Weligama Surf Yoga Retreat – South Sri Lanka Paradise

While spending time in south Sri Lanka, we were fortunate to come across Weligama Surf Yoga Retreat.  They run monthly week-long getaways in the Bandara Watte Villa, a beautiful colonial escape surrounded by many local animals including wild peacocks.  Located in the jungle nearby Weligama, Sri Lanka, their adventures are equally focused on surfing and yoga, using experienced local surf guides and certified yoga instructors.  They also feature a “give back” volunteering day where participants visit a local school, teaching the children yoga and donating school supplies.

Weligama surf yoga retreat sri lankaUnlike a lot of the yoga camps in the area, Weligama Surf Yoga Retreat takes you surfing almost every day.  Weligama Bay near the villa is the perfect spot for beginner surfers.  For more experienced surfers there are many opportunities for close by beach and reef breaks in Unawatuna, Galle, Ahangama, Midigama, and Mirissa.  We loved how they used only local surf instructors; the guys were super nice and helpful especially for the newbies.Weligama Surf Yoga Retreat also features a “give back” day when you get the opportunity to check out a local school and lead activities for some children.  The kids really love it and it’s a great opportunity to see into the lives of little Sri Lankans.  They have so much energy, and by the end of the hour all the adults are dripping sweat, the kids still running circles.

Giving back to local schools.

The morning and sunset yoga practice is at the Bandara Watte Villa.  You listen to the sounds of the jungle while peacefully drifting into a meditative state.  If you get lucky a peacock will show its feathers.

One of the highlights of the retreat was the food!  The chef, Mahendra, creates local dishes with a twist of western fusion.  The curries he makes are some of the best we’ve had, the spices deep and complex, but comforting and familiar at the same time.

A cooking class with the chef, Mahendra.

Whether in Sri Lanka for a short time or a long trip, Weligama Surf Yoga Retreat is a great way to see and do a lot, without worrying about anything.  The staff is top-notch and the venue is classic, you’ll quickly feel at home and not want to leave!

Website: www.weligamasurfyogaretreat.com

Instagram: @weligamasurfyogaretreat

Facebook.com/weligamasurfyogaretreat

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Tuk Tuk Safari – Exploring Galle on the Sri Lanka Coast

The amazing Tuk Tuk Safari offers tours around Colombo, Galle, and Kandy.  The tours are not just in any tuk tuks, these babies have roll-back tops, coolers of beer, custom music playlists, cool drivers, and classic paint jobs!  Our driver, Donald Duck (yes, that was literally what his nametag said), picked us up in downtown Galle and welcomed us to his safari!  He wore a fun colonial safari outfit, and kept a great smile on his face as he showed us our sweet ride.

 

We hadn’t really researched the places Tuk Tuk Safari would take us around Galle, which led us to an afternoon full of surprises.  At first we drove a little ways, ending up in Kabalana where we bounced up a dirt road to a little house in the palms.  By a beautiful outdoor kitchen we were served an incredible spread of curries: jackfruit, dhal, sweet onions, cucumber, potato… plus rice and of course papadam.  The curries were super special, and we both agreed it was one of our top three favorite meals in our two months of traveling Sri Lanka.  For dessert we had some very nice pineapple, jackfruit, and soursop, along with fresh curd and treackle (coconut sap, Sri Lankan maple syrup).  So yum!

Sri Lankan curry
Homemade Sri Lankan curry!

Our second stop was to the famous stilt fishermen of Ahangama.  The Sri Lankans erect sticks into the reef areas where there are many fish.  They climb up the sticks and sit on little shelves for hours at a time.  The spot we stopped was made for tourists so you can go experience it like the locals.  I climbed up there, getting super wet in the process, so Carrie could snap this classic shot!

Stilt fishermen Ahangama
Stilt Fishermen of Ahangama

Tukkin’ down the road, we veered off after an airport and headed inland.  Down a few skinny local streets, we came to a sign: “Spice Garden”.  They had a nice garden of all the local things out back, along with boat tours around Koggala Lake.  We took a quick tour around the garden then found ourselves in their showroom where they sell amazing Ayurvedic products along with homegrown spices.  We had a lot of fun learning about everything that could be cured by natural products.  We try to not use any chemical products so we bought a few things to take on our travels.

spice garden koggalaThe next stop on Tuk Tuk Safari was the Turtle Conservation Center in Koggala, Sri Lanka.  They take in sea turtles injured by boats and nets and try to heal them or give them a comfortable place to live their disabled lives.  There is also a turtle hatchery behind the building on the beach.  One of their turtle tanks was packed full of hundreds of baby turtles!!!  Cute little tiny things.  We love turtles and we really appreciated what this place is doing to help.

sea turtles sri lanka

baby sea turtles
Babies!!!

Donald Duck now drove us to our final stop, the Japanese Peace Pagoda in Unawatuna.  Built in 2005 in an effort by a Japanese Buddhist sect to build temples in conflict zones (Sri Lanka was in civil war until 2009), the temple offers incredible views from a hilltop overlooking the bay.  The sunset was turning fantastic and the whole scene was super magical.  When the sun was nearing the horizon, we hurried down the hill and caught the last glimpse of the red ball falling into the ocean.  With a lot of light still, we walked down a path to Jungle Beach, a secluded spot with a nice beach and calm water.

