history, art and food, Lavinia Woolf is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary and writes of the exhilarating and enchanting. Google+

Beginners guide to windsurfing – getting to know you gear

windsurfing

Windsurfing | Photo via Pixabay | CC0 Public Domain

With its clear water, agreeable wind conditions, and lagoons which surround many of the coral islands, the Maldives has earned itself a name as a windsurfing hot spot. The sport has slowly grown over the years to become a much loved Maldives tourism attractions, with several resorts ideally situated, such as the Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, for instance, to provide ample conditions for guests interested in trying windsurfing. The best time to try windsurfing is during the wet season, between May to October, when the weather conditions are much windier.

Windsurfing is a combination of sailing and surfing – because of the ability to be pulled at high speeds across a great distance, unless experienced, the activity should never be attempted without an instructor nearby. When the sport first began, windsurfers reached modest speeds, and only close to the shore. Nowadays, with more developed sailboards, windsurfers can reach a speed of up to 40 knots and cover great distances over sea.
A basic sailboard has a board and a sail rig. Steering is done, much like a normal sail, by moving the sail to adjust with the wind. The practice is similar to sailing, in terms of technique. A beginner will start on a large board with a small sail. Once skill with activity increases, the board size can be reduced, while the sail size can vary based on weather conditions. Because windsurfing is more aligned with sailing than surfing, learning to windsurf takes longer than other water sports.
Once mastered, windsurfing has several sub-disciplines to choose from, these include freestyle, big wave and course racing, to name a few. One of the best things about this sport is that it can be enjoyed at any age. As long as you have an experienced instructor to guide you, accidents are rare.

Intrigued by history, art and food, Lavinia Woolf is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary and writes of the exhilarating and enchanting. Google+

Bangkok Dinner Cruise on the Chao Phraya River – Good Times on the Water

Bangkok river cruise

Bangkok River Cruise , Photo by eGuide Travel via Flickr, (CC BY 2.0)

In Bangkok and wondering what to do next? Well, instead of taking your family or significant other out for dinner on the town, why not take them out for a lovely meal out on the waters of Thailand’s main river, the Chao Praya! Tours along the river are operated both by independent operators as well as by tourist hotels and resorts. If the one you are staying at doesn’t organise ones of their own, ask them to help you find a trusty independent tour operator to take you.

These cruises along the river usually include stopovers at popular tourist attractions such as the Grand Palace complex and Wat Arun which look positively radiant at night, all lit up! The fare on offer is typically delicious local Thai cuisine which is offered buffet style to passengers. The great views of the illuminated capital against the back drop of a dark night sky can be observed as you cruise along the river. This creates a great ambiance befitting of a romantic date night or even a relaxing evening out with friends and family.

Most of the independently organised river cruise tours include some sort of a shuttle service between the embarking point and your accommodation, especially if your accommodation is somewhat of a well-known one. Even if you aren’t staying at a resort, and are instead residing at one of the service apartments in Bangkok, give the tour operator a ring to see if they can provide roundtrip transfers from your location to the vessel as part of your package. If, for example, you are lodging at a riverside apartment complex such as Chatrium Residence Riverside Bangkok, many independent tour operators are likely to have you on the list of places to which they offer pick up/drop off facilities. So make a booking for a little river cruise the next time you’re in Thailand’s capital and craving for some good food, great views and one hell of a time.


Filled with wanderlust that seeks to explore distant shores and captivated by the colors and vibrancy of exotic cultures, Kanya Mae writes on the beautiful, exciting, and enchanting wonders of the world. She is a writer who not only has a passion for travel, but also has a background in fashion, art and media. Google+

Flight Experience at Bangkok – Soar through the Skies

Looking for ways to have fun indoors while in Bangkok? During days where there are less than stellar weather conditions in play, a visit to the mall might be one of your best bets for a day full of fun and unexpected surprises. Head down to the Gateway Ekamai Shopping Centre and check out Flight Experience Bangkok; a fully-fledged flight experience simulator smack-dab in the middle of a shopping mall! The Gateway Ekamai shopping mall is quite accessible both via road and via Skytrain, with the closest stop being the Ekkamai BTS Skytrain Station. If you are staying at a boutique hotel in Bangkok like the many found in the Sukhumvit area such as Maitria Hotel Sukhumvit 18, a trip to the mall by road should take you around twenty minutes or less. Once you get to the mall, go up to the second floor of the shopping centre to find your destination.

Flight Experience Bangkok boasts two separate flight simulators and offers an unbelievably authentic flying experience for patrons aged five and upwards! Although the half-hourly and hourly sessions do cost a pretty penny, they are comparatively cheaper to similar counterparts in European countries and in the land down under (i.e. Australia). So it’s worth forking out the dough for such an experience during your Thailand holiday as opposed to one in a western country. For those of you who have always dreamed of piloting an aircraft and being at the helm of a plane that is of a similar size to the Boeing 737, this is your chance to live out your dream, minus all the pesky requirements involved in actually going out and working towards getting a pilot’s license. Or for those who do plan to do exactly that one day, this is a great opportunity to get a taste of flying and confirm that it is a career path that you would actually like to commit to.

A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, Joanna James ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought. Her interests include Politics, law and Philosophy. Google+

Puri Saren Royal Palace; A cultural fortalice.

