Authors Posts by Amila Wickramarachchi

Amila Wickramarachchi

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Amila Wickramarachchi is a Food & Travel blogger who writes both Food Corner and this travel blog.She resides in Singapore.

Mexican Auto Insurance

If you are thinking that renting a car when going to Mexico is a far better alternative than bringing your own car, think again.

Although renting a car in Mexico is pretty much the same as renting a car in the United States (they have most major car rental players like Hertz, Alamo, Budget and Thrifty), you have to have either a major credit card or loads of cash to pay for the rental deposits (which you have to book way in advance to avail of discounts) and the higher than normal costs for airport transfers and pick-up. Also, you have to have a very keen eye on each and every mark or scratch your car rental has lest you be charged if you had not noticed these.

The one thing that you would have to brace yourself with though with when traveling to Mexico would be the cost of having your car rental insured, which could be very tricky if you are not in the know. If you are not careful, Mexican insurance can cost you an arm and a leg.

Car rental rates would seem very cheap online if you are to compare prices: the caveat though is that these rates do not include insurance costs which could well double or maybe even treble your car rental costs. Fatality liability compensation in Mexico has gone up, thanks to stricter laws that resulted in Mexican auto insurance companies upping their coverages and rates. For first time travelers in Mexico, the choices could be overwhelming so that in most cases, you pay for more insurance than what is necessary for fear of non-compliance.

Mexican Auto Insurance

So what is and is not mandatory? And how much of a coverage is considered to be safe?

As with all other car insurances, the most basic coverage (and the only mandatory insurance for that matter) would be third party liability insurance which would cover claims for injury or damage you caused to another driver, car or property damaged in an accident. This coverage would not pay for damages to your car rental though and in Mexico, you cannot rent a car without buying liability insurance. What car insurance companies would not tell you though is that the mandatory liability insurance is, by Mexican law, already included in the rental rate so that most end up paying for unnecessary additional costs.

The supplemental liability insurance, though not mandatory, is one coverage that most insurance companies will coax you into buying. One might give a second thought though on getting this coverage as with the very minimal cost, this gives additional coverage that you could count on had you figured in a major mishap.

For a certain stipulated amount, most rental car companies would require the car renters to sign a collision damage waiver with the effect of waiving some of the cost of damage or theft inflicted on the rented car. As this is not an insurance, car renters are advised to verify if their credit card insurance benefits cover collision damage. It might be well worth your time to check availability of this feature with your credit card company before you decline this coverage lest you run the risk of spending part of your vacation in a Mexican jail cell.

Bangkok things to do

Are you planning a trip to Bangkok? Bangkok, the most popular tourist hotspot in Southeast Asia offers many reasons for travellers to visit there. Be it popular Bangkok attractions, shopping in Bangkok streets or experiencing Bangkok nightlife, you will sure have fantastic time in this bustling city.

However just imagine your time spending with the locals!

Dining, talking or even visiting attractions with locals! Isn’t this the best way to spend time in any city? In such, here are five things to do in Bangkok that you do not want to miss. Bonus tip: Doing my research I spotted a company called Withlocals. They seem perfect to combine all the ingredients for an authentic local experience

1. Visit a Floating Market

things to do in bangkok with locals

Floating markets are one of the unique attractions in Bangkok which almost every visitor wants to experience. This can be the best Bangkok experience which you can have if you plan it properly. You will need to arrange a boat tour to visit floating markets. Also having a local guide will be helpful for you to visit the floating markets without much hustle.

Do you know that there are almost 5 floating markets around the Bangkok city with different timing and different days? So, instead of planning your floating market tour alone, get the help of locals in Bangkok and let them plan your trip. That will help you to save both time and money. Check this  Floating Market & Boat Tour which is ideal to visit the floating markets. Other than the visit to the floating market, you will also experience boat riding and local Thai food. Don’t forget to experience the public transport like a local!

2. Experience Thai food with locals

Unique Things to do in Bangkok with Locals

Yes, Thailand is so much popular for their delicious food including street foods. You may think that it is nothing to plan and you only have to visit restaurants along the way to experience the Thai food. But how about dining with a family who are actually locals of Bangkok? This will be a really interesting experience as you will get the opportunity to spend time with locals in Bangkok while learning their food culture. Such friendly and warm home dining experience will be remarkable and that will add you lifetime memories! Check this list of  Withlocals experiences in Bangkok and select what are the favourite things to do in your next holiday!

