Travel – A trip to Yala National Park

Travel

A trip to Yala National Park

By Alexia Jolliot

One of my favorite thing to do in Sri Lanka, it’s going on a safari tour. It’s exciting, its fun, it’s outdoorsy. So, whenever we have friends or family members visiting the first thing I am planning is a trip to one of the many National Park. There are a few options when it comes to National Parks but the most famous of all is Yala, as it is home to the Sri Lankan leopards. Yala National Park is a protected area complex comprising five blocks as well as adjoining sanctuaries, but most of the time when people refer to Yala National Park they actually refer to Yala Block 1.

I’ve been to Yala three times, the first time the zone 1 was close and we (Mr. GM) were reluctant (to say the least) to drive an extra 1.5 hours at 5 in the morning, so we gave up and sleep late instead. The second time, I went with my parents during their first visit, and while we enjoyed being in a Jeep in the wild, we did not see any leopards or elephants, it was a bit disappointing, especially as we did it after Udawalawe where we saw so many different things. As my parents were visiting again this year, I planned another trip to Yala National park. And guess what, Yala zone 1 was once again closed. You would think that as someone who got surprised once to find Yala closed, I would have double checked this time before going, I did not… to my defense, the park was supposed to re-open on the 1st of October and we were the 20th. Anyway, this time we did not give up as we really wanted to spot a wild leopard and decided to drive in the early morning to the zone IV and V, where it is still possible to spot leopards. I won’t get the suspense going any longer, we did not see the leopard, unlike my friend who was there a week before and saw the leopard, or our guests who were there two weeks before and saw the leopard, or anyone else that I know visited that park. However, leopard or not, the experience remained thrilling, the park beautiful and, we did get some adventure on the way.

On the way to Yala National Park
On the way to Yala National Park

So, we all got up at 5 in the morning, and took the direction of the Galge wildlife park entrance, entrance to Yala block III, IV, and V. As we were driving along the very scenic B35 in the dawn’s early light, I ask if everyone was seeing what I was seeing in the distance. We weren’t sure at first (it was early, we had no proper coffee, it was early and the night was short…, but as I kept driving there was no other option than to believe what we were seeing. There was a huge, massive, at least 3 times bigger than the car, elephant in the middle of the road. It is the first time we encounter a giant on the road and we weren’t quite sure what to do, we were full of wows and fear, fear definitely overshadowing the wows. We stopped the car and discussed our options: to go or not to go. We heard stories about cars that got flipped or pushed off-road by elephant and quite frankly we weren’t ready to take any risk. As we were about to turn the car around, a bus came and drove as if it was the most normal thing in the world, we followed his lead and went just fine. We learned later from our Jeep driver that this elephant flipped 22 cars in September.

Arriving at the park entrance, we park under the trees, and in the five minutes it took me to get advice on which park to visit and getting our tickets and safari jeep organize, my family had made furry friends that seemed to love our car a lot. While these creatures are friendly at first, be aware that they get cheeky quite fast and are expert in stilling things.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Following our guide advice, we decided to go for Yala Block V also known as Lunugamvehera National Park. The park, rich in biodiversity, expand for 23,498 hectares, with a huge manmade reservoir that occupies over 14 % of the park superficies, The Weheragala reservoir. While visiting the park, it is possible to see the Sri Lankan Leopard, fishing cat, king mongoose and sloth bear, along with Elephant, various kinds of deer’s, and bird species a lot easier to see wandering around the wild. Lunugamvehera is one of the many sanctuaries in Sri Lanka that have been established in the interest of the wildlife allowing for a pathway for the wild elephants to migrate between Yala National Park and Udawalawe National.

Travel

We entered the park and stopped at the first pond to observe birds, water buffaloes, and crocodiles, a parakeet got his head out from a tree intrigued by this sudden bustle. We continued on the dirt roads, looking for the famous leopard. We enter a wooded area, known for observing the big cat. As you know we did not see the leopard, but we had the chance to see (and smell) the prey he killed the previous evening. We stopped the car nearby and observe round of different animals coming to eat on the rest of the dead buffalos, we stayed there for a while hoping the leopard would come to finish his kill. We wandered in the park for another two hours, crossing from time to time another jeep. Almost every we stopped the car, the macaques would show hoping to steal something to eat.

