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Sri Lanka Travel Itinerary

Sri Lanka, a tiny little island county from Asia will give you thousands of reasons to pack your bag and make it your next travel destination. Indeed, one of the most peaceful, beautiful and affordable countries to visit in the world.

Beaches, Hills, History, People, Culture, Cuisine, Spirituality and a lot of Tuk Tuk Rides.

In short, Sri Lanka has it all.

Back in 2015, I visited Sri Lanka for the first time. It was a sort of unplanned backpacking trip for 9 days and it turned out one of the best trips I have ever had.

My travel experiences in Sri Lanka include some of awesome experiences like watching one of the best sunsets at Mirissa Beach, hitched-hiking till mini Adam’s peak from side to side tea gardens, rigorously climbing 1200 steps of the world famous Sigiriya Rock Fortress, visiting the ancient ruins and a few UENSOC world heritage sites, insanely travelling across the states in TUK-TUK, searching leopards in Yala national park, chasing the whales in the Indian ocean, rice & curries & many more..

Travelling to places is absolutely exciting but working on the travel plan and itinerary is a kind of a long quest. I remember the time when we were working on our travel itinerary. Damn, it was confusing and we did not miss anyplace which is worth of visiting.

A good travel itinerary is a blueprint to the forthcoming journey.

The travel itinerary I am sharing today has covered the most travelled destinations and suggestions, what to do where in Sri Lanka. I hope this itinerary will make your job easier to plan your trip to Sri Lanka.

And here we go . . .

Sri Lanka Day by Day Travel Itinerary for 9 Days!

Day 1: Arrival to Colombo

Night Stay – Colombo

Early in the morning we arrived to Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo from Chennai.  Colombo is the capital of Sri Lanka and usually a first destination for every tourist .It took us around an hour to do immigration formalities. Once the immigration was done, we headed towards Mount Lavania by Tuk-Tuk, where we had booked our first day accommodation, a beautiful house nearby Lavaina beach.

Read about – How to get a Sri Lankan Tourist Visa

Colombo Beach

Things to do in Colombo

  • Take a Colombo city tour by Tuk – Tuk or Private car.
  • Wake around Beira Lake
  • Visit Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple
  • Spend leisure time at  Colombo or  Mount Lavinia beach
  • Do street shopping near Colombo railway station
  • Hop on and shop in Odel mall
  • Watch Sunset at Galle Face beach
  • Try Sri Lankan Cuisine in any local restaurant specially Sri Lankan rice and curry
  • Visit Pettah floating market

 

Day 2:   Pinnawala

Night Stay – Sigiriya

Travel to Pinnaawala via Tuk- Tuk or Public bus to visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage and nursery for Asian Elephants. It is one of the famous tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. The orphanage is established to feed, nurse and house baby elephants found abandoned by their mothers.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Things to do in Pinnawala

  • Visit Pinnawala elephant orphanage and spend a day with elephants
  • Feed the elephants
  • See the elephants bathing session
  • Visit spice garden nearby
  • Drink herbal tea
  • Get a free oil massage in the spice garden
  • Buy of herbal products if you want

 

Day 3:  Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya

Night Stay – Sigiriya

Travel to Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya to see the ancient monuments.

Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya are the cultural and archaeological cities of Sri Lanka. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa and the Sigirya Rock Fortress are the UNESCO world heritage sites. It comprises of monuments built by Cholas, sacred temples & stupas, rock craved statues of Buddha and the ruins garden city created back in the 12th century. Unfortunately, most of the monuments and statues are broken, but well maintained and taken cared.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Things to do in Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya

  • Spend a day in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa
  • See the rock craved statue of sleeping Buddha
  • Visit Woodwork workshop and buy a handmade wooden souvenirs
  • Visit historical museum of Sigiriya
  • Climb 1200 steps of Sigiriya rock fortress and witness the beauty of the city from top of the rock

  

Day 4:  Dambulla and Kandy

Night Stay – Kandy

Travel to Kandy via Dambulla to see Dambulla Cave temple and the Temple of Tooth.

Dambulla Cave Temple in Dambulla and the Temple of Tooth in Kandy are the most sacred places and both are the UNESCO world heritage sites.

Dambulla Cave Temple, also known as “The Golden Temple of Dambulla”.  It is a monastery and pilgrim site. It is the largest and best preserved cave temple in Sri Lanka. Temple mainly consists of five main cave temples which contain statues and wall paintings of Gautama Buddha and his life stories.

Dambulla Cave Temple

Things to do in Dambulla and Kandy

  • Visit Dambulla Cave Temple
  • Learn the life story of Buddha through the wall painting and the pictures in the cave temple.
  • See one of the tallest statue of Buddha
  • Visit the temple of tooth in Kandy
  • Watch tradition prayers and chanting in the temple of tooth
  • Take a night walk around Kandy Lake

 

Day 5:  Ella

Night Stay – Ella

Travel to Ella via Nuwara Ella.

This is one of the most scenic journeys of Sri Lanka. The route is through the hills and the tea gardens. The Nuwara Ella is called as the England of Lanka because its colorful houses and the structures.