 3. Spend a night in a local Thai home

Other than dining with locals, you can also spend a night with locals to experience a glimpse of their lifestyle. There are homestay facilities around Bangkok which you can rent a whole house or stay in a private room in a local Thai home. Such experience will definitely add you fantastic and unique memories!

4. Visit Hidden Gems

When you search for things to do in Bangkok, I am sure you will find lot of lists which highlight shopping in Bangkok or nightlife experiences in Bangkok. However have you heard of hidden gems which are not much popular among the tourists to Bangkok? A traditional silk farm day trip, visiting traditional Thai artists or visit to a Thai village can be exciting and will allow you to spend quality time with locals while experiencing their culture.

5. Visit Buddhist Temples

Things You Must Do In Bangkok

Thailand, being a Buddhist country, you will find lot of Buddhist temples around the neighborhood of Bangkok. Don’t forget to visit at least one Buddhist temple in your trip to Bangkok. You can even chat with a Buddhist monk and experience the Buddhist way of living.

However you need to know how to behave in a Buddhist temple and how properly dress when you visit a temple. When you know such things, your experience will be memorable!

There are many other attractions and things to do in Bangkok. However with above unique attractions you will never find a dull moment in Bangkok. Plan your Bangkok trip before you reach the country. That will save you both time and energy which in return give you remarkable memories and experiences too!

 

 

A Better Florist in Singapore

With a strong sense for design, and unmatchable passion, A Better Florist in Singapore is definitely a florist that made a big boom on the floristry scene of Singapore. With an overall exceptional service and designs that look like flower masterpieces, they have found their way to the hearts of Singaporeans. It’s quite obvious that no matter where you look online, A Better Florist will pop up and the fantastic reviews will intrigue you. It’s hard to miss something so beautiful and interesting, and this intricate beauty simply lures you onto their website. We’re happy to tell you that, once you find yourself scrolling through their flower designs on their website, there’s no going back, as you’ll never want to buy from another florist ever again.

Their unique style and their fresh, hand-packed flowers are one of the main reasons for the popularity of A Better Florist. Considered as the best florist in Singapore by many, they work hard on maintain the standards, and even if you know nothing about this florist, you can easily find a confirmation of their hard work on their social media. Flowers speak more about the company then words themselves, right? One short peek at their socials or website, and you’ll see that they are constantly evolving and changing their designs, going with the flow, and listening to what their clients need.

A Better Florist in Singapore

What I found heart-warming is their dedication to what their customers want. It’s clear that they want their customers to be thrilled with the flowers they get, which is why their designs are remarkably beautiful. But apart from the designs, they also invest a lot in being the best flower delivery service in Singapore.

When you’re in Singapore, you don’t exactly want to be running from one part of the concrete jungle to the other, in search of the ideal flower bouquet that is bought fresh, authentic and what you had in mind. Not only is it time-consuming, it’s pointless. And why would you when the best flower delivery in Singapore already exists?

A Better Florist wanted to bring luxurious flower bouquets to your doorstep, with their cheap flower delivery in Singapore, one of the cheapest out there. Of course, there are plenty of locations throughout Singapore, such as florist in Changi Airport, but there’s no need to waste time, and A Better Florist made it pretty clear that convenience and your satisfaction is of utmost importance.

A Better Florist in Singapore

You don’t even have to leave your home or the office, and they can have the flowers delivered to any part of Singapore. But that’s not all. In addition to working hard every day, they also offer a 90 minute, same day delivery just in case you need flowers, and fast. They understand that we have occasions where we need exceptional blooms, but have no time. And it’s this exact thoughtful thinking that won the hearts of Singaporeans.

After doing some additional research, I’ve found that they also offer Dubai flowers, and Hong Kong flowers, so that you can grab from your favourite florist no matter where you are. It’s exciting to see a start up change the florist game so fast, and to see how many people, even outside of Singapore, are quickly embracing the changes they have made.

If you look online, and do some research, you’ll find that they are the best florist in Hong Kong as well, and that they offer the best flower delivery in Hong Kong. Watch out world, A Better Florist is taking over, and definitely raising the standards for all other flower shops.

A Better Florist seems to have the entire package. It’s literally the dreamboat of all Singaporean florists. They have the expertise, the unique design, the excellent customer service, the good word of mouth. Now that you now a little bit about them and how they operate, the only thing left to do is visit their website and let the flowers speak for themselves.

