January 17th, 2014 by admin

We had been advised by our friend in Colombo to visit Ministry of Crab restaurant the day we landed Sri Lanka. But we had not booked our tables there and on 31st December 2013, it was a rush day at the restaurant, touted as one of the best crab restaurant in Asia. There were some tense moments while we were having lunch at WIP (Hilton Colombo) that we might not be able to feast at Ministry of Crab. But our friend using his contacts managed to book seats for 5 of us for dinner. I had crab earlier and has seen big crabs at Kulda (restaurant) at Richmond circle (Bangalore, India). But I was told this is different and size of the crab will be gigantic. The tempo was always rising thinking about the special last dinner of the year 2013. We reached the old Dutch hospital where the restaurant is located at 8 pm. Around 9 pm we got our table. We were greeted by the owners of Ministry of Crab through a message card signed by them. Another specialty of this restaurant is, it is owned by two famous Sri Lankan cricketer, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakara apart from Dharshan Munidas.

Now onto food. Since it was a crab specialty restaurant, we decided to have only crab as main course. However, other types of sea food like prawn, fish etc are also available. We went for chilli crab and pepper crab with bread. The weight of the crab should have been one kilo plus. The taste of a crab is like fish to an extent. Its hands and legs has the most of flesh and center body is mostly juicy. Crab’s skin is very strong and one might need to use the strong scissor provided by them. To top it we ordered two bottles of red wine (Cabernet). The old Dutch building already has a old world charm built-in plus the service and ambiance at Ministry of Crab is great. Well, all these did not come cheap. As usual the good things in the world do not come cheap! I ended the last dinner of 2013 with a nicely prepared lime soda. So if you visit Sri Lanka, do make your way to Ministry of Crab. Its worth it!

Address:

Old Dutch Hospital,
Colombo 01
Phone: 2342722
Email: info@ministryofcrab.com
Website: http://ministryofcrab.com

Opening Times:

Weekdays : 6pm to 11pm (Lunch on request)
Weekends: 12 noon onwards
Closed on Poya (full moon) Days

Cost per person: Rs 4000 LKR (1883.40 INR) onwards

January 13th, 2014 by admin

On 29th of December 2013 witnessed a unique blend of Sri Lankan carnival. I could not found any info whether this is an ancient tradition or recent tourism related phenomenon. But nevertheless it was an awesome display of Sri Lankan culture, dance form, dress and treat to the eyes. The carnival started from a small ground near Ramada hotel and walked through the periphery of Galle fort to conclude at the same ground. The carnival was led by 3 girls holding the flag of Sri Lanka. They were followed by numerous individual troupes displaying dance, music and athletics. On show were Kandyan dance, devil with fire dance, women in immaculately draped sarees dancing to the tunes of local instruments played by men, an elephant dressed with lights etc. The carnival included all form of people even the 3rd sex. The crowd mainly comprised of tourists at the Galle fort and were totally enthralled. I along with my friend walked along with the carnival throughout. Happy to be there to view the awesome visual display and capture some moments on my lens. Leaving you with the images below:

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January 10th, 2014 by admin

Mount Lavinia is a suburb of Colombo and probably has the longest white sand beach near to Colombo. It is probably the best place to watch sunset and bath in Colombo. On 1st Jan 2014 I was there along with two other friends. We reached the beach by 5.25 pm and sunset happened around 6 pm. Before entering the beach one has to cross the coastal railway line which goes from Colombo to Galle. The sound and view of frequent passing trains adds to the experience. We entered the beach near the historic Mount Lavinia hotel. I started taking pictures with some silhouettes and then moved on to the sun as the prime subject. The beach receives a large local crowd apart from the visiting tourists. Now am leaving you with the sunset pictures.

After the sunset, we went for a soothing bath in the Indian ocean. The beach is dotted with many good restaurants. We choose the Chinese Loon Tao for dinner. It is one of the best Chinese restaurant around and cost around LKR 3000 – 5000 per person. The beach has good nightlife. One can do their own party or join the parties organized by the restaurants or pubs here. I was staying in Dehiwala in a hostel, around 10 minutes travel from Mount Lavinia.