Mini Adam’s Peak

Things to do in Ella

  • Enjoy the scenic road journey via Nuwara Ella
  • Visit Ashok Vatika, the famous place from the ancient history of Ramayana
  • Visit the Vatik Vihar temple
  • Take photos in the tea gardens.
  • Visit Mackwood tea factory and learn about how tea processing is done.
  • Hike through tea garden till mini Adam’s peak
  • Get an Ayurvedic full body massage

 

 

Day 6: Tissamaharama &  Yala National Park

Night Stay – Tissamaharama

Travel to Tissamaharama for Leopard Safari in Yala National Park.

Yala National Park is one of the famous national parks of Sri Lanka, especially famous for Leopard Safari. Unfortunately, we did not see any leopard during our safari, but driving though forest in Jeep was the thrilling experience.

Tissamaharama

Things to do in Tissamaharama

  • Visit picturesque Thisaa Lake
  • Try fishing in the Thisaa Lake
  • Take a Lake boat ride
  • Visit the Stupa
  • Go for the early morning Leopard Safari
  • See the Elephant rock in national park
  • Visit Yala Beach

Day 7:  Mirissa

Night Stay – Mirissa

Travel to Mirisaa to see the beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is blessed with the beautiful beaches and Mirissa beach is one of them. Watching the sunset at Mirissa after a hectic day was the calmest feeling.

Mirissa

Things to do in Mirissa

  • Watch sunset at Mirissa beach
  • Go for Whale watching
  • Learn surfing at Unawatuna beach
  • Go for a night party at Jungle beach
  • Try Water Sports
  • Visit Turtle Hatchery

 

Day 8:  Galle

Night Stay – Galle

Travel to Galle to see the Galle Fort and Galle Light House.

Galle fort is a historical site and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sri Lanka. It was built by the Portuguese and reinvigorated by the Dutch back in 17th century. Galle fort is also known as ‘Dutch Fort’.

Galle Light House

Things to do in  Galle 

  • Take a walking tour of Galle Fort
  • Visit a Galle Light House
  • Watch Crazy Jumper’s Jump
  • Visit International Cricket Stadium in Galle
  • Street shopping
  • Take a train journey to Colombo from Galle to enjoy the sea view.

 

 Day 9: Colombo

Travel back to Colombo.

Galle to Colombo train journey is one of the scenic journeys of Sri Lanka. On the last day of the trip, we took a train to Colombo to experience the best coastal views from the train. We still had some time before our flight so we spent last few hours in buying gifts and souvenirs.

Galle To Colombo

This is most of it how we spent our 9 days in Sri Lanka. Just to mention, if time permits then add Anuradhapura to your travel list. And the last, after having such an amazing time I promised, Sri Lanka will satisfy your every travel lust and will never disappoint you in any ways.

All the best and keep travelling!!! 🙂

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Visiting National Rail Museum in York

It has been 2 months since I have moved to Manchester, UK for my work assignment and it did not take me long  to plan out my first trip to York.

York is one of the popular tourist destinations in the United Kingdom. The main attraction of York is the National Rail Museum , one of the largest rail museums in the world.

National Rail Museum has collections of all type of trains dating back over 300 years and over thousands object related to trains. It includes world fastest steam engine trains, bullet trains, trains used during the time of world war II , the vintage trains used by UK’s royal families like the carriage used by Queen Victoria etc.

Well, there are many things to do in the museum apart from a just display of trains.  The visitors can go for the steam engine train ride just in 3 pounds, climb and take pictures of trains from all the ages. Each and every train displayed in the museum share the information about the train’s historical importance, when and who used it for the transportation.

It is a fantastic look back at the history of locomotion past and future, well worth a visit for people of all ages.

York is a chance to see not just the Railways history, but the history of a beautiful historical City.

National Rail Museum in Photos

Steam Engine Train

Train Engine

Me at the museum

Port Carlisle

Vintage Luggage

Train Collections

A hall full of trains

Train Name Plates

Practical Information

National rail museum is a few minutes away from York station.

Museum Opening Times
Daily 10am–6pm
Closed 24, 25, 26 Dec

Entry – Free

Refer for more information –  http://www.nrm.org.uk/

The Bucket List

One day you will wake up and there will be no time to do the things you have always wanted. Do it now‘ – Paulo Coelho

 What is on your Bucket List???

I believe everyone knows , what the bucket list is. I always love the idea of making a bucket list. Somehow I feel it inspires us to move out of our comfort zone and do the things which we are always wanted to do.

Even since I have started understanding what the real happiness means to me since then I have started working on it. ‘The Travel Junkie‘, my blog is one of those things I always wanted to do and I’m glad I did it.  This blog inspires me to do things I love. This blog inspires me to believe in my dreams and consistency work on making them true.

As as a human  being, we always want some kind of motivation or inspiration to keep us going for our dreams. ‘The Bucket List’ is that my motivation and inspiration for me.

I have dreams and I have plans. And it never too late to kick start and go for your dreams. Go for the things which you always wanted to do, feel and experience. So be crazy , be happy , do weird things, go places, do whatever you want to do and keep your soul happy.

Coming back to my ‘The Bucket List’, here is the log and catalog  of the things which I want to do, be and experience before I kick my bucket off. I hope this will give you some motivation to work on your bucket list.  So, Have you created your Bucket List??  here are my bucket list ideas .