 

 

Gadaladeniya Temple –Kandy-Sri Lanka

Gadaladeniya Temple or Gadaladeniya Raja Maha Viharaya is an ancient temple of Sri Lanka along the Colombo Kandy road. With beautiful views and lot of attractions, it is always interesting to travel along the Kandy road towards the Temple of Tooth Relic which is a must visit attraction in Sri Lanka. Although I’ve been to Kandy tooth relic temple many times, this is my second visit to the Gadaladeniya Temple as we were always rushing with our Sri Lanka holiday plans. Finally we visited Gadaladeniya temple during our 2016 Sri Lanka holiday and it was really memorable with other nearby attractions till we reached Kandy.

Bit of History about Gadaladeniya Temple

Gadaladeniya Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple which was built in year 1344 and it has influence of South Indian architectural style. Currently it is maintained under the Department of Archeology, Sri Lanka as it is considered as a historical heritage site.

Gadaladeniya Temple –Kandy-Sri Lanka
Three generations ,Grand father,father and son

If you like history and culture, then Gadaladeniya Temple is a must visit place in Kandy, Pilimathalawa. We reached the temple around 2pm, but it was little bit sunny. However among the ancient Buddha statues and paintings, I could not feel any difficulty. Instead we spent our time watching the temple and reading the history of it. My little explorer too spent his time walking around the temple and he did not show any signs of tiredness.

Gadaladeniya Temple –Kandy-Sri Lanka

First we entered into the shrine room at the entrance of the Gadaladeniya viharaya which also looks so old and faded.However as a heritage site,these statues and paintings are well protected in their original condition.

Gadaladeniya Temple –Kandy-Sri Lanka
Ancient paintings found in Gadaladeniya Raja Maha Viharaya

Below is another buddha statue in a small shrine room.

Gadaladeniya Temple –Kandy-Sri Lanka
Buddha statue inside the Gadaladeniya temple

The stupa of the Gadaladeniya temple is not huge as most of Sri Lankan stupas found around the country. Instead it is a small stupa (Pagoda) surrounded by another four smaller stupa. The main stupa is surrounded by four pillars and a roof which is unique to this temple in Pilimathalawa, Kandy.

Gadaladeniya Temple –Kandy-Sri Lanka
Stupa of the Gadaladeniya Viharaya – Sri Lanka

There are stone guardians around the corners of the stupa which are symbolic elephants.These sculptures are great examples of the rich history of ancient Sri Lanka and its culture.

Gadaladeniya Temple –Kandy-Sri Lanka
Guard stones

After spending time around the stupa,we entered into the main Shrine hall which is also full of ancient paintings.The main Buddha statue represents the seating posture of Buddha and thereare carvings and other sculptures around it.

Gadaladeniya Temple –Kandy-Sri Lanka
Buddha statue of the main shrine – Gadaladeniya ancient temple

You will also find the relic casket with in front of the Buddha statue which is also the table for offerings.

Gadaladeniya Temple –Kandy-Sri Lanka

We were impressed by the ancient sculptures and buddha statues in this Gadaladeniya temple as it is full of statues.

Gadaladeniya Temple –Kandy-Sri Lanka

There is also a Bodhi tree in Gadaladeniya temple which is a must have in any temple.Other than the photos shared here,there are lot of things to see including the paintings and even an ancient inscription.

Gadaladeniya Temple –Kandy-Sri Lanka
Bodhi Tree – Gadaladeniya ancient temple

If you visit Kandy Sri Lanka,dont forget to spend few hours to visit this Gadaladeniya Viharaya which is just around 1 km away from Pilimathalawa.(Pilimathalawa is a small town along the way to Kandy).Also there are other 2 historical attractions you can visit after Gadaladeniya viharaya.Embakke Dewalaya and Lankathilaka Viharaya are other places you must visit in the same trip as those were also located in just few kilo metres away.

How to Reach Gadaladeniya Temple:

It is located in Pilimathalawa along the Colombo Kandy road.If you reach by public transport,it is easy to hire a tuk tuk from Pilimathalawa.Otherwise it is easy to arrange private car or tour operator to visit Kandy including this temple.

Things to know before you visit:

It is a historical attraction.If you have interest on ancient temples and culture then this will be an ideal place to visit.Also check the dress code and behavior before you plan your trip to Sri Lanka temples.

