How I travelled Sri Lanka solo

Sri Lanka is predominantly a Buddhist country and safe for women travelling alone. For me, I’ll always dress appropriately and conservatively while traveling cos you do not want unnecessary attention.

Most solo travelers will prefer hostels than hotels but since my trips are usually short (and quick) , I’ll usually book rooms in three star hotels.

1. Places to visit in Kandy

Bahirawakanda Temple

The Big Buddha statue on top of the scenic Kandy Hill is worth a visit. I’ve seen numerous Buddha temples and stupas but nothing quite like this.

Temple of The Tooth Relic
When you visit Sri Lanka you should definitely pay a visit to the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy. Its’ heritage listed buildings reflect in the Kandy Lake.

Ceylon Tea Museum

You wouldnt want to miss out on the tea plantations here in Kandy.

I learned so much about tea and James Taylor.

2. Accommodation in Kandy

You can find all types of accommodation in Sri Lanka from beach huts and tree houses to villas. As I wanted to stay in the centre, I picked the 160-year old Queen’s Hotel in Kandy 😅

The hotel 🏩 gave me a room on the second floor and gave me a bunch of keys to choose from and that’s when I knew I was the only patron on that floor.

Didnt want to take a chance of waking up to someone else next to me in a 160-year old hotel and requested for a room on the first floor. They were reluctant at first but finally gave in. Thank you Queen’s Hotel 🏩

While you’re here, check out the Chinese restaurant buffet. (it was late and I didn’t feel like going out) and always, always check with the hotel reception for recommendations.

And don’t forget to take photos of the hotel from across the lake. Enjoy the view! 😘

4. How to get to Kandy from Colombo Airport

Almost missed out on how to get there.

As my travel plans are always ad-hoc, I missed out the chance to get better seats on the Kandy train as it was the Ramzan New Year.

What I did manage to get was the second class seats (roughed this one out) and slept for four hours on the bumpy ride and bumped my head (and got bruises but hey, what doesnt kill you makes you stronger 😁) So if youre planning to get to Kandy, please book your tickets early from https://www.visitsrilankatours.co.uk/train-tickets-1.html

How To Travel Maldives Solo

Maldives 🇲🇻 is definitely the place to be-solo!

Here’s how to go solo in Maldives 🇲🇻 :-

1. Hotel

There are a lot of hotels you can choose from. Spend some time browsing to get the best deals. I booked a room in a private resort inititally (which would have cost me a bomb!) but landed a deal 48 hours before my departure.

Kaani Grand Seaview in Maafushi offers rooms with a balcony and the bed is soo fluffy! Slept so much while I was here 😊

When I was bored sleeping, I would then laze on the beach. There’s a no-bikini restriction on the island but the hotel and beachfront of the hotel is an exception.

2. Snorkeling excursion

As soon as you check in, you can start planning your daze in Maldives 🇲🇻

The hotel will list down some recommendations couples usually go for 🙄🙄 but you’re solo so you get double the fun.

The water’s sooo blueeeeee

So I decided on the full day snorkeling excursion in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The sea 🌊 is sooo blueee.

Was on the boat most of the time as I got seasick and the drug store ran out of seasick pills 🤢

And then we saw dolphins 🐬 🐬 🐬 🐬

Taken by this super nice couple 👫 from Taiwan 🇹🇼

After two hours of snorkeling (which I did for ten mins), we landed on this pretty unnamed island 🏝 for lunch 🥘

Lunch was sooo good, it was Maldivian sweet and sour-ish chicken (which tastes like Ayam Masak Merah) with cucumber salad served with rice. Didnt get to take food photos as my tummy worked faster than my Huawei 20Pro 😋

Here’s a video of me gasping for air in the Indian Ocean with my trusted GoPro Hero 5 🛥️

And I passed out after an aspirin on the boat.

Maldives is one of the prettiest islands I’ve been to and the whole country is 1192 islands surrounded by beautiful beaches. I will definitely come again but only after I’ve done other Asian countries in my bucket lost list. ✔️

If you’ve been wanting to go on a solo trip but you are clueless on what to do, how to do it, message me here and I will try my very best to help.

I’m also on Instagram @zalyazid

Go Solo like Han Solo!

