Eat your <3 out!
The incredible food of Sri Lanka all in one feast of a blog post.
Which Sri Lanka food would you like to try most?
http://charlieontravel.com/sri-lankan-food-vegetarian #SriLanka #lka
My weekend face! Sri Lankan's southern coastline has lots of little beaches, bays and surf spots all the way along - so we're checking them all out.
It's a shame because there's a massive road running along the seafront the whole way up which is noisy AF, but oh my the beaches and the sunsets are lovely.
Right now we're in Midigama which is a tiny village. We surfed hard 🏄 (well, hard for beginners) in the next town along called Weligama and were pretty proud of ourselves until we realised we have sunburned, beetroot red faces 😕 We've retreated into our hotel to hide from the sun for now! Anyone else know this feeling!?
Wild elephants at Udawalawe National Park 🐘
Last week I shared a post about unethical elephant tourism. While these posts aren't nice to share, it's important to raise awareness and the support from everyone here was humbling. I'm so grateful to have such aware and forward-thinking readers.
While we were away from social media this past week, we went on a safari in Udawalawe National Park to see wild elephants in their natural habitat, without confines or chains, and in a responsible way.
I'm pleased to report that our experience there was responsible and aware. Our guide was very vocal about the importance of not getting too close / disturbing wildlife and of going slowly around the park - and if you visit Udawalawe and need a guide I'd be more than happy to recommend him.
Drivers stayed on designated roads, switched their engines off when watching animals and did not follow the animals. The jeeps did not stick together but separated so there was no encircling or overwhelming of animals.
A positive experience watching elephants roam in the wild from a distance - as it should be.
After an 8-day ban on social media in Sri Lanka, the government has just in past half an hour lifted the block on Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. The bans were in place due to religious riots to prevent the spread of hate speech. 🚫
It's been interesting to see the responses of local Sri Lankans (on Twitter) about the ban. Some embracing it to ensure peace is restored, and others resenting the lack of 'freedom of speech'.
The news reports say the riots have ended. This photo was taken a few days before in Kandy, the town which was affected. During this time local life in Sri Lanka in the towns we visited continued as normal.
I'll be sharing lots about the experiences we've had travelling in Sri Lanka the past week, but for now I just want to say how generous, caring, kind-hearted and welcoming the Sri Lankans we've met have been. A beautiful country and a beautiful people. 🌴👨👩👧👦
When we were thinking about a trip to Sri Lanka, some of our friends said it was their dream to go to Sri Lanka to see elephants because they'd seen photos like this first one on Instagram 🐘
I thought the Instagram photos they shared with me looked incredible (who wouldn't!) When we began researching seeing wild elephants in the National Parks in Sri Lanka, I read more about the place where these Instagram elephant-in-the-river photos are taken and we decided not to visit.
If you scroll to the second photo and the third, you'll see that Instagram photos aren't always what they seem. Unfortunately the elephant orphanage here is crowded and chains elephants in the river to allow tourists to take these shots. The elephant orphanage likely has very limited funds and needs tourist money to take care of their elephants but a lack of education on both the part of the owners and the tourists means that situations like this happen.
Since we've come to Sri Lanka, I've seen photos from this river going up on Instagram accounts with massive followings but captions saying nothing about the conditions of the elephants and photos which ignore what's going on. Influencers have a responsibility to speak up.
Though we decided not to visit, I've borrowed photos from two excellent bloggers who did and want to share their accounts of their visit here. I would highly recommend reading these if this is an experience which had been on your itinerary or wish-list for Sri Lanka.
Account of a visit by Salt in our Hair - Travel - https://saltinourhair.com/sri-lanka/elephants-sri-lanka
Interview with the owner by Time Travel Turtle -
Research and make responsible travel decisions based on the facts you have and what feels right for you.
Friends & travel fam — Many of you asked us if we've been affected by the riots in Sri Lanka. We're fine. No longer in Kandy; now in a different town not close to the violence.
WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram have been blocked but we still have access to Twitter and emails.
Thank you for your love and concern for us and this beautiful country <3 #SriLanka
Our adventure to see Komodo dragons, feat excited Luke and scared s*%$less me!
Little Adam's Peak, Sri Lanka. ⛰️ When we arrived to the expanse of green tea fields and incredible hiking routes in Ella, we realised we'd probably spent too long hanging around in Kandy!
We were planning to go to Adam's Peak but it's full moon 🌕 weekend which means thousands of Sri Lankans make the trek up the mountain on a pilgrimage to see Buddha's footprint (rock). Not wanting to get caught up in the thousands and join long queues to reach the top, we decided to do Little Adam's Peak instead.
A shorter walk but so beautiful, right? (and no crowds).
Ella, Sri Lanka. Hiking in the tea fields 🍃 While everyone was up on the bridge hoping the train would come (it didn't), I convinced Luke to come down into the tea fields with me to get a better view. He thought I was a bit crazy but how gorgeous is this bridge?
Sri Lankan breakfast 🍳 Our homestay in Kandy have been spoiling us rotten with home cooked breakfast feasts.
Every day we've had 10 dishes of Sri Lankan curries, spiced vegetables, chutneys, rotis, coconut pancakes, coconut sambal, coleslaw and fresh salads.
There's no such thing as a half-hearted meal in Sri Lanka. They put so much love and effort into preparing their food. Which dish would you like to try most?
Sri Lanka so far is dusty and busy, but also beautiful, serene and so special. We've seen incredible sunsets from the temples, manoeuvred our way through traffic and tuk-tuks and settled into a lovely homestay for the week. 🌴
The people are so friendly. Everyone asks how you are and welcomes you into their home. The food! Oh, the food is flavourful and will definitely make us fat! The mum at our homestay prepared us a 10-dish breakfast this morning! 👨👩👧👦
On the downside, it appears that making strong coffee is not high up on the Sri Lankan agenda - and Luke is now suggesting we go cold turkey and kick the habit for good 😨
Have you been to Sri Lanka? Would you like to explore this country?
Good morning from Labuan Bajo ⛵ We stayed in this weird little port town all week in between trips out to Komodo island and diving to see manta rays. It's a funny place with no access to the water, rotten fish and dust all over the streets and these incredible morning views if you can get up high enough.
Today we've leaving Labuan Bajo and Indonesia behind 👣 Next stop, Sri Lanka!
What's your plan for this weekend?
Searching for dragons on Komodo island 🐉 Luke's been overwhelmed with excitement about this trip since I can remember and we finally spotted some of these incredible beasts.
Komodos hunt all animals, including each other and their own young, and can devour a whole deer (or human). I stayed well back, hiding behind our guide who had a very long wooden stick which would apparently protect us... We made it out alive 😅
Would you like to see the Komodo dragons? (or would you be as freaked out as me!?)
Tucked up out of the rain here in Ubud at this beautiful bamboo villa. It's built from sustainable bamboo, has a salt water pool (no eye-stinging chlorine!) and breakfast is fresh, local fruit smoothie bowls 🌴 Want to come? 👣
Side note: We've still not made a decision what to do about our visas. Ugh. Just hide out here forever you think?
Help! Our travel plans have ended up all over the place this trip. Issues with visas, volcanoes and poor travel route planning meant we ending up ping-ponging around Asia.
We thought about Australia (I really want to go) but all the Australians we met told us its hurricane season and not to go.
We thought we'd settled on a route through Sri Lanka and India after Bali, but now we've found out Luke doesn't have enough blank pages in his passport to get an Indian visa.
So now we have a one-way ticket to Sri Lanka and no next destination - what should we do? 😫
Cooking class in Bali. We learned to make our favourite gado gado :D 🌱
More cherry blossoms in Chiang Mai 🌸 🌸 🌸
Our little house in Chiang Mai! We've been living in Chiang Mai 2 months. Here's how much it costs.