Have you been to Sri Lanka? Or do you like to visit historical sites?Please share your thoughts.

 

How to Prepare for Full Time RV Living in 3 Easy Steps

If the daily grind is getting you down, you may have dreamed about buying an RV, throwing some supplies together, and hitting the road for good. The freedom and adventure that this unique lifestyle provides will change the way you think, live, and relate to the world forever – but you need to make sure you’re ready before you jump in. In this article, we’ll give you three easy steps you can take before you set out on a permanent road trip. Let’s begin.

1. Make Sure You Can Call an RV Home

If you already own an RV and use it as often as you can – with your family and pets on board – you probably know a thing or two about living successfully on the road. For those who have been dreaming of RV living but haven’t got extensive experience, the best advice is to experience an RV trip for a few weeks and then decide whether you could do it permanently. After you experience the feeling of freedom, the go-anywhere (at any time) lifestyle, and the challenges of living in a mobile home with limited space, you’ll know whether this is the lifestyle for you.

How to Prepare for Full Time RV Living

2. Choose the Right RV

There are two important points when it comes to permanent RV living: buying an RV that’s the right size, and making sure it can handle all four seasons.

The size of your RV will determine how much space you have to live in and how easy the vehicle is to control and park. This will also have an effect when shopping for furniture for your RV, for instance. Many RV parks (especially older ones) are designed for a maximum RV length of 30 feet, making things difficult for families with 40-footers, despite the added living space. It’s also crucially important to get an all-season RV that is really well insulated to withstand summer and winter weather extremes – it’s an investment in your health and comfort.

3. Check – and Double Check – your Finances

Before you say goodbye to your old way of life and take to the open road, you’ll need to make sure you can afford it. If you’re retired, make sure your monthly income will cover your living expenses, including RV insurance, fuel, and maintenance costs. Working from your RV is possible, especially if you work remotely or make a living online, but you’ll need to make sure that you have a reliable internet service.

Finally, it’s important to have an emergency stash of savings that covers at least six months’ living expenses and decide what to do with your current home. Selling it to repay the mortgage and other debts may be a good idea, but if your home is paid for you may want to rent it and use the proceeds for your living expenses. Eventually, you may decide to live in your home half the year and spend the other half on the road or commit to a full-time RV living adventure. Having financial options is always a great idea.

Conclusion

Life on the road can be one of the most thrilling experiences you’ll ever have, as you explore the thousands of cities, towns, and landmarks across America. With the right RV, the right preparation, and most importantly – the right positive attitude – you’ll have a great time living your dream, making new friends and getting a taste of adventure that most people never get to experience.

 

 

Best Rooftop Views in Miami

Miami is famous for its sunshine, beaches, and its skyline. It is one thing to enjoy these features at street level during the day, but an entirely different experience to see them from the rooftops, especially when the sun transforms the evening sky with its sunset hues and Miami starts to wake up preparing for the night ahead.

The old song goes, “At night the stars put on a show for free” up on the roof! Miami has some great rooftop views with restaurants and bars stretching from Downtown to South Beach where you can take off the cares of the day and relax or party, whichever helps your cares just drift right into space.

Here are some of the rooftops to make for:-

1. Rooftop at Elleven – Downtown

Whatever else is happening in Miami, you will always end up at Elleven! So the saying goes.

The actual rooftop bar is a respite from the real action which takes place downstairs. But while you are on the top deck feeling the breeze blowing down NW 11th Street, enjoy a beer and have something to eat before taking a deep breath and plunging downstairs again into the wall of sound and light that is Elleven!

This place is open 24/7, but at night when they raise the curtain, expect to raise your expectations and your blood pressure when Elleven becomes a full-on cabaret. Burlesque performances, topless dancers on trapezes, and Cirque du Soleil-style and music performances, draw you into the dance party.

If you want royal hospitality, great food and drink and an electric atmosphere make sure you reserve your table in advance. In fact, do it right now!

2. Pawn Broker – Downtown

The Fidelity Bank and Trust company started in December 1916 on this site and was then occupied by the Miami Bank & Trust Company in the early 1920s. Today the Langford Hotel carries the legacy of those years in its walls and windows.

Peel back the years as you walk through the ground floor lobby with its original crown molding and marble walls then step through the elevator’s old brass doors and take a ride to the days of Prohibition.