Travel

A good thing about Lunugamvehera National Park is that it is a lot less busy than Yala zone V and it is still possible to observe elephant and feline. Coming from Colombo, the best is to take the highway all the way down to Matara, then follow the  A2 until Tissahamara and drive up on the B35 until the park entrance. If you are visiting Sri Lanka, it would be best to include it in your itinerary. A good option would be to land in Colombo, and then go to Kandy, Ella, continue on to Udawalawe, then Yala, then relax with some beach time on the Southern Coast, either around Tangalle or Mirissa and finish with a couple of days in Galle (read my Galle guide here). As for the transportation, I would advise to mix between train (in the tea country), bus and private car.

Where to stay in Yala:

To complete the “into the wild” experience, I highly recommend some glamping.

Big Game Camp Yala offers very decent and comfortable safari tents. The setup is amazing, the camp is located around a pond where if you are lucky, wild animals will come to drink. The bungalow tent is spacious and comfortable with a private bathroom. The highlights were the extremely nice BBQ-dinner with candlelight in the evening and the manager Kamal who will go out of his way to make it happen

Price: from 120 USD per night

Travel

If your budget allows, stay at the newly open Wild coast tented lodge. While we haven’t had the chance to try it yet, you can trust Resplendent Ceylon to offer an impeccable service, amazing food, and perfectly designed rooms. The place looks amazing in picture and I really look forward to trying it ( I haven’t given up on leopard yet, I made it a point to see one before moving out)

price: from 340USD per night ++, all inclusive even the safari

But if you prefer more formal accommodation:
But if you prefer more formal accommodation:

Jetwing Yala is a good option, the rooms are spacious and well accommodated. Their food is great, the breakfast buffet has just anything you could ask for and they have a delicious buffet barbeque on Saturday night. The pool is huge and the area often visited by wild boars, monkeys and sometimes buffalos.  Be advised though that the service is slow, especially the check-in, and they aren’t really business-minded.

price: starting from 160USD per night in low season.

Tips: organize your safari tour yourself as they truly overcharge for the service.

Travel

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin

What is Bitcoin?

Maybe you here it many times in the news, radio, ads etc., but you have no clue, what it is? Me neither until some months ago, I started to find out more about it. At that time I’ve thought, why digital money? Paypal is doing a good job already. You can transfer your money instantly. So why digital money then? That’s why when I’ve heard for the first time the term bitcoin, I didn’t take it seriously. After I’ve found out what Bitcoin is really about, I start to take it more seriously.

The founder of Bitcoin published a white paper 31st October 2008 right after financial crisis in 2007, which was caused by the banks. In Germany the government rescued the bank system with €290 billions. Because the banks weren’t trustworthy, he started to create the 1st bitcoins on 3rd January 2009. At that time 1 bitcoin was less than $0.01. On 2010 each bitcoin was priced less than $1. The first altcoin was in 2011.

Coin market cap

Now, a decade later each bitcoin is worth about $8000 USD with 1506 altcoins. But why does it get so popular? It has some great features. For example you can’t fake it. It is possible a normal fiat money, but it is impossible to duplicate this digital currency, because it based on cryptography. Besides it is decentralized, which means you can transfer money directly to the other person without intermediaries. In this case a bank is not necessary any more, which is not trustful anyways according to the founder. This decentralization is based on the blockchain technology. On top the idea of this digital currency is to have faster transfers and lower transaction fees. In 2015 the transaction fee was $0.01 USD, but now to transfer bitcoins the transaction fee was even up to $40 USD, which means if you want to buy a $10 USD pizza, you have to pay the transaction fee on top, which make $50 USD in total.

That’s ridiculous. Additionally, it is not scalable, because now the energy consumption gets to high. To make any transactions, it would consume as much energy as a house would consume for a week. That’s why its market share dropped in 2016 from about 90% to 35%.  Even after many forks to Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, SegWit etc. to increase the scalability, altcoins are still on the rise. There is even an altcoin now, which has no transaction fee, instant transfer and endless scalability. It’s the same thing with the computers in the 20th century, where it was really big, slow and consumed a lot of energy. In 1943 the IBM president Thomas Watson said, that the world market would need about 5 computers. Now we know, he was wrong.

Because of its disruptive potential many people get scared of it. Cryptocurrencies are still emerging. It is not implemented worldwide yet and the oldest one exists not even a decade. We will see, what will happen in the next decades.

In order to stay up to date just like my Facebook page The Doan’s blog.

 

What is SEM?

sem

What is SEM?

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing and it is part of Digital/Internet/Online Marketing. It contains SEO and SEA. SEA stands for Search Engine Advertising, which is also known as Pay per Click (PPC), because everytime a User sees an ad and clicks on it, he/she has to pay a certain amount of money, which is actually pretty cool, because you pay for results instead of the traditional one. The most popular PPC is Google AdWords.

