Friday, 20 March 2020

A Sri Lankan Holiday - Bentota

We reached Bentota after a 2 hour drive from Colombo, the ride was scenic; we passed by fishing villages, small sea side towns and costal roads. More of our friends had joined us at the Airbnb in Bentota. We had booked a lovely 4 bed room pool villa surrounded by lush tropical greenery. Bentota is a beautiful sea side town known for its beaches and beautiful laid back atmosphere. We stayed in Bentota for 3 nights including New Year’s Eve before all went our separate ways. Neeti and I continued our journey to Beruala and then Galle before heading back to Bangalore. 
Bentota Beach
Surf Boards for rent at Bentota beach 
Airbnb Bentota
Airbnb in Bentota 
Our Airbnb in Sri Lanka
I could not find the same house listed on Airbnb anymore but you can get a Pool villa from 160 USD
The house had a lovely balcony facing the pool and this is where we hung out most of the time. Mornings were spent inside the swimming pool or playing volley ball/ cricket in the huge lawn back door. In the evening we would headed to the beach to swim and watch the sunset. The Airbnb owner hooked us up with a  cook who made delicious authentic Sri Lankan food. He charged us15 USD per day plus supplies for cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our ex-chef made some really delicious local treats ! The highlights were egg hoppers for breakfast, pepper crab for lunch and prawn curry for dinner. 
Sinhalese food

Menu from Day One
  • Sri Lankan Deviled Potatoes 
  • Spicy Chicken Curry 
  • Veg Pulao
  • Steamed Beans 
  • Yellow Lentil Curry 
  • Stir-fried Spinach 
Bentota Villa for rent
Tropical Pool Villa 

Luxury Resort Bentota
Resort by Bentota Beach 
Tips for Visiting Bentota:
  • Distance from Colombo is roughly 100km and google maps will tell you it takes 1 hr 30 min. But it takes more depending on traffic and some of the roads are narrow so that adds to the time. We hired a minivan to take us from Colombo to Bentota for 60 USD approx. If you are travelling as solo or as a couple its worth  taking the train which is cheaper and faster
  • Bentota is a popular holiday destination so there are many luxury resorts. But we really enjoyed the Airbnb experience, especially if you are travelling in a big group a resort won’t give you the same privacy like a villa.
  • Rent scooters and explore the surrounds. Some recommendations:
    • Brief Garden by Bevis – Home and garden of famous landscape architect Bevis Bawa
    • Bentota Turtle Hatchery
    • Galapata Raja Temple – 16th Century Buddhist Temple 
  • Moragalla is a good spot if you want the entire beach to yourself 
mangrove forest in bentota
Mangroves by Bentota Beach 

Before coming to Sri Lanka I had the notion that it is just like my home state of Kerala, but its so different in so many ways. Sri Lanka really did surprise me and I will be going back to explore more. 

Next Post New Years in Bentota 

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

A Sri Lankan Holiday - Barefoot Garden Cafe Colombo

Barefoot Garden Cafe 

Barefoot garden cafe is a little oasis in the heart of the busy city; beautiful and rustic this open air cafe is a must visit. We went to Barefoot Garden Cafe to have breakfast before our 2 hour road-trip to Bentota. This space is so much more than just a cafe; it is a fashion boutique, art gallery, art studio and lounge, it was the perfect start before our journey from the city to the seaside. I had a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel and it was a ten on ten! The coffee was good too. We ended up spending more time than anticipated exploring the art and architecture surrounding this beautiful space. The Sunday Brunch at Barefoot Garden café is highly recommended.
Rustic Decor of Barefoot Garden Cafe
Rustic Decor of Barefoot Garden Cafe 
Antique artifacts litter the cafe grounds; there are some very interesting pierces 
The food at the cafe was excellent !

Lion Beer & Roast Beef Sandwich with Cheese Bread was a perfect combo 

We Ordered:
  • Cured Ham and Gouda Cheese Sandwich ðŸ‘ðŸ‘ðŸ‘ðŸ‘
  • Roast Beef Sandwich 👍👍👍👍👍
  • Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Bagel ðŸ‘ðŸ‘ðŸ‘ðŸ‘
  • Lion Stout Beer 👍👍👍
Photographers Paradise 
All these tables were full by the time we left 
Relics from all over the island 
Beautiful Library inside Barefoot
Art Gallery
Address: 704 Galle Rd, Colombo, Sri Lanka 
Phone: +94 112 589 305

We started our journey with a delightful breakfast at Barefoot Cafe and we were off to Bentota for the New Years.


