Star Anise Boutique Capsules is a modern and affordable chic hostel in the heart of Colombo including double bed dorms.
One morning where Zin was super stressed with her work and exams where she’d to Shakespeare a lot about Shakespeare, the email box ticked. From India, it was. No, not the country but the super awesome lady from Teardrop Hotels we’ve yet not met. We know. We know. We’re pretty lazy (let’s say we do not have time AT ALL) when it comes to meeting people. Back to that email, it was a complimentary one night stay at The Wallawwa as a THANK YOU for our collaboration with Teardrop Hotels. What an amazing way to say thank you!
On our way to Teardrop Hotels, we counted every seagull who makes Pettah their home. While an uncle guided Nathan to take the best photos of these beauts, Zin waited patiently for the 187 bus.
We received the best and the most warm welcome back in Galle at Wallawwa’s most charming little sister – The Fort Bazaar. And here, we felt the very same. There’s something unique about the staff at Teardrop Hotels. Something charming. Warm and welcoming. While our experiences at some places were rude and unpleasant, Teardrop Hotels go miles beyond to make you feel at home.
Upon our arrival, the manager gave us a tour around the hotel, explained us every little thing, took us to their beautiful garden to meet their goats. Goats? Yes, goats. The Wallawwa is not only home to a charming garden but to nine goats as well.
Initially, we got a little sad to see them inside the cages but these cuties go for a walk everyday before they’re put back in the pens. They live in a jungle so it’s for their sake, they’re put back in the pens. On her emails, India has explained us about Ferta and Liza who completes the ship – Fertili(za)ser! #Goatship, people! We couldn’t recognize the dynamic duo but we gave the name Muzafir to a handsome goat with the coolest goatee. Sorry, Nathan did!
The rooms at Wallawwa are an ideal mix of Bawa architecture, authenticity and urban modern Sri Lanka. We had a super spacious garden room to chill for a day. Garden rooms have their own little garden where in evenings you can sit and sip a cuppa. We actually don’t care about hotel beds much, probably because we’ve not been to an uncomfortable one yet. But hands down, the bed at Wallawwa was the best we’ve had so far in our travels around Sri Lanka.
The Mountbatten Suite is even spacious with sleeps for four, and your own little pool. Yes, that’s right. You get a small pool tucked in your own little garden with so much greenery. The suite is perfect for a family of four. It also has two washrooms, the bigger one adjoined to the master bedroom has a bathtub which is the only bathtub you get in the hotel. That’s pretty surprising to us because our washroom was so spacious and it definitely had enough space for two bathtubs. Two. Not one!
We went out around 2pm for lunch and to roam around the streets of Kotugoda and get the taste of local life. The hotel is situated close to Colombo-Minuwangoda Road, in a little village where cute grandmas sell biscuits in roadside kades. Despite being a junglicious paradise, the hotel is only one hour away from Colombo minus the time you waste in traffic. Don’t get us started about Colombo traffic. It’s that horrible!
We cannot write about The Wallawwa without mentioning their beautiful pool, a mini paradise surrounded by trees millennials like us cannot name. And it turns into a disco club at night leaving you in a surreal dream.
Our day just got better when we came to know we had complimentary dinner and brekkie at the hotel. You also get evening tea with homemade cookies and butter cake. Nom nom nom! Wallawwa owns a fusion restaurant – world class with delicious food and friendly, helpful service. We were kind of full as we had pastries with tea so settled with a pork dish and a baked cheesecake for dinner.
While Nathan ordered his usual omelet for brekkie, Zin was overjoyed to see Kiribath (Sri Lankan milk rice) on their menu. That was the first time we both had kiribath with cashew curry and boy, we would have it again and again.
We’re writing this after three months to our stay at The Wallawwa while we are both making plans to go to the beaches down south to meet India. If you want to find peace and love in an island buzzing with people, just stay at Wallawwa.
Just stay at Teardrop Hotels. There’s nothing not to love.
We would like to thank Teardrop Hotels for organizing our stay with them, but as always opinions are honest and entirely our own.
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Listen sugar plum, Galle, my dear, is beautiful. Have you ever imagined yourself in a far corner of an island? Where everything beautiful seems eternal. Where flowers bloom in funky pinks and palm trees sing songs to the green wind. Where it’s breezy and where it’s beachy.