Pawn Broker is the classy old time cocktail bar that sits on the roof of this grand old building and echoes the days of long ago. Cuban tiles and marble serve to emphasize the retro décor and a drinks menu of which Al Capone would have been proud.

Here you can order crafted cocktails with ironic names and quotes to describe them. Try Giggle Water, a prohibition era bathtub gin, with hints of lemon and lavender, served in a cute little ceramic bathtub – very creative! Or, The Pawnbroker, a delightfully boozy Old Fashioned with a touch of apple and spice.

Here you can drink alone at the bar and strike up conversations with fellow time-travelers, or step out on the terrace and enjoy a Miami sunset and panoramic views of the Downtown skyline.

Best Rooftop Views in Miami

3. Sugar – Brickell

Watch the day turn into the night from the 40th floor of the charming East Hotel. The 360-degree views take you across Biscayne Bay to the east, and the mirror glass and bright lights of Brickell to the south.

The food is inspired by Chinese and Thai traditions so try the Thai Pork Penang Curry with coconut and pineapple, or the Tiger Cry “Madura” pan-seared New York strip slices with hints of mint and dried chili.

Spending an evening in this Balinese garden in the sky overlooking the Miami waterways, enjoying cocktails and Asian tapas, will be a moment to treasure.

4. The Oasis – South Beach

For those wanting South Beach, a moonlit night by the pool where you can stargaze as you sip a chilled vodka, then make your way to Sense Beach House and the rooftop bar, The Oasis.

Do you want more inspiration? The rooftop pool of this art deco boutique hotel has retro bathing beauties painted on the pillars surrounding the pool, and, if that’s not enough, views of the ocean and the city, while you lounge in style.

5. Rooftop at the 1 Hotel – South Beach

You could spend your whole time in Miami and enjoy every moment. Rooftop at the 1 Hotel South Beach is the only ocean front hotel with a rooftop pool. You can relax poolside 18 stories high with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the city.

This place combines urban rooftop, ocean views, and a trendy pool bar. You can book a poolside cabana and spend the day with friends and family.

An All Day menu sets the scene with starters, salads, and sushi among a range of other great meals, along with crafted cocktails and an organic wine selection.

Thrillist included the rooftop pool at 1 Hotel South Beach in their list of “The World’s Most Beautiful Hotel Pool Views.”

These are just a few of the rooftop venues for you to experience in Miami. With so many opportunities to enjoy your time in the clouds, it’s going to be difficult to keep your feet on the ground! Welcome to Miami!

budget flights

Despite it now being so easy to book plane tickets and having so much choice when it comes to doing so, we’re often still stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the cost.

 

However, there are a few tricks of the trade which can help you to get the best deals when booking flights and we’ve rounded up five to save you some pennies on your next journey.

 

Embrace the layover

With longer layovers often come lower air fares and it’s definitely worth taking the hit of a layover to save yourself what could potentially be big bucks. Another perk of having a longer layover is that you can seek comfort in the knowledge that you’re not going to miss your connecting flight – so layovers aren’t all bad at all!

 

On this, we spoke to Globehunters who said: “Opting for a longer layover will almost always get you a cheaper flight. As much as layovers can be tedious, there are plenty of ways in which you can combat the boredom which falls hand in hand with the waiting time.”

 

“You can make the most of the airport’s executive lounges and there will often be lots of places around the airport for you to enjoy some food and drink and maybe even get some work done.”

 

If you need some inspiration for how to entertain yourself during your layover, read this post for some pointers.

budget flights

Be flexible

Financially speaking, it’s always best to be as flexible as possible when booking flights. The cheapest fares are usually found at the more unsociable periods of flight timetables, such as in the early hours of the morning or on Saturday evenings – even flying on holidays such as Christmas Day should significantly reduce your air fare.

 

Making your availability flexible during these times puts you one step ahead of the passengers who aren’t so flexible, so it’s definitely worth having an easy going approach to flight times if possible.

 
Buy one-way tickets

In many cases, buying two single tickets instead of one return ticket will significantly reduce the price of your journey. With this trick, you can also mix and match airlines and airports, giving you the utmost flexibility during your trip.

 budget flights

Cozy up to an airline

Most airlines have some sort of scheme or reward system which allows you access to cheaper deals on their flights. By signing up to a frequent flyer program, you could be saving yourself some real money on flights, not to mention potentially gaining access to airport lounges free of charge, depending on which airline you choose.