  1. Learn a new language (May be Spanish or French)
  2.  Go scuba diving and experience a marine life
  3. Run a Marathon (Ticked off)
  4. Learn Belly Dancing
  5. Be a Yoga teacher
  6. Fly in hot air balloon
  7. Do volunteer work for Humanity
  8.  Experience the best sunset (Ticked off) Mirissa Beach, Sri Lanka 
  9. See the northern lights
  10. Go for stargazing camp
  11. Grow your own garden
  12. Go on a blind date
  13. Learn a musical instrument
  14. Backpack across the Europe
  15. Buy your own car and go on a road trip
  16. Backpacking across Europe
  17. Live in a different country at least for  a year
  18. Get featured in the media
  19. Buy a dream house
  20. See the snow and snowfall (Ticked off)
  21. Learn Buddhism
  22. Conquer your fear
  23. Do some thing crazy and weird
  24.  Attend full moon party (Ticked off)  Koh Phangan full moon party, Thailand
  25. Visit a Volcano
  26. Go on a Cruise
  27. Fall in Love
  28. Visit Castle (Ticked off) Conway Castle, Wales 
  29. See the Monalisa
  30. Visit the Amazon
  31. Visit every county of the world
  32. Visit Grand Canyon
  33.  Visit London, My dream city
  34. Go on African jungle safari
  35. Go on Marine Safari (Ticked off) Angthong marine national park, Thailand
  36. Drive the great ocean road
  37. Swim in dead sea
  38. Swing at the ‘End of world’
  39. Visit hunted place
  40. Take my parents on the foreign trip
  41. Do wave surfing
  42. Ride a zip line
  43. Take a cycling tour
  44. Attend Carnival of Rio, Brazil
  45. Attend la tomatina in Spain
  46. Go on a solo trip
  47. Step foot in all seven continents
  48. Get a complete makeover like a celebrity
  49. Start a travel blog (Ticked off) The Travel Junkie, My blog
  50. Stay with Tribal
  51. Forgive and forget
  52. Do a public speaking.

Read More

I Have Moved to Manchester, United Kingdom

You alright mate?  How’s 2017 treating you?  I hope you are doing great.

Well for me, 2017 seems promising and the most exciting news of the year is ” I have moved to Manchester, UK” .  Yes, you heard it right! Yoo-Hoo 🙂 

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Hello from Manchester

Just to mention, I am one of those lucky software engineers who gets an opportunity to work abroad for onsite assignments for a certain time duration. I have migrated UK on short term work visa.

Today morning, I arrived in Manchester and for a time being, I have accommodated in the beautiful hotel next to my office.

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My Hotel Room

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Full English Breakfast

New Office, New People, New City, New County 🙂 This is the best way to start my new year.  I can’t be happy than this and I am already in love with this place.

Exploring Cheadle

Exploring Cheadle

Exploring Cheadle

My friends

Cheadle City

Cheadle City

Beautiful houses

Beautiful houses

Being the travel junkie, this opportunity is great for me in terms of my travels . So this year  going to be full of travelling. So there are going to be lots of travel stories to be shared with you guys from United Kingdom and Europe.

Until  Then Cheers!!

Thank You 2016, Welcome 2017

So the time has come to say goodbye to our 2016.

Looking back, it has been a great year for me and I would like to take an opportunity to thanks 2016 for all wonderful times and beautiful memories. I learned a lot in 2016 and I am ready to step out in new ways in 2017.

Life is made up of special moments which makes it worth of living. Before I welcome 2017, I want to cherish some of the best moments that 2016 has given me.

And here we go,

  • First Trip of the Year, Goa Backpacking Trip
  • Staying in one of the coolest hostels in Goa Zostel
  • Taking part in Office Cricket Tournament
  • Best Team Award at Work
  • RunTime Event of Mastek in Pune
  • Attending best friend’s Wedding in Chennai
  • A Road Trip to Mahaballipuram
  • Visiting Kashmir in Curfew
  • Witnessing snow fall for the first time
  • Spending a day in House boat, Dal Lake
  • An epic road trip to Land of Endless Discoveries. Leh Ladakh
  • Double humped Camel Safari in Nubra Valley
  • Visiting Thailand for a first time, International Trip of the Year
  • Attending crazy full moon party in Koh Phangan
  • Snorkeling  and Kayaking in Ang Thong Marine National Park, Thailand
  • Bucket list for India  Travel  – 100 Places to visit in India
  • A Family Road Trip to Akola
  • Getting a Travel Laptop

Last but not the least, Thank you for all the mistakes I’ve made definitely made me a better person.

Now, let’s give a warm welcome to 2017 that starts a new, cherish each moments that year shall behold and may this new year all your dreams turn into reality and all your efforts into great achievements.

Wishing You a Happy New Year

This is your year. Laugh from your soul. Dream even bigger. Live in the moment. Stop comparing to others. Be joyous in yourself. Strive for contentment. Add memories, not things. Give with no expectations. Find beauty in simplicity. Live.

Sri Lanka Tourist Visa Process for Indian Citizens

Visiting Sri Lanka for the first time?  No worry, Getting Sri Lankan Tourist Visa is a quite simple.

Being close to India, Sri Lanka has become one of the favorite destinations of Indian tourists. Back in 2015, I have traveled most of the Sri Lanka in 10 days.  And it was an amazing experience.

