Monday, 30 July 2018

The Fast Lane - Colombo

Sri Lanka's Colombo is very much like India's Bombay, the fast city with developments happening rapidly. With the Chinese setting up Colombo as one of their main ports for trade, the nation is already beginning to be known as developing. Popular brands have begun to set up their stores in various locations in this city. Multinational organisations have begun to set up their space in the capital. A delight for tourist Colombo has plenty to offer. I was delighted with the city as I have a strong fondness towards the fast life. Colombo, has transited very well and today with the space available to them in the city they have hotels all over. Having experienced a luxurious resort in Bentota, we opted for a hotel in Colombo. I stayed in  hotel OZO  which is by the sea with a rooftop lounge and an infinity pool, it was surreal. Being an Indian, I could easily get Indian food here in many of the places which was very tasty and some of the restaurants here were owned and managed by Indians. A shoppers delight, the many malls in Colombo sell popular brands and are very well made. ODEL mall is Colombo is popular among tourists and is the perfect place to get a souvenir.  Casino's in Colombo are a cherry on the cake, added revenue to the government and mind blowing entertainment for all types of people. I was personally very attracted to the casino's in Colombo and had a satisfying experience, I along with my group visited casino Bally's and casino Marina to experience the various games and entertainments. Apart from the casino's here the nightlife is also very active with rooftop bars and various clubs of the 5 star hotels in the city. It was my first time, out of India and I had a satisfying experience to a foreign country. Of course, I have not visited all of the Island but with the places visited, I definitely recommend Sri Lanka to you.      

Monday, 23 July 2018

The Sri Lankan Triple Treat - Bentota, Hikkaduwa and Galle

With one of the longest palm lined beaches, eye catching sunsets, shallow waters suitable for water sports and Sinhalese hosts my stay in Bentota, Sri Lanka couldn’t get better. I visited Bentota prior to the monsoon season and was thrilled with its ridiculous beauty. With perfect weather, Bentota offered me luxury and a lot of rejuvenation along with some amazing cuisines made the Sinhalese way. Bentota, is easily accessible by road  and is a two hour drive from the Colombo Airport. There are plenty options to stay in the form of resorts and private villas, although slightly pricey. I was travelling with my cousins and we had opted for Eden Resort & Spa. Coincidentally, I was there on the Sinhalese New Year which made this peaceful location of Sri Lanka all the more tranquil! However, its neighboring town Hikkaduwa known as the party town in Sri Lanka was very contrary. Clubs and discotheques, small lanes, rented bikes, locker facilities at super markets and lots of alcohol availability is the basically what Hikkaduwa is all about. This town attracts a lot of outsiders and crowds here are mostly foreigners. Hikkaduwa in Sri Lanka can be compared exactly to what Goa is in India. Unbelievably true this part of Sri Lanka had suffered the massive tsunami and today it stands with a smile rebuilding itself to development and tourism. Budget accommodations are ample in Hikkaduwa. A lot of private villas are available to stay at this gorgeous location at decent affordable prices. One of the other popular places in the southern part of Sri Lanka which I visited was the city of Galle. Galle is a comprehensive package of diversification, founded by Portuguese colonials, structures built by the Dutch and British during their rule over Sri Lanka and of course today being mainly populated by local Sri Lankan's. The iconic Galle fort is a world heritage site and is definitely a spectacular sight, overlooking the Galle cricket stadium on one side with the sea on the other side splashing waves against the strong walls of this fort. On the fort road there were many cafes and restaurants with breathtaking sea views  that served all types of cuisines however, It was the perfect place to try the traditional Sri Lankan food. Sri Lankan food items such as appam, iddiyappam, dal, curry, kottu and kottu roti are absolutely delicious. Restaurants on the fort road and church street are a must visit in Galle. Also, for surfers in Galle there are many shacks where they could retreat with some tasty food and test the waves. Galle harbour, a natural harbour which is known to serve and provide facilities to many entertainment yachts. I would surely recommend this awesome trio of places to those travelling to the island for dynamic experiences in each of these unique locations. From serene sunsets to loud parties to delicious food and picturesque locations your Sri Lankan experience will surely be memorable.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Tranquil Goa!

The northernmost part of Goa is unlike the run of the mill Goa we all know. Beaches of Ashwem, Mandrem, Arambol and Querim comprise this side of the western state of India. White sand beaches and breath taking sunsets make this paradise look surreal! The crowd in this happy side of Goa is dominated by many foreigners especially Russians, you won’t be surprised to see menu cards of various shacks and restaurant written in Russian. In this side of Goa I experienced the most susegad kind of holiday. Lying under the scorching heat in one of the popular shacks of Querim beach, around me were many voyagers some were just waking up and getting into pancake craving mode, somewhere further groups of friends were playing music on their loudspeakers and enjoying the view, while elsewhere I could see some taking a morning power nap. Furthermore, at the other side I saw families have their day out with their children who were getting under the waves of the roaring beach in a very spirited way. The surfers were testing the waves with their skills and many couples were getting into the sea splashing water on each other and sharing laughter. The many restaurants on Mandrem beach are set up in an amazing way which would bring out the romantic best out of anybody. Luxurious restaurants and small wooden bridges made above what may look like small mangroves leading my feet to the warm white sand further leading to the turquoise blue water was one of my specific favourites in Goa. Ashwem and Arambol beaches are some of the more popular beaches with mixed crowds of foreigner and Indians.  Popular for its foods and beverages, cafes and shacks attract many here which serve all types of delicious cuisines with a lot of love and happiness. These beaches showed me many fishermen getting hold of their bounty. Oh I was in ‘paradise’ and I wished only if life was the same in the fast city from where I belong. Easily accessible from the capital city of Panjim by road and of course, once here you can always rent a bike to explore the various beaches and hidden gems. Accommodation available here is ample, from budget apartments and cottages to fancy resorts and villas. I had opted for FAB hotels reason being they are neat and clean with easy accessibility to many restaurants, super markets and beaches. I would recommend accommodation at any of the properties on Ashwem or Mandrem beach because of  a location advantage to restaurants, beaches and close proximity to super markets , ATM's and places where one can rent a bike. A must visit restaurant at Mandrem beach would be 'Lazy Dog' for its brilliant set up on the beach, delicious food and its very beautiful pool overlooking the sea. Another recommendation on Ashwem beach would be 'Rai Resort' with a lot of options on the menu card serving almost all cuisines, this resort located bang in front of the beach also offers accommodation. To have a complete experience of this ridiculously beautiful place one must spare at least a week from their regular life, come here and unwind. The night life here is ordinary but the essential feature of this place is dissolving into the beaches by running into the waves, taking naps of the beach beds and enjoying a super chilled mojito trust me that is how tranquil this place is! I recommend all who visit Goa to experience this side as it is 100% worth it.