 

Book six weeks in advance

Some people swear by booking last minute flight tickets, but that is a risky business as you may not be able to find cost-effective flights and end up having to pay high prices for plane seats which you could have bought at a lower price at an earlier date.

 

However, according to a study from Airlines Reporting Corporation, the best time to find cheap flights is six weeks in advance of your departure date. This is simply because, during this time, flight prices drop to below the average fare.

How to Apply for Canada visa in 3 easy steps

With beautiful waterfalls, lush mountains and beautiful architectural views, Canada is one of the best destinations in the world which any traveller would love to visit. However before you visit Canada, you need to check visa requirements for Canada as it has different visa policies for different countries.

It can be a tour in Canada, visiting a family member or friends or even transit through Canada. Whatever it is you need to check your visa eligibility and requirements before you plan your tour to Canada. You can check visa requirements by visiting  https://etacanadaonline.com/ and apply visa accordingly.

However if you are from a country that visa is required to enter into Canada, you need to complete the applications and necessary documents before you apply. If you are from a country that Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) is required, then you are lucky as you can apply Canada Visa in easy 3 steps.

Things you Must do in Vancouver for an Unforgettable Holiday
Beautiful Canada
Who are eligible for Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)?

Most of the European countries including Germany, Poland, France, UK and Italy are eligible for ETA visa which is really convenient.

How to Apply for Canada visa in 3 easy steps!

If you are a passport holder of any of the countries listed for Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) eligible countries, then below are the steps to follow even without leaving your home.

1) Apply for Canada Visa online

First you need to prepare with necessary documents to apply for Canada visa or visum Kanada online. These documents include valid passports and also a valid credit card for online payment. To receive the status of application and other necessary details, you also need to hold a valid email address. You can easily apply for Canada visa or visum Kanada online by visiting https://etacanadaonline.com/

When you fill your online visa application for Canada, you will also need to answer some questions related to your employment and health status.

2) Make the payment

Once you complete the online visa application for Canada visa, the next step is to complete the payment. For this you need a valid credit card and it really takes few minutes only to complete the transaction!

3) Check your email for Canada visa approval

Once you complete the visa application and the online payment, you will receive email confirming the payment. The next is to receive your visa to your email. Once all these steps are done, the ETA process is completed and you are with valid permit to enter into Canada for your next holiday!

How to Apply for Canada visa

Isn’t it easy and save you lot of time than visiting a Canada embassy? Unfortunately, as a Sri Lankan passport holder I am not eligible for ETA facility. Sri Lankans need to apply for Canada Visa through nearest Canada visa application Centre (CVAC)!

Once you are ready with visa for Canada don’t forget to plan your itinerary to Canada. Plan your trip including must do things in Canada, book your flights to Canada, Book accommodation and pack your suitcase!

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Not all elephants are chained at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

I thought our kid would be happy with the view of elephants. At the time we were visiting the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, kid hadn’t see a real elephant. So, we wanted to give him an exciting experience among the large animals. However Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was not a really attractive place for him. Instead he wanted to go out of the place! 🙁

Why? Well, it was same for me too. I remember few years ago I visited the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage as a school student in one of our school trips. That time this place was really attractive and looked lush. There were baby elephants who could really attract us.

Then I visited the elephant orphanage again in around 2009-2010 and the place looked totally deserted. Anyway that’s part of the stories and experiences we had before.

But, now the place looks different than before. It looks beautiful even at the entrance and it is with more facilities for the visitors including clean washrooms. We visited the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in November 2016 and pleased with the first view. So, here is our real experience with some tips which can be helpful for you if you plan a visit to this orphanage where elephants live!

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage entrance

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is one of the best attractions for kids if you visit Sri Lanka. So we wanted to visit with our kid too thinking of watching elephants in action!

 Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
At the entrance of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
What is Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage?

The idea behind this elephant orphanage is really worth to protect the elephants. It is an orphanage founded with the aim of providing care and breeding facilities for the wild elephants who find in forests of Sri Lanka. With such care the orphanage helps to protect the wild elephants and helps to breed them. Under the care of the staff, young elephants who found abandoned by their mothers get a new shelter to live. Though the concept is in a debate among some activists around the world, it helps to save the lives of these abandoned young elephants. If there is no such place, such elephant calves will die in the wild without care and protection!

