I boarded the bus from Unawatuna to Colombo which was around 3 hours journey. I had booked the hostel at Galle Face in Colombo which seemed to be a bit up beat place. There was a concert organized for the night at the beach by Udit Narayan.
I kept the bags at Unawatuna and went to Galle for the interesting cricket match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Apart from the cricket, there is Galle Fort which is a good place to visit.After wandering in the Galle Fort, I headed back to Unawatuna for the night stay.
My injury had made me weak and to some extent killed my enthusiasm. I woke up a bit late. I was running short of cash. So, I walked around few ATMs and finally found the right one. It was the Commerical Bank ATM that read international cards. Anuradhapura was different from all cities/towns I visited in Sri Lanka. Everything was pretty scattered here. So, I took a tuk-tuk and asked the driver to take me around the city.
It was a long tiring journey. And, there was no one in the train compartment in which I was travelling, therefore it turned monotonous too. It took good 8 hours or more to reach Colombo from Jaffna.
I visited Sri Lanka in June end (pretty hot) but almost a very good season to travel across. Starting from Colombo --> Dambulla --> Sigiriya --> Polandua, we reached Trincomalee at the end of our trip. It takes almost 8 hours (a bit more or less) from Colombo, 4 hours from Dambulla. I travelled by public, non-luxury buses (definitely not with chickens) with local people, no AC and it was not horrible. They charged me almost $2 for the trip.
Nothing paints a prettier picture of the paradise island than coconut palms glinting in the sun. The tall palms along the beach are the embodiment of enjoyment—it truly is a tropical heaven. Yet, the copses of coconut that we glimpsed en route to Matara represent the economical importance of this unassuming palm. From its fruit to its root, this tree serves as cooking ingredients, medicine, roof material, and lumber for furniture. The estates of the coconut triangle that leans on the E01 span out in acres, catering to a never-ceasing demand.
Next to me was this gentleman named 'Hakeem'. Once, he got to know that I was from India, he started narrating his experiences of his travel to India. I was good to hear good things about my country. I saw the ticket checker approaching so I put my hand into my pocket to get the ticket. I realised it was not there. Probably, I had dropped it somewhere. I ran to the ticket checker and told him that I've lost the ticket. He calmly responded suggesting me to buy one from the next station. Hakeem helped me get the ticket from the next station. Also, when he dropped off at his destination; he got me some snacks too so that I don't have to get down at any station if I was hungry. I had no clue how to thank him. Before I could say anything he was gone.
As we rushed through Mathugama, a far more exotic palm waved us to slowdown. Elaeis guineensis, or the African oil palm, stood short and stout, burgeoning rosy smiles in its midst. These red fruits are pulped and refined into oil used for cooking and making body care products. Clearings of light green stood out from the thick groves as our four-wheel drive Mitsubishi plied on. In symmetrical squares, the lush cultivation spanned like a sea of lime, interrupted by isles of banana or coconut. There’s a sense of calm that set in as the rice fields drifted into view, paddy sauntering in the breeze. It was soothing to watch buff aloes taking a break from their chores by lounging in their mud baths or a farmer out yonder tending to his crop.Amidst the paddy fields here, you’ll suddenly find patches of bright pink… hundreds of lotus blossoming in ponds that have just nudged their way into the fields. As we crossed over the Bentara Ganga, our view was jarred by fortified concrete. Mangroves filled our flanks, bushy and wild with vines creating ripples in the water. The highway boards indicated that we were in the vicinity of Batuwanhena—Elpitiya. My driver was quick to point out a cook’s delight here: a scene of glossy fl at leaves that drape thin, polished green barks. It was cinnamon!
Finally we reached "Nuwara Eliya". Nuwara Eliya resembles an old English town, complete with a lake, race track, well kept lawns with hedges, an Anglican Church and an 18 hole golf course. We were pleased with the view from our hotel "Heaven Seven". Enjoyed the weather most.
Noted for its long sandy beach, Dikwella is a small coastal village in Matara district of Sri Lanka. The sandy beach, which is largely protected by headlands, reefs and sand-bars, is considered to be one of safest beaches in Sri Lanka for swimming. Towering tress and a pristine beach makes Dickwella a place hard to ignore.Things to do: Visit Weherahena Temple; Visit Hummanaya, a natural blowhole where sea water rushes through a submerged cavern and is pushed upwards; Experience the extraordinary sight of stilt fishing, in which fishermen perch on poles entrenched in the seabed, and patiently await their catch.