My kinda date, Hakodate

Flew in to Japan on a redeye flight and slept. Woke up seven hours later and still sleepy. Four hours on the train from New Chitose Airport via the Hokkaido Rail and got off on the wrong station🚉 😴

Here’s 1/3 view from the train ride.

Looking forward to fresh seafood and tempura 🍤

Brooke Gallery

The Gallery was officiated by the Honourable Yang Berhormat Datuk Amar Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg, Deputy Chief Minister of Sarawak, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture and Minister of Housing and Urbanization and Jason Brooke, grandson of the last Rajah Muda and Director of The Brooke Trust.

The Gallery, sponsored by The Brooke Trust, is a collaboration between the Brooke Trust, the Sarawak Museum Department and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak.  The Gallery contains artifacts on loan from the Brooke family and Sarawak Museum Department.

An international team of advisors and subject matter experts was appointed to develop the concept and created a sensitively-curated exhibition design on Sarawak history. 

The final installation of the many artifacts, panels and display cases was an effort made possible by a large body of volunteers from Sarawak, the UK and Australia.  An enthusiastic group of local volunteers has also come together as the Fort Rangers, to help support the operation of the Gallery. (http://www.brookegallery.org)

No one explains the Brooke history more precisely than http://www.brooketrust.org/

Brooke Gallery on a rainy Saturday aternoon

Felt like Night At The Museum

 

Swordfish okay not swordfish

I was psyched on the first floor but after the first floor it was just..meh

First floor

The first Sarawak flag

SARAWAK Malays have followed in the footsteps of the Dayak in pushing the state government to protect their “sovereign rights”.

The minority ethnic group in the state has submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg, reminding the state administration that in an 1841 agreement signed between the state’s first White Rajah, James Brooke, and the Brunei sultanate, Brooke had agreed to respect Malays’ religion and customs, and protect their “special position” in the administration, before the sultanate relinquished its territory of Kuching to him. (The Malaysian Insight) 

 

Chronology of Sarawak throughout the Brooke Era to Malaysia Day

Chronology of Sarawak throughout the Brooke Era to Malaysia Day (Chronology is translated from the official 45th anniversary souvenir book,

‘Perayaan 45 Tahun Sarawak Maju Dalam Malaysia, 1963 – 2008

(The Borneo Post, 2011)

 

September 11: Chief Minister, Stephen Kalong Ningkan, and three ministers as well as 10 members of the Alliance fly to Kuala Lumpur to meet the Prime Minister and the Secretary of the Colony of Britain, Duncan Sandys. September 13 UNMM presents its report.

“The Mission is satisfied that through its hearings it was able to reach a crosssection of the population in all walks of life and that the expressions of opinion that it heard represent the views of a sizable majority of the population.

The Mission is convinced that the time devoted to hearings and the number of localities visited was adequate and enabled it to fully carry out its terms of references.”

Sir Alexander Waddell announces that Datu Abang Openg is appointed by the Yang Di-Pertuan as the first Yang Di-Pertua of Sarawak beginning from Malaysia Day.

 

British colonial Governor, Sir Alexander Waddell, and wife leave Astana, the official Brooke residence and that of British governors since 1870, at exactly 12.30pm.

September 16 Tun Abang Openg is sworn in as the first Yang Di- Pertua Negeri Sarawak. Prime Minister of Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman reads the Proclamation of Malaysia in front of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, Raja- Raja Melayu and thousands of citizens at Stadium Merdeka to mark the birth of a new country named, the Federation of Malaysia.

He says: “The great day we have long awaited has come at last – the birth of Malaysia.

In a warm spirit of joy and hope ten million people of many races in all the states of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah now join hands in freedom and joy.”

Khir Johari reads Proclamation of Malaysia as the representative of the Prime Minister to mark the independence of Sarawak in the presence of Tuan Yang Terutama Tun Abang Openg, Chief Minister Datuk Stephen Kalong Ningkan, the State Cabinet and the people at Padang Sentral (now Padang Merdeka), Kuching, and in all divisions of Sarawak. (Chronology is translated from the official 45th anniversary souvenir book, ‘Perayaan 45 Tahun Sarawak Maju Dalam Malaysia, 1963 – 2008).