Japanese peace pagoda unawatuna
The view from Jungle Beach

Dark now, we headed home.  Donald dropped us off at our hotel and we said goodbye.  Tuk Tuk Safari far exceeded our expectations, taking us to all new spots even though we’d already been traveling in that area for weeks.  Everything was organized perfectly and Donald Duck was an outstanding tour guide!  We really hope to do their other tours of Colombo and Kandy at some point.  Tuk Tuk Safari just offers such a cool and unique experience!

To book a tour go to the Tuk Tuk Safari Facebook Page.

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The Doctor’s House in Madiha, Sri Lanka

The Doctor’s House in Madiha is a funky and fun hostel, bar, and restaurant on the shores of south Sri Lanka. The rooms retain the original aesthetics of the crumbling colonial architecture, creating a fascinating look into the past, while maintaining a comfortable space to kick it for a few days (or a week).

Doctor's house mediha

Dorms at The Doctor's House
Dorms at The Doctor’s House

The dorm rooms are located in the quiet back of the property.  They have some cool antique furniture with new comfortable beds.  Our favorite part was the showers, which are open air with gardens inside and utilize spaghetti strainers to create waterfall style shower heads.

The bar features a variety of tasty cocktails and smoothies, and the restaurant utilizes a clay wood burning oven. They push out the best pizzas on the south coast and other western-style dishes, but with a Sri Lankan flair.

The Doctor's House Bar
The Doctor’s House Bar

The Doctor’s House also contains a newly-opened surf shop, The Box, selling boards, surf gear, and zinc sunscreen.  You can find them on Instagram at @_thebox_

The best day to check out The Doctor’s House is for their bi-weekly Saturday market. Many vendors set up in the courtyard and the beers flow along with the music from several live artists.

The Doctor's House Saturday Market in Mediha
The Doctor’s House Saturday Market
Mediha Beach Sri lanka from the sky
Madiha Beach, Sri Lanka from the sky

The Doctor’s House in Madiha, south Sri Lanka, was one of the straight up coolest places we have ever crashed.  Everything is so artfully created, so perfectly unperfect.  Actually, its really hard to explain how cool it is, so just go there!

Services Included:

Storage lockers

Wifi

Transport booking

Restaurant on-site

Bar on site

Ayurvedic spa on site

Surf shop on site

Free water refill

Websitethedoctorshouse.lk

Email: goodtimes@thedoctorshouse.lk

Dorm Prices: $14 USD (Book on their website as they sell out fast)

Address:

87 PUJITHA NEVASA, BEACH ROAD
MADIHA, MATARA 81000
SRI LANKA

tDH is located about 500 meters from 156km mark on the Galle-Matara road.  Follow the signs for Madiha Beach or take a tuk tuk from the highway.

 

 

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Factory Coffee – Bangkok’s Best Beans

I first stumbled upon Factory Coffee one day when walking down Phayathai Road in Bangkok.  Since I’m always a sucker for hipster-looking coffee joints, I had to check it out.  It’s super pricey by Thailand coffee shop standards, but you get what you pay for: super-gourmet coffee cocktails created with perfectly-roasted artisanal beans and high-quality ingredients.  

Factory Coffee - Bangkok's Best Beans

Factory Coffee is now my go-to “treat yo’self” coffee shop and I’m slowly working my way through their menu of fancy pants barista creations.  Since I don’t drink alcohol anymore and save a lot of money that way, I figure I deserve it!  I love how at Factory Coffee they actually come to you and shake, pour, and garnish certain drinks tableside!

Factory Coffee - Bangkok's Best Beans
Phayathai Citric- cool espresso, tonic, spice, and lemon
Factory Coffee - Bangkok's Best Beans
Jomthong Cold Brew

 

Factory Coffee - Bangkok's Best Beans
Tipsy glasses are super cool

Factory Coffee - Bangkok's Best Beans

You can’t go wrong here with a straight-up espresso for a quick, tasty buzz, a powerful cold brew to get you through an afternoon of work, or a coconut-ice-cream affogato as a decadent dessert and “pick me up” all in one.

It’s no wonder Factory Coffee wins the Thailand Barista Championship year after year!

Enjoy this post about my favorite coffee shop in Bangkok?  Check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and subscribe to our Youtube Channel.  Want your restaurant featured on our site?  Send us a message on any of our social media networks!!!