Wake up early morning and once a while, go on a road trip! Drag your lazy bum to a quirky café. Have two egg benedicts with bacon, toast and avocado for breakfast with coffee so Peruvian. Freshly brewed coffee which makes you want to sit down and write poetry about hopeless love. Instead, admire the beauty of everyday life in the Fort – the foreigners in funky prints and old uncles trying to win a game of carom. Go on a walk. Admire little things. Take photos of serendipitously placed bicycles. Take photos of uncles, aunts and kids with funny faces. Take photos of strangers. Make friends with strangers. Walk. You will notice old buildings are aesthetic. You will notice that typography is important. You will notice art is life and art has life. Admire pot plants and plants with so little life. Take photos of street lights and pastel walls. Pastels so dreamy that you dream of living here every single day. And keep walking. Walk until you meet flowers so pink that you want to bend down and kiss them. Have vadai with fried chili like it’s the first time you ate it. Take photos of flowery doors and take photos of you. Admire your thick eyebrows. Your hair so curly and wavy and straight. You’re art. And darling, keep walking. Take photos of the lighthouse. Take one. Take two. Take many photos. You’ll notice palm trees are beautiful. Sea, sugar plum, is limitless. It’s nothing but it’s free. It’s wild. It’s beautiful. Walk back. Walk back to the main roads where everything is chaos. Admire the beauty of everyday life on streets. The hustle-bustle of a city life. Admire the beauty of people running to catch the commuter train. The beauty of wee kids running to their first tuition class which reminds you of you. Your innocent soul a few years back. “Kids, holy souls, run from the devil that’s unsustainable growth.” You scream so silent that no one hears. No one cares. Walk. Walk as you pass by aunties in half-worn sarees. Aunties with an unused masters. Take the bus to the beaches where hotels of all kind trying to top the money game. Don’t go there. Don’t walk in. Instead lie down on the softest sand. Watch the sea as she kisses the pebbled shore every single second. Write mind-poetry about you and your soulmate. She/he will find you. You will find them. Look at the sea. She has many blues. Admire her beauty. Her gifts – the sea shells. The serene. The love. Admire love. Write your name on sand. Paint hearts. Go to Unawatuna. Go to many beaches. Hunt them down. You’ll realize that Wijaya Beach has the softest sand. But Jungle Beach is where you sit down with a grilled, seasoned fish for lunch. Go to Talpe. Go to Dalawella. Galle is pretty. It’s not only quirky streets and white tuk tuks, it’s beautiful beaches, too. Love them. Cherish them all. Swing into the ocean. Trust the palm tree that holds the rope of your swing. Have faith. Watch how sun paints skies in many yellows and magentas. Watch how it paints the sky in violets before she goes to bed. Try to take bad pictures of the sunset. Have prawns and lobsters for dinner while you sip an iced mojito with pineapple. Sleep the night in a quirky little hostel. Once in awhile, admire the beauty of everyday things. Make memories. Because darling, you don’t need a plane ticket with $$$ to US of A to make memories. Life is everywhere. It’s how you make of it. Live it. Love it.
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We started this blog – and our Instagram (well, that was the first) as a hobby. A passion. “Hey, what about posting nine photos under one theme? Nine bicycles? Nine cakes? Nine kids? Nine everythingggg,” That was Nathan. “We ain’t gonna have nine photos of every this and that, sweetie,” That was Zin. And she had brains. She sure did! So we settled with three photos and started posting three photos under one theme. Three photos of street food. Three photos of Galle Face Green. That’s how it started. A passion. A truly beautiful passion to take pictures, write small, long, stupid and sometimes witty captions.
Then it grew a little and we did learn so many photography tips and learnt to turn colors into words and salt water into ink. Someone rightly said, every school doesn’t have a roof under it. The best schools are often streets. Alleys. The 4am hikes to see your dream sunrise and beach days with your bff. And along the way, we got lucky and got a few complimentary stays in exchange for photos and write-ups. Thanks everyone for hosting us. We haven’t yet made a single rupee from NatnZin and tonight, we both had a discussion about the future of our blog. The thing is natnzin is, still, a passion. A hobby. It will always remain the same. We will always cherish taking public buses to a hidden beach. We’ll always fonder being backpackers and discovering pretty unique places.
Before we get all lovey dovey and turn this into a 21st century French love story, here’s what we actually experience being natnzin, and running this blog.