Meowserz

We left Kuala Lumpur for Miri in 1996. Dad was posted to Miri for the Sarawak Land & Development Berhad (SLDB) , me thinks. But what I can remember is I was seated next to Dad and Uncle Razali from Shell (later became Dad’s friend).

After several years in Miri, Melaka and Seremban, Dad got posted in Pontianak, Kalimantan and we stayed in Kuching.

I have the best memories in Kuching. I went to school in Kolej Datuk Patinggi Abang Haji Abdillah (13 October 1862 – 21 November 1946) , who I read at Brooke Gallery (last weekend) was  Sarawak’s independence patriot. He fought peacefully against the British colonisation of Sarawak after World War II. 

19 years on, I’m back in Kuching for the weekend.

Here’s my take on some of the places I went:-

  1. Sarawak Cultural Village

The house (hut) on the lake

Hello there!

We got there on a Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Vaguely remember the last time I was here but it just looks smaller as compared to before. The lake was smaller and looks unkept but maybe it was a Sunday?

But here’s an amazing view of the waterfalls; definitely Insta-worthy!

Man-made waterfall

Breathtaking view of the waterfalls within Sarawak Cultural Village

 

Took some photos of the houses; 

  1. Rumah Melanau
Rumah Melanau

Nasib bait gamba clear, mun sik tek nang gulin atas lantey

Ethnic Melanau makes up about 6 percent of the total state population of Sarawak. A majority of Melanau professes the religion of Islam and the ethnic is commonly associated with ethnic Malay. Their concentration is quite restricted to the central coastal region of the Rajang River delta in towns such as Oya and Mukah. 

It is built some 40 feet above ground that you will wonder how these tribal people, isolated from common modernity, were able to build such a behemoth. The main reason, according to the literature that I read, is that the coastal areas where the Melanau live are prone to frequent pirate attacks from the sea, hence the tall house is some sort of protection against these perpetrators. Not to mention, the river delta that the people call home is also subjected to occasional flooding that having a house with the floors raised considerably above ground is a necessity rather than a cosmetic pursuit.

There are staircases provided for visitors to enter the tall house. The first staircase will bring you to the first floor where the display of tools and utensils associated with ethnic Melanau is available throughout. Surprisingly, there is another staircase made of tree trunks to the second floor where the bedroom models are showcased. Climbing these trunk-staircase is an acquired skill on its own and caution should be exercised. (The Malaysia Hotel Review)

2. Rumah Orang Ulu

 

 

Rumah Orang Ulu

Where the monkeys are


The Orang Ulu Longhouse is built on raised floors some feet above ground amidst lush tropical greenery.  

The term Orang Ulu is not ethnically correct per se, mainly because it consists of various well-distinguished ethnic groups such as the Kayan, the Kenyah, the Kelabit (found in the famous Bario Highlands), the Lun Bawang and to a certain extent, the Penan. Nonetheless, the term Orang Ulu is associated with the tribes living in the inaccessible interior regions of Sarawak rainforests. In fact, orang (means “people”) and ulu (means “interior or up-river regions”) is often useful to signify the “up-river dwellers” who often settle in the middle and upper reaches of Sarawak’s many great rivers. (The Malaysia Hotel Review)

In general, the Orang Ulu are famous for their unique musical instrument called sape, elaborate beadworks, extensive body tattooing, sword-making (or called parang ilang), exquisite totem poles and intricate native arts. The sape is also my favourite instrument in Federal Highway traffic. 

2. Carpenter’s Street 

Carpenter's Street

Loving the streets in the rain

 

Took a walk in the rain with my trusted hotel umbrella and the cap (just in case I lose my umbrella, which is bound to happen). There’s so much to see here; jewellery shops, vintage, dressmaker, hipster cafes and Yeck Sung Frame Makers. 

 

Uncle and us

Sistersss with the co-founder of Yeck Sung Frame Makers

According to Uncle co-founder (we didn’t get his name lol), he came to Kuching in 1947 from Hong Kong to manage the shop from his elder sister. He is now 86 years old but he looks fitter than you and me. 

 

That’s the end of Part 1 of my Kuching trip.

Meow you later! ❤