Experience Sri Lanka without breaking the bank – Pro tips

The Pearl of the Indian Ocean is a precious island in the shape of a jewel. The island itself is a treasure trove of beauty, culture and history. There are numerous historical landmarks and lovingly preserved relics everywhere and there is so much to see! Here are a few tips for you so that you too can experience this lovely island without denting your savings.

Eat the local food

Sri Lankan cuisine is delicious! Primarily centred around rice and curries, all the savoury dishes are made using coconut milk and fresh, aromatic spices. A meal would typically cost you less than 5 USD and even if you go to a local restaurant, it is only 15 USD including table service. The fancier, western-style food here is what will cost you a lot but it’s not worth it, especially when the local food is out straight up to God’s food.

Accommodation

If you’re a solo traveller or a backpacker, many hostels and guest houses charge around 6 USD per night; you can’t go wrong with that price as you get a bed, mosquito net, shower, and a fan. Worrying too much about accommodation is not recommended because you can get amazing food and everything else you need for so cheap. However, if you’re travelling with your family or want to treat yourself to a nice vacation, investigate less travelled areas such as Kalutara; resorts are relatively easier to book. There are so many rooms, suites, and villas to choose from at places such as the Avani Kalutara Resort.

Image via Avani Kalutara Resort

Getting around on the island

Conveniently, there is a bus from Colombo Fort Bus Station to the airport leaving every 30mins. It costs less than 10 USD and is the cheapest way to get to and from the airport. Getting from major cities to other destinations is easiest by train. It is cheap and the routes are very scenic. If you want to travel within a city tuk-tuks are your best bet! Seriously, these tiny taxis are a quintessential Sri Lankan experience that you must have.

What’s there to see?

If you have the time, go everywhere! Although the north suffered decades of civil war, they’re rebuilding and re-energizing which is an amazing feat that must be witnessed. The southern parts of the country are serene and beautiful with azure blue beaches, rainforests with magic in the air. The hill country is enchanting on its own with a different vibe and energy from the rest of the island. It truly is a beautiful country with so many diverse experiences all a few hours away from each other.

DIY Travel guide – Phan Nga, Thailand

Khao Lak is the perfect place to be if you want to relax peacefully without tourists and crowds lurking around. Unsullied by humans, this region of Thailand has many enchanting locations that you must visit at least once if you’re in Thailand. You can enjoy a spectacular skyline with mountains and see sunsets against the Andaman Sea.

How to get there

It is fairly easy to get to Khao Lak from any part of Thailand. Phuket is only an hour’s drive away. Out of the three population centres in Khao Lak, Bang La On is the best place for visitors because it is the most tourist-oriented. There are many food outlets, convenience stores and even McDonalds.

Where to stay

You can find many places to stay in Khao Lak. Since this area of the country is less “touristy” and more “Thai” you can find charming places for your vacation in Khao Lak Thailand. Resorts the likes of Avani+ Khao Lak Resort are also available if you’re looking for a more luxurious option.

Image via Avani+ Khao Lak Resort

White Sand Beach

This is a calm, serene strip of beach in Khao Lak. If you visit during the off-season, you’ll find that you’re the only person on the whole beach. It is recommended that you hire a motorbike and stay at the beach for as long as possible and make sure to catch the beautiful sunset.

Bamboo Rafting

Bamboo rafting down a river surrounded by pristine forests is an amazing experience. You can get a local tour guide to organize the trip for you and make sure that it is someone who knows the area well. It is a 30 min ride downstream and you get to stop for a swim as well.

The perfect laid-back holiday – Krabi, Thailand

The best holidays are not the ones where you went to the most popular places or the most expensive ones; it’s those trips where you shared happy memories with your family, friends and loved ones with good food, great views and lots of love. Thailand is a very popular tourist destination famed for the gorgeous sunny islands and crystal blue waves. The country is brimmed with visitors no matter what time of the year so it can be hard to find a secluded, less busy spot for you to truly have that intimate experience. No worries – Krabi, Thailand is not a mainstream destination, but it still is one of the most beautiful places in the country. This guide aims to give a few tips about the best attractions and activities there.

Where to stay?

The most important part of any vacation is finding accommodation. You must be able to relax and enjoy a happy, safe time with your family. Luckily for you, there are many Ao Nang hotels that fit every kind of budget and offer amazing amenities such as swimming pools, spas and even diving excursions. If you want to splurge a little and treat yourselves to a fancy villa experience, resorts such as Avani Ao Nang Cliff Krabi Resort is a good option to consider.

Image via Avani Ao Nang Cliff Krabi Resort 

Getting to Krabi

It is super easy to get to Krabi as there is an International Airport there. However, if you’re arriving from another part of Thailand such as Phuket you can travel here by bus, and it only takes a few hours. There are also ferry services easily available to and from Krabi. Once you arrive at Krabi you can easily get to all your activities as there are many transport options available. If you’re only going to Krabi for one day, the most fun and quick way to get here is to catch a speedboat from Phuket.