Before planning any international trip, we need to first get Air tickets and visa done. In case of Sri Lankan tourist visa, Visa procedure is quite simple and there are no hard and fast rules of Indian citizens.

There are two ways of getting Sri Lankan tourist visa

  1. ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) (Recommended )
  2. On Arrival

What is ETA?

ETA is an Electronic Travel Authorization granted online through the web based visa system. An ETA is issued only for Short Visits to Sri Lanka for Business purposes, Tourism and Transit purposes.

Official link for  Sri Lanka Electronic Travel Authorization online visa application – Click Here 

So first, you need to do is to submit ETA form online at the link, wherein you need to provide all required details and make a payment of  20$ (US Dollar).

Once you submit the ETA form, you will get instant Visa approval within 10 minutes or it may take 24 hours in some case.  And that’s done, now you are all set to go to Sri Lanka.

Once you land in Colombo Airport, directly proceed to immigration counter with below documents.

  • Printout of approved ETA
  • Valid Passport for a minimum period of six months
  • Return ticket within 30 days of your date of entry
  • First day accommodation address
  • 2 Passport size photographs
  • Adequate funds in bank or working credit cards

It will not take much time to clear immigration checks and visa stamping. Sri Lankan Tourist visa is generally issue for maximum stay of 30 days, on which you can make double entry.

 Pretty simple isn’t it? No need to wait for a long time for getting visa approval or interviews or sending documents to embassies.

On Arrival Visa

There is also an option of Visa on arrival, which is a bit time consuming than the ETA visa. All you need to do is carry all required documents, which I have mentioned above and go to Visa on Arrival counter. Here you need to fill a Visa form and pay fees.

I would recommend for ETA visa, which is quite easy, simple and time efficient.  Also, there is no need of wasting time in filing long forms at the airport.

 

Do you have any plan to visit Sri Lanka? I hope this will be a useful post for you.

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Also Read my travel experiences of Sri Lanka

Colombo -Visiting Sri Lanka for the first time

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya

Dambulla Cave Temple   

Leh Ladakh – An Epic Road Trip to the Land of Endless Discoveries!

My Leh Ladakh trip was the most awaited trip of this year. Finally after a long waiting time I got an opportunity to travel to one of my dream destinations and that too a Road trip.  Yippee!! 🙂 🙂

Ladakh is a region of Indian state Jammu and Kashmir. It is best known for it amazing landscapes, diversity, culture and outstanding environments. Being surrounded by the world’s best mountain ranges of Himalayas and Karakoram make Ladakh a perfect destination for travel adventure.

Planning for such epic trip was a bit pain since we were 20 travelers.  After long hours of research and recommendations, we opted to get a customized tour package and luckily we got a good deal with Himalyan Escape.

Himalyan Escapes is one of the leading e-travel services company based in Srinagar and it provides travel related services to tourists. So our tour cost includes accommodations in hotels or tents, breakfast and dinners, all transport arrangements, sightseeing and inner line permits. And on complement to it Royal Enfield bikes from Leh to Nubra.

Well, Travelling to Ladakh is just not like visiting a tourist place, but it is an experience for a lifetime. No doubt, this trip has given me all those travel experiences that every traveler craves in any travel.

Ladakh is rightly called as ‘”The Land of Endless Discoveries”.  And I promise, no one can ever get disappointed by visiting it.  Those 11 days on the road were amazing in terms of all the travel experiences.

So here we go; I am sharing my day by day Ladakh travel itinerary with you guys.  I hope it will help you in planning your next trip to Ladakh.

Day 1 – Mumbai to Delhi (Air travel)

Night Stay – Kuldeep Guest House, Pahar Ganj

Day 1 started with arriving on the capital of India, Delhi.  Delhi is famous for its History, Culture, Shopping Markets, Food, Temples and UNESCO heritage sites. We booked our accommodation online at Kuldeep Guest House in Pahar Ganj, which I will not recommend to for stay. Personally I did not like the rooms and the way it was maintain. But fortunately we did not have to stay there for a long time. We dumped our luggage in the room and then we stared roaming around on the streets in search of a good hotel. Being a big time foodie, I always wanted to eat Delhi’s food, which I have heard lots about specially Aloo Parathas and Chicken Momos. And as expected, I had both items and those were actually good. Later, we visited some of the famous tourist destinations in Delhi like Red Fort, Jama Masjid, India Gate. Unfortunately, I did not get chance to see famous Akshardham Temple because by the time we reached there it was already closed.  Travelling in Delhi metro was a good, but a bit tiring experience. It is just like travelling in Mumbai locals.

Red Fort, Delhi

Red Fort, Delhi

Jama Masjid, Delhi

Jama Masjid, Delhi

Day 2 – Delhi to Srinagar (Air Travel)

Night Stay – Deluxe Houseboat, Dal Lake

Early morning we reached Srinagar, capital of Jammu and Kashmir and we moved to Dal Lake for House Boat night stay.  Dal Lake is famous for its beautiful houseboat stays and Shikara Rides. At Dal Lake, we have got a warm welcome from our house boat hosts followed by hot cup of tea. There were numbers of House Boats lined up in Dal Lake and each houseboat was beautiful and unique. The lake is surrounded by mostly hills.  Watching sunset from Shikara was the one of the best experiences. The sellers where wandering around house boats on their Shikara.   After delicious lunch in House Boat, we started roaming around in Shikara Ride. We visited Shalimar Garden, the famous Mughal Garden and dry fruits market on Shikara. While enjoying evening Shikara ride we also had a cup of Kashmiri ‘Kahwa Tea’.  The Night time was spent with gazing stars, long hour’s talks and Kashmiri Food in dinner.