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Things to do and see at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Elephants in this orphanage have a daily schedule to follow. If you visit there on the right time, you can easily watch these activities and even join with the activities such as feeding the elephants. Watching them bathing is another interesting thing you must watch during the visit to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.

Below are some of the things you can do in your visit to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Though the thoughts about the elephants in this orphanage are different for different people, it is better to prepare for the activities if you visit there.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage schedule
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage daily schedule (As of November 2016)

Watch the beautiful elephants

Yes, this is one of the things anyone does there at the elephant orphanage. However, don’t just watch them. Elephants are really beautiful and you will see they love each other, care each other, walk, bath and many activities. Spend time to watch them closely and you’ll find that it is really worth watching them closely.

Feed the elephants

If you visit there at the right time, you can feed the baby elephants. This will be an interesting activity for anyone.

Watch the elephants leaving to the river (leaving for a bath)

This is one of the best views for me at the Pinnawala elephant orphanage. The herd of elephants will leave the orphanage, cross the road and walk to the nearby river (Ma Oya) and they look so disciplined. They walk in a group but still in a line. In this recent trip we missed watching them walking across the road, but it is really a beautiful attraction you should not miss in Pinnawala!

Watch them bathing

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Bathing time @ Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Yes, elephants will be happily bath at the river (Ma Oya) and this is the best time to watch the happy elephants. If you visit with kids they will be happy to see the elephants having a bath playing with water and splashing water! Don’t miss the photo opportunities of these giants!

Shop local products and souvenirs

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Souvenir shops near the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Other than watching animals, you can also spend time shopping around. There are souvenir shops which sell items for a range of prices. You will also find souvenirs such as small elephant magnets for less than $1 which can be a good memory for any kid. Other than that there are clothing, leather bags and many other items which you can shop around. Don’t forget to spend some time for shopping!

Enjoy a Sri Lankan Meal

 Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage travel guide

There are restaurants around which you can enjoy Sri Lankan food. We had buffet lunch at the nearest restaurant in front of the Elephant Orphanage which served buffet which we found really worth trying.

Visit other nearby attractions

If you visit Pinnawala, the elephant orphanage is not the only attraction to visit. There are other attractions too including the Pinnawala Zoo which is less than 10 minutes walking distance away. Read about our visit to Pinnawala Zoo which we liked much!

Things to know before you visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Below are some helpful tips for you to prepare and plan your visit. Hope these details are helpful for you to enjoy a relaxing day at the Pinnawala elephant orphanage.

  • It will be really hot in a sunny day. Prepare with caps, sunscreens, sunglasses and simple clothing to beat the heat.
  • You need to buy tickets to enter into the orphanage.(Different rates for Sri Lankans/locals)
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage entrance fee (as of November 2016,in Sri Lankan Rupees)
  • Opening hours are 8.30am – 6pm.However if I visit there again, I will try to reach there in the morning or may be late afternoon to avoid the heat. We reached there around 11am which was really hot, so we (specially the kid) didn’t enjoy the place.
  • Prepare with water
  • Snacks and water will be helpful for you to spend the time there. You can easily buy food and water at Pinnawala as there are many local shops around.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
An effort to take a picture when this elephant splashes dust! 🙂

 

  • Finally, enjoy your day. Don’t spoil your time watching the chained elephants, criticizing the orphanage. Instead spend time to watch them growing under good care. They are abandoned young elephants and they are under care of the orphanage management!
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage – Is it worth visiting? Is it ethical?

Is Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage an ethical place to visit? This is a common argument that is in doubt or debate these days. Though I don’t want to write most of my views, I simply want to highlight few of my thoughts and observations.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

First, it is a place for raising abandoned elephants or elephants that are violent. If there is no such place to take care of these baby elephants, they would have died in the wild. At the same time, do you know that there are people dying in Sri Lanka rural places due to elephant attacks? The Human Elephant Conflict is a raising problem in Sri Lanka due to many reasons. There are political reasons and other reasons behind this problem. But, still the solutions do not work well!

Anyway, the place can be kept only as a place for taking care of elephants, not for earning tourist income. But, we may need to consider the cost of maintaining this place as well.