This day typifies of what it is like to travel alone and without a plan! I started off from my guest house, planning to scale the second, less illustrious (and did I mention ,free) rock in Sigiriya, and then, changed my mind on my way, turned back, got my backpack from the guest house. As I was having breakfast, I got chatting with some taxi drivers who told me that Pollanaruwa, which I wanted to visit, but was flooded, until a couple of days back, was fit to visit. I changed my plan, then and there and decided to go to Pollanaurwa. Before I said goodbye to Sigiriya, I made a new friend, one who was a bit shy, as you can see from the pic below!
I dropped off at Maskeliya for a cheaper accommodation. I found a place to spend the night but it was really far from the bus station and a good 5 Kms from the Adam's Peak. Anyhow, I walked towards the "Madhusa Rest" house. Somewhere in between, I felt that I was lost but there some these school kids who helped me find the place.
Day 3 we started with morning breakfast from Hotel itself. We had a small tour around Nuwara Eliya city. As this was our last destination, so we preferred to go Negambo beach, which was round 170 km away from Nuwara Eliya. On the way we tried Avocado which they were serving with Honey. Honey which again made from Kithul tree. Trust me , it was just awesome. We again stopped Kandy for lunch. Kandy basically famous for gems. Sampath took us to one place where they showed us how Gems are being processed.
A place famous for spices, Batiks & a tall, imposing Hindu Temple
After check-in to hotel, I left for Dambulla caves which were mesmerizing. The rain made me leave early and reached the hostel back by 4-5pm. Since it was too dark, I decided not to leave hostel for dinner. I slept and had decided to leave early next day for Sigriya fortress to see the sunrise.
The train ride from Kandy to Ella is considered one of the best train ride in the world. No doubt the rush was maximum. I could only find the space to stand in the much crowded train.I stayed in Ella for two days. Ella is the hippie place for all the tourists travelling. The first day was spent in travelling in the train. On the day 2, we went to Ella rock for the track.Next day, I boarded the train to the south to Unawatuna.
Taste the Blue Waters of HikkaduwaGo scuba diving, snorkeling or surfing in the ocean and enjoy a good tan on the beach afterwards.
After all the conference and Gala night at Taj Samudra, we packed our bags and headed to Bentota on a Sunday early morning, which is touted as the best water sport destination in Sri Lanka. It was a two hour drive from Colombo. We could literally experience the changes around us - with the city madness leaving behind and the rustic country charm creeping in, I know we are all for a treat.
Unawatuna is another great place to be. The beach is serene and has the cleanest water that I have seen in my life. Don't even think about spending couple of hours so as to see the sunset. It is not possible to see the sunset on the western coast.What is life on the beach without a morning walk? Next morning I went for the morning walk and a cup of coffee. Not a single place was open despite the signs suggesting that the place opens at 7 am.
Yala Game Park is not the largest game park in Sri Lanka, yet with its variety of wildlife, it's the most visited. Even though Yala has one of the world's largest leopard populations, which is the apex predator in Sri Lanka. Seeing this subspecies & also the Black Sloth Bear still requires a little bit of luck.
Tangalle: If you are an early riser, go to the beach and see some baby turtles take their first steps. If you are not an early riser- be one, believe me it is worth the site.
Famous for Kite surfing and Dolphins
So our first day at Beruwala (where our hotel was located) was all about relaxing beach side, enjoying sun and taking dips in the ocean.
We were flying from Oman. Our flight was via Dubai to Sri Lanka. We reached SL airport on 22-May-2017, 8 am. As we already had the ETA, immigration process was quite simple and fast. Took a local sim which costed me 9 $. Outside of Airport Sampath was waiting for us with a placard. Sampath had been assigned as our tour guide from tourist agent we opted for. He could speak manageable English which we were quite fine with it. We started our journey towards Sigiriya which was almost 180 Km away from Airport. We were enjoying the beauty of SL, it was raining that day. Sigiriya is Historical place and famous for wild Safari life as well. We tried some cuisine in lunch. After reaching there, first place we went to "Minneriya National Park" for Jangal Safari (Wild Life Safari). Hired a Jeep for 2 hrs for 90$, which initially they asked 100 $. It was a adventurous experiences all together for us.
