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Preparing for your first trip to Sri Lanka: What you should think about

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Getting ready for your first trip in any country can be a bit daunting, especially if it’s a country entirely different from what you are used to. If you are from the US or Europe, for instance, then Sri Lanka will certainly be unlike anything you have experienced in your home country.

The island nation of Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful regions in the world yet you should definitely be well-prepared before you go. There are quite a few things you should know about traveling to Sri Lanka so stay with us as we go through the main points!

Get a visa

In case you were not aware of this already, you need to get a visa in order to travel to Sri Lanka. Technically, you can do this after arriving at the airport as there is a dedicated visa counter with staff who can help sort things out for you.

However, it is highly recommended that you complete this process online instead. Just visit the official page, fill and submit the online application, and pay the fee which is about $35 (free for children under 12). Another good option is to travel with a package from an agency like Olanka Travel and they can help you go through this process seemlessly as part of the package.

Visas are valid for 3 months which should give you more than enough time to apply before you travel.

Take some health precautions

As is the case with every other country in Asia, it is recommended that your vaccinations are up-to-date before heading over to Sri Lanka. More specifically, it is recommended that you get vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B as well as typhoid.

On top of that, you should absolutely get a very strong mosquito repellent as dengue fever has been known to be an issue in Sri Lanka. You really don’t want to have to deal with this while travelling (or at any time, really).

Medicine can easily be found across Sri Lanka but you might want to take some from home as well. Finally, do not wait to get sunscreen on arrival; get it in your home country and make sure it’s powerful.

Don’t drink tap water and take care with your food

You should never drink the tap water in Sri Lanka unless you enjoy being sick. In addition to that, you should try to avoid anything that might have come into contact with tap water like ice cubes or salads. Bottled water is incredibly cheap so you should always make sure to have some.

As for food hygiene, the standards are not always high. First of all, there is a lot of delicious food in Sri Lanka.

But, if a place looks kind of dodgy, then you should just avoid it and head elsewhere. There will always be a place where you can get decent and cheap food as well as dozens of different fruits.

You can only get Sri Lankan Rupees after you arrive in the country

In your previous travels, you may have visited a travel exchange exchange before your trip in order to acquire some local currency in preparation for your holidays. This is not possible when travelling to Sri Lanka as they have a closed currency.

What that means is that you will have to carry cash in your own currency and then exchange it after you arrive at the airport. There are stalls from numerous banks and they offer an identical rate to what you will find in Colombo so you might as well exchange your money right away.

You can also simply withdraw from local ATMs but you will probably want to have some cash with you before you leave the airport. I would advise you to only use ATMs connected to big banks to avoid scams.

While you can visit all-year-round, it depends on your destination

Sri Lanka has good weather throughout the year but there are two monsoon seasons which affect certain areas and which you will probably want to avoid.

The absolute best time to visit the south and west coasts, as well as the hill country, is from mid-late December to March. If you are planning on visiting the east coast instead, then you might want to consider a trip somewhere between late April and September.

With all of that said, you can pretty much visit any time you want if you can deal with the rain or wish to experience time-sensitive events. For instance, August travellers will have to deal with a little bit of rain but they will be able to experience amazing festivals too.

Sri Lanka is perfectly safe for tourists

If you are concerned about your safety in Sri Lanka, you can stop worrying now. As long as you use common sense, you will be perfectly safe while you are in the country.

When it comes to common sense, just avoid doing anything you wouldn’t do in any other country in the world. For instance, don’t walk alone in dodgy alleys in Colombo, don’t give too many details to any stranger, and keep your personal belongings safe and out of reach.

Women should take some extra caution if they wish to avoid stares and unwanted attention. Homosexuality is also illegal in Sri Lanka and not culturally accepted so you should simply avoid public displays of affection while in the country.

Some local customs and traditions might surprise you

Every country has its own customs and strange traditions, particularly with things that locals might deem offensive.

For instance, it is considered extremely rude and inappropriate to use your left hand for anything other than personal hygiene in Sri Lanka. So never attempt to shake someone’s hand with your left hand to avoid offending anyone.

In general, just be polite and the locals will almost always be polite back.

You should be respectful to their religion

Modest dressing is a must if you wish to visit most religious sites across Sri Lanka. Usually, this means covering areas like your shoulders and your knees so just bring extra clothing with you if you are travelling to such sites.

In addition to that, you should never do absolutely anything that might be considered disrespectful towards the Buddha. This includes posing for photos in front of statues and other imagery of the Buddha.