It is common that many writers and tourists point out the chained elephants in Elephant Orphanage. With incidents of history and even recent stories, I will never visit a place which elephants are roaming freely and happily without guides or mahouts. I know they can attack human anytime! In Sri Lanka it is common to see elephants under the guard of mahouts. Therefore as someone born and raised in Sri Lanka, these chained elephants walking with mahouts is a common sight which I do not see anything wrong. The Sri Lankan culture is attached with elephants in many events including ‘Perahara festival’.

Finally,to the topic!

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage – Is it a Must Visit in Sri Lanka?

Above are all about tips to visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage including our experiences there. Think twice before you visit this place. If you are against animal tourism, then avoid Pinnawala. Save time to other attractions along the Colombo Kandy road. There are many other historical places you can admire and most of those are free attractions!

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Not all elephants are chained at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

If you travel with kids or if you love to watch elephants closely and want to take some photographs, Pinnawala can be an ideal place for you. Then don’t miss this Elephant Orphanage. There is also a mini zoo which you can consider visiting. Pinnawala can be the best place for some souvenir hunting too!

However, for me this is not the best place to watch elephants. It is not a zoo either. If you really like to watch elephants who roam freely in the wild, there are many such natural places in Sri Lanka. Udawalawa or Yala national parks are few of the places only. If you visit Minneriya National Park, you can watch elephants or if you use the Habarana road to visit Polonnaruwa, you will see places which elephants cross the road. Plan your Sri Lanka tour including such national parks and avoid the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. However, if your tour plan includes Kandy Tooth Relic Temple, then Pinnawala is along the way to Kandy (Colombo Kandy Road). So, it is easy to stop here and spend few hours!

Accommodation in Pinnawala

In Pinnawala you will find many beautiful locations to stay.The village itself is a beautiful area with the beautiful river view of Ma Oya.

Check  Agoda for accommodation recommendations.

Also check Airbnb for accommodation for reasonable rates.Using my link you will get upto $50 travel credits for your first booking.

 

How to reach Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage?

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is located at Pinnawala (Kegalle district) which is easy to access via Colombo Kandy road. If you are a foreign tourist, joining with a tour planner in Sri Lanka will be much easier or otherwise Rambukkana railway station is the nearby railway station.

Hope this post will be a helpful travel guide to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage if you plan a Sri Lanka holiday. Have you been to Sri Lanka before?

 

How To Go For Long-Term Travelling Pay Off Debt

You may encounter different types of debt in your life, student loan, house loan, mortgage debt etc. and in between you decide to put off travelling till these loans are cleared. And, you have countless people sailing in the same boat. They wish to travel but find it impossible because they still have to clear out their debt. However, here is a plan through which you can turn your dreams to reality without waiting for your debt to get clear.

If you’re planning to travel for long term, then do not worry about your per month loan payment. It is certainly not impossible. All it takes is a little bit of discipline and planning and you can travel debt free.

Save money- it should be your first priority

Yes, it is the first thing that you need to do. Ensure you have savings account is fully cushioned before taking the decision to roll out for the big outing. Even though you have to clear out your debt, make it your priority to keep aside a small amount of money per month and secure for your goals.

You can achieve it by limiting your money on your spending. Try to avoid going out for bar, dinners and shows more often. However, you can certainly make occasional trips. It is a smart way to change your lifestyle and save some good amount of money for your future travelling.

travel debt free

Constraint your urge to purchase

Along with looking out for affordable entertainment, try to ignore purchasing all the recent gadgets released. Do not replace your car or purchase a new house in between. However, you can always opt for purchasing used items.

Second hand purchases

You can secure a big sum of money by buying things which are just a few months old. It is also true for furnishings and electronics. It is a remarkable way to save chunk of money.

Some money saving guidelines

  • In order to feel right about quitting your job and going out for travelling, you need to draft your travelling budget from before.
  • You need to be disciplined enough to keep enough money aside for the loan payouts other than travelling expenses.
  • Try to pay out a little more towards your loan till the time you have your job. This way you get the liberty to skip a payment during your tour.

Work when travelling

If you stay at a location where you like to spend a few months during your travel, then look out for little work and spend some time there. It will make your monthly expenses cheaper and cut down your transmitting expenditure too. By opting for slow travel, you can add more to your budget. You also have the option of online working while travelling.

These are some of the solutions that can help you travel with debt. What’s important is that you have to make sure that you have saved enough money before making your trip. Checking out and going for the best way to consolidate credit card debt can be a smart move. It can solve your debt issues easily and can keep you tension free and with your free mind you can plan your trip.

 

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