We were lucky to build a small community who helps and encourages us to travel. Most of the hostels we wrote to were hella nice, super friendly and we are glad we could collaborate with them. When you get a complimentary stay (read: this is actually not complimentary. You offer them your work and that’s money in a parallel world), you always have doubts about – how am I going to get treated? Should I behave in a more formal way or should I just be me and kiss my boyfriend under a starry sky? Hell yeah, don’t hesitate to kiss your boyfriend under a starry sky or feed each other just because you didn’t pay money to stay. Be you. Just you. So, sugar plum, how are you going to get treated? That’s totally down to the qualities of each man and woman in each and every place. Nathan made friends with Caitlyn in Evergreen Colombo – to them, what we did was amazing. They welcomed us and treated us the same way and maybe that’s pretty much why we sometimes drop by with a cheesecake for Caitlyin. When Zin first met Fernanda, she really bonded with her. Although she lately left Hangover Hostels, she still helps us to write little things we missed about the comfy little hostel. When we went to Fort Bazaar for a great great great lunch, we were treated so amazingly well. It was all the same with their sister hotel – The Wallawwa. There are some other places where we were welcomed and treated as same as the other guests. Back of Beyond properties and Villa 92 in Kandy are some. No, Kikili House, we didn’t forget you.
So what’s bad? First, let us tell you the worst side of being a local traveler in Sri Lanka. These are our real experiences. We first got rejected by X hostel in Kandy because, WE. WERE. LANKANS. On 31st night in ’15, we got rejected by the Y hostel in Colombo. Zin really didn’t have a place to stay that night. Thanks Clock Inn Colombo and Drift BnB for your couches. We love hostels so it kinda hits us when people reject us for the crime of being Lankan. Being local. Owning a Sri Lankan ID or a Sri Lankan passport. Mister, we would do anything to exchange this third world passport for a first world treasure book so WE’LL ACTUALLY GET TO TRAVEL THE WORLD WITHOUT SO MUCH HASSLE.
So what’s worse, Nathan? And Zinara? (Does she even write blogs?) – It’s pretty bad here, sugar plum. The crime of being local continues. One day, we were roaming around the Galle Fort Streets. That was back then when Nathan used to look a bit Indian – he lived five years in India, Chennai – where he calls home. One lady from one hotel staff was kind enough to greet him with a smile and let him know the rates. As soon as she saw Zin who looked like your typical Sri Lankan girl wearing a pair of flip-flops, she gave the look and ignored both of us, “No, nothing here.” Once we were checking out this one hostel in Colombo, they thought we were looking for a room for a few hours. “So what the heck?” Fernanda – the ex-manager of Hangover Hostels Colombo tells Zin. “What’s their problem if two locals are taking a room? They pay the same money.”
What’s worst, you two? Not being white. That’s the worst. If being local is one major crime you did, not being white is your other crime. Many a times, the same people who greeted a white skin person with a big grin haven’t even looked at us for a few seconds. Once we were in this fancy hotel for a fancy party. The Sri Lankan manager came and told Nathan, “I don’t want people to see you wearing your cheap shorts.” The shorts were not even cheap. Is 70$ cheap to you for a pair of shorts? No. Not to us. We were at the party in exchange for a few photos and that, sugar plum, was how we got treated. Only our clothes looked shady to him even when white people were wearing pretty much the same thing.
In Sri Lankan tourism, if you’re white, everything is fine. If you’re a brown local, nothing is quite the same.
We get really sad (read: angry) being turned down for being local, being brown and for the way we dress. And it’s often/always by our own people. The locals ignore us. They turn us down. They give the look. Pretty much in every nice hotel/hostel experience we had, the other party was always from a faraway land. It was always a foreigner who knew how to treat everyone equally. It was mostly a white person with a kind heart who greeted us.
We hope for a day where there’s no ‘foreigners only’ boards in the island. A place where local tourists are also welcomed the same way. A place where home feels home, not somewhere two three oceans away.
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Earlier on our blog we talked about how Pidurangala Rock was one of our favorite hikes ever. The night before, we stayed in Back of Beyond Pidurangala – a little gem tucked inside the jungle. In Sigiriya, we spent our weekend in two Back of Beyond properties. While Dehigaha Ela was the one we truly fell in love with, the sister resort Pidurangala also had its own charm.
If, like Zin (hey, Nathan loves these stuff, too, but when he sees buildings and downtowns he just wants to bend down and kiss them a little), you love outdoors, hikes which probably aren’t good for your heart, wild creatures, delicious authentic food, cycling with your better half through veggie farms and fish spas, Back of Beyond’s are your kind of places.