The beauty of Krabi

Nicknamed the “Emerald of the Andaman” Krabi is a haven of natural beauty and breathtakingly fresh views. The unspoiled and secluded beaches are surrounded by tall limestone rocks and there are many caves, waterfalls and unique rock formations all along the graceful coastline. If you’ve read Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Krabi is very much like that gorgeous island Pi and Richard Parker wound up in; the only difference is that Krabi doesn’t eat you at night.

Things to do here

Most people come here to relax and enjoy a peaceful stay exploring the beautiful beaches and natural beauty. But there are great activities for tourists that are based on eco-tourism concepts. The most common and exciting excursion anyone can try is snorkelling. You can book a snorkelling day trip ahead of time and spend an entire day exploring the reefs, fish and Krabi’s diverse marine life in the offshore islands.

Phuket Experiences and Expeditions to Cherish

A vacation in Phuket is not just a walk by the beach. The city offers a bundle of exciting activities to tourists that are not only limited to the tropics of the island. Phuket is historically, naturally and artistically rich in its offerings to society, and a trip to this astonishing city should not miss these experiences.

Полина Славянская, Музей Thai Hua, CC BY 3.0

A History Like No Other

A walk down memory lane to Phuket’s incredible history will be an astounding experience. While Thailand had the fortune of being exempted from European colonisation, the country was a hub to begin new lives for many Portuguese, Dutch, British and French immigrants. This resulted in Thai culture, cuisine and architecture being infused into European forms, creating the perfect fusion of Western and Southeast Asian practices.

Visits to The Museum

Located less than an hour away from Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas, the Thai Hua Museum is a Sino-Portuguese building that houses stories from the past of Phuket. The exhibitions and documentary screenings at the museum will give you an insight into the Phuket-China connection spanning back to the days of the 13th century. Most tourists staying at Phuket resorts pick the Thai Hua Museum as their first stop out of many sites to explore and admire.

Dive Into A World of Art

The dynamics and vibrant colours of contemporary brushstrokes define modern art in Thailand. Phuket is a shelter for both local and global art for those who appreciate it. Make sure to make pit stops at galleries like Patong Inn Art, The Phuket Gallery, Kampon Art Gallery and most importantly at the Wua Art Gallery, which is owned by local artist, Mr Zen.

A Wildlife Expedition

A sanctuary to over 10% of the fauna of the world, Thailand hosts more than 285 mammal species in their natural habitats. Khao Phra Thaeo National Park, Khao Sok National Park, Sirinat National Park and Similan Islands National Park are undoubtedly some of the top places to visit to get a glimpse of the terrestrial and aquatic animal lives of the country.

A guide to navigating the Whistler Valley Trail

Enjoying the Whistler Valley Trail is something that every traveller would do during his/her holiday spent in Vancouver.

Holidaying in Vancouver

If you are visiting Vancouver, a few days at a Whistler ski resort is probably on your itinerary. Whether you chose to stay at Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre or any other resort in the area here are a few things to keep in mind.

Know where each trail leads

First light on the Valley trail opposite Nordic |Image via Unsplash

The whistler valley trail consists of over 40 km of road that leads to different beautiful destinations depending on which direction you head to. For example, a hike leading to the North will take you to either Rain Park or one of the two lakes (Green and Lost). Each of these locations comes with unique views and a range of nature-based activities that you can indulge in.

Find out where you can stop and relax on the way

There are stops on the way to these destinations which can be used to rest, eat, or even enjoy a nice drink. Several smaller places on the way also offer snacks and coffee to visitors.

Pick an ideal location for your activities

The Southern stroll that leads to Whistler Creekside provides easy access for skiers to make their way to the mountain. Most of the other destinations provide nice running loops to get in a morning jog or run.

Exploring Enchanting Whistler

Nestled at the base of the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains in Canada, Whistler offers plenty of thrilling year-round experiences; here are some of the highlights that await.

Skiing & Snowboarding

Amongst the most popular places for skiing and snowboarding in North America, the two mountains provide action-packed excitement on the slopes with over 200 runs on offer. Those staying at a Whistler hotel can easily access these areas, while the Whistler Blackcomb Snow School offers all the training first-timers will need.

PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola

Peak 2 peak gondola,Whistler|Image by Max Brinton via Unsplash

Enjoy a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the area on the record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, just a short walk from Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside. Linking the two mountains, this famed gondola ride offers incredible vistas of glaciers, rainforests and volcanic peaks as well as provides access to plenty of hiking trails.

Adventure Activities

For some adrenaline-pumping adventures in summer, the Whistler Mountain Bike Park with its downhill trails is not to be missed. Still, craving more? You can also enjoy bobsleighing at the Whistler Sliding Centre, ziplining over Fitzsimmons Valley, white water rafting on the Elaho-Squamish River and bungee jumping over Cheakamus River!
Blackcomb Ascent Trails

The Blackcomb Ascent Trails

When summer comes, you can access the three interconnected Blackcomb Ascent Trails amidst spellbinding natural beauty. Gaining an elevation of 1,200 metres and covering 6.2 km in total, the trails take you through a coastal rainforest, with the last section providing mesmerising vistas near the Blackcomb Mountain summit.

