Eat Travel

How I made the most of my Sri Lankan holiday with only 15,000 Pesos ($300)

January 24, 2017

Ah, paradise. Lying on the sun bed, with a coconut on one side, and my laptop on the other. Yes, I am currently writing about my Sri Lankan holiday in my Sri Lankan holiday. I am that excited, mostly inspired to share to the world (aka the five people who reads my blog) how amazing my trip went or is still going. That, or tanning just got boring and I’d rather talk to myself via my laptop.

If you clicked on this link because you couldn’t believe your eyes and was wondering how the—, let’s get this over with. Yes, for only 300usd (15,ooophp ) I did all of what I wanted to do in Sri Lanka for 3 days. That’s excluding airfare, of course. But if you’re as lucky as I am, you can hitch a ride to Colombo for free. #Crewlife

Here’s the lowdown of my solo trip to Sri Lanka.

**Fast forward to me getting back to reality a.k.a. Dubai**

Day 1:

Upon arrival in Colombo, I paid for my visa upon arrival, changed my money to Sri Lankan rupees and got a local sim card (includes data plan). Then I booked, more like haggled for a taxi just outside the airport to drive me to Hikkaduwa which is 2 hours away. Be sure to take the highway (with additional toll fee), it’s worth it.

Sure, you’d probably save more money taking the train or splitting the cab fare with companions. But I’m alone and would really rather sleep for those 2 hours.

Train schedule right here: Sri Lanka TrainI arrived Neela’s Guesthouse (a gem,by the way), situated by the beachfront of Hikkaduwa beach and headed straight for lunch at Homegrown. I wanted the famous rice and curry. Might as well be their national dish. Maybe it is. I don’t know. All I know is, it is all sorts of delish!

What I liked about Hikkaduwa or at least where I’m staying at, is I can just walk around and everything I need is there. I then had burger for dinner at Nordic House. You’d be surprised how many burger joints you’d find in Hikkaduwa. It was rice and curry..then burger..then rice and curry..then some more burger..you know where this is going.

Day 2:

I’m an early riser (as long as I’m not hungover). So I had my Sri Lankan breakfast, dhal, string hoppers and sambal (yum!) with the view of a quiet beach. I have made some friends, by friends I mean the tuktuk drivers outside my hotel and negotiated my trip to the Virgin White Tea Plantation then to Galle and back. I’m too much of a control freak slash anti social to go on group tours (which would probably cost less) so I made my own personalized tour.On the way to the tea plantation (45 minutes away from Hikkaduwa), I was able to witness a Sri Lankan tradition, stilt fishing. Jumped off my tuktuk and ran towards the sea. It was magnificent.Entry and sampling of tea in Virgin White Tea Plantation is for free. Music to my ears. Feel free to buy tea there to bring home. Trivia: Sri Lanka was once called Ceylon. Yup, as in Ceylon tea. I knew then I just had to visit the motherland of one of my favorite teas. I did however visit the Handunugoda Tea Estate (The Virgin White Tea plantation)since it was closest to Hikkaduwa. It is the closest tea plantation in the world to the sea. They did have ceylon, too. Their white tea is completely untouched by human hands, following an ancient Chinese ritual where only virgins picked the tea leaves with golden scissors. The white tea also has the highest amount of antioxidants in any beverage. Coincidentally, one of the most expensive teas in the world. Then, I headed to Galle for lunch at Poonie’s Kitchen. I have to say, one of the highlights of my trip. This courtyard is a gem—full of colors and a calm sanctuary in Galle. It turned me into a vegetarian, too! At least for one meal. I had the salad thali and, only the best carrot cake I ever had in my life. I’ll be a vegetarian if I could eat that carrot cake every day. Just next to Poonie’s is Pedlar’s Inn Gelato. Couldn’t resist their pistachio gelato. I strolled around Galle and stumbled upon this cool shop that sells vintage-inspired posters and postcards of Sri Lanka. You have to check out Stick No Bills for really cool souvenirs. Unfortunately for me, I am on a tight budget. But mostly, I just didn’t want to carry a framed poster all day. I then headed to my 3pm appointment for my cooking class at Serendipity Arts Cafe. I was the only student that day, so it was kinda cool. I made my Sri Lankan faves, egg hoppers, sambal and of course, rice and curry. Just to prove that i don’t only love to eat, I also like to work for it. Well, sometimes. Day 3:

I was trying to savor my last day in paradise. Had a long stroll by the beach (yes, I’m the long walks by the beach kinda girl) and met some friends along the way. Beach dogs are the best. They truly figured out the secret to the good life. 

Surfing lessons are all the rage in Hikkaduwa. I could’ve enjoyed surfing, if only I live in an alternate universe and can actually swim. For now, I could only enjoy the view of the hot surfers passing me by. No complaints, though. I did however go for a swim. Yep, a version of a swim. There was not much luck with me pretending to be a swimmer. So I decided to do what I’m actually good at,  headed to No.1 Roti Restaurant for their roti and milk tea. Then I finally gave in. Treated myself to an Ayurvedic massage. I had to google what Ayurvedic means. It was—hmmm–interesting. Maybe not the massage I’m used to. But, interestiiing. I’m in Sri Lanka, might as well, right?Capping off my Sri Lankan holiday with an ice cold local beer while watching the sunset. And watching surfers pass me by. Thanking my lucky stars how I managed to depend only on myself, entertain myself, talk to myself and survive my first solo trip (layovers not counted). They always say we need to travel alone at least once in your life. I say do it more often. It’s amazing what you’ll learn about yourself: how you will surprise yourself with your ability to adapt and be resourceful. And how much you’ll appreciate the kindness of strangers and the beauty of the simplest things. Of course, always take precautions in everything you do. Like, never say you’re traveling alone. I always said I’m meeting up with friends anytime soon. They probably thought I had imaginary friends and they might be right, but hey, better safe than sorry. And my best tip, whenever you travel, even though you’re unsure and a little nervous to be in unfamiliar territory, walk with confidence. Walk and talk like you know where to go and what the hell is going on. Confidence will take you places. Literally and figuratively. Maybe it counts too that I chose the right place to travel alone, the Sri Lankan people are one of the sweetest people I know. So warm and always had a kind smile. They made me feel safe. Hikkaduwa, to me, felt like home. It had the vibe of Goa, the waves of Bali (plus, the surfers) and the sense of home of Boracay. It was absolute bliss. Istuti, Sri Lanka!

Costs:

Entry Visa————————————————— 40usd / 2,000php

Sim card—————————————————– 7usd/ 350php

Taxi Airport to Hikkaduwa—————————– 45usd / 2,250php

Hotel for 2 nights————————————– 58usd / 2, 898php

Hotel breakfasts—————————————- 15usd / 750php

Highway toll (back and forth)————————- 6usd / 300php

Rice and Curry at Homegrown———————- 5usd / 250php

Tuktuk to Tea plantation-Galle-Hikkaduwa—-13usd / 650php

Nordic House Burger———————————–10 usd / 515php

Cooking lessons——————————————20usd / 1,000php

Ayurvedic massage—————————————16usd / 800php

Roti and milk tea——————————————2usd / 83php

Lunch at Poonies——————————————17usd / 849php

Gelato at Pedlar’s——————————————-2usd / 83php

Taxi from Hikkaduwa to Airport——————-40usd / 2000php

Grand Total————————————————-296usd /14,741php

 

 

 

 

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