After months of planning the time has finally come to pack our bags and hit the road! Over the next three months we will travel across Asia, starting with Sri Lanka in the west and finishing up in the Philippines in the east.
This trip for us will be very different from our previous travel. The main difference will be our budget, which is roughly A$100 a day for two of us on average, which is a lot less than our usual holiday budget.
Although plenty of people still manage to travel this region for a lot less than A$100 a day, we wanted to ensure that we had enough money to not miss out on any of the main attractions and experiences. As an added bonus, by getting local transport, eating local street food, and staying in local homestays, we will hopefully be able to connect more with a place and have a more authentic experience.
Secondly, we will have a fairly low level of day-to-day structure. In the past, we’ve booked every part of a holiday before going, from flights through to accomodation and tours. This time, whilst we have a rough itinerary, we are looking forward to playing things by ear and booking a couple of days ahead, giving the flexibility to stay longer in places if we like them and make decisions on things as we go.
After flying out through the Gold Coast via a short stop off in Kuala Lumpur, the stop for our first two nights was Negombo, a small fishing town a twenty minute drive from the airport.
Whilst there is not a great amount to do here, its proximity to the airport and more casual feel compared to the larger Colombo nearby make it a popular destination for tourists transitting at the beginning or end of their trip.
One of the advantages of Negombo is that it is easy to get around on foot; the strip of bars, restaurants and shops run alongside the beach meaning that it is easy to find your way around. There were plenty of opportunities over the two days to sample the local Sri Lankan curry and drink plenty of cups of tea.
On our second day, we walked for about 5km out of the main town down to the end of the beach to the old fort. It was good to get off the tourist track and sample some local street food on our way back after a long walk.
Four our final night, we decided to treat ourselves to a drink and snack in the evening at ‘Lords Bar’, a fancy, cricket themed restaurant owned by an English expat. With cricket on the TV and a relaxing ambience, it was a nice way to finish off our stay in Negombo before departing to Dambulla the next day.