Nathan and Zinara here! Well…sort of! The truth here, it’s Zinara writing to you just being back at parents’ for the week after a three-hour train journey. Nathan’s busy at work. According to his last message on WhatsApp, he’s editing a video on India which he thinks has turned out absolutely tasteless. So this tiny island of ours, the “Wonder of Asia,” aptly named for its pristine natural beauty has come a long way in the tourism industry. Foreigners flock to the island throughout the year. But we feel like there’s still no or very little Sri Lankan travel community. Us local travelers get very little love. Sometimes, zero love. And that is why we thought of writing a blog post about Sri Lankan travelers. We asked a few Sri Lankan travelers to share their thoughts on travel, and their favorite experiences on the road. In this first part, six Sri Lankan travelers are talking about their most heartfelt experiences.
1. Aisha Nazim
“Getting to see new places, see sunsets and sunrises from mountains and beaches, and getting out of Colombo,” that’s how Aisha describes her love for travel. Girl, we get you! Getting out of Colombo is a good enough reason to travel.
Aisha prefers traveling with a group of friends. While she loves to stay in Bed and Breakfasts, and eco-lodges, she is also enthralled by the sheer experience camping brings to her. Aisha instagrams here and writes about her travel journeys on her Medium blog. She also happened to travel 20 days in Europe for a Sri Lankan budget. Ohiya, Ella, Jordan, Hantane, and Diyaluma are some of her most soulful experiences.
2. Amalini De Sayrah
I think I knew ‘Lini since I read one of her WordPress blog posts. And that wasn’t even about traveling. ‘Lini and Aisha both run their travel blog: Inguru Plain Tea. The blog is all about small budgets and big adventurers. Lini prefers staying at Guesthouses, BnBs, hostels, and homestays, and usually sticks to a maximum budget of LKR 1,500 per person per night. That’s kinda like us when we travel. We started with hostels, and now prefer homestays over anything else. We’ve found them to be the homely, sweet little places. We are big fans of ‘Lini’s Instagram feed. She uses a human element to reflect the story of a new place, a familiar one, or of a journey being unraveled. “Feeling small against majestic landscapes that take your breath away. Realising there’s so much you don’t know about the place you think you know so well. People along the way and how they shape your perspectives/priorities. An escape from the bubbles we/society build/s for us,” she describes the things she loves most about travel. And she hated our last question when we asked about her favorite destination. “I hate this question because I absolutely cannot choose! Everywhere I’ve been has had new sights & new lessons,” says ‘Lini.
3. Amila Mahaarachchi
Amila mostly travels with friends and family. “I was not a frequent traveler until a few years ago (which I regret now). Now, when I travel, I consider the knowledge I can gain from it as a top factor. I also consider the wow-factor as well. What I love most about traveling is, feeling or enjoying that moment on the spot. Because of that, I do not carry any heavy camera equipment when traveling (I am not a pro at photography anyway). I rely on my mobile phone to capture the beauty of that moment and then spend more time enjoying it,” says Amila. He prefers staying in luxury resorts when he’s traveling with his family, and guesthouses and BnBs when he’s with his friends. The hike to Pidurangala is one of his favorite experiences so far. Ous, too. “I think Pidurangala hike is my favorite so far. View of Sigiriya you get from there is just stunning. It has now become a signature shot among the travelers. It’s not a very difficult hike too and the view you get is totally worth the effort. I also liked the mini Adam’s peak hike too. It’s another memorable view. You can see the Ella rock, Ella gap and sunset or sunrise is amazing from the top of it. Apart from that, I am always looking for places which gives you a view of the sunset which you didn’t expect. I cannot speak about sunrise much because I am not a morning person.” He instagrams here.
4. Nalan and Dasuni (As we travel by HatVerse)
We feel incredibly happy that there is one more travel couple, just like us. Eco-lodges are their favorite type of accommodation. “As we travel by HatVerse is a blog done by Nalan and Dasuni, a couple, and we love to travel for an adventure of a lifetime. We love checking out new places and we like socializing with the culture and trying out new things and making memories and enjoying the moment,” says the duo. The journey to Oluvil, Ampara was one of their most soulful travel experiences. “Well, we enjoyed our journey to Oluvil, Ampara. It’s across Sri Lanka and the best thing about the journey was on our way we got to see a lot of things, and in Oluvil we stayed at a beach house and it was so beautiful especially the sunrise and the sunset was magnificent. And we loved our journey to Ella, Sri Lanka, one of the best places we have been and would wanna go again soon. We loved Cafe Chill where we had a couple of drinks and enjoyed our time with the people, and hiking at Ella rock was amazing – the views were beautiful and the weather was just perfect.” These two blog on their Instagram and Facebook.
5. Aysha Maryam Cassim
The drive. The culture – places, people, food, art, and language are a few things she loves the most about traveling. Andalusia, Spain, Istanbul & Bursa in Turkey, Lisbon, Portugal are some of her favorite foreign destinations. And in this little island of ours, her heart lies with Jaffna, the Northern town, and Galle, the Southern capital.
6. Chamal Jayasekara
Chamal’s Instagram is one of those feeds you want to stop everything you are doing and scroll through it until you reach the very end. “We need to go to Nepal,” that was Nathan when he first saw Chamal’s feed. Chamal enjoys traveling with a group of friends and the experience of camping. When we asked him what he loves the most about traveling, Chamal replied, “It’s simple. The antidote to the exhaustion is not pills, it’s nature.” Yahangala, Duwili Ella, Annapurna Circuit, Rammale Rainforest, and Mannar are some of his most soulful experiences.
Stay tuned for part two!