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When I Had Sri Lankan Hopper for the First Time.

If someone asks me, ‘What is my favorite Sri Lankan Dish?’.

No doubt, I will say ‘Hoppers for the breakfast and Rice & Curries in the Meals’.

Hopper is a traditional breakfast dish basically prepared with rice flour, coconut milk and some yeast and it is somewhat similar to pancakes.

I remember, this picture was taken early in the morning around 5 am, when I was on my way to the Yala National Park for Leopard safari.  And this is when I had Sri Lankan Hoppers for the first time.

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Hopper preparation is on 🙂 

It was early in the morning, there wasn’t any food shop or hotel open at that time, except this small stall of this lovely couple. The man was making hot hoppers and the lady was serving along with a cup of tea. I was quite hungry and so I was curious to try hoppers.  I had a few hoppers along with coconut chutney and tea. I actually loved it, those were thin & crispy in texture and quite delicious in taste. The healthy & light breakfast to start a day.  After this day, I had hoppers for the breakfast for next a few days while I was in Sri Lanka.

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Hoppers and Rice Cakes for breakfast

Sri Lankan cuisine is quite similar to somewhat we get in the southern part of India. Spices, herbs & curries are still the essential part of the all the meals. Those who enjoys South Indian food will definitely love the Sri Lankan food as well.

The main course basically consists of either rice or noodles along with the veg or non veg curries.

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Rice & Curries 

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Noodles for breakfast

So I suggest, you really need to try Hoppers and a plate full of rice & curries at least once whenever you are in Sri Lanka.

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On This New Year, Let’s Promise to Yourself

This new year, Let’s promise to yourself

  • Not to live a mediocre life. Focus on your Goals, Chase your Dreams. Less Liabilities, More Assets.
  • Not to hurt anyone. Directly or Indirectly.
  • Not to chase toxic People. Believe in people, when they show you who they really are. Unfollow them.
  • To leave the job, place, person or relationship that no longer serves you.
  • To be the best version of Yourself. Stay Calm, Collected & Blissful.
  • To make you & your family your first priority. Take care of your parents & spend quality more time with your loved ones. They need your Time more than your money.
  • To work on your better Health. Eat healthy food. Exercise and Mediate daily.
  • To Travel more, Learn more & Live more. Make each day count.
  • To do at least one thing that will make this Earth a better place to live.

 

With that being said, I wish you a very Happy New Year.

Countries I Have Visited in 2017

2017 has been the most amazing year of my life. I am one of those lucky software engineers who got a chance to work abroad.

An opportunity like this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am so proud of myself that I have made it worth.

I have travelled 10 countries in the last 10 months.

Yes, you heard it right.

Yes, this is every traveller’s dream.

And Yes,  Dreams do come true.   This is freaking Awesome!  😊

I remember, back in 2014 I started this travel blog to feed my lust of travelling the world and ever since then I am making progress towards my dream, each and every day.

Until 2016, I travelled 10 states in India and 2 countries in the World, but 2017 is completely different. I have travelled more than 22 places in United Kingdom and Europe.

Since this post will be my last post of the this year, I would like to take this opportunity to Thanks 2017 for the most wonderful time and beautiful memories.

Coming back to the original post, I am so excited & delighted to share the awesome countries I have been to.

So here we go, The Countries I have visited in 2017

  1. England, United Kingdom

I have moved to Manchester from Mumbai in January 2017 and this is the place from where all my journeys  have started.

In England, I have visited London, Manchester, Lake District, Durdle Door, National Railway Museum in York .

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London Eye

 

  1. Scotland, United Kingdom

Scotland, the land of mountains, valleys and lochs (Lakes) and it is considered as one of the beautiful countries to visit in the world.

In Scotland, I have visited Edinburgh, Isle of Skye, Inverness and Loch Ness.

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Isle of Skye

 

  1. Wales, United Kingdom

Wales is the county in the southwest part of the United Kingdom. It is mainly famous for its Welsh culture & food, national parks, glacier lands, some hiking trails and coastal areas.

In Wales, I have visited the Snowdonia National Park, Conwy Castle, Heritage Mountain Railways, Electric Mountain and Llechwedd Slate Caverns.