AdWords

This is, how Google AdWords looks like, when type in Hotels New York City. As simple as that. So everytime someone clicks on that link booking.com/…., the company Booking has to pay for that click a certain amount of money to Google, which can be some cents to even some $. It depends on, how strong the competition is for that keyword, which also determines the price.

If you use Google AdWords, your ads will appear in Google instantly. You will get traffic to your website right away, which also has a positive effect on the Google ranking too. In order to find out, which keywords are relevant for your Business and popular at the same time, you have to  use some tools for it. With a web analytics tool, you can find out, whether you get much traffic from that keyword or not. SEA doesn’t replace SEO and vice versa. With SEO it takes months to get you ranked on the top places on Google. So it takes ages to get target traffic to your website. With SEA you get it instantly, but you have to pay for it. In short term it is recommendable to use SEA, while it is recommendable to use SEO for long term.

My Web Agency Sites4Businesses is providing SEO services. Feel free to contact it: Sites4Businesses. If you want to stay updated, just subscribe to my newsletter on the left side.

What is SEO?

seo

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engines are a software, that searches the World Wide Web for the keyword you’ve typed in. The most popular one is Google, but there are many other search engines like Yahoo, Bing, Baidu etc. So SEO means, that you optimize your ranking on search engines, but who wants to be ranked high on search engines? Webmasters, Business owners, freelancers, startups, companies etc. are interested in SEO to get traffic, customers and sales, but most importantly it is sustainable.

wikipedia traffic

Here is an example to show you, how important SEO is. The website wikipedia.org has about 2 billion monthly web visitors and most of them through search. Not through social media marketing. No through Email marketing. Not through online ads like Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads etc., but through search. So people find the website wikipedia.org through search engines. Just to give you a rough idea, how important SEO is. You get targeted traffic regularly every month without doing anything any more. So it’s passive traffic. You just have to put the initial effort in the beginning.

The higher you are ranked, the more traffic you will get. The good thing is, that those traffics are free and even targeted, because you are ranked on specific keywords. This kind of traffic you get this way is also called organic traffic. People click more on the search engine results than on ads. The reason behind it is, that the website is already regarded trustful and useful by the search engine. It is already prechecked, so the users can trust that website too. If you want to know, how keyword research works, read this: Why keyword research? The paid version is SEA, which is making an advertisement on Google. The good thing here, that it works instantly. Everything that drives traffic to your site increases your ranking, but if you don’t advertise any more, the traffic will decrease also instantly.

SEO is divided into 2 parts. The first one is called onsite/onpage SEO and the other one is called offsite/offpage SEO. Onsite means, that you make your Website easy for search engines to find it. So it is more technical. For example the alt tags of your page, your website performance, responsiveness etc. The offsite version is everything external from your website. The most popular one are backlinks. Backlinks refer to your Website, which is an indicator for Google, that your Website has a good reputation. The more backlinks you, the better it is, but not only quantity is an indicator for Google. Also the quality of the backlinks. It is determined by the Domain Authority.

International money

Social media plays also an important role. The more shares, likes and comments you have, the higher you will get ranked on search engines. My blog article about money as a sample has over 500 shares, which is impressive. It gives you a social proof and it also shows you, which topic your reader is more interested in. You can read this article here. Maybe you want to share it too. Haha. Social media platforms are e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. SEO takes much time, because it takes time to build reputation, but when you are highly ranked, you will get free and targeted traffic regularly. Once your reputation is established, you will get those traffic on the long run, but how long does it take to get ranked high on Google? It takes weeks even months until you get ranked on the first page of the search engine, if you do the right thing. You also can optimize your ranking on Video platforms like Youtube. The paid advertisement works instantly, but if you don’t advertise any more, there won’t be any traffic. In general there about 200 factors, that can have an influence on your search ranking, but one of the most important factors is content, which belongs to onpage SEO and backlinks, which belongs to offpage SEO. In the end, it is also receommendable to do a SEO audit.

How to do SEO

And here is a quick summary of SEO.

To stay up to date, just like my Facebook Fanpage: The Doan’s Blog. Further readings: What is offsite SEOWhat are backlinks? Why keyword research? What is Digital Marketing? What is SEM? My Agency is providing SEO services. Feel free to contact it: SEO Services.

