Southeast Asia

Kuala Lumpur and Singapore

Thanks to Skyscanner we found another inexpensive flight; we plugged in flights from Sri Lanka to “everywhere” and filtered for the cheapest one.  We came up with Malaysia – off to explore Southeast Asia!  We landed in Kuala Lumpur and had our first experience using the efficient KTM train system in Malaysia.  It was a smooth ride from the airport into the capital city.

Petronas Towers

We decided to spend a few days in Kuala Lumpur because it had been a while since we were in a big city. Continue reading “Southeast Asia”

Sri Lanka Part II

Sri Lankan Coast

After our long journey to from Dambulla we were so excited to be in the beach town of Hikkaduwa.  We were searching and searching for the perfect beach town while we were traveling throughout the rest of Sri Lanka and finally came up with Hikkaduwa.  It’s not Sri Lanka’s biggest beach area, in reality it is quite quaint, but we were looking for direct beach access so we could just walk out our door and be at the beach, without the usual price tag for beach access.  And so, with the help of Google Maps, we stumbled upon Hikkaduwa as our first beach stop.

Our Sri Lankan Journey

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Sri Lanka Part I

 Into the Jungle

 

We were at the airport, again, waiting for our flight to Sri Lanka!  After Israel, we crossed back into Jordan and spent a few days at the Dead Sea before making our final drive through Jordan to Queen Alia International Airport.  We decided on Sri Lanka because it was one of the cheapest flights out of Jordan and it was on our bucket list, bonus!  We had no idea what to expect and hadn’t found the time to research it much before arriving, but we decided to start in Tissamaharama (say that three times fast!) – also known as Tissa.

Peaceful Sunset in Tissa

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Crossing to Israel by Land

 Crossing into Israel from Jordan by Land… and Back Again

If you don’t already know this – your travel plans throughout the Middle East will be non-existent if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport.  Many countries in the Middle East will not allow you entry if they see the Israeli stamp; while others will give you a very hard time.  The best way to avoid this issue is by crossing to Israel by land through Jordan where they give you a paper “pass” instead of a stamp.  In 1994 King Hussein, of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, developed a peace treaty with the State of Israel – this is also why the main bridge connecting the two countries is named after him.  In this treaty both swore to uphold “just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.”  Thus avoiding conflict and creating peace, co-operation, and respect for human dignity.  This agreement is alive and well today.

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Top 10 in the UAE

UAE (& Oman) – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain, Sur, and Muscat

We had an amazing time in Turkey but it was so fast paced we were looking for some R&R. Luckily, our incredibly generous friends in Abu Dhabi welcomed us into their home where we could slow down a bit.  We flew from Istanbul to Dubai with Fly Dubai airlines.  We were able to find a cheap flight using Skyscanner and comparing which day was the most “economical”.

The Burj at Night

When we arrived in the UAE we had a rude awakening to the fact of just how lucky we were to have free accommodation because both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are incredibly expensive.  For Westerners comparison sake, a Grande Starbucks latte is about $8-$10 in the UAE vs. $5-$6 in North America.  This seemed to be the trend; all items were approximately 20% more… and we were spending one month here, yikes.  So, we decided to put together our top 10 list of things to do in the UAE that won’t break the bank… too much.

Burj Al Arab

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14 Days in Turkey – Week 2

Week 2 – Kusadasi, Ephesus, Pamukkale & Cappadocia

We departed the coastal town of Marmaris and drove up to our next destination: Kusadasi.  Before driving to the hotel and checking in we decided we had enough time to check out Ephesus – the ancient city.  We were blown away, literally and figuratively, by this massive historical site.  It was so windy!  Because of this blustery day we had the entire place to ourselves and we were able to explore at our own pace and revisit some of the artifacts that peaked our interest.

Celsus Library
Celsus Library

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14 Days in Turkey – Week 1

Week 1 Istanbul & Marmaris

We kicked off the second part of our world journey in Istanbul, Turkey.  We arrived just before dusk and were able to enjoy the drive into the city from Istanbul Ataturk Airport.  The change of scenery was a welcome one – beautiful skylines, lush mountains, enchanting waterfront, the list goes on.  We could already see what an incredible destination Turkey would be.

Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia

We drove into the narrow cobblestone streets and admired the old city architecture while passing some of the many ornate mosques on the way.  When we arrived at our hotel we were thrilled to be in the heart of the action.  We dropped our bags right away, grabbed a city map, and were off to explore Istanbul by night.

Blue Mosque by Night
Blue Mosque by Night
Istanbul
Istanbul

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