I never even thought about traveling throw Sri Lanka, we didn’t plan it and we didn’t organize it, but this country was a great surprise.
Me and Francesca, my travel partner for this trip, had no idea what we were going to find in this country, we had little information and almost no idea of the culture and the people. Why did we go?Just because the cheapest flight to Asia was for Colombo, and now we are so glad about our choice.
Negombo was our first stop as it’s so close to the airport. In Negombo we stayed at Eco Green Villa, just 5 minutes walk from the beach. Here we did a week WorkAway (work in exchange of food and accommodation). The owner, Sachet, is a really nice and friendly guy, I’m so glad we met him. Staying there at the beginning of our trip allowed us to get used to the food and the people.
The beach in Negombo is not the best, can be pretty rough but it was awesome to see how lively it becomes at sunset, when the locals arrive. Food stalls, people playing music and going for a swim. We spent there a couple of our nights out, enjoying the local atmosphere, but we stopped going as it got annoying as many locals will stare at you, ask you to take pictures with them and ask you tons of questions.
Just right on the beach there is a little restaurant, Rimini Cafè, that we really enjoyed, the food was good and the fruit juices were yummy (hard apple juice was a great discover). If you feel like having some Italian pasta I’ll recommend you to go to Tastee’s Banana, on the beach road; the chef is Italian and his pasta and risotto are just awesome, it’s really worth a visit. Our favorite place in Negombo was probably The Port Beach Restaurant. They have a chilled atmosphere, nice cocktails and food and a diving school. We had a pleasant night there, unfortunately we went just one night because one of the waiters got annoying and we decided not to go back. I would still recommend it, but in high season, when they’ll have party’s, fire dancers and more people.
From Negombo we decided to go to Jaffna by train. We had to change train in Ragama and we lost the coincidence because we went on the wrong binary. The train departed just behind our back, without us even realizing. We understood what happened just when a local boy asked us where were we going and told us that our train had just left. We had to change our plans and we decided to start from the beaches.
We took a train to Colombo (not easy as you can see from the video) and we visited a little bit the city (just a tuk tuk ride around and a visit to Gangaramaya Temple).
There was so much traffic that we got fed up with Colombo pretty fast and decided it was time to get to the beach. Train, here we are again.
Bentota was our first stop. Our hotel, Little Paradise, was really cute. I believe we had the all hotel for ourselves and they gave us a room in front of the swimming pool.
The staff was really nice and helpful, and the breakfast was just awesome. The beach was pretty small, but nice. If you have the time, go to the near turtle hatchery.
From there we departed to Galle. When we arrived at the station we were horrified by the traffic, the smells and the noise. We walked around the town and it was completely different compered to the other places where we had been before.
The city is divided in 2 basically, Galle Fort is the tourist spot, where almost everything is in order, clean and tidy, outside the fort we didn’t meet not even one tourist, and we understood why.
On our way to Galle Fort we walked in front of the fish market and we saw they where selling baby manta rays, I was shocked, such a beautiful animal, I’ve been dreaming to see them while diving and now I found them on the fish market. That made me quite sad.
We arrived in Galle Fort in the afternoon, we left our bags in the guest house and went out for dinner.
We found a really nice restaurant in the old dutch hospital, the Hammock Cafe and Pub. With the owner and the staff we talked and after they closed the restaurant we went all together to a party in Unawatuna, at the Catamaran (they have parties every Wednesday) and there we found our place. The Catamaran is a little beach bar, with tables on the sand, sofas and nice staff. It was like being back in Thailand, in Koh Lanta (my home away from home).
Galle Fort was really nice, we walked on the walls all morning, but apart from that and some shopping there wasn’t much to do there so we decided to move.
We went to see the turtle hatchery in Hikkadua and after back to Unawatuna, as we went there just by night and we wanted to check it by day as well. Unawatuna was exactly the place we hoped. We went back to the Catamaran for a sunset drink and after for dinner as well.
The next morning we walked to the famous jungle beach, a 30 minutes walk throw the jungle and we found our selfs in this little beach that it would have been beautiful if it wasn’t for the rubbish. The beach was full of all sort of things and if you went for a swim, instead of wonderful fishes, you would be swimming with plastic bags. We were told that it was normal as it rained the night before and all the rubbish from land gets washed in the sea. So, if you go, try not to go if it rained before, I hope you’ll find it better than we did.
