Sri Lankan Paradise; Trinco

Trincomalee was the final stop on our Sri Lankan adventure and what a way to end it was! Picture perfect paradise from start to finish and the best way to look back on our time in India and Our Home before finally reminiscing on our incredible experiences in Sri Lanka.

Where to stay:

Arriving via bus from Sigiriya we jumped in a tuk tuk from the station to our home for the next few nights; Trinco Blu by Cinnamon. What a home this was, as soon as we walked through the reception we were greeted with a cool drink, a refreshing flannel and a beautiful view which was on par with some of the best hotels we’ve ever stayed in.

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If we didn’t feel like we were in a movie already we sure did when we were informed that our room had been upgraded to the ultimate beach front cottage! The room was huge with such an airy feel to it. The whole place just forced you to relax and as we pulled the curtain back things just got better. Looking out was the stunning picturesque beach dotted with palm trees and a giant anchor. We could simply wake up and roll out of bed straight onto the beach!

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The hotel pool was also an oasis with two restaurants to choose from including a buffet option and a fine dining experience at Crab.

What to do:

We were enormously disappointed when we were told no whales had been seen in the waters for over a week and were strongly advised not to go on a whale watching experience with such a high chance of a no show! Nevertheless we did manage to visit Pigeon Island which was an experience on par with the Great Barrier Reef in Australia!

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We snorkelled through the rainbow of coral for a couple of hours and no matter how many times we’ve been snorkelling we’re always astounded at the beauty beneath the surface of the sea. Alongside the coral was an array of marine life from Nemo to Dory and all in between but that was nothing compared to what came next.

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After a quick bite to eat we walked over to the other side of the island to delve into the deep blue again but this time we were told to stay close to our guide. Having snorkelled a fair few times before didn’t expect to see much we hadn’t seen before but Pigeon Island is most definitely our best ever snorkel experience!

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After a few minutes of swimming we found what we were looking for; the most spectacular sea turtle we’ve ever seen! The most wonderful thing about this experience was its comfort and naturalness around us, it didn’t swim away or even towards us, it just went along with its business which made for some amazing pictures!

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With all our attention locked on the turtle we didn’t even notice the other incredible sea creatures lurking just beneath us…

After some frantic pointing from our guide we finally noticed that we were surrounded by a herd of black tip reef sharks! We were terrified but amazed at the same time, especially when one of them swam towards us at a significant pace before turning away. The sheer speed of these magnificent sea creatures was amazing and even more scary given they were nearly two metres in length! We were so amazed we forgot to breathe through our snorkel at times as our jaws dropped with their awesomeness despite being underwater. We can’t think of enough superlatives to describe this amazing adventure.

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Other than our boat trip, we spent our time relaxing in the hotel going between the beach and pool and throughly enjoying some time to relax.

Where to eat:

Being at Trinco Blu we were already staying in the same quarters as some of the best restaurants in Trinco. Although they weren’t cheap, you get what you pay for so we decided to treat ourselves to a night at Crab and it was delicious, however, not quite as enjoyable as our meal at The Fat Crab in Colombo but the beach side setting in Trinco was gorgeous. We also had breakfast included in our visit and loved the array of different options the buffet had to offer.

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We actually spent most of our evenings eating at Tonic’s, a beach shack located just next door to our hotel. The food was super tasty and reasonably priced for its location which added up to us revisiting at least eight times in four days! Gaining an alcohol license in Sri Lanka can prove difficult but Tonic’s had a unique way of getting around that, just ask for a “strong cup of tea” and thank us later.

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Our whole experience in Trinco was incredible. We absolutely loved the hotel, the food and our once in a lifetime snorkelling experience. A place to recommend? Absolutely and without doubt, we extended our stay for an extra night and if we didn’t have to catch a flight home, we’re sure we’d have stayed even longer!

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We’ve got 99 problems but travelling isn’t one!

Bintang Bali

When we think about Bali the first thing that springs to mind is the food and Bintang beer! Leave your diets behind as you are spoilt for choice when it comes to menus in an array of restaurants. Okay they are all pretty westernised and if you are looking to try different cuisines, we don’t think you’ll find it in Kuta, Ubud, or Lovina, but what you will find are all the grills and BBQs you could imagine. Skewers of freshly caught fish, satay beef & chicken, amazing curries, Thai salads, cocktails, mocktails and of course the local favourite, Bintang beer. You’ll be quite content spending your days relaxing by the pool and looking forward to meal times. One particular favourite restaurant was Scallywags, found on the Gili’s! Another recommendation if you have a spare morning is to go to a local coffee farm. You will be bombarded with free tasters from vanilla and coconut to the best hangover cures or even coffee beans that have been made from poo! Don’t ask, just go… You’ll be sure to have a great time.

