Chaaya Blu Trincomalee, Sri Lanka.

When planning my trip, I was recommended to head to Trincomalee for a beautiful stay Chaaya Blu. True enough, it was amazing boasting a pool leading right up to the beach. Apart from the fact year-end travel isn’t exactly the best of time for good waters, Chaaya Blu is definitely worth staying a night or two at.

Trincomalee isn’t like the busier areas of Sri Lanka i.e. Sigiriya/Kandy and instead is a beach town. One of those places to wind down, spend some time just chilling by the waters or catch up with the folks.

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The inviting pool to laze and enjoy the sea breeze. 

All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.

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Rest of Sigiriya, explored.

I blogged quite some time back on Lion’s Rock, Sigiriya, so let me pick up from where I left off to continue my tales.

I stayed at Hotel Sigiriya which boasts the Lion’s Rock as an excellent backdrop against the swimming pool of the hotel. It was a lovely stay and the buffet spread (both for breakfast and dinner) was excellent. I highly recommend this hotel, except, please remember to close the windows when the sun sets, otherwise you will be greeted with an insect-fest when you return from dinner.

Kottu Roti (chopped up Roti Prata)

Apart from scaling the Lion’s Rock, I enjoyed our Village Safari visit very much. It comprised of home-cooked lunch (in literally a hut), boat ride, visit to a local’s home, bullock cart ride and ended of our experience with either a jeep safari ride/tuk-tuk ride.

Lunch in preparation.

 Probably one of the best meals ever. I still remember how fresh the Dhal tasted. 

 Water dispenser, i.e. tap

My entire boat ride clan. 

I had to give it a try. (just for photo-sake)

Spotted a traveller, who looked rather amusing, along our boat ride.

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SAMSUNG CSCHands on with coconut grating in a local’s home.

Ready, set, chug?

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We then, ended off the evening with a short trip to Polonnaruwa (Ancient City). Polonnaruwa was the second capital of Sri Lanka after the destruction of Anuradhapura. Was a pity we only had slightly over an hour to explore the ruins before the sun set. I recommend at least half a day to explore this marvel thoroughly.

 Sometimes, there is beauty even in destruction. 

Keep on walking with me, as I unravel my other adventures in Sri Lanka.

Till then, Ayubowan.

All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.

Lion’s Rock, conquered.

The only way to get by the first weekend of 2014 is by reliving moments from my December travel to Sri Lanka with the family. I’m glad Sigiriya was my planned early in my 10 day trip as it set the tone right for the rest of my travel.

The highlight of Sigiriya for me was climbing the Lion’s Rock. Despite, the rain that dampened our spirits as we started our ascend up on the 1200 steps, it was a memorable and tiring 2 hour climb.  The entrance fee for this 200m rock fortress is about USD 30.

SAMSUNG CSCView of Lion’s Rock from the hotel – Hotel Sigiriya

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1/3 way up, there are images of ladies covering the western face of the rock over an area about 140m length. These frescoes have been dated back to the Anuradhapura period, given the unique painting style. The true identity of the ladies in these frescoes still have not been confirmed. There are various ideas about their identity. Some believe that they are the wives of the king, while some think that they are women taking part in religious observances.

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This point from the foot of the lion’s paw, marks the remaining 300 steps left for you to reach the summit. The nature of ascend also varies from this point from gravel to metal which might be relatively easier to climb. But, do note, it might be slippery if it has just rained.

DSC_0413Ancient palace pool

As the rain had cleared not too long ago when we reached the summit, the sky was still pretty foggy and misty which explains the poor background in the photos.

DSC_0405The entire group on the 1200th step

Tired feet, aching calves, bad weather but happy smiles for accomplishing this feat together.

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Being a World Heritage Site listed by UNESCO it is no wonder that Sigiriya is one of the most visited historic site in Sri Lanka. As such, no matter which period of the year you visit, it is going to be crowded with people from all over the globe.

Things to note when climbing:

1. Always have an umbrella or poncho with you as the weather can be unpredictable. You don’t want to be caught unprepared do you?

2. Be prepared for the wildlife – monkeys and/or hornets.

3. There are helpers to assist your climb. But, be sure to tip them about USD 20 for their help.

4. It might get slightly chilly when the winds blow as you are closer to the summit. So, you might want to bring along a sweater just in case.

5. Wear comfortable shoes. Trust me, slippers are a no-go.

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With that, you are ready for your ascend. Good luck and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Highly recommend doing this climb.

My other adventures in Sigiriya coming up soon. Keep watching this space.

All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.

Travels for the year 2013!

