Why Sri Lanka should be your next destination

The tropical island nation of Sri Lanka has long excited travellers as an alternative to the hustle and bustle of the big cities of India and the tourist beaches of Thailand, when planning a visit to South East Asia.  With a history dating back to the birth of time, the country offers a picturesque getaway where the original soul of Buddhism still flourishes and where nature’s beauty remains abundant and unspoilt.

Few places in the world can offer the traveller such a remarkable combination of stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage and unique experiences within such a compact location.  After a relaxing 3 week vacation over the Christmas holidays, I was hooked.  Coastline, tea estates, wildlife, botanical gardens, waterfalls and more dot the landscape of this abundant yet small country.  If you think you’ve done South East Asia after a trip to Phuket, you are sorely mistaken.

I’ve highlighted some photos from my trip.  Going to Sri Lanka? Message me if you’d like any more information or have any questions about travelling in the country.  Enjoy!

Pristine Beaches

sri lanka, travel, south east asia, coast, beaches

sri lanka, travel, south east asia, coast, beaches

Overwhelming Botanical Gardens

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Market Life

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sri lanka, travel, south east asia, coast, beaches

Timeless Culture

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Travel Snapshots: Egypt

A trip to the Pyramids is on everyone’s bucket list, as it should be. But the excitement and buzz of Cairo is equally as impressive as the Pyramids themselves. A city rich in history and culture, with the calm, peaceful Nile running through an otherwise busy,chaotic city. The perfect contrast.egypt, cairo, tourism, travel egypt, cairo, tourism, travel

Egypt, Cairo, travel, tourism Egypt, Cairo, travel, tourism Egypt, Cairo, travel, tourism

Weekly Travel Snapshots: Budapest

Budapest, Hungary

On the first night in Budapest, I had a chance to play around with some photography and came up with these.  Enjoy.

budapest, hungary, europe, travel

budapest, hungary, europe, travel

budapest, hungary, europe, travel

Off season travel: What to know

travel, off season, low season, holiday

 

My latest trip saw my company and I on a Christmas work weekend away in Marbella, Spain in the beginning of December. Coming from cold London to the mild 60 degree weather in Spain was amazing, and the holiday for my company was pretty affordable considering the season. This got me thinking. We so often focus all of our efforts in getting to our final destination in the prime travel season, but what about the off season? What are the pros and cons, and is it ever worth it?

Let me know what you think. Here’s what I’ve picked up on my travels:

Pros:

1. Cheaper hotel stays and more availability for upgrades
2. Less people around, including tourists
3. Can get better deals from street vendors and/or restaurants and bars depending where you are going
4. More affordable flights

In general, you can save a lot of money by travelling in the off season, from hotels and flights to deals from restaurants and bars. There are usually less tourists around, giving you a more local feel of the place and taking away the overwhelming and crowded feel you’ll usually have in the high season.

Cons:

1. Depending on how seasonal the destination is, there could be a lot of shops and restaurants closed
2. Less people around- I put this on both lists because sometimes people help create a vibe in a city making the trip more exciting, while sometimes it can be too overwhelming
3. Weather can be less than ideal in the off season- such as the rainy season in South East Asia or summer in the Middle East and North Africa
4. Opening hours of visitor attractions might be more limited

Sometimes, even though you’ll be saving a lot of money, the experience just won’t be the same as travelling in high season. If you’re heading to the beach, no matter what, you’ll want to head there when it’s sunny and warm – just a fact. Ski trip? You’ll want to be there when the weather conditions are perfect. This makes off season travel only a plausible option when you’re a bit more open ended about what you’re hoping to achieve. Just looking to getaway on a city break for a weekend? This might be a better option for off season travel.

All in all, each destination and trip is different. Some options are more viable than others in the end. Hope you’ve found this useful – would love feedback!

Top 5 things to do in Amsterdam

1. Ride a bike- While you may have spent plenty of time cycling around in your hometown, nothing quite compares to a cycle around Amsterdam.  Scenic canals are only just the start.  Unlike the security measures taken to locking up your bike in big cities like London, here you can just leave it outside the shop while you do your own thing for a bit.  Separate bike lanes that don’t mesh with pedestrians or vehicles on the road, make this an enjoyable activity for anyone visiting the city.

