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SRI LANKA

august 07, 2013 11:34am

Read all about Liz's recent trip to Sri Lanka Click below for full article

 

SRI LANKA

august 07, 2013 11:34am

We flew on the Emirates afternoon flight from Manchester via Dubai which landed into Sri Lanka the following morning. 1 night Negombo –Jetwing Beach Hotel 4-5* Set on a lovely sandy beach, approx. 30 minutes transfer from the airport. Lovely staff, reasonably priced food & drinks we stayed in a stylish Deluxe large room. Behind the hotel is a road with many restaurants and touristy shops selling souveniers and clothing. Negombo is a large town and I would only recommend staying in this resort for a couple of nights before moving off to see more of the island. The evening meal in the hotels restaurant was very nice and the breakfast was also a very good buffet. The following morning we left the hotel and drove appx 3 hours to Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. The journey there was interesting, lovely scenery but rather bumby roads! The orphanage was well worth a visit and the highlight was seeing a group of elephants come down to the river where they stayed for 2 hours. We had lunch in a hotel restaurant which overlooked the river. On the road down to the river there were lots of touristy shops and this would’ve been a good place to buy some souveniers if you could do a bit of haggling.( As it was our first day we wernt ready to buy anything just yet.) Another 2 ½ hour drive took us to Kandalama where we stayed for 3 nights at the Heritance Kandalama. Luxurious hotel overlooking the lake and built into the jungle so there was lots of atmosphere and plenty of monkeys and wildlife to see and hear. Lovely rooms (we had an upgraded room with a lovely bathroom and sitting room area.) Excellent food, the evening meal was a buffet with different themes each night and specialty “show cooking” stations where they cooked various dishes in front of you. Although this hotel was a long way from the airport we thoroughly enjoyed staying here as it was so chilled out. We did 2 half day excursions from here. Sigiriya a large monument of stone, 200 metres high with lots of history – in the 5th century a king created a palace on the rock along with extravagant gardens and water features and the remains can be still be seen. There are a number of steps and stair cases so you can climb up to the top of the rock and half way up is a spiral staircase where you can visit some ancient wall paintings. Elephant Safari – we went to a lake near the Cinnamon Lodge – Habarana and rode the elephants around the lake and even into the lake! We went early in the morning and both trips were around 30 minutes from the Heritance Kandalama. Both excursions could’ve been done on the same day as they were quite near each other, also they were on the way to our next resort Trincomalee so we could have done the elephant safari on the way there too. The drive from Kandamala to Trincomalee was around 4 hours but it was a very good road. 3 nights Chaaya Blu – Trincomalee We chose to stay on the East coast of Sri Lanka as this has the best weather in July/August. (The beach resorts in the south and west of Sri Lanka can be very wet in July/August so its best to go there in the winter months) We stayed in a Beach Chalet room which was on the ground floor so you could step right out onto the beach where there were sun loungers but also on the terrace was a day bed which was nice. The rooms were fairly basic, decent size, comfortable but very clean and the hotel had a rather “shabby chique beach feel”. It was a 3-4* Hotel, the food was OK but not fantastic but very good value. We did a boat excursion to “Pigeon Island” which is a protected nature reserve where you can snorkel and view the reef and a wide variety of fish including sharks! There were a couple of beach front restaurants which you could walk to for lunch which were very reasonable but rather basic. Lovely sandy beach and the sea was warm but quite a bit of sea weed at sections in the sea but we were told this was seasonal. Also quite a few stray dogs and lots of crows around, the hotel did chase them away but they didn’t stay away for long. “Ideal for a couple of days on the beach at this time of year but wouldn’t go for too long” Drive from Trincomalee to Kandy around 3 ½ hours. We drove through the “spice area” and stopped at a spice garden which was very interesting we did a small guided tour and were shown different trees and spices and there use as herbal medicines. We also had a small cookery demonstration and tasting with the spices and coconuts and a massage was offered using various herbal remedies. 2 nights Kandy - Hotel Cinnamon Citadel Nice hotel around 20 minutes from the town. Modern colonial feel, lovely pool and bar area and restaurants. Nice gardens which overlooked the river, but not much else in the area. Kandy has a cooler climate than other places in Sri Lanka and apparently wealthy people from the island buy holiday homes here or come to stay in the hotter months. We did a full day excursion of the city stopping at various view points and a walk through the shopping area. The main 2 sites were the Peradeniya Botanic Gardens – well worth a visit and a walk round, if you were very into trees you could spend days here, but we enjoyed a walk round and stayed a couple of hours. Lots & Lots & Lots of tree bats which were huge in the tops of the trees. Large orchid house with lots of varieties of orchids but not that many flowering when we were there. Temple of the Tooth is a very famous and most visited Budhist Temple, very straight entry, everyone is checked to make sure they are wearing correct clothing – ladies long skirts/trousers and shoulders covered. Shoes have to be removed and there were lots of people selling flowers to take in to offer to Buddha. The history of the whole Temple area was very interesting and definitely worth a visit. We also went to a “Cultural Dance Show” worth going to see when in Kandy but it was quite long! Kandy to Nuwara Eliya – this was a very long drive (around 5 hours) through the mountains, lovely scenery going through small villages, seeing lots of waterfalls. We stopped at a Tea Plantation on the way and were given a tour of the factory and shown how tea was made and the different stages used for drying/wilting etc. We visited on a Sunday so the factory was shut but it was still interesting, there was tea tasting and of course a shop! If we had done this journey through the week we would have seen people picking the tea too. Heritance Tea Factory – Nuwara Eliya District 1 night On the way here I was thinking “I hope this long drive is worth it” and I have to say it was! It’s probably the most unusual hotel Ive stayed in and was a bit like staying in a museum it was an amazing experience. We were lucky with the weather here and arrived in the afternoon to blue skies but as its so high it was cooler than anywhere else we visited in Sri Lanka, definitely needed a cardigan when we sat outside. Our room was fairly basic compared to the other hotels we stayed in Sri Lanka but clean and comfortable. We booked the special restaurant which was in an old railway carriage, 6 course meal was £40 per head. Food and service was excellent and the unusual setting and atmosphere in the cabin was worth it. Most people would only stay at this hotel for 1 or 2 nights as there is very little to do other than walk around the tea plantations, spa and enjoy the scenery BUT it’s a lovely experience so I would recommend going. Nuwara Eliya to Negombo – another long journey back down the mountain appx 6 hours! But we stopped for lunch on the way and again, an interesting journey through various small towns. We stopped overnight at the Jetwing Beach, this night we ate in the hotel next doors beach restaurant (Centre Point) which was lovely and very good value. 1000 flight from Colombo to Dubai – appx 4 hour flight. • Very friendly people • Road trips take a long time as they go through local villages, lots of swerving in & out definitely wouldn’t drive myself! • Fantastic service everywhere we went • Check in at hotels always easy & friendly were welcomed with cool towels and a drink • All rooms were cleaned every day with clean towels • Tipping not compulsory but they do appreciate small tips

