A short stay in Colombo

While returning from Maldives, we planned for a short stay at Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka. Accordingly, I booked for us at Hotel Taj Samudra. This hotel is just on the sea beach facing Indian Ocean. The hotel is quite far from the airport and it took almost 90 minutes to reach the hotel.

Entrance of Hotel Taj Samudra

The hotel is a nice one and we had sea facing rooms. In the evening, we went to the beach for a walk on Galle Face Green. The sea was quite rough at Colombo and we saw huge sea waves splashing on the sea shore.

Walking by Indian Ocean

The Galle Face promenade off the sea is at a height so we could not go to the sea. The green grassy promenade is a place for families to gather and spend their leisure, flying kites, eating gram, playing cricket and soccer, or even simply jogging along to keep fit and slim. Evenings on the promenade are always choked to capacity with people and vendors.

Enjoying watching the waves hitting the shore at Galle Face

An old Canon in the Fort area at Galle Face

Presidential Secretariat – Old Parliament Building

Galle Face Hotel – a heritage hotel with Victorian architecture, built in 1864.

We walked about 2 kilometers by the sea enjoying the cool breeze and then returned to the hotel for a good dinner.

Outside a hotel restaurant at Taj Samudra

View of Indian Ocean from our room

The next day, we went for a city tour.

Fort

Gangaramaya Temple

Simamalaka shrine, on an island in Beira Lake

We saw Buddhist temple and other buildings and park. Sri Lanka is famous for its gems. Jaya bought a gem set from a shop for her. We bought several masks as souvenir.

Gangaramaya Temple – The temple’s architecture demonstrates a mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, and Chinese architecture.

Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall

Town Hall

A giant Buddha statue

Independence Memorial Hall – Statue of first President of Sri Lanka

Independence Memorial Hall

Fort

We will return to home tomorrow.

Magnificent Maldives

This time we planned to go to Maldives on holidays. Maldives is on Indian Ocean. It is a country of small islands called Atolls. This group of isles looks like a garland and hence it got its name in the ancient times as Maldives derived from Maladwip, meaning a garland of islands in Sanskrit language.

After landing at the Male airport, we were taken to the resort by a boat.

Coming out of Male airport

I booked a water bungalow at Sheraton Full Moon resort on Furanafushi atoll.

Indians get visa on arrival at the airport. There is no taxi for going to resorts/atolls. The boats take the people to their destinations instead of taxis. Amazing!

The jetty at the airport from where we boarded the boat

The water bungalow is built on the Indian Ocean slightly away from the main land connected by wooded bridges.

The bridge connecting to our water bungalows

The water is crystal clear and we can see deep into the ocean.

Stingray

The corals and fishes can be seen under water.

The cottage is wooden, with thatched roof and had a wooden balcony on the sea.

Our bed room

Our bungalow balcony with steps going down to the sea

It seems that we are on a boat and sailing on the ocean. The water is hitting the base and making rhythmic sound of splashing water.  Great experience!

We used to spend the morning and the evenings on the balcony enjoying every bit of the moments and enjoying the great Indian Ocean.

There are a few restaurants managed by Sheraton on the atoll with natural ambiance, where we enjoyed our meals beside the ocean waters.

The atoll is beautifully planned and managed by the Sheraton group.

It is also a pleasure walking around with lots of greenness around. There was a nice spa. Jaya and I went for massage there.

pristine beach

Dolphin watch

We also went to on boat ride on one afternoon deep inside the Indian Ocean to see the dolphins in the wilderness.

Yo! Dolphin!

The boat ride and the excitement of seeing jumping and swimming dolphins in the sea were magnificent.

… and a pair there!

On the deck of the boat

Now, it’s time to return! We did not know how fast the time flew past on a small atoll!

We returned with great memories of the Indian Ocean and beautiful Maldives, as we boarded the boat to reach Male airport.

A cafe at Male airport