Tuk Tuk Safari!


Some experiences are best when they happen to be spontaneous decisions. This was one of them. I got in touch for one reason and suddenly was about to experience a tour of the city of Colombo simply thanks to the warm hospitality of the men who run this business. I’d picked a poya holiday purely because there would be less traffic on the road and I didn’t necessarily have plans for the day.

Our driver was prompt, friendly and had a wide smile. His name was Tin Tin. Having greeted my friend and I with a flower lei and an introduction to everything that was within our mode of transportation, we were off on our first Tuk Tuk Safari!

I’d always wondered what it was like going on an excursion, experiencing the heritage, history, culture, food and natural beauty of Colombo in a tuk and here was my first time doing so. Prior to booking the ride, I’d explained I did not need a full-on guide to the tours that are organized but I wanted to have somewhat of an idea of what the safaris were like. I’m told there are morning safaris that start at 9am, a sunset safari that is aimed towards the late afternoon (leaning towards the evening) and a delicious food safari as part of the different tours offered.


Touring Colombo

The best part? These tours can be custom planned according to some of the sites you may or may not want to see, also the hours you’r willing to be out and about. A typical tour takes up to four hours and costs $49USD per individual, which I honestly believe is a pretty sweet deal considering the excellent service, the guide information at every stop and also the food you get to enjoyed along the way.

I’ve forgotten to mention the tuk itself. Custom painted, sleek and retro in every aspect, these aren’t your typical rundown every day tuks of Colombo. There’s a small garbage bin placed in the front, a tray that is fixed and built to hold water bottles or beer cans, a hand sanitizer, a facial tissue back and along the back storage a cooler with multiple cans of beer, an awesome speaker set for music of your own choice and a roofing mechanism that can be opened up.

Personally, I’d recommend keeping the top open as the breeze throughout the tour is too lush to miss. If you’re not a fan of getting a slight tan and burnt however, have it closed. Tin Tin took off towards some of the oldest religious sites in parts of the city including one Hindu kovil, a church and then made way to Pettah, the business hub. Thankfully as it were a public holiday, traffic along the small streets were not a problem and my friend and I were also prompted to experience the ride standing from our end of the tuk.


Our first snack stop was beside the Khan Clock Tower for some juicy achcharu. Nibbling, we continued to drive towards Galle Face Green and couldn’t resist getting ourselves some isso wadey like typical locals. The tour also incorporated a stop along Marine Drive, sitting down to a tea presentation and also having a cuppa while watching the sun set for the day.

As much as us as locals tend to overlook the beauty of the city, we also don’t often recognize how culturally and historically blessed we are. There’s a rich sense of being as you walk along the temple ground of Gangaramaya, drive pass the monumental Colombo Municipal Council and the lush Viharamaha Devi Park and even Independence Square that rings with history. For dinner, we stopped at Taste of Asia and dug into freshly made steaming hot egg, plain and milk hoppers paired with accompaniments like gravy and katta sambol. I’d never had a milk hopper before and surprisingly, I loved every bite of it.

As dusk turned into darkness, it was time to head back home. Now I’d like to mention again that this was not the typical sunset tour and that mine was simply a cut down version of the regular experience. For the most part, my friend and I did not stop at many of the places and we also skipped a few snack spots. As said before, if you think a four hour tour is too much to handle, let the driver know or inform the team beforehand, and they’d create a personal tour suitable just for you.

Do I think the experience was worth it? Most definitely; and I’d encourage even locals to give it a go and see the city through the eyes of a foreigner

“Majestic Colombo has endless off the beaten track pearls, and we wanted everyone to be able to experience the city in an authentic Sri Lankan way; on a tuk tuk, the cornerstone of every local adventure! It’s ideal for people who have limited time, access and local knowledge. You can definitely see so much when you do it right; just like a local!” – Tim, Tuk Tuk Safari

You can also experience the UNESCO World Heritage City of Galle with Tuk Tuk Safari. They have a morning, beach and sunset safari. You can log into http://www.tuktuksafarisrilanka.com for additional information.

Pictures courtesy Tuk Tuk Safari

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Island loving :)

I live on an island so it’s easy to be the kind of person that loves the beach and sea. To be quite frank, I live just about a ten minute drive away from the great Indian Ocean so all my life I have loved the idea of going to the beach and wetting my feet. I don’t really care about the sand on my feet and salt on my hair and face. I absolutely love the freshness and cool air. I could stay for hours watching the waves crash over and over, the sky turning dark as the day ends and yet enjoying hearing the sound of the lapping ocean.

My island home Sri Lanka is thankfully blessed with great natural beauties like golden sandy beaches, lush forests and parks, cool hilltops and ancient historic sites. Whenever my family decides on taking a trip around the country however, we always end up going somewhere close to or by the sea. Last December and early January were two months spent doing just that. My family and I travelled south the most – to Yala on the far south eastern side of the island (located by the Yala National Park), Ahangama (close to the Heritage City of Galle) and Beruwala.

Yala

This picture was taken at the Jetwing Yala hotel. A soft opening was held in September and there was a fantastic offer on the room rates, so we just grabbed at the opportunity and drove nearly half the day to just get there! It ain’t an easy drive but the hours spent on the road were worth it because the hotel was simply beautiful. The poolside was extremely lengthy and relaxing. The picture might look a little fuzzy but actually I happened to take it while it was raining. That didn’t stop us from taking a dip though 😀

The Yala National Park is located approximately five minutes from the hotel so it’s easy to come by an elephant or two, a dozen peacocks, a family of deer and other wild animals on the vicinity. We took a safari during the wee hours of the morning the very next day and were lucky enough to spot two leopards finishing off a hunt. A week after we left the hotel, it was noted that a leopard was sighted on the hotel premises! YIKES!

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A few weeks later we hit the southern road once again and made a day stop in a small town by the name of Ahangama. We stayed at another hotel managed by Jetwing by the name of Mosvold Villa. The place is wonderful – the perfect spot for honeymooning couples and anyone looking for a secluded holiday. There’s nothing all that special about this quaint town but I must admit that it’s got one of the BEST beaches the island has to offer. You can literally walk a hundred metres or so into the sea and the water level would be at my knees. I’m not a fantabulous swimmer so this was like an excellent opportunity for me just to play around and have fun with my husband and cousins. We literally spent a good three hours in the water and came back looking crisp and burnt! However, the one thing about beaches and living on an island is, you get to experience some of the most amazing and breathtaking sunsets.

Mosvold

If you’re every planning on making a trip to my little island, do give me a shoutout! Xoxo