After a week of traveling, we sit back and enjoy the sea while reliving our memories of the trip. Wadduwa is the perfect spot for that. What makes Wadduwa special is the fact that it's the closest beach resort to Colombo.
I reached Colombo from Bangalore and departed from Habarana. I took the combination of bus and train to reach Habarana by 11am. The details of the itinerary in detail are here.
Meet the Olive Ridley Turtle at the Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation ProjectAlmost 1.5 hours away from Colombo, stop at Kosgoda on your way to Hikkaduwa the turtle hatching farm to spend a day with the endangered species.
Things to do: Arugam Bay is recognised as one of the top surfing destinations in the world. It is located 314km from Colombo, south to the small town of Pottuvil. An annual windsurfing competition is organised here to attract professionals and curious amateurs alike. Apart from being a windsurfing hub, Arugam is also an excellent spot to try out underwater photography if you're interested in the craft.Best time to visit: The ideal time to windsurf at Arugam Bay is April to October.
The bus terminals can be huge, as in Colombo, occupying a big covered area, or modest as in Pottuvil, where buses line up along the road. Also differ in terms of organization and information, but in general all have signs indicating the place were each bus stops departure, according to the destination.About timetables, these information usually doesn’t exist, being necessary to use the information desk, or more easily to bus drivers that always hang out at the bus stations.
After breakfast, I left for the Ella Bus stand to catch a Bus to Mirissa. But, there is no direct Bus. So, I boarded a bus to Matara. It's a four hour journey from Ella to Matara. And, Mirissa is 30 minutes distance from Matara. I reached Mirissa in the afternoon. It's a beautiful town, with a lot of restaurant and shacks by the beach.
To reach Weligama: there is only 1 bus from Nuwara eliya to galle Via Weligama at 7:50 a.m.from the main bus stand, the journey is long so best to take the early bus. Mirissa can be easily accessed by bus from Weligama as there are frequent buses and it takes less than 10mins
After the Bodhi Tree, I asked the driver to take me to Mahiyangana Stupa, is believed to be the site of Gautama Buddha's first visit to the country.
Highly recommended -- nestled across the banks of the Yala national park is a hidden eco gem of a resort "Kumbuk River Eco Extraordinaire". Rated as one of the top 10 unique eco hotels in the world, this place has a 40 ft elephant hut made out of grass. The hut is shaped like an elephant and sleeps 2 families and the best part if even if it's just the two of you, you will have the entire elephant room to yourself as the resort values privacy. Stay here if you would like to sleep 'in the belly of an elephant'. Their Tree House Luxuria (which we booked) overlooks the raging Kumbuk River and if you are lucky you can spot wildlife across the river bank. Other activities offered by the resort include a mud bath, zip lining, elephant watch, Yala safari, etc. Truly a place to be if you want a unique & rustic Sri Lankan experience.
Things to do: Kitulgala is one of the wettest places in Sri Lanka. The Kelani River at Kitulgala offers grade three rapids that make for a thrilling experience for travellers arriving here for the adventure. The experience is open for professionals as well as beginners. Travellers have shown a growing interest in rainforest adventure camping inside the jungles of Kitulgala. Apart from rafting, waterfall abseiling is another exciting adventure luring visitors to this serene corner of Sri Lanka.Best time to visit: Go to Kitulgala for white-water rafting from May to December. It's unsafe to go white-water rafting here during heavy rainfall.
A small township with some beautiful scenery. The main attractions are the Ramoda Water Fall & the Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman.
Koggala is this small sleepy coastal town, situated at the edge of a lagoon. As our Tuk Tuk drove into this sleepy area we were amazed to learn that the town is bounded on one side by a rocky reef, and on the other by a large lake, Koggala Lake, into which the numerous tributaries of the Koggala Oya drain.
Katharagama is a temple town situated in the forests of south-eastern Sri Lanka. It is a one of its kind place, an amalgam of of nature, culture and faith. Skanda-Murukan is the presiding deity of the town. A warrior god for Hindus, the Buddhists believe he is the deified form of King Mahasena.