The Puri Saren Royal Palace, also known as the Ubud Palace is a historical building complex located in Ubud. Famously known as the focal attraction of Ubud, this is the official residents of the royal family of Ubud. Built by the late lordship of Ida Tjokorda Putu Kandel, this is a charming complex of unique architecture and tasteful garden design.

At the northern end the palace is the Monkey Forest road. The Ubud Palace is considered a convenient stopover, as it is strategically surrounded by the Ubud Art Market, various local and international restaurants just a few steps away along the main Jalan Raya Ubud especially if you are lodging in rooms and villas in Ubud, to catch all the city’s got to offer provided by the many hotels rooted in the area such as COMO Uma Ubud.
The forward-facing area of the palace is accessible for viewing to the public. Photographs of the complimentary times are displayed on the sides, which can be viewed via walkthroughs. A local guide will be available to educate you on the major historical milestones of the palace and answer your queries.
It is comprised of a performance stage with a backdrop of angkul-angkul traditional gate and guardian statues. The premises are famous for the wonderful Balinese arts and striking evening dance performances with gamelan orchestras. The tickets for these performance shows will usually be sold in the evening, so be sure to catch a show on your visit there.
While serving as a cultural repository of Balinease art, dance and literature, the palace also hosts various international events such as the opening ceremonies of the annual Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in its meeting halls and stage.
Do keep in mind when visiting; to not touch the historical artefacts as they are fragile and delicate.

Intrigued by history, art and food, Lavinia Woolf is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary and writes of the exhilarating and enchanting. Google+

Bird Watching Spots in Sri Lanka – Feathery Affair

crane, birds in sri lanka

Crane (Bird) | Photo by nuzree via Pixabay , CC0 Public Domain

The bird population of Sri Lanka range from those that are endemic to the island to some of those that are migratory. Bird watching in Sri Lanka is a popular activity among wild life enthusiasts. One of the areas that is famous is Dambulla and it’s near by bird watching hubs such as Habarana and Sigiriya forests. The surrounding lush green tropical forests are a great place to explore the beaks and feathers within them. There are several eco friendly accommodation options within the areas that are great for one to getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. They often also provide facilities to explore the surroundings such as organizing excursions and bird watching tours as well as safaris,one such hotel is Kalundewa Retreat.

The tropical climate and the presence of wetlands that surround the bird sanctuaries make Sri Lanka a great location in South Asia for bird watching. There are well over 400 species of birds that can be observed across various locations of the country. 23 out of them are endemic to the country. Most of the species that are endemic to Sri Lanka can be found around the wetlands and mostly concentrated around the hill country. They are often seen throughout the year.

In the areas in and around Dambulla, such as the Sigiriya forest Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill one could spot birds such as Sri Lanka Jungle fowl, Sri Lanka Green Pigeon, Sri Lanka Woodshrike ,Malabar Pied Hornbill , Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher among many others. Migratory birds often come to Sri Lanka during the winters in the Europe and Soviet countries hence it is worthwhile to have a look at the season before heading out on one of the tours. The month of December has been declared as the National Bird Month. There are also a handful of bird sanctuaries spread across various parts of the island.

Intrigued by history, art and food, Lavinia Woolf is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary and writes of the exhilarating and enchanting. Google+

YALA NATIONAL PARK – A HAVEN TO LIVE FREE

Yala National Park

Yala National Park, Img. Src:[Jetwing Eco Holidays]

The Yala National Park is the second largest National Park in Sri Lanka and lies in the south eastern part of the island and stretches from the Southern Province to the Eastern Province. Yala consists of five blocks including Ruhuna National Park (block 1) and the Kumana National Park (Yala East). Yala was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1900 and then a National Park in 1938. This is also a historic area and the ancient sites of Sithulpauwa (once home to 12,000 Arahaths) and the Magul Maha Viharaya (associated with Queen Vihara Maha Devi) is within the area. Two of the earliest mentions of Yala is made by a Spanish cartographer Cipriano Sanchez (1560). A big attraction of Yala is that it is leopard country and has one of the world’s highest densities for leopards. This and the other attractions of Yala make it a prime destination for Sri Lanka tour packages and if you are looking for adrenaline rush wildlife experiences with comfort and convenience then Jetwing Eco Holidays would be a good choice.

The variety of eco systems within Yala including moist, monsoon, semi-deciduous and thorn forests, grasslands, marine wetlands and sandy beaches. Forty four species of mammals roam this vast sanctuary including elephants, sloth bear, wild boar,monkeys, red slender loris, golden palm civet and deer. Yala is one of the 70 important bird areas in Sri Lanka with Kumana (Yala East) being a bird watchers’ paradise. Of the 215 bird species recorded at Yala 07 are endemic to Sri Lanka and include the Sri Lanka grey hornbill and Sri Lanka jungle fowl. Many migrants fly here including the white billed pelican. The grey heron and black headed ibis are among the common water birds while rare species include the black necked stork.

All five of the globally endangered turtles (leather back, Olive Ridley, logger head, hawks bill and green turtle) nest along the Yala coastline. The mugger crocodile is another inhabitant of Yala. Eighteen species of amphibians and 21 species of fresh water fishes also inhabit Yala.

 

Intrigued by history, art and food, Lavinia Woolf is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary and writes of the exhilarating and enchanting. Google+