Dal Lake

Dal Lake

Kahwa Tea

Kahwa Tea

Day 3 – Srinagar to Sonmarg (By Road)

Night Stay – Hotel Glaciers Heights, Songmarg

 After spending a beautiful day at Dal Lake, our next destination was Sonmarg.  Sonmarg is called as ‘The meadows of gold’. The place is just like a paradise due to its cold climate, valleys and snowy mountains. We trekked “Glaciers of Thajwas” in afternoon, which is one of the best experiences I had in my trip. I saw Snow Mountains and frozen river for a first time.  Glacier Trek was optional in our tour package. We made extra payment to visit glacier.  Trekking till glacier was exhaustive but you can easily opt for ponies if do not want to trek or walk.  Sonmarg is paradise and good place to spend some time with nature.

Thajiwas Glacier

Thajiwas Glacier

Sonmarg Valley

Sonmarg Valley

 

Confluence of the Indus and Zanskar Rivers

Confluence of the Indus and Zanskar Rivers

Day 4 – Sonmarg to Leh via Kargil (By Road)

Night Stay – Dawa Guest House, Leh

 Sonmarg to Leh road journey is considered as one of the best routes in India and Indeed, I loved it. The landscape, views and the roads are breathtaking. On the way we visited Zojila Pass and Kargil War Memorial. At Kargil war memorial, we met a few solders from Indian Army.  Soldiers were practicing for March-Past for upcoming event. It was so proud moment to see them and realizing how much hard work they do for our county.  On the way to Leh we came a crossed ‘Magnetic Hill’ which also known as ‘Gravity Hill’ what is believed that magnetic force is so strong in this region it can pull cars towards hills. We stopped there and tried observing such phenomena as intrusions mentioned on the board, but we did not feel anything magnetic there. In fact Magnetic Hill is basically an optical illusion in which a slight downhill appears to be an uphill slope. Late in the evening we reached Dawa Guest House in Leh.

Kargil War Memorial

Kargil War Memorial

Kargil War Memorial

Kargil War Memorial

Magnetic Hill

Magnetic Hill

Leh

Leh

Leh City View

Leh City View

Day 5 – Leh to Nubra Valley via Khardungla Pass (By Road)

Night Stay – Sand Dune Guest House, Nubra Valley

 Leh to Nubra valley journey via Khardungla Pass is the most scenic well as the most challenging road journey for us. The elevation of Khardungla Pass is 18350 feet by surface, which makes it ‘The highest motarable pass in the world’. When we reached Khardungla, temperature suddenly dropped and snow started falling making climate extreme cold for us. It was my first time that I have experienced snow fall. Few of our fellow travelers faced medical issues like low blood pressure or breathing problems due to high altitude, but emergency medical camps handles by army medical officers made it easy for us. Those who were facing issues due to altitude problems were treated on the spot.  Well, fortunately I was fine and excited; I was totally engrossed in my first snow fall experience.  After crossing adventure trail of Khardungla Pass, I experienced the beauty of valley on the motor bike journey till Nubra Valley. Nubra Valley is surrounds by mountains and has desert in between.  On arrival in Nubra Valley, we directly went to see desert sand dunes. I saw double humped camels for the first time and it was amazing experience to see the beauty of desert and sand dunes on double hump camel safari. Desert was extremely cold during night time, but it was ideal for stargazing. We had stayed in tents nearby Desert with basic amenities.

Khardung La Pass

Khardung La Pass

Our Camp in Nubra

Our Camp in Nubra

Day 6 – Nubra to Leh via Khardungla Pass (By Road)

Night Stay – Dawa Guest House, Leh

After breakfast, we started our journey back to Leh. On the way, we visited “Diskit Monastery” . It is also called as “Diskit Gompa”, which is oldest monastery in Nubra. I also rode ATV in desert followed by lots of photo sessions on the road. We did not face issue at Khardungla while returning may be because we all were well acclimatized. In evening we visited Leh local market and purchased Ladakh special souvenirs.

Shanti Stupa

Shanti Stupa

Buddha Statue, Diskit

Buddha Statue, Diskit

Diskit Monastery

Diskit Monastery

ATV Ride

ATV Ride

Day 7 – Leh to Pangong via Chang-la Pass (By Road)

Night Stay – Pangong Delight Camp, Pangong

 Leh to Pangong was almost a journey of 7-8 hours. The road is the most picturesque road; it is mostly surrounded by barren valleys and mountains. We visited Shey Palace and Thikse Monastery on the way; both the places are main tourist attractions of Leh. Shey Palace is mostly the ruins of old palace which was once king‘s place.  I loved all the old praying wheels that are placed a crossed the Shey palace.  Thikse Monastery is the one of the best Ladakhi architectures. This monastery is 12 storeys complex structure mainly of houses of monks and stupas. The best to see is the statue of Maitreya Buddha which is two storeys tall. After Visiting Shey Palace and Thikse Monastery we continued our journey till our tents accommodation nearby Pangong Lake. In night, climate was so cold and we all were literally shivering but then also we managed to go lake side in midnight. The view of moonlight, the lake and the shadows on mountains on were just breathtaking. Later, in night we did some night star gazing followed by mid night chats.

