From Udawalawe National Park, we took the bus to Embilipitiya and another bus to Thangalle town. This is our first beach destination on this trip. After all the painful bus journeys through the mountain country, we were glad to be at the beaches relaxing and pretty much not thinking about anything else besides, eating, sleeping and swimming.
Thangalle beaches are mostly quiet and not as crowded compared other westcoast beaches. But, there wasn’t much activity to do besides lounging on the beach. So, after a day of relaxing we decided to do beach hopping.
Next stop Welligama beach. We stayed at Raja’s guest house. I called in the morning to check if he has a room to stay that night. We were fortunate to get the room. He is usually pretty booked. Cheapest yet the best place to stay in town. People stay back for the food Raja cooks. You have tell him by afternoon if you plan to eat dinner there (must try) and he will cook both vegetarian and fish based dinner and both are mind blowing. We ended staying two nights in Welligama and ate Raja’s food both nights.
We also did scuba diving at Welligama. The visibility was decent and had a great dive. I highly recommend the dive in Welligama.
Next stop, Unavatuna beach. Must say that we didn’t get a good vibe at this place. It was too touristy and prices were all jacked up. However, we did do a dive at Unavatuna and the visibility was pretty bad. But, visibility is not in our hands, everyday things change. But, thats not to say the dive is not worth it. It was still a fun experience.
After just one night stay at Unavatuna, we decided to go to Hikkaduwa beach. And we found our perfect beach there.
Besides a couple scuba dives, and lounging on the beach, we did nothing for the next two days. It was fun not to have a fully packed day for once.
We ate at Brother’s restaurant, a tiny place near the hotel we stayed at. Food was awesome and cheap. It’s owned by brother-sister duo in their late 60s. They cook really yummy food, but they cook slow. So, we would go order the food like an hour before we would be ready to eat and come back.
We took the day train from Hikkaduwa to Colombo the day before our flight out of Sri lanka. The plan was to be closer to the airport that night. We booked the train ticket on the spot for second class. Which essentially means the compartments are filled with fellow backpackers and locals with barely any space to even stand. If you have time, and can plan ahead, just book first class 2-3 days before. The train goes next to the ocean to the most part and it is certainly worth getting a seat from where you can enjoy the view.
All the beaches are on bus route and the buses are very frequent. Just get on the bus and travel like a local.
From Colombo we took the bus to Negambo, where I had been to 5-years earlier. The town has changed so much since then. It has gotten extremely touristy, crowded and prices are all completely jacked up. Just to give an example, we have been drinking fresh coconut everyday at all the beach towns for Rs.50 but in Negambo, suddenly it was Rs.200. I would avoid Negambo and stay at Colombo instead and walk around in the city instead. That would have been more fun.
We went in January and the heat was brutal. So plan accordingly. Drink coconut water to your hearts desire as its super cheap and healthy.
Over all, a lovely country. After having visited twice, and explored different parts of the country, I wouldn’t mind going back for the east coast and try surfing next time.