Did someone say vegan noodle bowl!? Load me up! 🍜
More delicious vegan food in Chiang Mai here: http://charlieontravel.com/vegan-chiang-mai
Anyone else gone vegan for January as part of Veganuary?
Thailand travel budget updated for with 2018 figures. There's no better place to be backpacking! :D
Ever thought about moving to Thailand to work remote and save for a few months? We've been living in Chiang Mai for over a month and kept a full breakdown of our expenses. Here it is.
Sawasdee ka, 2018! It's January and for us that means the start of Veganuary. We'll be going vegan again for the whole month of January.
2 years ago we did our first Veganuary in Bulgaria, which was awesome. Last year, we did Veganuary in Mexico which was a real challenge (because Mexicans put cheese on evverryting). This year, we're excited to do Veganuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where vegan is a known word on the street!
I've already made a list of my fave veggie restaurants in Chiang Mai (you can eat vegan at all of them!) - http://charlieontravel.com/vegan-chiang-mai
Stayed tuned for more vegan adventures this month 🌿🍉🥕
2017 has been an interesting year for us. We started it in Mexico, took an unplanned trip to the USA, started new jobs, thought about buying an apartment in Brighton (UK) and instead went travelling to Morocco, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
Who knows what 2018 will bring. Maybe we'll buy that apartment, but maybe we'll change our minds again and go somewhere like Colombia instead. One thing's for sure though: there'll be more travelling in 2018. 🌍
Happy new year from Thailand!
Everyone always asks me what our Christmases are like when we're travelling. To be honest, they're really non-traditional. We don't even try to do traditional things or eat roast dinners. Instead, we have Christmas adventures. Here's what we did this year for Christmas in Thailand!
Christmas road trip! What says Christmas better than a road trip through the mountains?
We drove over 300km from Chiang Mai to Pai and back again this Christmas. We stayed in a cute cabin, ate all kinds of street food including purple rice pancakes, Burmese tea leaf salad and fried gyoza at Pai night market on Xmas Eve, bought each other presents from local artisans, had a Thai massage in a hut surrounded by rice paddies, soaked in hot springs, saw elephants on our drive home and feasted on green Thai curry for Christmas dinner. We just can't help but adventure even at Christmas!
Where are you this Christmas?
Thai food addict alert! These Thai curries are homemade by the family who run Morning Glory in Chiang Mai. It's a slow food place because they cook everything from scratch, but it's some of the best veggie food in the city.
Check out the rest of my veggie food recommendations for Chiang Mai here: http://charlieontravel.com/vegan-chiang-mai
It's getting a little bit close to Christmas🎄
If you're yet to get a gift for the traveller in your life, check out my list of the best gifts for travellers:
Finally got round to eating Khao Soi! This dish is a speciality in Chiang Mai. It's a rich, creamy coconut soup with egg noodles, veggies and crispy noodles on top.
I ate a vegetarian version at Birds nest café and it was amazingly flavoursome. I ate it for breakfast which is not the done thing, but whatever because it was delicious 😝
Have you tried Khao Soi before?
Hill tribes of Chiang Mai. I went hiking in the mountains around the city to this beautiful, rustic hill tribe village this weekend. It was a 27km hike and I crashed all Sunday, but totally worth it.
How was your weekend? What did you get up to?
We haven't stopped eating in Chiang Mai. Everything is just so delicious and so cheap! 😝
I'm such a wanderluster! I'm dreaming of winter wonderlands and couldn't help myself from putting together an Airbnb Wishlist for Reykjavik!
Thai lunch time! Spicy eggs, green Thai curry and coconut shakes. 🍳🍲🌴
Chiang Mai. We've rented ourselves a cute Thai house and celebrated with a macrobiotic lunch 🏠🌿
Stayed in a crate last night, for people stuck at the airport. Nicer than sleeping in the airport hall and cheaper than an airport hotel. You pay a package for 6, 9 or 12 hours. Neat idea.