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Conwy Castle

 

  1. Netherlands, Europe

Netherlands is my first country which I visited in the Europe. One of the scenic and beautiful Countries to visit. It is best known for its scenic landscapes, water canals, windmills, tulip gardens, pub culture and nightlife.

In Netherlands, I have visited Amsterdam, Red Light District, Bulldog café, Geithroon and some local pubs.

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Giethoorn

  1. France, Europe

France is one of the European countries which mostly visited by tourist to see the Eiffel Tower. Paris, the capital city which is famous for its fashion houses, architectures & monuments. Paris in night is completely different than the Paris in Day.

In France, I have visited Eiffel Tower & some world famous monuments. I have also done the Paris city orientation tour and River Seine Boat Cruise.

 

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Eiffel Tower

  1. Germany, Europe

Germany is considered as one of the powerful European Countries especially economically. It is also best known for its high-tech products and technologies. Germany has beautiful forests, rivers and mountain ranges.

In Germany, I have done  a  drive through a Black Forest.  Also, I have visited one of the largest Cuckoo Clocks.

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Cuckoo Clock

 

  1. Switzerland, Europe

Switzerland, the most beautiful country of Europe. What all that being said about Switzerland is absolutely true. It has all those breathtaking views, landscapes, mountains & glaciers.

In Switzerland, I have visited Mt. Titlis, Rhine waterfall, Geneva & Lucerne Cities.

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Rhine Falls

 

  1. Italy, Europe

Italy, the country known as the birthplace of the western culture.  It is home to great roman architectures, arts & monuments. It has larger numbers of UNESCO Heritage sites.  There is nothing like having an Italian Pizza, Pasta and Coffee.

In Italy, I have visited Rome, Venice, Pisa and Fluorene City.

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Colosseum

 

  1. Belgium, Europe

Belgium is the one of the smallest European Countries. Belgium is best known for Atomium Structure, Castles, Grand Place and Mannenken Pis etc. It is also famous among tourists for Belgium beer and its night life.

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Atomium

 

  1. Vatican City, Europe

Vatican City is the smallest country located within Rome. It is the main Roman Catholic Church and home to the Pope. Vatican City itself is a UNESCO heritage site and it is considered as the holy and sacred place.

In Vatican City, I have visited St Peter’s Basilica Church, which is the largest church in the world.

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St. Peter’s Basilica

My journey of visiting 10 Countries in 10 months has been the amazing experience. 2017 has given me so much. And the most important lesson I have learned this year is that No matter what, you just have to keep chasing your dreams and live the life you always wanted to live. 

So, tell me now, Which dreams are you going to chase in 2018?

 

 

 

 

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!!! 🙂

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 
  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 (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. Buy your own car and go on a road trip
  15. Backpacking across Europe
  16. Live in a different country at least for  a year
  17. Get featured in the media
  18. Buy a dream house
  19. See the Snow and Snowfall 
  20. Learn Buddhism
  21. Conquer your fear
  22. Do some thing crazy and weird
  23.  Attend a full night open beach party  (Koh Phangan full moon party, Thailand)
  24. Visit a Volcano
  25. Go on a Cruise
  26. Fall in Love
  27. Visit Castle (Conway Castle, Wales)
  28. See the Monalisa
  29. Visit the Amazon
  30. Visit every county of the world
  31. Visit Grand Canyon
  32.  Visit London, My dream city
  33. Go on African jungle safari
  34. Go on Marine Safari ( Angthong marine national park, Thailand)
  35. Drive the great ocean road
  36. Swim in dead sea
  37. Swing at the ‘End of world’
  38. Visit haunted place
  39. Take my parents on the foreign trip
  40. Do wave surfing
  41. Ride a zip line
  42. Take a cycling tour
  43. Attend Carnival of Rio, Brazil
  44. Attend la tomatina in Spain
  45. Go on a solo trip
  46. Step foot in all seven continents
  47. Get a complete makeover like a celebrity
  48. Start a travel blog (The Travel Junkie, My blog)
  49. Stay with Tribal
  50. Forgive and forget
  51. 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?