Back of Beyond Pidurangala is only a few kilometers from Sigiriya Junction and will cost you around Rs.200 for a tuk drive to the hotel. After a delicious homemade watermelon juice – although nothing can beat the fresh lime juice we had in Dehigaha Ela – we headed to see the ins and outs of this pretty little place.
We stayed in a cottage in Back of Beyond Pidurangala but the property also has two tree houses. The tree houses are open to the jungle. If you want to share your dreams with wee monkeys and lizards who roam around the property like little rascals, say yes to a tree house. We did that in Dehigaha Ela and in BoB Pidurangala, we needed the cottage experience.
Apart from private double cottages, the property also has a family cottage. Our cottage had an open-air washroom. Cute. Chic. Boho and authentic. (Un) luckily, we didn’t meet one or two friendly monkeys doing peak-a-boos when we showered but expect one or two during your visit. We were still greeted by geckos and frogs who own this magical resort.
The food here is delicious. We had sandwiches with French fries for lunch. That was pretty much not what we would have for lunch. The sandwiches were a little dry but it was an okay meal, filling and not too bad after all. Most of their staff were absent during our stay so in such occasions, if every guest agrees on one particular meal, it makes their life a little easier. Nice little things you do to be human in an inhumanly world. We loved the devilled chicken noodles for dinner. It was delicious and Adrian (one of the hotel staff) managed to get a shot of us sharing dinner.
We share our meals. Eat from one plate and use our hands even in fancy dinner tables. People who find it adorable and cute, find it extremely adorable and kinda cute. People who don’t? They might give a gross look and probably badmouth about it a little but hey, life goes on!
After we came from our hike to Pidurangala, we had string hoppers with lentils curry, coconut sambol and chicken curry for breakfast with fresh fruit and Ceylon tea. Authentic and delicious. Perfect Sri Lankan breakfast! The staff in BoB Pidurangala are friendly and helpful. There are a lot of activities around the property and they’ll help you in pretty much everything.
If you don’t find yourself hiking mountains and watching Loris hiding between trees, Back of Beyond Pidurangala is a fabulous place just to lie down with your favorite book or watch Winnie the Pooh* with your better half. (Shhhh, The Real O’Neals* we meant.) It’s our kind of oasis, to sit back with a hot cup of chai and daydream as the day pass by. For those who have their heads in the clouds but feet on the ground.
Nat n Zin
We would like to thank Back of Beyond Sri Lanka for organizing our stay with them, but as always opinions are honest and entirely our own.
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So hello all!
Farees is our Canadian-Pakistani friend who writes incredible stuff and complains about engineering a tad too much. She’s Zin’s companion in distress and dislikes Nathan a little. (A very little, k!) Nevertheless, she’s our bff and lately she wrote an aesthetic series and the next thing she did was, “ZZzzzzz, Zinara what are your aesthetics?”
So instead of writing this on Zin’s own blog (that’s a lot of prose and poetry about gray times), we decided to write it here. So here, a list of things we find aesthetic. Our aesthetics!
Coffee. Mankind’s greatest companion of all times. The aroma of freshly-brewed coffee. Half-finished coffee mugs in a 2am study session. The morning latte with your favorite person and cuddles in cozy duvets. A quick mocha down the café next door admiring busy streets. Zin loves them all. The coffee stained papers. Old, rustic and vintage-ish. Nathan loves his coffee in rainy afternoons. Admiring the beauty of downtowns. A cup of hot coffee with a cold tinted glass. The cafes. With people wee-chatting and gossiping about everyday things. Coffee marks new beginnings and coffee shares happiness. Coffee is your silent companion in sadness and hidden third wheel between every two people who share a touch of romance. Have you ever felt the happiness, the chemistry coffee brings to two people? For one who loves his coffee black and for another, her coffee with milk. The morning coffee moustaches and happy times.
- Buildings and Downtowns
Cities. The good, bad and all in one. To N, cities are where his heart lies. The busy Chennai evenings, sitting in a corner admiring the beauty of common lives. People passing by as if they were shadows underneath a myriad of city lights. Chai. Piping hot jalebi and dosai with mutton and butter chicken. A meal for twenty something rupees. The alleys of Bangalore. Buildings of Al-Khobar and sand dunes. Pretty sunsets over the desserts in an unloved city. A city where he poured his heart out. The highways where he shed a tear or two. Sydney. The busy life. The beauty of ignorance and fancies of first world. Where wonders happen and fireworks bright the skies in every New Year. Where you find yourself lost. Where you come back to your lost soul, to find love, to find life, to start all over again. To live. To love and to shine bright! Colombo, where he lives. Chennai. Where it is home.
