Sri Lanka 3G for tourist

Cheap 3G package from Mobitel. Hearts

I wasn’t planning to get 3G when I was in Sri Lanka. I assumed that wireless connection in my guest house would be enough for me.

However, it turned out that having Internet on my phone was very important as I kept getting lost in Anuradhapura.

If you are thinking about getting 3G in Sri Lanka while travelling, I don’t recommend buying the tourist prepaid SIM packages. For example, Dialog has prepaid SIM for tourists and the premium package is 1,300 rupees.

That’s rather expensive compared with getting a package targeted at locals. For example, Mobitel’s 1024MB data package is only 279 rupees and includes some free minutes and text messages for numbers on the same network.

Cheap 3G package from Mobitel. Hearts
Cheap 3G package from Mobitel. Hearts

I bought a normal SIM card at the airport but had to change it to a micro-SIM later. I was really kiasu and bought a back up 1024MB internet package which I didn’t need at all in the end.

I paid about 1,200 rupees in total for the normal SIM, changed micro-SIM and two internet packages.

I did a lot of Google Maps and Whatsapp with my plan. I was using data up fast at my first guesthouse where the Wi-Fi was wonky. I posted blog updates by tethering my phone’s 3G connection. Surfing on a hotspot was much faster than I expected.

When I switched to the hostel in Kandy, my data consumption dropped because I had stable Wi-Fi.

It might be worthwhile getting the tourist package for the IDD rates. But you don’t really need to make IDD calls if you are contacting others with VoIP apps or services.

I checked out a branch of HUTCH and they told me they didn’t have micro-SIM. I’m not sure if that’s the case for the whole country or just that branch in Anuradhapura.

How is your experience with 3G in Sri Lanka?

6th day at sea: Not winning Bingo [YQrtw Day 17 Apr 24]

Bingo

Location: Legend of the Sea [Day 6]

Watched Apollo 13 in the morning.

I spent US$21 on Bingo cards and “tikam”.

I’ve never played “real” Bingo before. The type of Bingo I play in primary school was hand drawn Bingo in which you win if you have a row of 5 number.

Bingo
Bingo

That was why I didn’t really know how to play real Bingo. The announcer said something like “O 70. O 70.” I didn’t know I can look directly under row O for that number.

4th day at sea: Rock climbing [YQrtw Day 15 Apr 22]

YQ climbs a rock climbing wall

Location: Legend of the Sea [Day 4]

In the morning, jewellery making class. The retiree in me loves these sort of DIY workshop. We were given a jewellery-making kit I made a necklace which matched my glasses. :D

Jewellery making on Legend of the Seas
Jewellery making on Legend of the Seas

After the calming necklace-making class, I decided that I need more excitement so I changed and headed to the rock climbing area.

I’ve never climbed rocks before. I imagined it was like climbing ladders–one foot up, one foot up. Tom Cruise made it seem easy in Mission Impossible movies.

Legend of the Seas rock climbing wall
Legend of the Seas rock climbing wall

Of course, it turned out to be tough. The first few meter was OK since it was just stepping on the crevices and pulling myself up.

After that, the toe-holders became tinier. My arms froze and my foot refused to go up. I screamed to be let down.

[I later found out that I was given the Expert wall instead of the Beginner. Drats.]

Riding a motorcycle on the rock climbing wall
Riding a motorcycle on the rock climbing wall

After a strenuous afternoon, it was scrapbooking time! I made my first scrapbook project with the other ladies.

Then, I decided to slack and took another nap.

I tried out the swimming pool after dinner. Not many people were around since the sun had set. In the outdoor jacuzzi, I found out that when you push water out of the pool, it will fly back and hit you in the face like a force field. That was really fun.

I soaked a bit but was asked to leave since they needed to do some maintenance work. Then I discovered that the indoor swimming pool is much more fun since it wasn’t as cold.

The water in the pool was salty, surprisingly. I don’t know if they’ve pumped in seawater or if they salted the water like it was a pot of soup.

Later in the evening, I watched some TV. Instead of watching Lincoln, I watched the last Twilight movie because I want to know how bad it is.

It wasn’t too bad but the ending was crappy. Plus, the part about Jacob falling in love with Bella’s kid is so creepily pedo.

3rd day at sea: Pirate drill [YQrtw Day 14 Apr 21]

Scrapbooking

[Apr 30: I’m uploading this post on the tour group bus to Cairo.]

Location: Legend of the Sea [Day 3]

My cruise ship will pass through the Gulf of Aiden from April 21 to 24. On the second day of the cruise, everyone received a letter from the captain, telling us that “pirate activity has occurred in the Gulf of Aden during the past few years”.

Other cruisers told me (or the rest of the table at lunch) that they’ve never received such a letter before and they found it amusing. I find it rather amusing too, although probably not so much when the pirates do come on board.

Letter about pirates from Legend of the Seas captain

To prepare for pirate attack, we had a drill at 10:30am.

The drill is a lot less exciting than you think but it was better than the muster drill on Day 1. Since I had an inner stateroom, I just hid in my room. The others who have balconies were required to gather at a common location.

Solo Travelers Lunch

If you’re worried about being lonely travelling alone on a cruise, you don’t need to. The staff set up a Solo Travelers Lunch for people to meet other solo traveller (although quite a few of those who joined the lunch were travelling with a friend).

I’m mostly awkward when around strangers so I mostly smiled and ate at the event. I did meet a lot of interesting people but, in the end, I prefer reading my book to soclalizing. (Antisocial alert!!)

Later in the afternoon, there was scrapbooking class and I managed to do the “scarp” part of a a scrapbook.

Scrapbook Kit from Royal Caribbean

At night, the ship had a performance called “Absolutely Fab”. It was a fun show full of songs. The cruise has live shows every night so your schedule will never be empty.