Kuta sunset

We were initially underwhelmed by the beaches in Bali but we were completely dazzled by the sunsets and spent many a night watching the hot sun set over different beaches.

Kuta is a great spot for surfing with a huge beach running for miles. From playing volleyball to relaxing on a beanbag listening to live music and the crashing of the waves, bliss. Lovina is great for dolphin spotting, be prepared for a little boat over crowding and the most beautiful sunrise ever. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a chilled out, pool party vibe consisting of cocktail drinking and sunbathing, visit Seminyak beach. Here, you will find the ‘Potato Head Beach Cluv ‘ where you’ll have a day away from backpacking and an excuse to put on your best swimwear!

Island hopping

The perfect beach is hard to find as the volcanic black sand isn’t the most attractive and you’ll struggle to find a beach completely clear of rubbish. Although, you can’t really complain when holding an ice cold beer and watching one of the most stunning sunsets you are ever likely to see.

If you are looking for a good spot to swim, snorkel and sunbathe with some clear sea and white sand head for the Gili Islands. Our opinion is unless you fancy going to Malia, skip Gili Trawangan and head straight for Meno or Air. Both are a lot more chilled out, with lush white sand and walk-off-the-beach snorkelling. Take a walk or bike ride around the whole island (do not pay to ride a incredibly badly treated horse & cart!) enjoy the salty sea air and delicious fresh seafood restaurants.

Monkey business

At 5780skm Bali is relatively small and we felt we got to see a fair share of it. Ubud is the place we’d like to call our favourite. If you’ve seen Eat, Pray, Love and that’s what your hoping for when you visit, Ubud is where you’ll find it. Away from the hustle and bustle and bargaining of Kuta, Ubud is much more relaxed with a tranquil and sacred feeling.

Bali rice fields

From the luscious rice fields to the famous monkey forest you are not short of options here. Not at all shy, the monkeys are inquisitive and quite fun to interact with but they are mischievous little buggers so make sure you take care of any loose belongings. If you’re lucky you might even see some monkey loving.

The cobbled streets are lovely to wander around, looking in the quaint shops and stopping in the different happy hours, the days soon turn to nights and before you know it you’ve been here longer than expected. Rent a bike to fully explore Ubud’s hidden gems. If you’re looking for a cheap, friendly hostel check out The Happy Mango tree, with private or dorm rooms, reliable tours (including Mount Batur) and great breakfasts, you can’t go wrong.

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Getting up and out at 2.30am is hardly our idea of fun but when it is to climb an active volcano, we made an exception!

Climbing Mount Batur was no easy task. Our first encounter was a huge thunderstorm which lasted for hours, continuing during our ascent. The lightening lit up the dark sky providing sparks of light in an otherwise blackened environment.

Rain fell sporadically through our journey, refreshing us as we trekked through the night in still relatively warm temperatures. Carrying torch lights on the now slippery surface, we stopped at various rest points to regroup before finally reaching the summit after hours of walking, climbing and tripping.

On reaching the top, we were greeted with an egg…. which we boiled on one of the steaming vents from the volcano. We then took a seat and awaited for sunrise which eventually came but was blocked by low lying clouds. The view was still unmissable just not quite what it could have been.

Being on top of a volcano really is an awesome feeling and we cannot recommend it highly enough. One of nature’s most powerful and destructive features was literally warming our feet with the possibility of an eruption at any moment.

Two people, one world

A few other highlights for us consisted of the hot water springs not far from Lovina, the many waterfalls you’ll stumble across, and of course the beautiful temples which there is certainly no shortage of. Lastly, don’t forget to test your bargaining skills on the latest Bintang vests, elephant print pants and “Namaste Bitches” tops.

It’s a great country to experience a new culture, especially if you haven’t travelled to Asia before. However, it is extremely touristy which we feel has detracted itself from its true Indonesian roots. If you’re thinking of visiting Bali do it now as our bet is that in five years time it will have changed even more.

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