Trains are Zin’s treasures. The busy 6am commuters. People with only two hours of sleep. Working ten hours for a few pennies to survive a life. Kids with big grins and lost teeth. Trains. The oldies. The vintage queens and modern Chinese. The rustic trains with half-broken seats and dust on their faces. The Yaal-Devis, Ruhunu Kumaris, and Udarata Menikes. Trains with messages of peace at war. The vadai vendors and plethora of street food. Trains. The beautiful journeys to up country. Sunrise over the mountains and beautiful nothingness. The sea along the coastal line. The railway tracks with years of stories to tell. Stories of slavery and of lives he took to heaven. Trains, where happiness meets a few rupees.
What is love in a picture? The happy eyes of her. The tears. The freckles makeup couldn’t hide. The hurt. Snuggles in blankets where mist layers up the lush green hills. Morning chai in cozy linens. Weekend hikes to see the sunrise. Eskimo kisses. The fights. The cries. The smiles. The everything. Cookies for breakfast. Making her coffee. Her favorite way. Drawing him pretty kittens and pooches who are nutters. Helping each other live. Together. Happy. Together. Love!
Zin loves rain. It’s her reminder to forget the world and cozy up in bed with a good book. With coffee crackers and chocolate. Pamper lazy cats and watch movies with him. The rain. The stories of sky. The pouring down of a tired sky. The stories of weariness. Fret. And depression. Frogs adding beats to the sky song. The music of nature. Cascades singing songs of happy. Of still life and living it tiny. Thunder and lightning. As if it is to show you that everything silent can one day roar.
Serendipitously placed bicycles in tiny alleys are what makes us happy. The colors of bicycles belong to people we’ve never met. Of strangers and of people dear to us. Bicycles of cashew nut sellers and of fishermen. Tiny wheels and ones a little larger. The journeys spoken. Old days of cycling with dad. The happy hours of sharing moments. Listening to him speak about his broken dreams. Paddling into the jungle. To live. To forget. To remember.
Now that’s done. But that’s not all. Maybe one day in a cold Toronto evening where mist dims the city lights, with one cup of coffee and two cups of chai. One day where we meet Farees and camp outside watching the stars. Where we laugh about Shahid Afridis and Kumar Sangakkaras, we’ll pen down all that’s left in ink so black in an old coffee stained journal. Until then, write down your aesthetics and let us know!
SigiImagine a place. Imagine a place where sun shines over the mountains painting skies in soft palettes and bright oranges. A place where a monastery is home to ten and a few more pooches. A place where monkeys greet you only to be chased after a friendly pooch. Imagine a place where mountains far behind draw galleries of art in front of your eyes, and only to your eyes. A place where the beauty can only be captured by the naked eye. Pidurangala was one. And we fell in love with it a little too much so, now, we call it Pidu.
The hike to Pidurangala was one of our favorite climbs ever. Five something in one Sigiriya morning, we woke up only to snuggle up in the cozy duets a few more minutes. Lazing around in cozy mornings with a cup of hot chai is our favorite thing ever. Isn’t it yours, too?
At 6 something, we started our walk to Pidurangala with two BoB guests and their friendly manager. The Pidurangala Raja Maha Viharaya is only a five minute walk from Back of Beyond Pidurangala – one of our two homes for the weekend.
And then we started. It’s absolutely zero rupees if you’re Lankan. If you are a foreigner, expect to pay Rs.500 at the entrance.
The climb up is guarded by caves. Caves with letters your and our ancestors threaded on granite with a technique which is still known to none. We climbed. Counting each and every step, we climbed. Zin became breathless. Has she ever told you that she’s short of breath? Yes, that’s one horrific illness. Something that can be so tragic and disastrous. But sugar plums, she loves mountains. She grew up in mountains. Went to school climbing up and down the mountains. The hills. The beautiful gorgeous hills greeted with lush green and mist, with cozy, soothing climate before global warming actually hit you. And here she is, not climbing a mountain but a rock. Trying to catch her breath.
But then for her, always, there’s Nathan. Zin wouldn’t have climbed to the top if it wasn’t for him. N gave his hand, and took her to the top and fed her water so she becomes the happy little sushi roll Nathan always loves!