2013 saw me travelling quite a fair bit. Bali, Melbourne, Sydney, Cambodia  Penang, Yogyakarta and then concluding the year with Sri Lanka. My highlight, of course, will be overcoming my inhibitions and attempting my first solo travel to Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Although, it was a short 4D3N, the trip taught me a lot on solo travelling.

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Sunset at Seminyak beach, Bali

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Post lunch smiles, Bali

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Kuta Beach, Bali

Bali, May 2013: A 3-night getaway with a couple of friends. Beach, sunset and laughter over cocktails. Got ourselves inked only for it to last not more than an hour. Also, my slippers that almost sailed away in the waters while at Tanah Lot. Oh, the fun times.

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Mt Buller Ski Resort, Melbourne

Melbourne, June 2013: A week of adventures with the sister. Tried out skiing for the first time. Amidst all the crashings and butt-aches was a memorable stay at Mt Buller. Watched 3 movies over the span of a week I was there. Felt like a local rather than a tourist. No surprises there, given my frequency in visiting Australia. Myriad of asian cuisine range conquered: Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese. Survived -10 degrees for 30 minutes in Chill On Bar. Relived bits of our childhood watching Circus Oz.

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Sydney Harbour Bridgeclimb: Check!

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Skydiving: CHECK!!

Sydney, August 2013: Sole purpose of this last minute travel was to conquer the Harbour Bridge Climb. Ended up, I conquered one of my biggest fears as well – tandem skydiving! At times, I still cannot digest the fact I went through with this decision. Plus given the fact I was alone, I must be quite brave I think. After all that adrenaline rush, spent the next 2 days in Manly just chilling. Manly is such a perfect beach town, you can just wake up, stumble into a coffee house and laze the day away, without feeling any tinge of guilt. Most spontaneous travel decision ever. And also, by far, my most favourite trip to Sydney.

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Ice ball making in process, Penang.

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Roadside chendol, Penang

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Street vendor selling banana pancakes, Penang

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Dim sum buffet for breakfast, Penang

Penang, October 2013: Nothing but a 3 day galore of food, food and more food. And I mean, GALORE. I’m sure my pictures are a testament to it.

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Borobudur, Yogyakarta

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Borobudur, Yogyakarta

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Borobudur, Yogyakarta

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The stranger who literally saved my life, Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta, November 2013: Highlight #1: My first (real) solo travel. Highlight #2: Catching sunrise at Borobudur which costed me nearly SGD 100. Was definitely worth it though. I won’t forget how I was almost stranded on Parangtritis Beach, 5 hours before my flight. The stranger (pictured above) showed me what kindness truly is and brought me back home for a nominal amount.

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Background of Sigiriya Rock from Hotel Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

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Scenic boat ride, Sri Lanka

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Footsteps in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

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Chaaya Blu Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

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The Golden Temple of Dambulla, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, December 2013: 10 days, 10 pax, clocked 1800km on the road. Truckloads of memories. Nothing beats the euphoria of scaling Sigiriya Rock (Lion’s Rock) despite the bad weather condition as we started our ascend. Waking up in Kandy at 6am to a full moon amidst the mist. Watching sunset at Galle. Will be doing up a full post on Sri Lanka very soon.

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Amidst all my travelling, I juggled a new job that has taught me so many things I love and hate about the real world. Obviously more hate, than love. But anyways.

Also, I decided to give accounting a shot and enrolled myself in ACCA. Have completed 3 papers till date.

Got myself a basic rock climbing certification.

Did a couple of runs. Conquered my first 10km at Sundown.

2013 has been by far the toughest year to get by. I’m glad I’m still surviving and standing strong. I recall that fateful span of 3 days in July where I lost 2 very dear people. There are days I just wanna crumble and disappear out of this world. The void is so indescribable that I have quit writing. But, there are other days I wanna live to make you’ll proud. Those days help me get by.

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I will live to make you proud.

I’m planning to march in to 2014 without any expectations whatsoever. I’m gonna quit wishing for things to happen and take things as they come along.

Keep writing your goals for the year ahead and, if necessary, re-write them as you go along. After all, we have got another year to get it right. Have a blessed year ahead folks!

Till we meet again,

December has arrived!

It’s slightly strange 2013 has been such a hard and trying year for the family and we are taken a vacation next week. I can’t exactly remember when we last took a (full) family trip, let alone have 8 others for company.

I guess I’ve learnt healing does not have to be a solitary process. You can heal together in comfort.

cbset5Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

December has arrived! The month of giving and receiving (year end bonuses and christmas gifts). So, let the exams begin and end soon. Thereafter, I can frolick in the waters of Trincomalee and watch sunset at Galle.