Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Starting February 2018, the island of Palawan in the Philippines will be connected to Malaysia’s Sabah region via Roll-on Roll-off (RoRo). The RoRo will be operated by Archipelago Philippines Ferries Corporation (APFC). The company will be using a new Fast Catamaran (Fast Cat) vessel which was designed in Australia and built in China. 

The ferry will leave Buliluyan Port in Palawan in the morning and will arrive in Kudat Port around noon. It will depart for Palawan before sunset. The journey will take around 6 hours. 

The ferry can accommodate up to 275 passengers, 35 vehicles and 12 lorries. 

Follow us on our Facebook Page, we will update you with the schedule of the RoRo as soon as it comes out.

Full news here from : Daily Express of East Malaysia.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Kuala Lumpur offers both affordable and luxury accommodations all throughout the city. If you are looking for a cheap place to stay and is conveniently located near to attractions and the train station, I highly suggest you book a hotel or hostel in the Kuala Lumpur (KL) Sentral area. [Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Kuala Lumpur]

KL Sentral is always my option when I check in to a hotel in Kuala Lumpur. You can easily access KL Sentral from the airport by KLIA Express train or by bus. There's a shopping mall in the area for your shopping needs. There’s KL Sentral station which can get you to a train to any tourist destination in KL as well as the rest of Malaysia.

Here are our recommended cheap places to stay in Kuala Lumpur near KL Sentral Station.

This is on top of my list since I’ve been here several times. Rooms are spacious and beds are comfortable. It’s  a walking distance from KL Sentral Station and NU Mall. Book now!

MyHotel @ KL Sentral 
There are at least three branches in the area. I tried all of them because they’re really cheap and comfortable enough for my taste. Rates here normally start at around Php900 (USD18). Make sure you take note of the property you book and get the correct address as it can be confusing at times.

Book here for MyHotel @ KL Sentral almost in front of Hotel Sentral.
Book here for MyHotel Sentral 2 near 711 in Brickdfield.
Book here for MyHotel Sentral near Old Town Coffee Restaurant.

Note: There are a lot of Indian and Malay restaurants and eateries in the area. They offer good and reasonably priced food.

Other Cheap Places to Stay in Kuala Lumpur in KL Sentral area:
  1. NU @ KL Sentral
  2. Prescott Hotel
  3. Easy Hotel KL Sentral

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Train is a popular mode of transportation in Sri Lanka, both for locals and tourists. Getting around Sri Lanka is made easy with a cheap and reliable railway system. Here's the train schedule from Colombo Fort Station to some Key Routes in Sri Lanka.

Train Schedule from Colombo Fort to Kandy. Travel time from Colombo to Kandy is around 2.5 hours and fare is LKR1,000.

Train Schedule from Colombo Fort to Nanuoya (For Nuwara Eliya), Hatton, Ella and Badulla. Travel time from Colombo to Hatton is around 5 hours and fare is LKR1,000 for first class (aircon), LKR600 for 2nd class, and LKR400 for 3rd class. 

Travel time from Colombo to Nanuoya  for Nuwara Eliya is almost 7 hours and fare is LKR1,000 for first class (aircon), LKR600 for 2nd class, and LKR400 for 3rd class.

Travel time from Colombo to Ella is over 9 hours and fare is LKR1,250 for first class (aircon), LKR600 for 2nd class, and LKR400 for 3rd class.

Train Schedule from Colombo Fort to Galle and Matara. Travel time from Colombo to Galle is around 2.5 hours while going to Matara is almost 4 hours. Fare is LKR180.

Train Schedule from Colombo Fort Jaffna. Travel time from Colombo to Jaffna is around 6 hours. Fare for 2nd class is LKR540 and 3rd class is LKR335.

This blog post is part of our comprehensive BACKPACKING IN SRI LANKA TRAVEL GUIDE. This will help you explore Sri Lanka on a budget.

Some destinations in Sri Lanka cannot be reached by train and the only other option is to take a bus or a private car. Good thing the bus trips in Sri Lanka are also reliable. Here's the latest bus schedule of the government red buses leaving from Ella bus stop. The bus stop is just a walking distance from the train station. Blue buses are also available and have almost the same trip frequency with the red buses.

Bus Schedule from Ella to Matara
Departure times: 06:30 / 08:40 / 09:20 / 11:00 / 12:00 / 14:45 / 15:30 / 16:40. You can take another bus from Matara to your next destination to Hikkaduwa, Weligama, Mirissa and Unawatuna.

Bus Schedule from Ella to Ampara
Departure times: 06:30 / 07:40 / 09:15 / 17:30. You can take another bus from Ampara to your next destination to Batticaloa and Passikudah.

Bus Schedule from Ella to Galle
Departure times: 07:10 / 09:45 / 11:30 / 12:10. You can take another bus from Galle to your next destination to Hikkaduwa, Weligama, Mirissa and Unawatuna.

Bus Schedule from Ella to Kandy
Departure times: 10:30 / 22:15 / 23:10

Bus Schedule from Ella to Kataragama
Departure times: 12:40 / 14:00 / 14:45 / 15:30

Bus Schedule from Ella to Maligawila
Departure times: 10:35 / 18:15

Bus Schedule from Ella to Monaragala
Departure times: 07:00 / 07:45 / 09:00 / 13:00 / 13:10 / 15:30 / 16:45. You can take another bus from Monaragala to your next destination to Arugam Bay.