What are Web Developers? #IT #Business #Website

Web developer

When I meet new people, they usually asked me what my occupation is. As soon I tell them, that I’m a Web Developer, they understand, that I’m a Web Designer or I create Websites. To make things clear a Web Developer is a coder. A programmer. Someone using a programming language to code a Website like with Java, C#, Ruby, JavaScript …

Here are some examples of the most popular and current technologies Web Developers are using: Ruby on Rails and Node.js. These are softwares to code Web Applications. I notice, that in London (UK), they mostly use Ruby on Rails, whereas in Germany Node.js is more popular. Very interesting …

These are some of many popular Websites based on Ruby on Rails:

And here are some of many popular Websites based on Node.js:

  • Paypal, Yahoo, Wall Street Journal Online, Shutterstock, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Netflix, Uber, Ebay, Walmart, Google, Medium etc.

Amongst Web Developers, they can be distinguished between Full Stack Web Developers, Back End Web Developers and Front End Web Developers. I’m a Front End Web Developer myself, because I like doing it to the front and here is my personal and professional Website: Denis Doan

Conflicts in a relationship

Conflict, break, fight, dispute, problem

There are fights in a relationship and it is inevitable. To keep the relationship still strong, there are something you have to think of. It’s how couples you react, that reveals, whether the relationship is stable or not. Here are some hints, how it works:

  1. Be respectful. No insults in any case.
  2. Mention about your feelings in a neutral way like when you do this and that, I feel xyz.
  3. Keep calm. Don’t raise your voice.
  4. At the end of the conversation confirm your partner, that you care about them. It is always good to feel loved.
  5. Make your expectation clear.

Signs she is using you

Signs she is using you

During the journey of finding the right woman, there is also a wrong one. Here are some signs to recognize them:

  1. The wrong one will use you for her validation, to go to fancy restaurants, for emotional support or for pleasure. So pay attention to these signs to find out, whether she is serious with you or not.
  2. She just got out of a bad relationship. It also can mean, that she is not interested in you.
  3. She is indecisive, because she doesn’t know, who to commit to. So she keeps the appointment open to see, whether there are better options.
  4. The relationship is secret. It’s not official and if she does it for a long time, that’s a big hint she will use to cheat on her partner.
  5. She doesn’t listen to you.

How to find a girlfriend / boyfriend

relationship

In order to find a partner, I had to actively look for a girlfriend, because I had no friends since I was 12 years old, I couldn’t rely on a social circle. I’ve found 2 ex girlfriends at a language exchange event, which was pretty fun. I’ve found another ex girlfriend on Instagram. She liked my uploaded picture and I checked, what kind of person it was. I notice, it was a pretty girl, so I direct message her right away. After dating several times we came closer. That was a beginning of a relationship.

I’ve also asked many other couples, where they’ve met their partner. An old colleague told me, he met his girlfriend at a beer festival. Another guy told me, he found his girlfriend at the subway station. A lady told me, she found her husband at a bar in Germany. I mention Germany, because bars and clubs in Europe are totally different to Asia. It has another meaning. From what I’ve heard so far many people find their partner at the workplace. Since I couldn’t make friends at my workplace, I had to actively go out.

It is also good to work on yourself like changing to a more positive mindset. Me personally, I find it very attractive having a partner having a sense of humor. You spend a lot of time on your job. If you don’t like it for whatever reason, it will be recommendable to change. Whatever doesn’t make you happy. Same with the place, you are living in. If you don’t like the place, you are living it, move to another place. Change it. Change it for the better. A more fulfilling job. A passionate hobby.

All in all. Be active!

PS:

To stay up to date, just like my Fanpage! The Doan’s Blog

It’s time to end this relationship

Breakup

Relationship can be healed, but with these kind of signs it’s not possible to fix it any more. So it is better to move on and look for a more appropriate partner:

 

  1. Love becomes hate. It doesn’t matter what kind of reason it is. No relationship is based on hate, but on love, so it is time to end it.
  2. Constant blame and shame. Care and respect is also part of the relationship, but a broken one puts the partner down or blaming them, that it is all their fault.
  3. Abuse. No type of the abuse should be tolerated. Neither physically nor emotionally.
  4. Blame. You are blamed for everything. Everything is your fault.
  5. Betrayals. It’s not only sexual betrayals, but also emotional one. You don’t feel secure.
  6. No plans with the significant other. Your partner is pushing you out of her/his life.
  7. Little communication. Communication is the key to get closer, but if your significant other only talks to you, when it is necessary, it’s time to end the relationship then.
  8. The relationship is secret. You are not mentioned on her Facebook, instagram etc.
  9. You get hurt constantly. You are misunderstood, hurt and angry all the time.
  10. You are not a priority. Your significant partner is always busy. Busy with friends. Busy with family. Busy with work. Busy with himself or herself. If she or he wants you, he or she will come to you, although he or she lives thousands of kilometers far away from you.