KABOOKI

  • Makeup
  • Body Painting
  • Bridal

BLOGS

Words fail me and I am so thankful that my job takes me to someof the mostbeautiful places. And Every time, I leave a little piece of me behind with thesemy lovely clients.

So, here’s my first blog about this country you guys wanted to hear all about on Instagram – Sri Lanka.

I never got a chance to explore anything during my first two visits to Sri Lanka. The first time, I merely scratched the surface, quite literally. In other words, I didn’t step my foot outside the airport. I landed in Sri Lanka for a transitway back in 2013. The second time was a work trip and I just stumbled into a limbo of time. My work kept me occupied, and the trip came to an end in a wink. Finally… this time, when I got another opportunity to travel to Sri Lanka, I began dreaming about a vacay already. Before I pounce on the details of my vacation part of the trip, let me start with my work.

Meet Jeevika, my darling bride who flew me to Colombo. To begin with, she had such a warm family that took care of me like one of their own.

The biggest challenge for me was that I was swamped with work this Muhurtham season and the late night flight to Colombo was absorbing my energy. And here I was in this foreign land, with a bride and the whole family banking on me. There’s no way you can go pick something up if you forget or arrange anything in the last minute.

Wake up at 2am – makeup – hair – skip breakfast – saree change – breathe – saree change – breathe – touch up – saree change – search for that one lipstick in the abyss of products – touch up – breathe – pack up. This was pretty much the ritual for the first two days, but very enjoyable.

That being said, my bride was extremely co-operative and trusted me completely. I had a ball of a time doing hair, makeup, 267738839 saree changes and everything else in between, on my own, for her.

For south Indian brides, there’s something we consider timeless. We’re talking about effortlessly radiant skin-like makeup. My bride has her roots in South India, and she wanted to look like one for her ceremonies. To help her with that, I created a beautiful traditional hairdo and airbrushed her skin to perfection.

Now to the awesome trip I had after work! Ah, the perks of your work taking you to places! As soon as I finished the wedding, I headed to Pinnawala – the land of Elephants. I checked in to this hotel called ‘The Elephant Bay’, a humongous hotel in a modest location. It felt like one of those huge treasures you’d find along a narrow, unlikely path in the movies.

When I heard the sound of running waters outside the reception, I knew this would be one of the best stays ever. The entire hotel overlooks a perennial river, housing rocks all the way as far as the eye can see. Only half way through the excitement, the best was yet to come.

I opened the door to my room… correction, a HUGE room, with ten feet ceilings, and one entire side of the room covered with transparent glass panels with a view that was just unexplainably gorgeous.

The icing on the cake, however, was the balcony, also overlooking the river, the mountains, and the whole landscape. The sound of the river constantly crashing the rocks was just bliss to the ears.

There were a lot of other hotels in the same street with a similar view, but this was the only one with a kickass swimming pool like this!

Things to do:

  • Watch elephants.
  • Watch elephants.
  • Watch more elephants.
  • Did I forget Elephants?

Eat outs:

Channa (You should try the Kothu. It will bring tears to your eyes. Literally.)

If you’d been following me on Instagram, you’d know how much I love animals. So, it’s quite obvious why Pinnawala was first on my list of things to do.

There are two places where you get to interact with elephants.

  • The Elephant Orphanage, run by the Government
  • The one I found after so muchhhhhhh research, called the MEF – Millennium Elephant Foundation

We skipped the orphanage and headed to the MEF. Tickets cost about SLR 5000 per person.

They have a package called “WALK WITH THE ELEPHANTS”, where they encourage visitors to walk with the gentle giants instead of riding on them. In case you guys didn’t know, elephants cannot bear weight on their back. Their strength is only on the neck and trunk. Please choose the walking option if and when you go. Never ever ride on them.

They also have some cool volunteer programs that you can explore. I’m definitely trying one of these programs next time.

So, here, I met Pooja (the Elephant assigned to me).The foundation assigns one elephant to the visitor, which gives a full private time with the elephant for the next 45 minutes. I had the time of my life. After a long 30 minute walk, I got to feed her, bathe her, and even get a shower!

To the Beach!

Next stop was Mirissa. I know this is not the best way to tour Sri Lanka, since Pinnawala is at the centre and Mirissa isthe southernmost tip of the country.And yes, there’s way too much to see in different regions as well. But, elephants and whales topped my bucket list and we directly hit these places instead of the usual ones like Kandy, Sigriya, Ella, so on and so forth (which I’ve reserved for my next trip).

Mirissa was all about beaches, cafes, tiny roads and trippy hostels. There was literally no piece of land below this. Take a left, you go to Australia; Right takes you to Madagascar and a straight sail goes down to the South Pole.

Stay:

Bon accord was a small guest house I stayed in and I really enjoyed this cosy place.

Costed about 82$ without breakfast.

Whale watching:

We went whale watching with a company called RAJA and the whales. They had the highest ratings and they proved that right.

Cost about SLR 5000 per head inclusive of breakfast. (If you don’t spot a whale, they promise to refund 50% of the money. Check their terms and conditions)

But whether you spot a whale or not, totally depends on your luck. Hey, it’s the wild and it’s difficult to predict if they will show up for us or not. After all, it’s Mother Nature. Once you’re out there, you play by her rules.

We boarded the boat at 6 AMand travelled till about 12 noon to spot a whale. Make sure to put an entry at the office and get to the harbour at least by 5:45 AM if you want to get the best seats on the upper deck.

You might get bored throughout the journey, but if you spot a whale close to your boat, it’s totally worth it. They kept giving us food and snacks. Don’t eat if you’re prone to sea sickness. They give you avomine to combat that as well. In my case, I threw up and slept until 12:00 PM to avoid throwing up again.

At about 11 AM, we spotted tons of dolphins. And much later, we spotted 2 Orcas (Killer Whales) that swam so close to our boats. They were kind enough to come up a little bit and grace us with their beauty. I had my own FREE WILLY moment. It was totally worth it.

Other activities in Mirissa:

  • Surfing
  • Water sports
  • Scuba diving
  • Eat Outs I enjoyed:
  • Zephyr Restaurant & Bar
  • Kama
  • Dewmini Roti (Pocket Friendly)

We visited GALLE fort on the way back to Colombo and the place had a very Dutch vibe to it. The views of the ocean from the fort were breath taking at that height. You can take a nice long walk along the walls and explore the small lanes for some real cool shops to buy souvenirs.

Colombo:

We got back to Colombo, did some shopping (Clothes were really affordable in a place called no limit) and flew back to Chennai

Travel advice:

You can certainly manage on your own there. It’s a bonus if you know the local language or have someone with you who does to get you discounted rates among tourist rates. You don’t have to do too much planning otherwise. Refer travel pages and plan your itinerary.

Carry Mosquito repellent creams/sprays (especially in Mirissa)

Safest things to eat are Rice and Curry and Roti

Currency –SLR (Sri Lankan Rupees) and USD