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Thai Boat Noodles – Street Food Bangkok

Depending on where you stay in Bangkok, you might have some locals suggest you grab some “Thai boat noodles.”  The best boat noodles are located near Victory Monument, right off the BTS Skytrain. Thai boat noodles are generally served in small bowls and the object is to eat a lot.  Most shops serve upwards of seven different types of noodles and if you manage to eat ten bowls they will give you a free liter of cola.Thai boat noodles

There are a series of canals that run through Bangkok.  Traveling by boat through these canals used to be the easiest way to get around the city.   There were many floating markets along these canals where the vendors sold products from their boats.  Several of these markets still remain in the city but are mostly just there for tourists to take pictures.  However, these are where the “”boat noodles” originated and, although they are no longer served off of boats, the shops that sell them are still located by the canals. Read more

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Chiang Mai : Asia’s Home for Digital Nomads

Chiang Mai has long been on our list of must dos.  A hub for expats and digital nomads in Southeast Asia, we imagined it as a place we could settle down for awhile.  After a few weeks of Bangkok, we needed to get out of the big city so we purchased a cheap flight to Thailand’s north.  You can also take the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, but for a minimal amount more you can trade the 12 hour ride for a 1 hour flight.  On arrival around midnight we took a cheap taxi pickup truck, called a songthaew to our hostel.

The hostel, to our dismay, had forgotten our booking, which we found out right as it started to downpour.  Fortunately we found a private room right around the corner at Nomadic Guesthouse for only 200 baht per night and got ourselves some rest, ready to explore the town in the morning.

Chiang Mai roteeWe instantly loved Chiang Mai.  The vibe was so much more relaxed than our previous weeks in Bangkok, and the friendly people made us feel very welcome.  Read more

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Backpacking Malaysia: A Guide for Easy Asia Travel

Backpacking Malaysia is great for easy Asia travel.  Easier than South America, easier than Thailand.  We traveled the length of the Malaysian peninsula from Malacca to Penang, Kuala Lumpur (KL) to the Perhentian Islands through the Cameron Highlands.  The people are friendly, welcoming, and excited to have you in their country.  The buses are clean with organized stations and the roads are smooth with minimal traffic, especially in the countryside.  The highlight of backpacking Malaysia was the food.  From Malay to Chinese to Indian, the cuisine is an amazing fusion of different cultures, living together in relative harmony.  Low food costs are easy for every budget traveler and in Malaysia you can get a full meal starting at $1.50 for a vegetarian banana leaf lunch.  Even though the government just added a tourist tax to all hotel rooms, Malaysia still has good deals for travelers on a budget.  We stayed in some of the nicest and most fun hostels of our lives, and our 15 days in the peninsula didn’t scratch the surface of what the country has to offer.

Pick a Route:backpacking malaysia easy asia travel

Picking a backpacking route though Malaysia is easy.  For a two week trip we would recommend starting in Singapore and working your way north from Malacca to KL, Cameron Highlands, Perhentian Islands, then back across to Georgetown, Penang.  If you have three weeks we would suggest adding Taman Negara National Park and Langkawi Island.  These are both trips along the standard backpacker trail, great for your first time in Malaysia.  Since Malaysia has much fewer tourists than Thailand, you will run into the same friendly faces as you go.  There was one lady on our trip that we ran into in at three different places on our adventure.  Of course there are many other parts of Malaysia worth exploring, mainly the jungles of Borneo where things are more wild.  On a four week trip we would suggest spending a week there getting off the tourist path.

Enjoy the Food:

backpacking malaysia easy asia travel

The food in Malaysia is easy and good for any backpacker’s budget. The most we “cooked” for ourselves in Malaysia was to peel a banana, maybe once.  The local markets are great places to pig out economically.  Check out the laksa, poh piah, mee koring, and nasi kandar.  Western style restaurants are there, but they are the most expensive and generally not as exciting as the local flavors.  Every city has a Chinese neighborhood and an Indian neighborhood.  Little India was always our favorite spot to eat, great for vegetarians and meat eaters alike!  For one meal I had seven different curries and spent a total of less than $3. For these reasons, Malaysia was my all time favorite country to eat in!

Stay in a Hostel:

Frame Guesthouse backpacking malaysia easy asia travel
The Frame lobby — a minimalist hostel in an old framemaker’s shop. Frame is a very zen/minimalist place with cedar ceilings and antique stairways. We really liked our private room here and stayed for three nights enjoying the AC and waterfall showers.

Backpackers will love Malaysia for the hostels which are cheap and easy to book online.  Sometimes they do fill up, especially in the busy season, so we suggest booking in advance.  They range in price and quality and there is a new 10 Ringgit tourist tax for every room.  Our favorites were the Lemongrass on Long Beach in the Perhentians, and Frame Guesthouse in Georgetown, Penang.  Prices range from $10 per night for a dorm bed, $15 for a beach bungalow, or $18 for private room with A/C.

Speak With the Locals:

Backpacking Malaysia is easier than other parts of Asia because most people can speak or at least understand English.  A majority of the signs are also in English and Malay, so you will never have a hard time finding your way around.  Malay also using the English characters so it’s easy to pick up a little bit along the way which always makes the locals appreciate you more.   Knowing few words like terima kasih (thank you) can get you a lot of respect points and make you look a little better than the average traveler.

 

When looking for easier Asia travel, backpacking Malaysia should be at the top of your list.  With top notch people, food, nature and adventure, and hostels, never ending aventuras await you in this tropical paradise!

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Like this post about backpacking Malaysia for easy Asia travel?  Check out our archives for never ending travel advice, reviews, and many stories of adventure in Malaysia!

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