Friday, June 17, 2016

Negambo - Sri Lanka

Back from my splendid 9 days South Africa tour, within the next few months, I decided to venture out on my own again (Solo Trip To Bangkok). With no clue whatsoever where I should head to, I spoke to a couple of travel agents (Vietnam & Cambodia). Ultimately, I was destined to the paradise of Sri Lanka in an all arranged affordable 7 days tour, inclusive of accommodation in 3 star hotels. Despite feeling guilty leaving behind my other half-half who definitely will be lonely without me (Perth & Turkey), I still eagerly departed (Travelling Solo When You Married). No hiccups whatsoever all the way to the airport, except I couldn’t understand why the Indian and Sri Lankan women kept staring at me when boarding and what’s with the two huge Sri Lankan men I sat alongside on board who wouldn’t stop grinning cheekily throughout the flight.  

Upon arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport, I was not surprised I had to answer a whole list of questions by immigration and customs. Always a norm whenever I travel alone, this time quite a lengthy one. Thankfully, the 4 Chinese Malaysians I will be touring with patiently waited outside the airport. Otherwise, I couldn't have imagined what would I have done. Anyway, counting my blessings, we quickly got into the van with the tour guide-cum-driver, prior to journeying for our first ever meal in Sri Lanka. While on the way, I told them what transpired at the airport. Customs officer thought RM500.00 is a lot of money to shop, also, local tour agent wasn't even aware I am one of them in this tour. Honestly, really a frustrating start, but anger soon vanished once we walked into the impressive and surrounded in a luscious garden St.Lachan Hotel.
Once we sat in the equally attractive dining area, we got to know each other while munching the crispy snack and pinched into the freshly baked bun. Amidst waiting for half an hour for the main meal, indeed worth the wait. We loved the royal like service whereby we just sat back and the waiter actually served us by putting rice, side dishes and curries on our plates. Also, once we tucked in, we couldn’t stop talking about this sumptuous authentic Sri Lankan food. Deliciousness. Home Style. Lotsa of spices, coconut milk and fresh seafood. Absolutely.

Truly, a marvelous promising meal, hopefully more will follow at other eateries, we then embarked on a city drive-through tour to the nearby places in Negambo - the second largest city in the Western province after Colombo, located at the lagoon-mouth and a major tourist destination for its history and lifestyle with thriving fishing industry. The first stop after twenty minutes was at the 140 years old St Mary’s Church. One of the biggest attraction and larger cathedrals in Sri Lanka, St. Mary’s Church is the biggest cathedral in Negombo and has a painted ceiling, as well as alabaster statues of various saints.

On this day, because a wedding will be commencing soon, we didn't feel comfortable walking into the church. So, logically, we stood at the entrance to quickly glimpse at the gothic columns, clean cream walls and religious depictions painted all across the ceiling. By 4pm, tour buddies were dropped off at Camelot Beach Hotel whereas I was booked into facing the busy narrow main road Paradise Holiday Village.
Bustling with Western tourists, I had to wait quite a while to collect my key, thereafter struggled with my big luggage and hand carried bag all the way to the second floor. Once I entered the room, I was utterly disappointed. Old furnitures, the thinnest mattress, pillows and blanket, noisy air-cond, just a small bar of soap in the bathroom, no kettle and wifi. 

In fact, resembling a dungeon room, though cleanliness was okay, I definitely didn’t want to stay put inside. Returning to the reception, as suggested by the male staff who also was getting frisky, I opted for a spa treatment with transport provided at Jasmine Villa Ayurveda Resort. Between the spa packages in this serene and traditional center, I opted for the stress reducing and tension relieving oil massage. Fantastic, but when it came to the sauna, within the next 10 minutes, I couldn’t take it because I felt claustrophobic lying in the coffin like wooden box sauna. I then showered, settled the bill and was transported back to the village.
From the almost finishing off buffet, I ate, went back to room, showered and just as I was about to call it a night, the male staff called to pester me to go out with him or to come over to my room. Feeling rather uncomfortable, I professionally told him I am too tired and then I slept off before checking over and over if I have locked the room. Thank god, I was save.  
Next morning, I was up by 5pm, got ready and walked to the 15 minutes away fishing village (Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Morning Market Penang, Fremantle WA Market & Fish Market Bergen Norway) Standing around at the shore while the sun was slowly rising and literally stared at by all the men, I braved myself and broke the ice by speaking to some of them in Tamil. Surprisingly, in return these nice guys explained about the fishing industry. 

An hour at the beach, I was back to the hotel for breakfast. By 9am, tour guide arrived with the 4 travel buddies to begin our second day by travelling to Kandy.  Negambo on the whole is a traditional village, nothing much, maybe I didn't really explore it, but certain you can rest back, stress free and just do nothing. Enjoy your moment in Negambo doing nothing basically. Its a place you can forget about work, eat, fresh sea catch is assure and maybe, search you soul for what you want out of life.  
To be continued………..

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  1. Beautiful Pictures, I liked the post, Have a nice day. . . :)

  2. Wow! They are still using sailboats there.

  3. hmmm...sounds kind of dangerous trip. Lucky you have the presence of mind to be cool and not entertain the male staff. how can he harass guest like that

  4. Beautiful post....and I feel Srilanka is much similar to Kerala :)

  5. Always a treat to read about your travels and the food!! Brave of you to go alone. Looking forward to your next post...

  6. looks like you had a lovely vacation

  7. I have always wanted to travel solo but really not comfortable with it at all... sometimes countries like ours and Sri Lanka can be dangerous... the pics are beautiful, hoping to read your other memoirs...

  8. I would love to visit Sri Lanka some day heard so much about it... The food looks yummy and the places u visited look great

  9. Beautiful pictures. Have fun :-)

  10. We were not able to cover this place during our visit, it looks like a good one except for the male staffs.

  11. Mmmm...... don't think I've been to Sri Lanka. I wouldn't travel there alone. You're real gungho, Nava! Have a great week, babe! xoxo

  12. Hmm that was very scary, room does not look good at all and the customs questions singles more ohhh..Glad u are safe at the end of it.


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