Photography in general is sometimes considered disrespectful, especially while you are inside a region of religious importance. When in doubt, ask a guide.

Have a good time!

There are the most important things you should know about Sri Lanka. With great weather, stunning locations, friendly people, and amazing food, you will find plenty to love in the country!

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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Adventure Travel

Explore Auckland’s Coasts With One Exquisite Walking Hike

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There is a wonderful place found in the far southwest of the Pacific Ocean. It is a place called Auckland, and it is found in the amazing terrain of New Zealand. It is a place that commands the attention of over 1 million people who prefer to live and reside in this majestic city.

Did you know that Auckland claims the top spot in New Zealand with its wide range of people and the most concentrated number of people within a city in New Zealand?

But why do so many people come to Auckland, New Zealand, and live there? What do they appreciate the most?

The truth is that the answer may vary, and it may differ from person to person, but it is hard to deny that nature is not a crucial part of their decision making. The beautiful city has fantastic places that offer great adventure and recreational activity.

You can take advantage of the diverse coasts, hidden coves, and more of the northern area in the North Island. It is known for its various boats, and some believe that it has more ships than any other city in the entire world.

It is a city that resides between two large fantastic natural harbors.

Let us find out more about how you can explore this majestic city with one fantastic walking hike.

The Auckland Coast

For those who want to stay near to Auckland’s city and travel well, it is necessary to start your journey with the Auckland Coast’s breathtaking area.

Did you know that Auckland’s coast ranges over 15km, will take over four hours to traverse, and is somewhat challenging to navigate? But the truth is that it is worth it. Why is it worth it? Well, you can seemingly walk the length of an entire nation within the span of a few hours. If you wake up early in the morning and go on this journey, you can finish your hike by noon or an hour past noon.

But in that brief timeframe, you can experience several oceans, notice a slew of volcanoes, and have a glimpse into people’s regular lives in the New Zealand area.

This fantastic walk is excellent because of its duration and because you are able to experience lush greenery and park settings over 30% of the time. It is a great way to clear your head, get to know more about the people you are traveling with, and experience the refreshing Auckland air.

Experts suggest beginning your journey at the less intriguing Onehunga area and then moving forward with public transportation at the Britomart stop. You will find that you can travel east to take in the water sights with a bit of work.

When your walk is over, you can grab a fresh beverage at the Waitemata Harbour, a premium harbor.

You will want to make sure to bring some healthy snacks along for the walk because you may not notice different places to eat as you go on this part of the hike.

It is best to ensure that you understand that you must input the Ferry Building into your mobile device or ensure to use the local municipal iSITE for further guidance.

If you are limited on time, I would suggest that you go on this route because it lets you take in the entire area and understand this excellent place.

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Adventure Travel

Hiking Adventures in Bryce Canyon National Park

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If you are on the lookout for the perfect environment for an adventurous and challenging hike, look no further. Located in the Southern Utah region is the best park that is most suitable for your hiking adventure, the Bryce Canyon National Park. This is a great option to relaxed after you are through playing in $5 minimum deposit casinos.

This park hosts hike lovers from time to time and people even come from other countries in the world to experience the wonder of this park. The landscape and beautiful trails make this a choice venue. There is a rental service at this location if you love to stay behind.

You can enjoy the priceless glimpse of the sunrise and sunset from the different landscape. The part also permits visitors to create traditional camps at different locations for a more adventurous experience.

There are a couple of trails that you can choose from for your hiking adventure, and no matter your level of experience in hiking, you will find a track that matches your taste. Even if you are totally new to hiking, there is something for you at the Bryce Canyon National Park . Below is a list of some of the trails to try when you take a trip to this park.

The Rim Trail

This is the most accessible trail at Bryce Canyon National Park. It is suitable for those who just want to have a good time walking around and savoring the magnificent scenery of the park. From any part of the park, you can connect to this trail as it goes all the way around the park.

When lodging at the Bryce Canyon Lodge, it is a good idea to start your hike from the place known as the sunrise point. Just as the name implies, if you wake up early to start your walk, you’ll be able to watch the sunrise. If you have a camera with you, you’ll take some fantastic pictures.

Also, you’ll get a clear view of the Bryce amphitheater from this point. Just like in an adventure movie, you have to find a way to link up to boat Mesa, and on your way, you walk through some sites like the Mormon temple and Queen garden. This hiking trail is easy, and all you have to deal with is a total of approximately 200 feet elevation. You will surely have a nice time on this trail.