Shey Palace

Shey Palace

Thiksey Monastery

Thiksey Monastery

Maitreya Buddha

Maitreya Buddha

Monks in Monastery

Monks in Monastery

Sunrise at Pangong Lake

Sunrise at Pangong Lake

Pangong Lake View

Pangong Lake View

Day 8 – Pangong to Tso-moriri (By Road)

Night Stay – Yak Camps, Tso-moriri.

 Early morning at 5.30 we woke up and directly headed towards the Pangong Lake to witness the most beautiful sunrise ever. The sunrise was worth of watching even in such uncomfortable low temperature environment.  The barren mountains, clouds, sky and blue shades lake were all amazing to see. Well, Pangong Lake is the most beautiful lake I have ever seen. The must visit place in Ladakh trip. After watching sunrise, we started our journey toward Tso-moriri.  On the way, we came a crossed such wonderful landscapes. I just wanted to capture each and every landscape in my memories. I felt like I was living my dream at that time.  On the interval of 5 minutes, each and every landscape was changing. Pangong to Tso-moriri Road was the best part of journey. We arrived at our camp in Korzok near by Tso-moriri Lake in evening. Korzok is the only village and one of the most high altitude settlements in Ladakh.  Another evening we spent by Lake side in extreme cold climate.

Tso-moriri Lake

Tso-moriri Lake

Day 9 – Tso-moriri to Sarchu (By Road)

Night Stay – Dorje Camps

 After breakfast, we started our journey towards Sarchu via Tanglang La Pass (17,585ft) which is world’s second highest motarable road after Khardungla pass. Sarchu was our overnight halt point on the Leh- Manali highway. The climate in the night was extreme cold. I have never experienced such cold in my life before.  We did bonfire in our camp to beat the low temperature and star gazing.

Sarchu

Sarchu

Day 10 – Sarchu to Manali (By Road)

Night Stay – Hotel Trishul, Manali

 Well, our trip was about to finish here and I was nostalgic.  Early in the morning we started for Manali. Manali, Located in the most charming and beautiful Kullu valley. We crossed Baralacha Pass (4890m), Keylong (3350 m), & Rohtang Pass (3978 m). Manali is a famous tourist destination among Indian Travelers and one of the famous destinations in India for Honeymoon. We visited Manali Market in night and mostly spend time eating on the food items which we all were missing in Ladakh. Night time was the party time to celebrate last day of trip.

Day 11 – Manali to Chandigarh (By Road)

Day 11 officially the last day of trip. After breakfast we started from Manali Hotel to Chandigarh Airport. The journey was long and hectic. Each and every one of us was tired but satisfied after such epic and amazing road trip. I was never so delighted at end of my trip; all I had was good travel memories and an experience for a lifetime.

Did you travel to Ladakh before?  Was it a life changing and unforgettable experience?

The Golden Temple of Dambulla, Sri Lanka

Well, it was a bit nostalgic feeling to say goodbye to our lovely hosts of the Globetrotter Tourist Inn in Sigiriya. No doubt, I was quite overwhelmed with the all kinds of hospitality and love that we have received in our Sri Lanka Trip. Srilankans are helpful and caring people.

Manju at left and out host

Manju at left and our host

Globetrotter Tourist Inn, we found it through Airbnb.com and without any doubt, it was one of the best places to stay in Sigiriya, and firstly it is close to the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and it is surrounded by the paddy fields.

Our host recommended us Manju, our driver plus guide, who has his personal car. Manju was our travel companion for a few days. Getting a personal car is the best thing happened to us on the Sri Lanka trip. It made our journey comfortable and chaos free.

Earlier day, we climbed  1200 steps of Sigiriya Rock Fortress  and we were completely exhausted, but Manju asked us to get ready early in the morning since as per our itinerary plan, we had to travel a day long from Sigiriya to Dambulla and from Dambulla to Kandy, around 100 kilometers distance by car in a day.

It was drizzling, when we started from Sigiriya; the climate was foggy and chilled, which was perfect for our road trip. Manju was a good driver as well as a storyteller, he told us some of his travel experiences he had with all the travelers around the world and also a horrible story from Jaffna, when he got mugged by locals at the midnight where he somehow managed to escape from gunmen, it was his death survival story.

After travelling around 15 kms from Sigiriya, we reached at the base of the Dambulla Cave Temple in Dambulla. We bought tickets and started climbing towards the Cave Temple. The first thing I noticed at the entrance was a big golden statue of Buddha at the downhill. It is one of the largest statues I have ever seen.

Golden Pagoda

Golden Pagoda

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Dambulla Cave Temple, also known as “The Golden Temple of Dambulla” and it is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Golden Temple

Golden Statue at the entrance

Dambulla Cave Temple is a monastery and sacred pilgrim site for 22 centuries. It is the largest and best-preserved cave temple in Sri Lanka.It mainly consists of five cave temples, which contain statues and wall paintings of Gautama Buddha and his life. It was a mesmerizing to see the statues, caves and wall painting of history.

