I’m writing this to you from a beach side hotel / guesthouse of sorts just outside Negombo, Sri Lanka. Wow, what a place and it’s just as I remembered it! In fact my room is just as I remembered it as this is the last place I stayed in 2011 after a great 3 week tour of this wonderful country before catching a flight to start my African adventure… Today we’ll discuss the idea of taking the scenic route from Scotland to Singapore via Maldives, Sri Lanka and Malaysia…
Long story short is that direct flights can be pricey and they are usually the quickest to book up. You see, most people aren’t all that “into traveling” they like destinations but not so thrilled on the deed of getting from A->B. They also don’t travel that often so when they do, paying a little extra for quicker trip makes sense. As it happens I have some really cool stuff to do in Singapore and I need to be there for the 22nd; preferably earlier. If I wanted to get to Singapore it was going to have to be the scenic route and guess what? I’m glad it played out this way…
The directs to Singapore were a no go based on flight loads; same for Bangkok. My options were Tokyo, Hong Kong or Sri Lanka. Guess what, Sri Lanka is basically a mega hub for all discount flight airlines. Just take a second and look at a map; it’s perfectly situated between the some of the heaviest load routes in the world; especially for travelers who like a good deal. When I saw Colombo, Sri Lanka as an option with British Airways I jumped on it. I then secured an Air Asia flight to Kuala Lumpur (KL) for $100 and a Jetstar flight from KL to Singapore for $65. Not bad, yes?
So basically I left Edinburgh at 2PM and landed in London at about 3PM; caught a flight from London to Colombo via Male, Maldives at 7:30PM local time and ended up in Sri Lanka at noon the next day. Maldives looks insane with all sorts of tiny islands in the middle of the “big blue”. I’ll be back one day and if you wanna “get away” look into it; had an aisle seat so sorry, no photos. As it happens, super cheap flights to Maldives with Air Asia from Colombo (cough the discount airline hub remember?).
My layover here in Sri Lanka is 30 hours so in about 6 I’m boarding a flight to Kuala Lumpur and arriving at 11PM local time; too close for the midnight to Singapore so I’m on the 7:30am out. Do I get a $50 hotel room, sleep on a bench or pay $60 for 10 hours of “lounge access?” If I wasn’t meeting up with friends in Singapore, I’d spend a day or so in Kuala Lumpur as well. Why am I saying all this? Start turning your journey into part of the trip!
I’m having an absolutely smashing time here in Sri Lanka and wish I had another 48 hours or so.
I’d continue but I’ve said enough and I want to max out my time here. Just know this, Sri Lanka is a very friendly place where the local people speak English and it has lots to see and do, including some ridiculously nice beaches. I’ve done little here but hang out, sleep 14 hours and eat. That said I did run some errands and bonded with a cool tuk tuk driver who I’ll ring next time I’m in the area; whenever that may be.
In closing, if you’ve read this far I have some wisdom for you regarding a layover in Sri Lanka. Don’t stress out, just come and ask the cab driver at the airport to take you to “Silver Sands in Negombo”, should cost you ~1000LKR aka $7.60; he will know where it is and from there a plethora of guest houses to choose from. On the way back, you can get a tuk tuk for as little as 600LKR. You should be able to buy a visa on arrival for like $35US(look into it) and if you want a sim with data, you can get 750MB for $3.50 at the airport…
Below are some of my favorite posts from Sri Lanka when I visited in 2011:
P.S: That sunrise shot is from somewhere over Dubai on my way here.