On our way, we met our fellow BoB guests, the little Peruvian sugar plum whom Zin met the previous day at the resort. And we stopped halfway at the look out point, to greet to the morning sun and click photos of water lilies and learn about ancient ruins.
On top, we made friends with a little pooch who decided to climb down with us but only after us. It was as if he was lost in the jungle. Lost among the rocks which seemed a home to him and chased monkeys who came to greet the hikers.
Pidu is beautiful. It as beautiful as anything #darlingescapes on Instagram. If you’ve got limited time in Sigiriya (a day or two), ditch the everyone’s go-to Lion’s Rock and say hi to Pidurangala instead. Even in one day, you can climb both but we suppose it’d be a bit tiring – specially if you’re short of breath or suffer from any other illness.
What’s the most memorable hike in your life? Comment below and let us know!
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When we both decided to head to Galle for the hundredth time that one Friday evening, Colombo was being a rascal. Not the cute kind of. But that one demonic rascal with bustling roads, over-popularized alleys, crowded buses, never ending traffic and well, literally everything bad. Nine at night, we came to Galle and ended up at the quirkiest place in the whole island. And after two days when we had to leave, none of us wanted to bid farewell to this charming little house. And that was, Kikili House, owned by Henry, an English lady whom we couldn’t meet and her husband, Kokila. Hen means ‘Kikili’ in Sinhala and ‘koki’ means cockerel which sums up why it’s named the Kikili House.
When Henry came to this sundrenched island a long ago, she used to manage a famous hotel. And then she met Kokila, a Sri Lankan guy who used to manage a restaurant next to the oh-so-famous Unawatuna beach. They fell in love. Made Sri Lanka their home. Started their own cute little B&B while they decided to live in the other part of the same house. Their house is as quirky and cozy as the boutique guesthouse. Downstairs, they have a corner shop named ‘Kikili Corner’ selling funky shirts, shawls and totes.
The atmosphere in Kikili House is so bohemic. You would find every bit of color in this beautiful little place. The whole house is a fairyland decorated in gifts, books, souvenirs (all kind of fancy treasurable junk as Nat call them) which is collected by Hen or gifted to her from people all over the world.
The lounge areas have two comfy couches to lie down and read a book. The charming house is a small library. From teeny pocket books to English classics and from Island treasures to fancy international magazines, it’s ‘the’ place for a bookworm.
There’s a spacious terrace outside. It’s worn in punchy palette, greeted by pot plants and ivy-covered aesthetic walls. Perfect place to do some yoga in mornings or sip coffee sitting on the cushioned couch outside. In a nutshell, Kikili House is super chillaxing, bohemic, peaceful and if you need to forget and hide from the world while you’re living in the same world, this is the place to go.
Colors. Colors. Colors. Didn’t I just tell you that the whole place is colors? All off them tucked in one beautiful place. The rooms are absolutely the same. The bed is spacious. The mattress are thick, comfortable and are covered in soft duets.
Our room had a large cupboard, a table to sit and do some work. Inside a quirky bag was a hair-dryer. Hanging on the cloth rack was two shower cloths in girly pinks. If you stay here, you’re gifted a cute beach tote, too.
We didn’t meet Henry and that’s probably the saddest thing happened to us during our two days at Kikili House. But we met Koki who greeted us good morning early Saturday and gave us a few tips about going to Habaraduwa to watch tiny turtles. The boy who greeted us when we first arrived late night was a friendly, helpful chap. The A/C didn’t work in our room and he immediately called the manager and shifted us to the next room which was more spacious and a little fancy. At our arrival, he made us some good Lankan tea. Oh and he cooks well, too. More on this later.
And we have Bob the dog, a hefty big fella who’s had a little too much to eat. Yet, he doesn’t stop eating. People, he’s the boss. Bob the boss. He owns this fairyland and he is ‘the’ owner of the owners. We never thought we’d love a lazy pup who mysteriously appears only to lie down yet again on the ground. But we did. Even though he ate half of the bacon we cooked for our lunch, we did. What a cutie, he was!
The Wi-Fi works well in common areas and at night inside the rooms, it worked well enough. But fellas, if you’re in Kikili House, we doubt you’d ever need Wi-Fi. Because this is a little fairy house secluded in the streets of Galle. Kikili House has a drinks fridge packed with all kind of fancy drinks. Take anything you prefer and write it down on the book. You can pay for it when you leave.