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January 6th, 2014 by admin

Landing at the Bandaranaike International Airport, was a treat. For the festive year end holidays the airport has been nicely decorated. Musicians were playing music near the duty free shop welcoming the arriving tourists or people. The duty free shop looked luring with a huge collection starting from foreign liquor to home appliances. Our flight from Chennai was on a red eye time and landed at around 2.30 am after a travelling time of around 90 minutes. The first thing you would be doing at the airport is to pickup your checkin baggage if any. Then move to the immigration counter. Immigration formalities in Sri Lanka is very lucid. You have to fill up a form and then hand it over along with your passport at the immigration counter. For me they did not even ask me the ETA details. I think they can find that out using my passport number. Quickly they stamped my passport and I was on the way out. The airport is located in Negombo around 35 km from Colombo city. To travel to/from the airport bus, taxi and tuk tuk (Auto) service are available.

Bus # 187 connects colombo city and Negombo airport. We took a taxi from the airport to Colombo 04 and it cost us 2300 Sri Lankan rupees (LKR) ( 1 INR = 2.10 LKR). A tuk tuk would charge around 1500 LKR. To travel in Sri Lanka one need not exchange money before hand. You can withdraw money directly in LKR using any Visa/Mastercard/Maestro enabled card from almost any ATM. Most banks do not charge any conversion fees like People’s bank, Bank of Ceylon, Sampath bank, Commercial bank, National Savings Trust bank, NDB etc. However, do avoid Hatton National Bank (HNB) as they charge withdrawals using international cards. I would suggest before leaving the airport, withdraw money in local currency (LKR). ATMs are available on the right hands side from the main exit at a little distance’s walk.


Duty Free shop


Baggage claim area


Outside the terminal. ATMs are here.

December 16th, 2013 by admin

Kerala, also referred as God’s own country, is a heavenly place for people who want to experience serenity by living in company of Nature. Every corner of Kerala is filled with natural scenic beauty. People, who are visiting Kerala for the first time, should not forget to visit the famous tourist places mentioned in the article.

1. Munnar:

Also referred as Kashmir of the South, the mountains are covered with tea and coffee plantations all around you. During British rule in India, Munnar was preferred summer resort for British officers. The lush greenery around you invokes a mystical feeling and you can find waterfalls in between lush green mountains that add to the natural scenic beauty. If you are an adventurous traveller, Munnar also offers you trekking opportunities. Dam and lakes in Munnar are some of the tourist attractions in Munnar. The best place to stay in Munnar is old bungalows and cottages that have retained old charm.

2. Periyar National Park:

It is one of the popular national parks in southern India. One of the biggest attractions of the national park is the echo-tourism opportunity it offers. The 30-minute elephant ride through the jungle and travelling in a boat through the lake waters to view the captivating sunset is one of the major tourist attractions. The Periyar national park offers wide variety of flora and fauna that is an excellent opportunity for learning for any nature lover. The national park is open throughout the year for tourist.

3. Fort Kochi:

One of the ancient fort in India, you can see influence of different world civilization in Fort Kochi. Portuguese, Arabs, Dutch, Chinese have left their eclectic influence all over the place. The rich history and amazing architecture of the Fort Kochi attract tourist across the world.

4. Varkala:

It is one of the finest beaches in southern India offering breathtaking view of wide stretch of Arabian Sea. The beach is bordered by cliff, which is populated by shops, hotels, coconut trees, and guest houses. When you move down the cliff, a sparkling beach welcomes you with clear water.

5. Alapuza:

Alapuza is famous for its boat cruises. The houseboat cruise offers a good opportunity to explore backwaters of Kerala. It is a delightful experience to watch local people work in their paddy fields and witness the life in village from comfort of houseboat. The boat cruise travels through Vembanad Lake and labyrinthine canals. The Alapuza boat cruise takes you closest to the nature. You can witness exotic flora and fauna, birds, fishes, trees, butterflies, animals and many more things while cruising through backwaters of Kerala.