Exploring Nurai Island, Adu Dhabi – A sun-drenched paradise

To the east of the Abu Dhabi coastline, you find the Zaya Nurai Island (known as the Nurai Island commonly). It’s the place you need to visit in the UAE for a peaceful and relaxing getaway.

Getting to Nurai Island

Where are you from? If you are from Anantara Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi Hotel, you just have to take a 15-min boat ride to come to this hidden paradise. If you are from Dubai, it’s a journey of 1 hour.

Image by S T from Pixabay

Operating hours

This sun-drenched island is open every day from 11.00 am to 11.00 pm. Its restaurants are open to serve you anytime, but make sure you book them in advance. It’ll be easier for you as well as for them.

For whom is this island?

Nurai Island is for everyone. While it offers the best for couples who are on romantic getaways and families who are on family getaways with kids, it’s also great for solo travellers.

What to expect?

The best thing about Nurai Island is its serenity and the uninterrupted views of the Arabian Gulf. Everything about the island is great including the garden scapes, beaches, and architectural buildings. Indeed, the best things to do in Abu Dhabi are here!

Best Places to Picnic in Melbourne

As the demand for al fresco dining increases, picnics have become fashionable again! Here are some of the all-time favourite local spots for a picnic.

Royal Botanic Gardens

Nestled on the outskirts of the city on approximately 100-acre land is the popular Royal Botanic Gardens. Throw your blanket next to a historic building – or, even better, on the banks of the Yarra River.

Neil Parley, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne – panoramio (4)CC BY 3.0

St Kilda Botanical Gardens

Located within an 11-minute drive from properties like WRAP on Southbank via State Route 3 is St. Kilda Botanical Gardens. These gardens have charming lawns overlooking an ornamental pond. You could even have some fun on their massive chessboard after eating.

Lysterfield Park

Home to a gorgeous lake with striking views, Lysterfield Park is a splendid location for a picnic – there are a plethora of places to settle cosily with your basket of treats.

Werribee Park Formal Garden

During your stay at one of the Melbourne CBD hotels, you could head down to Werribee Park Formal Garden. Here, you could easily find a place to comfortably have your picnic thanks to its well-maintained grounds and shaded spots.

Namibia’s Skeleton Coast: Explore the ‘End of the Earth’

One of the loneliest stretches of shorelines in Africa, Skeleton Coast is one of the few untouched wilderness regions in Nambia. If you think you can stomach its evocative atmosphere, it is indeed a must-visit area during a holiday spent at one of the hotels in Namibia the likes of Avani Windhoek Hotel & Casino.

Location

Skeleton Coast can be found on the distant northwestern portion of Namibia. It is part of the northern Namib Desert and most of it is protected by the eponymous national park.

Image by juls26 from Pixabay

Meaning Behind Name

Skeleton Coast most likely received its name due to the number of whale and human skeletons as well as the remains of ships that could be found scattered along its shoreline.

Attractions

Swakopmund is the southern gateway to the Skeleton Coast. It lies toward the south of the National West Coast Tourist Recreation Area that runs northward toward the Ugab River Mouth starting from the Swakop River.

Sand Dunes

Wherever you go on the Skeleton Coast, you’ll be met with sand dunes – an integral part of this region’s landscape.

Thai Phrases to Learn Before Your Visit

While those who do not speak Thai can fully enjoy a holiday in Thailand, it always helps to know some local phrases to use with the people you meet.

“Khap” and “Kha”

Before getting into phrases to use be it in Bangkok or at a hotel Khon Kaen has to offer, you need to differentiate between “Khap” and “Kha”. They are used at the end of sentences and denote a sign of respect; the main thing to keep in mind is that “Khap” is only used by male speakers and “Kha” only by females.

Typical Greeting

From meeting locals to interacting with staff at properties like Avani Khon Kaen Hotel & Convention Centre, the greeting you should learn is “Sawasdee”, which is the equivalent of “hello”. As mentioned, depending on the gender, the ending will differ; males will say “Sawasdee Khap” and females, “Sawasdee Kha”.

Image by press 👍 and ⭐ from Pixabay

General Phrases

Also learn phrases such as “Sabai Dee Mai?” which is like asking “how are you?”, “Khop Khun Khap / Kha” the equivalent of “thank you” and “Mai Pen Rai” when you need to say “you’re welcome”. This phrase can also come in handy; say “Haawng Naam Yuu Tee Nai?” when you need to find the bathroom!

Other Phrases

Here are some other phrases that can be useful on your travels in Thailand; keep in mind, a big part of conversing here is to be polite and non-confrontational too.

• Ni Tao Rai? – How much is this?
• Paeng – Too costly
• Mai Khao Jai – I don’t understand
• Aroy – Delicious
• Kor Tot – Excuse me