So it was now off to Cornwall but Terry wanted to do a classic rail journey. The intrepid group got on the train at Exeter and got off at Saltash. This enabled them to go along the coast by Dawlish and cross the Tamar on Brunel’s Bridge.
The next morning we left Colombo and drove to Habarana, a town with lots of hotels serving tourists visiting the Cultural Triangle defined by the ancient cities of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy. The journey took about six hours and we stopped on the way at a simple roadside restaurant where we had the Sri Lankan staple of curry and rice which consists of a meat or fish curry served with plain rice and five vegetable accompaniments, it was a feast and we particularly enjoyed the eggplant curry and the lentil daal. Eventually we arrived at our hotel the Aliya Resort and Spa, we climbed the steps to the open reception and were greeted with the most amazing view across a huge infinity pool and over the landscape to Sigiriya Rock. Aliya has only been open a couple of years and it is a very modern but very lovely hotel with rooms set in blocks of four around a garden filled with trees, and paths which are lined at night by hundreds of lanterns. Continue reading Habarana, Sri Lanka
Our next stop in Malaysia was the Cameron Highlands, tea plantation country in the mountains 3 hours north of KL, the journey was slow due to the traffic, we were traveling on Friday and Saturday was the Chinese New Year which is a big deal in Malaysia. Everybody was either on the road going to visit family, or heading for the countryside. No matter, we eventually arrived in Tanah Rata and checked into the Cameron Highlands Resort Hotel which quickly became one of our favourite hotels of the whole trip. It was a heritage hotel having been built during the height of the English colonial period to serve the tea planters and their families. It was beautifully decorated in tea planter chic and was terrible elegant – just our sort of place!? Our room, one of just 56 was lovely, and looked out over the Cameron Highlands Golf Course. Continue reading Cameron Highlands
The rain in Malacca stopped about half an hour before we were due to leave! We were picked up by our driver for the 2 ½ hour journey north to the city of Kuala Lumpur, unfortunately it was the weekend of the Chinese New Year so everybody was on the move, we were warned to expect heavy traffic for the next few days. In the end the journey took about 3 ½ hours but it was quite comfortable and it was interesting to watch the changing landscape. Continue reading Kuala Lumpur
Our evening flight to Bali was delayed so we didn’t arrive until late on Wednesday night. Our travel agent had arranged a VIP Meet and Greet service to guide us through immigration on arrival. Sure enough there was a woman waiting for us as we entered the airport, she took us to a pleasant waiting room and went off to collect our luggage then she steered us through customs and immigration with barely a pause for checks; we could still see other passengers from our plane waiting at the luggage carousel! Outside the airport it was mayhem, cars, buses, taxis and people everywhere but our woman knew exactly where our car was waiting and before we knew it we had been introduced to our Guide Agung, and his driver whose name we never caught, and we were on pour way to our hotel. Continue reading Bali
Our fight to Darwin was on a full-sized plane with just 17 passengers so it didn’t take long for inflight service to be completed, then the crew took their seats for the rest of the flight! We arrived at about 21.00, went straight to the hotel and checked in. Next morning we were picked up at 06.00 for a three-day trip to Kakadu National Park and Katherine Gorge, it was still dark when we left the city, we hadn’t seen Darwin in daylight! Continue reading Darwin
Our time on the East coast was spent in Cairns and at the small holiday/marina town of Port Douglas about 75 minutes north. We arrived in Cairns and transferred to the Bay View hotel, our home for 4 nights, the hotel had a tropical feel with lush gardens and two courtyards filled with palm trees and tropical shrubs. It also had an award-winning Balinese restaurant voted best speciality restaurant in Australia in 2015, we made a mental note to investigate during our stay. Continue reading Cairns and Port Douglas