Tuesday, 17 March 2020

A Sri Lankan Holiday - Night Out in Colombo

Dutch Pub

We wanted to celebrate our first night in Sri Lanka and so headed to The Dutch Hospital area which is known for its nightlife. The Dutch Pub is located inside the Old & Historic Colombo Dutch Hospital building complex. The hospital was built by the Dutch East India Company in 1681 to serve the Dutch seafarers. Over the years the building has been used as a Police Station between 1980's to 1990's, the building was severely damaged in the Civil war and was later restored into a Mall and entertainment district in 2011.
Friday Night Crowds at The Dutch Pub
During the day time the Dutch Hospital district is the perfect shopping destination. At night the quiet streets come alive with live music bands and traditional folk shows. We went on a Friday night and the place was crowded; there was a traditional folk dance performance that was very entertaining. Dutch Pub was the perfect location to sit back with a beer and watch the performance; we had front row seats! 
Sri Lanka Places to Visit
Tiger Beer & Prawn Tempura 
The food and drinks at Dutch Pub were good but the service is really slow and it can get really crowded on weekends. But it is still work visiting this area to experience the colonial architecture and vibrant night life of Colombo. Also there are many places to eat and drink around the area, some of the interesting ones are: Ministry Of Crab, probably the most famous restaurant in Sri Lanka ($$$). Taphouse is a good spot for cheap drinks and bar food. Semondu is another fine dining option with really good reviews. Botaniq for some signature cocktails etc.  

Best Shops To Visit:
  • Barefoot
  • Paradise Road
  • Urban Island
The Dutch Pub Colombo
The Dutch Pub
Sri Lanka Travel Blog
The folk drummers were very entertaining 

Roof Top Lounge 41 Sugar 

From the Dutch Pub we came to this beautiful Roof Top Jazz bar called 41 Sugar . The atmosphere was really nice with candle lit tables and a lovely Jazz band playing the classics. The bartender recommended a Local Gin aptly named "Colombo No.7". I liked the gin so much I got a bottle for myself from the duty free on the way back. 
Colombo Jazz BAr
Great Open Air Ambiance and a lovely Jazz band set the mood for the night 
Colombo Food Blog
Great Sri Lankan Fusion Food 
The food was scrumptious, we had a local version of Layered Mutton Rice, Fish Patties and Chicken Drumsticks. First night in Colombo was Amazing !!!

The next day we would have to make our way to our tropical villa at Bentota. Stay Tuned! 

Sunday, 15 March 2020

A Sri Lankan Holiday - Colombo

Sri Lanka Holiday Guide

Colombo

We landed in sunny Colombo after a short one and half hour flight from Bangalore. The immigration process was straightforward and its even more easier for Indian nationals. Heading out of the airport we were able to book an Uber to get us to our Airbnb in Colombo. The ride from the airport to city center took as about 45 minutes, it may take longer depending on traffic. Our Itinerary  for this trip was to spend the first night exploring Colombo and then head to Bentota to spend New Years with friends. After new years our friends would travel back to their respective homes and Neeti and myself would further explore Beruwala and Galle on our own.  

Trip Itinerary 

  • Day 1 - Explore Colombo 
  • Day 2 & 3 - Bentota 
  • Day 4 & 5 - Beruwala
  • Day 6 & 7 Galle 
  • Day 8 - Colombo 
  • Day 9 - Return to Bangalore 
Airbnb in Colombo
ASCOTLOFT-Signature of an architect

Airbnb

From the airport we directly went to the Airbnb, we chose a architects home ASCOTLOFT-Signature of an architect (not listed on Airbnb anymore) and the place was gorgeous ! We had booked all 3 rooms for one night at 150 USD. Our friends had already arrived from Cochin and was checked in. We spent some time at the house catching up and then headed to the city for lunch. Zomato was a blessing in finding places to eat and drink in Sri Lanka. 
Colombo Holiday
Minimalist interiors of our Airbnb

Bombay Sapphire Gin
Honestly we did not feel like leaving the apartment 

Fuji X-T4
Love at first sight, my friends Fuji X-T2

Lion Beer Food Blog
Picked up some local Lion Beer & Bombay Sapphire from the supermarket near by (Liquor is cheaper than India)

Lunch At Alexandra and Ward 

The restaurant came highly recommended and is located in the The Promenade at ODEL. Everyone was in the mood for sushi so we sat down at the Nihonbashi lounge. The restaurant has 2 other sections; ORO 1889 service yummy authentic wood fired Italian pizza and Fashion cafe that has a dairy-free healthy menu. 
Sushi in Colombo
Salmon Temaki & Tuna Sashimi 

Nihonbashi Restaurant Colombo
Salmon Avocado Maki & Gyudon Beef Bowl 

Lunch At Alexandra and Ward
The crust was smoky and delicious ; the cheese and ham used in the pizza was excellent 

We tried the Salmon Temaki and it was really nice with crunchy sea weed cones and fresh salmon, its a must try. Next we tried the Salmon and Tuna Sashimi and this was also good. This was followed by Salmon Avacodo Maki and Gyudon Beef Bowl another must try . The Italian parma ham pizza was also good, we were really impressed with the food at 
 Nihonbashi lounge. 
Lunch At Alexandra and Ward
This will catch your eye;a giant birdcage inside the restaurant 
Sri Lanka Holiday
Gelato after a yummy lunch
After lunch we took a Uber back to our Airbnb for some much needed rest. Next post Night Out in Colombo 

Airport TIP: I could could not find any decent restaurant outside the arrival gate, make sure you eat inside the airport if you are hungry. The trip from airport to city would be around 32 KM and would take you anywhere between 45 minutest to an hour depending on traffic.