Dambulla Cave Temple

Dambulla Cave Temple

Sleeping Buddha

Sleeping Buddha

Statues

Statues

View from inside of Cave

View from inside of Cave

Wall paintings

Wall paintings

Statues

 

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Just to mention, we do need to cover arms and body while entering in the caves and in the most of the sacred places in Sri Lanka. And be aware of monkeys. 🙂

Monster Monkeys

Monster Monkeys, Can you spot ??

 

Have you been to the Dambulla Cave Temple in Sri Lanka before?

100 Places To Visit In India

Mission India 100, My India Travel Bucket List, 100 Places To Visit In India

 What’s on your bucket list? 

 What is Bucket List?? Bucket List – A number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime. (Standard Dictionary Definition)

What do you want to do before you kick the bucket?

Wondering??  Well, then it is time for you to think about the things you want to do before you die.

Life is short but you can make it large by doing the things that make you happy.

Luckily, I know what makes me Happy. What I want to do in my life.I am so thankful for a moment and a thought that made me start ‘The Travel Junkie’ blog and I can proudly say, it is one of the best decisions I have made in my life.  My life is changed completely after that and I am happy about where I am now.

Slow progress towards your dream is better than no progress.

So, what is on my Bucket List?

When I think about my Bucket List, My mind wanders.

How about trekking in Himalayas, walking over frozen river, a rustic bike trip to Leh Ladakh, some dune bashing in the great Thar desert, tasting a salt of Rann of Kutch, clicking selfie with Taj Mahal, scuba diving in Andaman, witnessing the Naga sadhu procession in Kumbh Mela, living a tribal life for some days in North East part of India, adventure sports in Rishikesh, searching tigers in the mangroves of the Sundarban and the list goes on……

Does it make you feel like quitting a job and travel for a full time?

Travel is always on my mind. There is so much to see and experience in India itself. So, why not to start with your own county first.

I have already visited 10 states of India, but I want to visit each and every state of India at least once and that’s on my India Travel Bucket List.

So here’s my India Travel bucket list, 100 best places I am looking forward to visit.

Indian States Places To Visit
Andhra Pradesh Visakhapatnam
Belum Caves
Arunachal Pradesh India’s largest monastery at Tawang
Assam Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary
Majuli island
Bihar Bodh Gaya Mahabodhi Temple
Chhattisgarh Chitrakoot Falls
Goa Churches and Convents of Goa
Beaches of Goa
Dudhsagar Falls
Gujarat Rani ki Vav
Rann of Kutch
Gir Forest National Park
Haryana Kurukshetra
Himachal Pradesh Great Himalayan National Park
Rohtang Pass
Dharamsala
Shimla
Dalhousie
Sangla Valley
Spiti Valley
Jammu & Kashmir Buddhist Monastery Complex,Leh
Hemis Gompa, Ladakh
Zanskar  Valley (The Chadar trek )
Gulmarg
Dal Lake
Nubra Valley
Jharkhand Ranchi Hills
Karnataka Group of Monuments at Hampi
Group of Monuments at Pattadakal
Mysore palace
Nandi Hills
Coorg
Kerala Backwaters of Kerala
Munnar
Madhya Pradesh Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka
Khajuraho Group of Monuments
Bhimbetka rock shelters
Kanha National Park
Maharashtra Ajanta & Ellora Caves
Tarkarli
Mumbai
Bandardra
Kaas Plateau
Ganpatipule
Manipur Loktak Lake
Meghalaya Cherrapunji
Mizoram Aizawl
Nagaland Naga Heritage Village
Odisha (Orissa) Konark Sun Temple
Punjab The Golden Temple
Wagah Border
Rajasthan Keoladeo National Park
Jantar Mantar
Hill Forts
The Great Thar Desert
Mount Abu
Jaipur
Pushkar
Udaipur
Sawai Madhopur
Bhangarh
Sikkim Lake Tsongmo
Nathula Pass
Rumtek Monastery
Tamil Nadu Great Living Chola Temples
Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram
Kanyakumari
Ooty
Chennai
Telangana Golkonda
Tripura Jampui Hills
Uttar Pradesh Agra Fort
Fatehpur Sikri
Taj Mahal
Ghats in Varanasi
Vrindavan
Uttarakhand Valley of Flowers
Jim Corbett National Park
Mussoorie
Nainital
West Bengal Sundarbans National Park
Darjeeling
Kolkata
Kalimpong
Union Territories
Andaman and Nicobar Island Narcondam Island
Andaman Islands
North Sentinel Island
Chandigarh The Rock Garden Chandigarh
Dadra and Nagar Haveli Silvassa
Daman and Diu Daman
Lakshadweep Bangaram Atoll
Delhi – National Capital Humayun’s Tomb
Qutb Minar and its Monuments
Red Fort Complex
Rashtrapati Bhavan
India Gate
Puducherry (Pondicherry) Pondicherry

Let me know, What’s on your bucket list? What do you want to do before you die?

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15 Best Things To Do in Goa

It’s been nearly a few months since my Sri Lanka Backpacking trip and I started feeling my wanderlust again. So this time I chose to backpack Goa and it turned out the craziest trip of the year.

Back in 2012, I have been to Goa with my friends and guys trust me, it was just like a normal leisure Goa trip, but in backpacking I experienced Goa never like before, in crazier and wicked ways.