 

A great time to visit Australia!

september 22, 2012 09:50pm

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& New Zealand!

Its a great time to visit Australia! As we enter Autumn, Australia is begining their spring, so why not visit before the fares go up for Christmas?

We can tailormake a trip to suit your individual requirements, maybe you have friends or family that you would like to vist and combine that with a few excursions and tours on your own? We can organise fly drive itineraries, escorted tours or just the flight only and can even arrange your tourist visa.

Liz, Colette, Shirley & Lucy have all visited Australia so will be able to guide you around this fantastic country.

Call 016977 2929 to discuss your trip to Australia

 

Read about Liz's trip to the Silver Coast in Portugal

august 25, 2012 04:35pm

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The “Silver Coast” is the coastal area north of Lisbon on the west coast of Portugal.

 

 

 

 

Silver Coast Portugal August 2012

august 25, 2012 04:34pm

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The “Silver Coast” is the coastal area north of Lisbon on the west coast of Portugal. We stayed at the Bom Sucesso Golf Resort which is 1 hour north of Lisbon. The golf course is set in a pretty rural area and the accommodation is situated around the course in various villas, townhouses and apartments. All the accommodation is very modern, spacious and well designed. We stayed in a 3 bedroomed villa with private pool and views onto the golf course. A Hilton hotel is under construction near the 18th hole and Club House and other facilities in the complex include 4 tennis courts, paddle tennis, childrens playground, driving range, supermarket, shops and restaurants along with other sporting facilities. Car hire is essential.

 
There is a Lagoon nearby for watersports and a beach area and there is also a cafe/restaurant down there too.
 
The nearest town is Obidos, which is a Medieval town with cobbled streets leading to the castle. The old buildings are very well preserved and the town is a popular day trip for visitors throughout the region where you can visit the many shops, churches and lovely Portuguese restaurants and walk around the castle walls.
 
The Silver Coast is on the Atlantic coast so expect strong waves and winds, great for surfing but seas only suitable for strong swimmers.
 
We also visited Sintra which is a town approximately 30 minutes from Lisbon in the mountains, very popular with day trip visitors but equally it would be nice to stay here for a short break. Sintra is a World Heritage Site, where you can visit numerous Palaces, Castles and lovely gardens.
 
We spent a short time in Cascais which is on the coast and is a popular holiday resort with some lovely hotels. A holiday to Cascais could include beaches, marina, historic buildings, shopping & cultural attractions.
 
The weather in this area of Portugal is not as hot as the Algarve which makes it comfortable for sightseeing and activities such as tennis, golf, walking and cycling.
 
There are flights from Liverpool and Edinburgh to Lisbon which take approx 3 hours.

For more information contact Liz  e.beaty@thetravelteam.info

 

5* Grosvenor House

may 22, 2012 11:48am

6 years ago when I last visited this hotel it was a building site all around it, but NOW there is a lovely marina with lots of shops and restaurants.

A great location if you like to get out and about in the evenings and experience the new Dubai.

Watch the sun set over the city in the fantastic Champagne Bar!

 

5* Atlantis The Palm

may 22, 2012 11:45am

Such an iconic landmark now in Dubai & a hotel with lots of repeat visitors, especially families.

The rooms are very spacious, we had a fantastic breakfast here with everything you could imagine, from a British Fry up, amazing fruits & cereals to sweet and sour chicken and even a chocolate fountain!

Unlimited entry into the waterpark is included 

Travel to the city by Atlantis monorail!

 

5* Arabian Court at One and Only Royal Mirage

may 22, 2012 11:39am

I visited Dubai 6 years ago and this is still one of my favourite hotels. It has a very Arabic, calm interior with beautiful rooms. The swimming pool is surrounded by palm trees and leads down onto the sandy beach with lovely comfortable sun beds.

I love the rooftop bar with fantastic views and a lovely atmosphere and the prices for drinks up here are reasonably priced.

 

 

5* Deluxe Jumeirah Zabeel Saray

may 22, 2012 11:33am

This fantastic hotel is situated on The Palm. The rooms are amazing!  Enjoy an evening cocktail in the Voda Bar - which also serves every type of Vodka imaginable!

The spa here is amazing too with indoor pool, lots of chill/ relaxing areas and a Snow room if you can be brave enough to try it!

They even have their own cinema room, with the most comfortable armchairs.

They have some very spacious and private villas, fantastic for families or groups of friends, some with their own pool.

 

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