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2. Visit the Sex Museum- Oh, you knew it was coming.  When in Rome..I say.  Go on and visit, if only to realise just like everything else in this world that there is an in-depth history of sex as it spans across the ages and countries of the world.

3. The Anne Frank Museum- You’ve read the book, you’ve watched the movies, but nothing compares to visiting the museum where it all happened.  A well laid out museum with mementos and enough pieces in their original places to feel like she was there just yesterday.  Well worth a visit.

4. Canal tour- What better way to enjoy the city than by canal cruise.  With so much of the cities life centring on these beautiful, tranquil places, I find it is the best place to truly feel like a local.  Either take a canal tour around the city, or spend some time at one of the cafes or coffee shops along the canals and watch time slowly go by.

Canals of Amsterdam

5. The Van Gogh Museum- I’m starting to realise there are a few museums on this list, but I promise all of them offer something completely different to the next.  As the most visited museum in the Netherlands and the 30th most visited museum worldwide, any art lover is sure to find something of interest here.

Have any to add to the list?  Comment below!

Winter walks in Cambridge

As lovely as London is, sometimes the best scenery can be found just a few hours drive out of the city and into the English countryside. Cambridge, dating back to the 12th century, is so much more than just a University town. Equally as beautiful in the summer and winter, Cambridge has everything a tourist could want out of an English town- nice pubs, cobblestoned streets, history, beautiful parks and a young buzz stemming from the youth of the University pupils milling about. A highly recommended trip outside of London.

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My Top 5 beaches

While I am not the type of person to spend my yearly annual leave sitting on beaches doing nothing all day, I can definitely appreciate the appeal.  Having said that, on my travels I’ve come across some rather beautiful beaches that made me stop and hang around for awhile.  Whether it’s a romantic vacation with a partner, a girls weekend getaway, or even a solo trip, beaches have an amazing way of making you stop and feel just a little insignificant.  Make you feel a little bit like your problems aren’t really as big as you think they are, and that you are just but one small person in a great, wide world.  That’s the best part.  On that note, in no particular order……

1. Hawaii
While this does seem like an obvious first choice, the beaches in Hawaii really don’t compare to anywhere else.  Explaining my experience on this beach is always a pleasure to tell.  Black sand from the mixture of hot lava and sea water give the beaches on the Big Island an almost mystical feel.  Couple that with a trek of an hour or two to even get to the beach, and another 2 hour trek to get off the beach, this has to be one of the most remote locations I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

Hawaii-6

2. Costa Rica
So this beach doesn’t look too amazing, until I point out that it was the private beach of our $8 a night hostel, and when visited by my friend and I, we had the place entirely to ourselves.  Peace and quiet never looked so good.  The adventure getting there was equally as enjoyable- through rainforest like surroundings.

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3. Sri Lanka
When looking through all my beach photos from the past years, the abundance of beautiful beach pictures I wanted to share from Sri Lanka could have made up this entire post.  From fishing villages, to port towns, big cities, and quiet forgotten seasides, Sri Lanka has the best beaches of any variety anywhere I’ve seen.  Highlights included a bungalow with a first row seat practically on the beach, where breakfast was served every morning.  So while sipping on coffee and eating toast, you had a prime view of baby turtles riding the waves in with their mothers to feast on the morning grub.  Unbelievable.

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4. South Africa
Where do I even begin?  Some of the most dramatic beaches I have ever seen have been right at the tip of South Africa in Cape Town.  Nowhere else I’ve been has had such a dramatic landscape.  Completely flat beaches with white sand seem to sandwich in between rough, colossal waves to the front and towering, steep mountains behind.  While this picture is lovely, the best view I had was actually hanging off of Table Mountain while abseiling.  One of the top views of my life.

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5. North Carolina, USA
Travelling the world has brought me to some amazing destinations, but my first true beach love will always be North Carolina.  Growing up two hours from the coast, I will always have a special place in my heart for these beaches.  From building sand castles as a kid, to 4 wheeling and camping on Kure beach on a Friday night as a teenager – beaches of NC have always hit the spot.

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