Wednesday, October 22, 2014

4 Days Holiday Tropical Solo Get-away in Sri Lanka - Maldives

Dambulla - Sigiriya - Colombo - Hulhumale - Baros Resort - Male
February 25 to March 01, 2014

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." -  Nelson Mandela

My 32nd and 33rd country to visit, 29th solo backpacking trip, 14th visa on arrival application encounter, and of course, usual budget do-it-yourself itinerary from arrival to departure.

Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, is in Southern Asia. It is an "tear-drop shape" island country in the Indian Ocean, south of India. The capital, Sri Jayawardenapura-Kotte, is a suburb of the largest city, Colombo. Sri Lanka is known as "the Pearl of the Indian Ocean" because of its natural beauty. Sri Lanka has also been called "Pearl of Indian Ocean" because of its shape and location, and "the nation of smiling people". The island contains tropical forests and diverse landscapes with high biodiversity.

visa - Filipinos are visa on arrival in Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
requirements: return ticket, hotel accommodation and visa fee of $35 for double entry tourist visa (very relax immigration)
timezone - +0530H UTC;   capital - Colombo;   language - tamil
currency - rupee 130 LKR = 1 USD

Dambulla Golden Temple

Colombo Airport visa stamp (1st visit)

bus #187 from Colombo Airport bound to Colombo Fort

Interesting Facts about Sri Lanka: 
1. Sri Lanka is often known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean and was known as Ceylon before 1972.
2. Sri Lanka is the world’s largest tea exporter.
3. Sri Lanka was the first country in the world to have a democratically elected head of state who was a woman.
4. Sri Lankas national flag is considered to be one of the oldest flags in the world.
5. Although cricket is the most popular sport in Sri Lanka, the national sport of the country is in fact volleyball.
6. Adam’s Peak is the most sacred mountain in the country. Pilgrims from all over climb to its peak by candlelight to stand in what they believe to be the footsteps of Buddha.
7. 92% of people living in the country are literate which means that they boast the highest literacy rate in the whole of South Asia.

This another race against time, very short backpacking researched in somehow detailed manner has a compressed itinerary designed as follows: 

February 25 Tuesday: 
Colombo Arrival, Dambulla cave temple & Sigiriya rock fortress day trip

February 26 Wednesday: 
Colombo day tour (Dehiwala Zoo)
Colombo departure and Maldives arrival 

February 27 Thursday: 
Maldives full island tour(Himmafushi, Kuda Bados, Sandbank, Baros) 

February 28 Friday: 
Male City tour and Maldives departure 

TOTAL BUDGET : USD 1,185 = PHP52,162 (63.20% went to plane ticket)
Sigiriya, the Lion Rock Fortress

Sigiriya, the Lion Rock Fortress

Baros Maldives

The Maldives are an archipelago of 1,192 coral islands grouped into 26 coral atolls (200 inhabited islands, plus 80 islands with tourist resorts) in the Indian Ocean. These atolls are not single islands, but giant ringlike coral formations hundreds of kilometers wide that have fragmented into countless islands. Formerly a Sultanate under Dutch and British protection, the Maldives are now a republic. The Maldives is the smallest Asian country in both population and land area. With an average ground level elevation of 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level, it is the planet's lowest country. It is also the country with the lowest natural highest point in the world, at 2.4 metres (7 ft 10 in). The Maldives has pledged to become a carbon-neutral country by 2019.

visa - Filipinos are visa on arrival (free) in Republic of Maldives
requirements: return ticket and hotel accommodation (somewhat strict immigration)
timezone - +0500H UTC;   capital - Male;   language - Dhivehi
currency - rufiyaa 15 MVR = 1 USD

Interesting Facts about Maldives: 
1. The official languages are Divehi and English. The official religion of Maldives is Islam. It is ranked high among countries that restrict freedom of religion.
2. Maldives holds the record for being the flattest country in the world. More than 80% of the total land component is comprised of coral islands that rise less than 1 meter above sea level. The highest point in the entire country is 2.4 m in elevation.
3. Sharks of Maldives are very famous worldwide and attract thousands of divers to Maldives every year. Maldives itself is considered a heaven for divers. There are many types of sharks found in Maldives.
4. Smallest country in Asia but the most dispersed (across 90,000 sq. km)
5. It’s previously been a colony of the Portuguese, Dutch and British with adult literacy rate is 99%.

Maldives Airport visa stamp

Maldives meal at 150mvr ($15)

Maldives snorkeling at kuda bandos

Arriving from Colombo Airport;
Touchdown at around 0430H local time, I immediately looked for visa on arrival section. As I observed to other tourists facilitated, they just handed-over their passport and dollar paper bill, no single questions asked. Colombo Immigration has a very relax immigration, I did not even show my return ticket and budget money. After I paid the $35 foreign tourist visa fee, I proceeded directly to the passport control line. In a matter of less than 5 minutes I'm already outside the immigration. Even the passport control was just as simple as an ordinary transaction, totally no interrogation. In a matter of 15 minutes after touchdown I was already outside airport with dollar exchanged to local currency.

Anyways, I divided this wonderful journey into different set of posts to be more specific on its content;

1 comment:

  1. Sri Lanka has been lurking in my brain... is it worth visiting?


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