Remember we mentioned of the boy who greeted us and made us tea? He cooks absolutely well. On our first morning, he made us breakfast and the chili omelette he made us topped the list of any kind of omelette we ever had. Perfectly chopped and fried tomatoes, onions and chili, oozing egg yolk with brown bread. A huge bowl of fresh fruit including mangoes, papaya, pineapple, apple and banana. A fresh fruit juice to start the day. Perfectly brewed tea or coffee. Granola with fresh village curd and kithul treacle. Toast with delicious jam and butter. It was a full English breakfast. Add to that some Sri Lankan vibes, the next day we had string hoppers with deliciously cooked, subtly seasoned lentils curry and pol sambol. Nom nom nom.
There’s a lunch & dinner menu, too. If you prefer having any item on the list, feel free to let them know and you can pay at your departure. One thing we’re sure of is that THE FOOD HERE IS ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT.
You can rent a bike here and roam around the streets if you don’t fancy walking. There’s a tuk guy familiar with the place who could take you on a tour. And that’s not all. Here, they organize Sri Lankan cooking classes. Join with the chef on a tour to the local Galle market and pick any items you prefer. Come back and learn how to cook them the Lankan way!
The price is set at $125 for a private double room. However, it can vary from season to season. If you’re looking for the perfect getaway and are a tad boho at heart, it’s well worth the money.
So close yet so far. Kikili House is located in the lower Dickson Road. Only a five minute walk from the Fort and the Galle City Center but once you’re inside the property, you feel like you are in a small jungle surrounded by lush greenery and wee squirrels. If you are coming here after 8pm, we advise you to not walk and take a tuk. Or call the owners before your arrival and they are super friendly and nice enough to arrange you a car or a tuk to pick you up. The roads get a lot darker at night and we kinda felt scary. It was super fun walking together in dark alleys though.
Overall, our two days at Kikili House were beyond perfect and we were a tad (by tad we meant absolutely hella lot) sad to leave this beautiful house. And had we met Hen, we believe it would have been a lot sadder given the beautiful reviews people have written about her here and there. Because how amazing someone can be to come up with this oh-so-amazing Kikili House?
We would like to thank Kikili Enterprises for organizing our stay with them, but as always opinions are honest and entirely our own.
We always travel together. Board the train to a far corner of the island, together. Take the bus at sharp 5am together. Everything. Together. But not this time when we made Kandy, and Villa 92 our home for the weekend. Nathan was being a hero at work and had little time for a getaway – so here he is, boarding the early morning train from Colombo to Kandy. It’s not that Zin doesn’t have a bunch of work to do but she always procrastinates. And this time around she’s procrastinating at her parents’.
Our home for the weekend is an old colonial house. The place has its own character written all over it. Charming beautiful walls, glass doors painted in multiple colors, wooden staircases and beautiful chandeliers. And finally a vintage typewriter with Instagram written all over it.
Our room was the dorm room facing the Peradeniya Road. Hence, it got a little noisy during the day but soon, you get used to it. And if you’re bunking in a room which is not facing the main road, you could totally escape the noise. The hostel is right in the middle of the town. It’s only a 10 minute walk to Temple of the Tooth, a quick bus ride to Botanical Gardens and a short tuk trip to Bahirawakanda Temple. Two minutes from the hostel are roadside shops and cafés with good food, and an ice-cream parlor with literally the best ice-cream in the island.
The colonial house turned hostel is a new member to Kandy’s accommodation scene. Villa 92 has private doubles and family rooms, too, at affordable prices featuring everything you need. Since they’ve recently opened, there was not much crowd. And we were quite lucky we had the whole bunk room to ourselves. Or pretty much the entire hostel if not for the staff.
You’re here for a comfortable sleep with good AC and thick mattresses. People, it’s old and colonial but it’s a darn modern hostel. The breakfast was pretty much the same thing you get at all the hostels – toast with eggs, jam and butter – but with fresh fruit to kick start your day. Overall, it was a filling brekky and they told us they’re soon going to introduce Lankan flavors to their breakfast. Nom!
We found this beautiful place through Air BnB, and Ash, the owner was friendly and provided us every detail we needed through emailing as he’s residing in Down Under. And when we’re at the hostel, we met his lovely dad who was super friendly and welcoming. You know those old uncles with kind hearts who love to chat and share their lifelong experiences with you? He was one.
We had a short time in Kandy. That was an extremely short weekend but we still managed to wander around Kandy’s busy streets and paid a trip to beautiful Botanical Gardens. And at the end of it, we found it a tad hard to leave this charming colonial house.
