Asia

International habits I’ve picked up from living abroad for 4 years

They say that you become most like the people that you spend the most time with. What happens when those people are always changing? Or maybe not always changing, but change periodically?

I’ve become an experiment of sorts in this, as over the last few years I’ve been surrounded by a mix of people from different cultures. Living in Asia for 2 years and then Europe for 2 years saw me picking up little habits here and there, some of which I find hard to shake off now that I’m Stateside again.

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Two awesome weeks: best places to visit in Sri Lanka travel guide, video highlights, budget and tips

I didn’t know what to expect when I made my plans to go to Sri Lanka. Two old friends from college were going there, and I wanted to meet up with them. Since I didn’t have any firm plans and would be near the region, I said alright and booked my flights. Here’s my Sri Lanka travel blog guide, including the best places to visit in Sri Lanka!

It was one of the more impulsive things I’ve done in recent years, but I’m glad for it! I spent about 2.5 weeks in Sri Lanka, and got to see a lot of the major sights.

Walking along the fort in Galle, Sri Lanka

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[Photo Journal] A must visit place of history: the Lion Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

The cultural triangle is one of the must tour areas of Sri Lanka. Within that, the Lion Rock Fortress in Sigiriya is the must see place of all must see places.

A large rock jutting out in the landscape, there was an old palace at the top where the king lived in ages past. It makes you think about what kinds of secrets must lay hidden in the rock. This is the “Eighth wonder of the world.”

The Lion Rock from the front

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[Photo Journal] Going on safari in Wilpattu National Park in Sri Lanka plus tips on planning your safari

The Wilpattu National Park in the Northwest of Sri Lanka does have a lower chance of seeing leopards, but may be a good option for a safari if you are near the airport in Negombo/Colombo or near Anuradhapura in the cultural triangle.

Wilpattu National Park was established in 1938, and has an estimated leopard population of at least 50 individuals that were surveyed by camera traps. The park boasts many natural lakes, some that have quite an eerie feel to them.

Lake view from the jeep
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Quick hit list of things to do in Ella, Sri Lanka

I spent 3 days in Ella, and luckily had a little bit of good weather even though it was raining nearly every day at the time. Though I didn’t get to do a whole lot because of the weather, I did get to relax and decompress. There are plenty of things to do in Ella Sri Lanka to take up a few days, even if you just do one major thing per day.

Ella is a small hill town that has expanded in popularity in recent years. A Sri Lankan I met on the bus to Ella there asked me why so many tourists like it. I think it is a combination of a pretty good location, not too big, good options for accommodation (that has only multiplied), chill vibes, and good restaurants. It’s a village that somehow was more ready to serve foreigners and so has become a hotspot. It’s also along a well-known train line for scenic hill country views.

Mini Adam's Peak in things to do in Ella Sri Lanka

View from Mini Adam’s Peak in Ella, Sri Lanka

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Collection of travel moments from 5 weeks in Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Cambodia

I wanted to remember the little moments during my travels that feel special or interesting to me, so I started taking notes. Life is made up of these little moments after all, and travel is especially good for noticing new things about others and about ourselves.

These aren’t really linked to each other except by chronology and by virtue of having all occurred to me on this one trip. But are all moments that I’d like to remember and look back on. Some might mean something, some don’t. Some were fleeting glimpses into other people’s lives, some are feelings that I felt in the moment that I would like to keep.

Some moments reflect on me being a woman, or a foreigner, or being Asian. Besides a few moments of frustrations, nothing to shout about, but sometimes I wonder about things.

Petals and leaves on steps in Ella, Sri Lanka

Petals and leaves on steps from my guest house in Ella, Sri Lanka

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My fellow PhD student, D, at Rochester Park in search of coffee!

[Review] A slow afternoon at Jimmy Monkey cafe

Cafes! I love me a nice cafe. Although Asian countries aren’t known to be full of coffee drinkers, but Singapore has more hip cafes every time I go back. Singapore cafes I like have to have a really nice vibe to it. This one does, and I would return!

It was a hot, hot day. I thought I could collapse on the walk to Jimmy Monkey, and it was only about 450 meters from where I started out for lunch just before.

It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but on the inside there were good vibes all around. They had a nice big communal table in the center of the room, with plenty of books and magazines around to browse through. The ceiling was high, with exposed fixtures. One large corner had a few windows and a few couches for lounging. Most of the other tables were small round or rectangular tables for a few people at a time. We took seats at the end of the big table, smack in the middle of the room.
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[Photo Journal] A garden festival in Singapore

I went to the Singapore Garden Festival while I was there for about 2 weeks recently. I hadn’t been to a Singapore festival until then! When my friend had discounted tickets, I had to grab the chance. It mostly consisted of a maze of indoor and outdoor floral displays throughout the Gardens by the Bay, which usually has many beautiful flowers anyway.

The displays

Some of the fancier displays:
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