Bus Schedule from Ella to Nuwara Eliya
Departure times: 09:00 / 11:00 / 11:20 / 12:30 / 14:05

Bus Schedule from Ella to Thanalmalwila
Departure times: 08:45 / 18:20 / 19:00

Bus Schedule from Ella to Trincomalee
Departure time: 17:50

Note: Schedule may change without prior notice. Be at the bus stop at least 10-20 minutes ahead of the listed schedule.

This blog post is part of our comprehensive BACKPACKING IN SRI LANKA TRAVEL GUIDE. This will help you explore Sri Lanka on a budget.

Sri Lanka is becoming a tourist haven especially for budget travelers. Traveling around Sri Lanka is affordable and easy. Train schedule around the country is reliable and fare is cheap. Whether you like mountains, nature, wildlife, beaches or heritage and culture, Sri Lanka has something to offer you. Below are the top Tourist Attractions in Sri Lanka.

1. Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy
Located in the City of Kandy, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is one of the city's sacred Buddhist sites. It is believed to house the left upper canine tooth of the Lord Buddha himself. This sacred site attracts hundred of pilgrims and tourist each day. It is recommended to spend an evening in the temple and be mesmerized by its stunning interiors. Entrance Fee is USD15.

Temple of the Tooth | Photo licensed under CC

2. Yala National Park
Yala National Park is Sri Lanka's most famous wildlife park. It is a premier ecotourism destination in the country and is the most visited and the second largest national park in Sri Lanka. It is home to 44 varieties of mammals and  215 bird species. It is situated in the south eastern region of Sri Lanka and is about 305 kilometers from the capital city of Colombo. Entrance Fee is USD15 for foreigners.

A leopard at Yala National Park | Photo by: Mahoora Tented Safari Camps under CC

3. The Tea Plantations in Nuwara Eliya
There's quite a lot of things you can do in Nuwara Eliya but most of the tourists go there to experience the tea factory and see the vastness of the town's tea plantation. The temperature is quite cold so be prepared to bring a jacket if you are not used to low temperature. There is no entrance fee, you can pretty much take your selfie in the tea plantation. It's everywhere in Nuwara Eliya. [Read: Cheap Places to Stay in Nuwara Eliya]

4. Nine Arch Bridge in Ella
The Nine Arch Bridge is the most visited tourist attraction in Ella. It's one of the iconic bridges in Sri Lanka built during the British occupation in the country. The best time to go there is when there is a train passing the bridge. A train is expected to pass by the bridge at 6:06am, 6:40am, 9:24am, 10:57am, 12:06pm, 1:25pm, 3:15pm, 5:28pm, 6:23pm and 6:55pm. If you are flying a drone, make sure you fly it maybe 3-5 minutes ahead of time so you can catch the the train. I didn't expect that the train would pass on time so I wasn't able to capture it with my drone. I was still prepping up and the train passed by already. Bummer! Haha [Read: Cheap Places to Stay in Ella]

5. Mirissa Beach in Mirissa
Mirissa Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Sri Lanka located in the beach town of Mirissa. Enjoy the beach and the waves, watch the sunset, and chill all the way at Mirissa Beach. It's very accessible. It's situated along Matara - Weligama - Galle Road. [Read: Cheap Places to Stay in Mirissa]

6. Golden Temple of Dambulla
Located about 142 kms from the capital city of Colombo, the Golden temple of Dambulla also known as the Cave Temple of Dambulla is among the interesting places to visit in the country. It is a popular landmark in the ancient city and is declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. Entrance Fee is USD10.

7. Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa and Anaradhapura (The Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka)
If you love culture and heritage, these places are a must-visit for you. You can explore the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and visit the archaeological and heritages sites in Polonnaruwa and Anaradhapura . Entrance fee to the Ancient City of Sigiriya is USD30 while the entrance fee to the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura is USD25.

Sigiriya Rock | Photo by: Bernard Gagnon

8. Arugam Bay
Arugam Bay is a bay situated about 320kms east of Colombo. It's one of Sri Lanka's popular beach and surfing destinations. The area was badly hit by the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. 

Arugam Bay | Photo by: Sarah Owermohle

Going to Arugam Bay is a bit tricky and it is advisable to do overnight stops. But, if you must travel straight, you can take a tourist bus or non-ac bus from Colombo bus station to Pottuvil. From Pottuvil you can take a tuktuk to Arugam Bay. Some buses go to Panama, if so, you do not need to get off in Pottuvil because it will pass by Arugam Bay. The fare for the tourist/ac bus is about LKR1,000 while the non-ac is about LKR500. The whole journey takes about 7-10 hours. 

9. The Fortified City of Galle
The Fortified City of Galle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built by the Dutch and is labelled as Asia's best preserved fortified harbor town from the colonial period. Entrance to the Galle is free.

This blog post is part of our comprehensive BACKPACKING IN SRI LANKA TRAVEL GUIDE. This will help you explore Sri Lanka on a budget.