Though Goa is the smallest state of India, but it has become the most popular destination among the tourists and bachelors. Interesting fact is that every bachelor in India at least once wants to go Goa and just to experience the nightlife.

Goa defines the ultimate freedom and leisure. I love that feeling to sit next to the beach with a glass of red wine and do nothing but feel the passing time, see the people and wait for the sun to go down.

So here we go, if you are looking for some adventure, then try Goa in backpacking style, just buy a ticket and pack your bag. Here I will guide you what to do considering you are on 4-5 days on a trip.

Just for your information, this article is going to be long since I have been writing a post after a long time. Go and grab a cup of coffee and stay with me along with my Goa backpacking tips.

Now that you are In Goa, what to do next?

So here we go.

15 Best Things To Do in Goa.

  1. Get an accommodation in Beach shacks – I would suggest Anjuna Beach I personally feel it is one of the most happening beaches in Goa especially in the Night. I have stayed in Tantra Beach Shack and Huts just next to Anjuna Beach and Zostel near Calangut beach. I would highly recommend rather than staying at one place for 2-3 days, try to book 2 different hotels or beach shacks.
    Tantra Beach Shacks

    Tantra Beach Shacks

    Tantra Beach Shack - Tree Houses

    Tantra Beach Shack – Tree Houses

    Zostel Goa

    Zostel Goa

  1. Get a non gear Bike – The most convenient way to hop in Goa. Hire a rental bike which you will get anywhere in Goa.

    Rental Bike

    Rental Bike

  1. Beach Hopping – Goa is blessed with the beautiful beaches and each beach is beautiful in its own ways. Anjuna, Baga,Calangute, Arambol, Morjim, Condolim, Querim and Vagor are the must visit beaches. Try to explore 2-3 beaches per day.
    Anjuna Beach

    Anjuna Beach

    Condolim Beach

    Condolim Beach

  1. Water Sports & Parasailing – Baga and Calangute beaches are the best beaches for the water sport activities. Banana Rides, Bumpers Rides, Jet Skiing, Wind Surfing and Parasailing are the most popular water sports to try with your group in Goa.

    Bumper Ride

    Bumper Ride (Image Source – Google)

  1. Sea Food – Goa is incomplete without trying the Goan Cuisines specially fish made in Goan style. There are varieties of food you can enjoy in Goa. Rather than fancy restaurants go out and try the food at beach shacks. 

    Goan Seafood

    Goan Seafood (Image Source – Google)

  1. Drinks – Fenny is a popular local drink made up of Cashews. I personally enjoy cocktails or a glass of wine along with the fried fish. Be careful, do not drink and drive your non gear bike.
  1. Open Beach Parties & Disco Clubs – Beach Parties are my favorite part of Goa, as the sun goes down, Goa gets crazier. Especially at Anjuna beach side, things become happening in the night. Curlies Beach Restaurant and Café Lilliput are the best places where you can enjoy the open beach parties. You could see how crazy people get in the open beach parties with loud music, dance floor and drinks. Girls, be ready for unexpected proposals from random guys. After the party, you can sit next to sea share and enjoy your leisure time along with drinks and Hookah. Once you enjoy open beach parties next day you can go to the disco clubs. There are some famous clubs in Goa like Café Mambos or Club Cubana, where you can enjoy the EDM. At most of the cafes, entries are free for the Girls.

    Open Beach Party

    Open Beach Party (Image Source – Google)

  1. Casino – You can go and try your luck in gambling which in legal in Goa. There are many known Casinos in Goa like Casino Royale and Deltin Royal.
  2. Goa Beyond the beaches and parties – So first 2 3 days you had enjoyed the beaches and parties, then keep a day side to see the Goa beyond the beaches. There are a few sites in Goa which are good to visit like Fort Aquada and Chapora etc.

    Fort Aquada

    Fort Aquada

  1. Getting Temporary Tattoos – Every time I go Goa I get tattooed. You could easily find tattoo artist with ink who near beaches. There are many salons as well for where you can get permanent tattoo.

    Just got inked

    Just got inked

  1. Saturday Night MarketThe Saturday Night Market is a place where enjoyment has no boundaries and where the enjoyment never stops. It is one hell of a party place to be. Here you can find everything selling in the stalls like spices, jewelry clothes etc and the live DJ playing all the night. 

    Saturday Night Market

    Saturday Night Market (Image Source – Google)

  1. Flea Market & Street Shopping – Flea Market near Anjuna beach is one of the best markets to buy souvenirs in Goa.  Image Source – Google.

    Flea Market

    Flea Market (Image Source – Google)

  1. Dolphin Safari – Dolphin Safari is one of the activities you can enjoy in Goa and the sighting rates are good. So it is almost likely you can get to see the Dolphins if you book the safari.  
  1. Old Goa – Old Goa is the least explored part of Goa. It is also known as “Rome of East”. There are many sights in Old Goa like Se Cathedral , Basilica of Bom Jesus, etc. If you enjoy spending a day in history then Old Goa is the place for you.  
  1. Wildlife Sanctuaries – Wildlife Sanctuaries in Goa? Yes, you heard it right again. Goa has exciting wildlife just like beaches and parties. The Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park have the varieties of animal and rare species of birds. So after beaches, keep some time apart to enter in the jungles as well.

What is the most exciting thing you’ve done in Goa so far?