The first time I visited Sri Lanka, was on work and I was there for a very short duration. Yet, the beauty of that small country baffled me. I was put up at Colombo in a room facing the pristine clear ocean. I could see the clear sky and the blue water. The roads were well built and there was no speck of dirt at all. Yeah, coming from Bangalore, I was surprised to see such neat roads. The weather was calm and peaceful and it felt like a vacation even though I was there for business discussions. The best part about Sri Lanka is the currency. One Indian Rupee is approximately equal to 2.13 Sri Lankan Rupees. Yeah, more than double. The next best thing, is the food. Since India and Sri Lanka are neighboring countries, there is no much difference in the food. The spice and salt is accurate hence making everything almost edible. When you have lived in Africa for two months, you know how much edible food means to you. Plenty of Indian food is available in Sri Lanka, why, my five star hotel even served dosas. And finally the bestest thing about Sri Lanka is that it just an hour and a half away from Bangalore. I mean I can get to Colombo earlier than I can to Delhi, from Bangalore.
I had just started dating my then boyfriend, now husband and we were soon to be married. So I had decided in my mind that this would be my honeymoon destination. I wanted to explore more about this wonderful country and I wanted to come back with the man I love to share the beauty of this gorgeous city. It has plenty of wild life and is a dream for a nature and animal lover. After all, the explorer Marco Polo of the 12th century wrote that Sri Lanka is the finest island in the whole world and I wanted to witness the whole of it. I got married and the honeymoon destination was changed due to lack of funds. No, none of our relatives gifted us any travel vouchers. Sad na? Well, anyway, we did not want to burden our parents with the added financial responsibility. So we went to Goa instead. But Sri Lanka has always been on my mind and I shall travel there soon. Very soon.
I am an obsessive compulsive freak. To crazy extents. And if any aspect of my vacation goes haywire, I scream bloody murder. So I'm making a list of the things to do, places to visit and how to get there. Making lists give me a thrill and this was no less. I checked a lot of websites for help and finally found 'Skyscanner' that had answers to all my questions. The gist of my list is shown below for a week's visit.
1. How to get there?
~ Opened Skyscanner and searched for flights on the desired dates.
~ Booked 'Sri Lankan Airlines' for two and chose my seats.
~ Paid and received the acknowledgement and the tickets.
~ So now I had two return tickets from Bangalore to Sri Lanka.
~ Took print-outs (free from office) and was set.
2. What about the Visa?
~ Went here and filled in the details.
~ Made a payment and the visa was emailed to me in four days.
~ Took a print-out and packed my passport case along with the tickets.
3. Local Transport
~ Opened Skyscanner and clicked on Car Hire.
~ Entered the desired dates and type of vehicle.
~ Booked the vehicle for a week and received an acknowledgment along with the driver details.
~ Informed the driver to be available at the airport at touch down.
~ Opened Skyscanner and searched for hotels.
~ Selected the best hotels at awesome deals and booked them with a minimal advance.
~ Received acknowledgements saying that the payment has to be made on check-in.
~ Since most of the branded clothes are manufactured in Sri Lanka, I was keen on a lot of shopping.
~ This meant that I need to travel light to be able to accommodate my shopping bags in the luggage for the return journey.
~ The weather is pleasant during March there, no there is no need for warm clothes.
~ A few basics and toiletries and its done.
6. Places to visit
~ Yala National Park
~ Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
~ I am not exactly sure of the distance as such, hence I plan to get there and talk to the hotel manager about how to get to these places.
~ Based on the distance of each, I shall plan an itinerary for each day.
~ Inform the driver about the plan and make sure he is able to cover all the places.
7. Calling card
~ Get a calling card the minute you land there.
~ Do not waste money on international roaming.
~ Parents don't know how to use Skype, so calling card gets mandatory.
~ Do not convert currency at the airport. They do not give the actual exchange.
~ Change currency at the hotel. They give you the correct exchange rate as per the current day.
~ Carry enough local currency, in case of a sticky situation.
~ Do not carry all your money with you. A new country might have its muggers reserved for tourists. Better safe than sorry.
~ As much as possible, stick to what suits your palette.
~ Trying out new dishes might result in a stomach upset, upsetting your whole vacation.
~ Experiment with desserts and fruits.
~ Buy souvenirs for our close friends and family.
~ Chocolates from duty free.
~ Clothes for him and me.
~ Local spices and herbs.
~ Sri Lankan Dilmah tea.
~ Fridge magnets (I collect them from every country I visit)
~ A day before leaving indulge in a full body massage and spa at the hotel.
~ Leave the country relaxed. It helps build better memories.
Thanks to Skyscanner, the vital elements are taken care of. I can close my eyes and travel and finally get that honeymoon with my husband now.
This is my entry for the 'Travel Smart with Skyscanner' contest on Indiblogger.
All images are from Google.