Happy New Year! 2016 has finally arrived and it’s 2 weeks until we leave. Wowzers.
Christmas is done and the kids got some really cool travel related gifts – vouchers for some of the places we’re going like Taronga Zoo, Kidzania and Splash Water Park in Bali, travel games, colouring pens and books etc. Thanks everyone for not buying them big things that you otherwise normally would have, I know it was hard!
The kids have started to pack, and it’s pretty cute to watch. All their clothes and schooling items are going in Mum and Dad’s bags however they’ve each got a Trunki Boostapak. It’s a genius item that doubles as a small backpack that converts into a car seat. They can take whatever toys they like as long as they fit into the Boostapak. Very interesting watching the choices that are going in the bags, I suspect there will be multiple repacks before they settle on the final contents.
And here is the Boostapak zipped up and converted into a carseat. Very cool. Jack thinks so too and spent a good hour on the couch sitting in it with his new travel pillow.
A change of plan
Meanwhile while the adults should probably be focussing on packing up the house, we’ve been playing around with our itinerary. Poor Mike got home from work the other night and knew I had that look in my eye that begins with the sentence “So I’ve had a bit of an idea….”
I’ve been trying for a couple of months on and off trying to book some Southern Thailand accommodation and going no-where fast. It sounds weird but I couldn’t find anything that inspired me, that gave me a good ‘gut feel’ which, combined with good reviews or first hand recommendations, is how I choose most of our accommodation. Everything that looked halfway good was way outside of our budget, or next to a reggae bar that played til 2am, or just another beach bungalow full of skody backpackers hanging out for the full moon party – definitely not our scene these days (choosy, fussy, picky, what a problem to have, yeah I know!) We went there a few years ago but everything seems to be much more expensive, touristy, not as nice looking as other beach spots we’re going in Asia and I guess it just wasn’t that appealing with our little people in tow.
I started looking around and thinking about other places to go. We tossed around going to Goa in India to a place we went 8 years ago that was amazing with a great pool, beaches and yummy food, but it would be getting too hot in April especially for the kids. I belong to a wonderful family travel internet forum and lots of people on their suggested Sri Lanka or ‘India lite’ lol. Co-incidentally Mike works with a lovely Sri Lankan lady who had been saying to him ‘you guys should REALLY go to Sri Lanka’.
So we managed to find a cheap flight from Malaysia and instead of doing 3 weeks in Southern Thailand we’re going to Sri Lanka instead! Once we started looking into it, what a wonderful place it looks. Anushka who is Mike’s work colleague and has given us a whole heap of fantastic recommendations, says the country is only about as big as Cape Reinga to Taupo, but what amazing diversity it packs into a little island. Here’s the rough plan:
- Fly into Colombo and spend a couple of nights
- Take the train up to Kandy and spend 3 nights. We plan to check out the beautiful looking botanic gardens, lake and the Temple of the Tooth – an amazing looking temple with a relic that is reportedly Buddha’s tooth
- Go up to Sigiriya for a few nights to visit the ‘cultural triangle‘ – including Lion Rock which is a UNESCO world heritage site that looks like a smaller version of Ayers Rock and has the ruins of an ancient palace on top, cave temples at Dambulla, and some more ancient ruins if we have time
- Down to the hill country town of Ella (my niece’s namesake, we have to go!) via a fantastic looking train ride through the tea plantations. I’ll be drinking a LOT of that tea, don’t you worry…
- Then it’s on to what I’m sure will be a highlight of our entire trip, not just Sri Lanka – we’re going on safari 🙂 We didn’t realise til we looked at Sri Lanka, but it has some wonderful national parks with lots of wildlife, in particular elephants, leopards, bears, crocodiles, thousands of birds. We’ve booked a fantastic looking overnight ‘glamping’ safari, where we sleep in a flash looking tent complete with a loo and outdoor shower, and go for a dusk and early morning game drive in purpose built 4WD vehicles and hopefully spot some of these animals. It isn’t cheap but one of those really special things that I think we’d be crazy to miss. Mike and I did a really budget truck safari in Africa pre-kids and absolutely loved it, so it’s going to be great to take the kids along this time, I hope they think so too!
- Then it’s to the south coast for some beach time, we’ve booked a cool looking beach front hotel at Unawatuna where Anushka tells us we can swim all day then walk up to the restaurant to eat great seafood, before going back into the water again. Sounds good!
- We then fly out of Colombo to Bangkok where we’re staying for 5 nights (instead of 10) and picking up our original itinerary from there down to Bali.
Now, back to that packing……