We would like to thank Villa 92 for organizing our stay with them, but as always opinions are honest and entirely our own.
Galle. That one place we visited more than five times last year. But it’s again being the place we keep coming back. “You know those serendipitously placed bicycles? We only photographed two of them,” is a vague reason to just pack our backpacks and head to Galle. Or sometimes it’s the white tuks passing the Fort alleys. Mostly, this time, it was the baby turtles we never held in our hands. So this time, we packed our bags and headed to Galle for all the above reasons and, for nothing.
The brain-sickening Colombo traffic made our two hour journey a five hour journey. Finally at nine at night, we got there.
That wheelbarrow, and the lonely palm tree – maybe, that’s why we keep coming back here. Those who’re intrigued by the little things know how worth it is to stand two hours in a bus queue to see a lonely palm tree. Oh well yes, we stood two hours in a queue in Maharagama for the highway bus to Galle.
Earlier our nights were only spent in Leijay Resort, a villa with a fancy pool, bordered by breathtaking nature and managed by two of our friends. We met them in Clock Inn. But seriously, have we ever written anything without talking about the Colombo backpacking hub, that’s the charming hostel, Clock Inn Colombo?
It’s nice to stay in a neighborhood with two Pakistani friends who praise the island. But it’s nicer to stay in a neighborhood with two comforting hosts – one, English whom we never met – and a Lankan who’s friendly and helpful, and a pooch who’s the owner of the owners. All these make Kikili House the perfect ‘iescape’ getaway.
There’s one thing that sticks to us in Galle. The beautiful Galle sunsets. The skies layering up with magentas and reds. Yellows we’ve never seen before and our D3200 could never capture. Sometimes Nathan wishes that if our eyes could snap what it sees. Everything it sees the way it sees them as it blinks. You blink and ta-dah, there’s a beautiful photographed saved in your phone.
But sometimes, you’ve got to forget the Instagram, ditch the social media and just witness a beautiful sunset. A sunset with a Virat Kohli advertisement in the backdrop.
But again, it’s the little things.
GaWe were not supposed to walk around the tiny alleys of Galle Fort that afternoon. But we did. Because dear sugar plums, the tiny alleys of today’s Galle fort are wonderfully photogenic. And we couldn’t resist revisiting them for the hundredth time. Once we were done, we paid a visit to the sister hotel of Walawwa by Teardrop Hotels. And that is, The Fort Bazaar.
As soon as we entered, We were greeted with a refreshing drink to quench our thirst. And that’s indeed what we needed after roaming around the streets of historic Galle Fort, snappin’ white tuks and quite bohemic bicycles lining the alleys.
The Fort Bazaar indeed is a charming beautiful place with Moorish architecture and has a tad Scandinavian feel to it. While Nat loved the simple but elegant attic attached to the upper fam suite, Zin fell in love with the spacious common library upstairs. Perfect place to lie down, sip some coffee and read Tiny Beautiful Things. Yes, that’s Zin’s favorite book. Haven’t you read it yet? Go, grab it, expect to cry but thank Z later. Because dear sugar plums, it’s as beautiful as the beautiful Fort Bazaar.
What About The Food?
Oh the food! The absolutely delicious, mouthwatering and photogenic fusion cuisine across oceans with a touch of Ceylon, subtly seasoned with Lankan spices to balance the flavors and aroma of every dish brought you. Cooked to perfection and served by the friendliest staff in the island. Food here gets a thumbs up!
So What Did We Love The Most?
The Jumbo Fish Cake we tried for starters. The crispiest, crunchiest boneless chunk of fish topped with tomato salsa. If heaven was food, this must be it. And, and, and we absolutely loved the local Trincomalee barramundi accompanied with mashed potatoes. Creamy, buttery and oh-so-delicious mashed potatoes. Did we say ma-aaaaaaaa-shed potatoes? Did we?
The baked fondant with gooey choco goodness with a cuppa was the ideal way to finish our gastronomical adventures at Church Street Social.Yes yes yes, the fancy restaurant of Fort Bazaar, facing the historic Church Street is named the Church Street Social.
But What I Need Something So Sri Lankan?
No worries there, sugar plum. CSS (Church Street Social)’s got you covered with a range of rice & curry dishes on their lunch menu. We recommend you to try their Black Pork Curry with Rice. It’s been one of their best sellers and a black pork curry never goes wrong.
We would like to thank Teardrop Hotels for organizing our visit at The Fort Bazaar, but as always opinions are honest and entirely our own.