After the beach we left for Weligama, the surf paradise for beginners. It was already sunset time and we headed to the beach. As we walked on the shoreline we were hoping to find a place like Unawatuna, with beach bars, restaurants and little guest house by the beach, but here it was full of surf school and a couple of local restaurants. As it was already dark we decided to head to the road to find a place were to sleep. Prices were higher than we thought but with the help of internet we found the guest house that was just right for our budget, but it was 20 minutes walk and we were starving. On the road we found a sign outside an hotel saing “burgers” so we opted for food first, guest house later. The place were we stopped was called The View Hotel. Here we had good food and the owner, Reshan, was really nice with us. As it started raining we decided that, even if the price was higher than what were looking for, we could afford to stay there a couple of nights.
Reshan gave us the room at the top of the building and arranged us two surf lessons for the next day. The next morning we met Shean, our surf instructor; his surf school is located inside Bay View Hotel (just in front of where we stayed, and the owner of the place is Reshan’s father).
I discovered that surf is probably not my sport, but I totally fell in love with it (more about my surf experience here). We did one surf lesson in the morning and one before sunset, but during the second lesson Francesca hurt her foot and she couldn’t walk well.
When we went back to The View Hotel we had dinner and Reshan opened a bottle of wine (Francesca’s favorite drink) and sat with us. In the meantime I had a couple of beers and when Reshan invited us to go to a party in Mirissa I just couldn’t say no. Francesca, due to her foot, reclined the offer and went to bed.
I went to the party with Reshan, Shean and three people from Israel. The party seemed like an Israel reunion, as all the people I met where from there. I can’t actually tell you the name of the place where we went as I have no idea, but the party was nice, full of people and good music; but when Shean offered me a lift home (at around 2 am) I happily left.
I ended up drinking a beer on the beach with him and going for a night swim. The next day we got the train for Mirissa, but we missed the stop and ended up in Matara. From the train station we got a tuk tuk to the beach and we ended up in Polhena.
We found a really nice guest house, Tropi Turtle, with a really nice host. Polhena has a really nice beach where apparently you can see turtles and it’s really nice for snorkeling (unfortunately the weather wasn’t good with us). Same night I got there, Shean came to see me and we spent the next 2 days together, sleeping at Reef Hotel, that was actually closed to public as it was still low season, but we met the owner while we were wondering around looking for a place to go and he opened it up for us. The owner was really nice and the next morning he brought us for breakfast and he took care to change my money with the right exchange.
Shean took me to Mirissa secret beach, a really nice and small beach with a little bar, hammocks and a chilling vibe. The owner of Tropi Turtle has a guest house in Deniyaya so me and Francesca decided to go there in order to see the near forest. We left the morning with a bus from Matara. The journey took us 4 hours but the scenery was really nice.
We stayed at Rural Jungle Backpacker’s Hostel, and they organized us a trip to Sinharaja Forest for the next morning.
The forest was really nice, a couple of hours walking and a swim by the waterfall. In Deniyaya we realized that we were running low on time in Sri Lanka and we decided that before traveling the center we had to extend our visas and to do so we had to go back to Colombo.
As we din’t get the chance to go to Mirissa we decide to stop there for a night before heading to the Immigration Office in Colombo. We arrived in Mirissa at night and we decided that dinner was the first thing to take care off.
We ended up at Mirissa Eye, a really nice beach bar, with tables on the sand. Our food wasn’t the best (they get things literally, my hamburger was really with ham), but we stayed there drinking a couple of beers with an Italian man that was traveling around Sri Lanka writing a book (I fell so sorry I didn’t write down his name, I would have bought his book).
The owner of the restaurant sat down with us and we soon realized that in the all place there was nobody left, apart from us, the Italian guy, a German couple and around ten local staff. They soon got annoying and when the German couple came to us asking us to tell them when we where leaving because they heard bad stories about the place and they didn’t want to stay there alone we realized it was time to leave. We asked the Italian man and he confirmed their bad reputation. In the meantime the boys got more pushy. So we payed and we left, but to where?
It was 2 am already and all hotels and allguest houses were closed, so our best guess was to go back to Weligama. We got a tuk tuk and stopped at The View Hotel. The hotel was closed but, as we stayed there before, we knew how to open the gate and we crushed on their sofa. In the morning we had breakfast and left for Negombo.
We were back where we started, we stayed at Green Villa again for a couple of nights, we did our visa extension in Colombo and we separated. I headed back to south, to the beaches, while Francesca stayed a couple more nights in Negombo and departed for the center.
So, what’s next?
Who knows! I’ll venture by myself from now on. Cross your fingers for me.