Kerala is more about natural beauty and the best way to explore it is through bike tours. If you are an adventurous group than a bike tour in Kerala, has many things to offer. All you need is valid driving permit and you can explore every corner of Kerala all by yourself. All tourist places in Kerala are well connected by roads and you will enjoy experiencing nature and beauty of Kerala on a two-wheeler. Foreign tourists can also participate in bike tours, as international driving licenses are valid in Kerala.

A few amazing aerial images of Kerala backwaters brought to you by Kerala Tourism:

 

Author Bio:

Melody Cleo is a passionate blogger from Manchester, UK. In her free time, she writes articles on various topics such as technology, gadgets, travel…etc. As of now she is focusing on Driving licence UK, which is providing the driving licence services for UK people.

December 12th, 2013 by admin


Image credit: Oregonstate.edu

This year end I am looking forward to spend my vacation in Sri Lanka. The ticket was booked by my friend through Cleartrip.com. We got a pretty good deal of around Rs 6500 for return trip to Sri Lanka. But he had entered my nick name as my first name. So the name on the ticket and the name on the passport/visa would have been different. This caught me quite sometime after we bought the ticket. I called up Cleartrip support and requested them to rectify my name. Cleartrip told to contact the airlines directly in this regard. So I called Spicejet 24 hrs Customer care (Mobile) : +91 987 180 3333, +91 965 400 3333. The agent over there told me that it is not possible to change the name. If it is typographical error involving one or two letters they can do it but name change is not allowed. It was a rude shock. But I did not wanted to change my name and just wanted to rectify my name to reflect the name I have on the passport. I told him that my last name and my passport number remains the same and I am the same person who will be traveling. When I was angry, he offered to transfer to his senior. After keeping me on hold for sometime, he told they are unable to do anything and to write to: custrelations@spicejet.com. I went to Spicejet website to find the rules in regard to name rectification. I found name change is strictly prohibited. Seeing no other way wrote to the email he provided as follows:

Excerpt of the email:

I have a ticket for Chennai – Colombo on — date —-. I found that the first name has been wrongly entered and I need to rectify it as per my passport. Please note that this is just a rectification and not change in the person. The passport # ********* still remains the same with which the ticket was booked. Which means I am the same person who will be travelling. Please amend this.

I already talked with the customer care and they told name cannot be changed. Please note that I am not changing my name, I am asking to rectify my name as per my passport. Please help. I am asking for legitimate and genuine rectification of name.

As of now the name on the ticket is ” ********** ” and it needs to be “**************”.

Airline PNR: ******
Ticket # : ******
Flight # ****
Passport # *********

Please look into this and help me. Awaiting your quick reply.

They replied back telling name change cannot be done. I will have to cancel the ticket and book it again if its available with the correct name. Also, they will charge me cancellation fee of Rs 1850 per way. I found there is a escalation process if one if not happy with answer received from customer support. So I wrote to Nodal Officer (NodalOfficer@spicejet.com) stating all these details. Also, I told them some airlines take a penalty and change the name. If they would like, they can charge a penalty and amend this. On this the Nodal officer asked me to send a scanned copy of the passport. Sent a scanned copy of my passport and visiting card keeping my fingers crossed. Next day I was informed the needful has been done and the ticket will now reflect the name as per my passport.

I really appreciate the help and experience with the SpiceJet escalation team. SpiceJet as a low cost airline would definitely not like to allow laundering of tickets which was purchased much earlier. But genuine name rectification should be allowed where the same person will be travelling. Below is the support matrix of Spicejet:

1st contact: 24 hrs customer care: 91 987 180 3333, +91 965 400 3333

2nd contact: write to – custrelations@spicejet.com

3rd contact: Nodal officer – NodalOfficer@spicejet.com

4th contact: Appellate Authority – AppellateAuthority@spicejet.com

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