Navajo Loop Trail

On the order of difficulty, this trail comes next after the rim trail. The starting point of this trail begins from the sunset point around the southern area of the Bryce Canyon Lodge. Just like for the rim trail, the trail presents a nice view of the sunset, and with a good camera, you’ll be able to take exciting photo shoots.

Walking this route involves a visit to the Silent City, which is an aesthetic combination of limestone and urban expansion. During the hike, you will also walk through Wall Street, which happens to be a distinctive attraction at the Bryce Canyon park. You won’t ever want to miss the narrow walls. From this point, you may decide to go back to the sunset point or take other shorter hikes like the Peekaboo loop trail and Queen garden trail. Both routes are challenging and adventurous, but you will enjoy every bit of the challenge. After you have done this, you can then go ahead to have some fun in a $5 minimum deposit casino.

Mossy Cave Trail

This Trail presents an entirely different sight than the one that we have previously mentioned. From this trail, you will be able to catch the view of the towers in the park nearby without descending to the amphitheater. This hiking course begins at approximately 4 miles from the entrance to the Bryce Canyon park. However, if you visit this park and would like to enjoy something completely different from the other common tracks, then this is an exciting hiking trail for you to try.

Hiking is more than a walk, it is a fun and adventurous experience. All trails at the Bryce Canyon National Park are worth trying on your next visit. Whether you seek to have some fun or you just want to catch some beautiful scenery and feel close to nature, you will find the right place that suits you. Get ready to have an amazing hiking experience.

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Adventure Travel

Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos

These are my favourite Camino de Santiago Photos from my pilgrimage along the French Way in March. A truly beautiful way to spend a few weeks.

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Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

El Camino de Santiago kicked my ass. Well technically it kicked my feet. Turns out my minimal preparation for the Camino de Santiago was terrible. After a miserable effort of only 4 days, the doctor in Legrono told me that I wasn’t allowed to go on until me feet healed. I had walked just over 100 km’s and my feet were bloodied and blistered.

To be honest, I was relieved.

The thought of putting back on my shoes made my shudder. For the last 9 km’s I had stumbled along in jandals and socks. One of the travelling fashion sins I vowed I would never break.

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

So while I have unfinished business with the Way of St James (an upcoming post), I did want to share with you some of my favourite photos from the Camino de Santiago. Because I had yet to reach some of the more “unsavoury” parts of the Camino that Sherry Ott had discovered, every step of my pilgrimage had been beautiful.

Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

Puenta La Reina Bridge – Camino de Santiago Arrows

There is no way you can get lost on the Camino de Santiago. Arrows, scallop shells and signs point you in the right direction at every bridge, road crossing and intersection.

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Reaching the top of Alto Pedron gave views back the way I had come from Pamplona, as well as views to where I was going. The rocky path on the way down proved to be my ultimate downfall, as my too small shoes caused my toes to smash into the front.

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

There were so many beautiful old churches along the Camino de Santiago. But since I was walking in early March, it seemed that most were yet to open for the busier summer season.

Church of Obanos

The Church of Obanos

And between every small village the well-maintained pathways of the French Way wound across the spectacular Spanish countryside.

The French Way - Camino de Santiago

The French Way – Camino de Santiago Photos

Puenta La Reina

Puenta La Reina in the evening

Puenta La Reina has one of the most amazing bridges I have ever seen. It was also the 1st village I had the pleasure of sleeping in after busy Pamplona.

Puenta la Reina Bridge and Sunrise

Puenta la Reina Bridge at sunrise

Most mornings I was up and walking before the sun began to sprinkle across the horizon.

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Every village and town was built on a small hill. Sure it looks beautiful until you realise you have to go back up again to go through them all!

Church of Santa Maria - Los Arcos

Church of Santa Maria in Los Arcos

While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.

The endless French Way

The endless French Way

Irache Wine Fountain - Fuente del Vino

The free flowing Irache Wine Fountain or “Fuente del Vino”

Hay bales along the French Way

Hay bales along the French Way

Every village had at least one ancient church and it wasn’t uncommon to find them dotting the landscape in remote locations either.

Ermita de San Miguel

Ermita de San Miguel

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

I have travelled through Spain in the past, including cycling in Costa Brava and surfing in San Sebastian with both independent planning and a vacation planner. But having the opportunity to walk at my own pace through some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain on the Camino de Santiago has so far topped them all.

Natural arches - Camino de Santiago

Natural arches on the Camino de Santiago

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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