This was the last part of our Sri Lanka trip. Beaches!
As usual while booking, we were confused with the question where should we make our base as we explore South Sri Lanka.
Unawutuna seemed like a popular choice. But it looked too much of a backpackers area. Beach seemed crowded. Did not seem ideal for a quite vacation. Mirissa, Koggala, Dickwella, etc. did have good resorts, but they did not have much to explore around them.
We were looking for a beach which would have good resorts on the beach. And would also have good shops and restaurants around, which we can explore when during evenings, when we are back from our day tours.
Hikkaduwa seemed to fit our criteria. And we were right!
We started from Kandy towards Hikkaduwa, taking the early morning train at 6:15am. This train was till Colombo from where we had to change a train towards Hikkaduwa.
We reached Colombo around 9am. Then caught connecting train to Hikkaduwa, reaching there around 1:30pm. Right after you leave Colombo, the train takes a route parallel to the ocean. You should try to grab a seat on the right side of the train. The view is beautiful!
Trains in Sri Lanka:
If you want to travel budget, trains are the best option. However there are few problems:
- In most trains you cannot book a seat in advance. So it’s upto your luck to get a seat. Sometimes trains get very very crowded
- Some trains like Kandy to Colombo, shake uncontrollably. At times it felt like the coups will come off the track! It might cause problems if you have back issues or if you are pregnant
- Few trains which has options to pre-book, you cannot book tickets, unless you are in Sri Lanka
However, we traveled mostly in trains and did not face much issues.
Coral Sands Resort, Hikkaduwa
Coral Sands resort is situated just on the Hikkaduwa beach. It’s around 1 km from the Hikkaduwa railway station, so you can just walk down to the hotel, if you are coming by train. We stayed here for 3 nights.
Galle Highway passes right beside the hotel. So catching a bus is also very convenient.
The day we reached Hikkaduwa, we just relaxed on the beach and were mostly in the resort. There were many restaurants and shops around, so we could try out new places every night.
The next day right after breakfast, we headed for Galle. We took a bus from right opposite the hotel to Galle bus stop. Just opposite to the bus stop is the way to the Galle Fort and Lighthouse.
It’s a short walk to Galle Fort. Galle Fort is basically an area of the town itself which has the look and feel of Europe. Galle was a base for the Dutch in Sri Lanka. It’s kind of maintained in the same way as before, with the old Colonial buildings and Churches still standing.
It is nice to walk around. There are several good restaurants. We had lunch in a restaurant called Peddler’s Restuarant.
We walked around the area for some more time after Lunch. Visited the Maritime Museum and then took a Tuk Tuk to Unuwatuna Beach.
You have to leave the main road and take an interior road to reach the beach. We stayed here for just a short while. Walked around the beach for some time. Then we started back.
We came back to Galle by taking a Tuk Tuk. As the beach was quite interior and there was no other means of transport, the Tuk Tuk drivers asked for fancy prices. We had to walk quite a bit before we could negotiate a reasonable price with a driver.
Turtle Hatchery Mahamodara
The place was nothing like we had imagined. We knew that the place was for rescued turtles from the sea. It was a kind of a conservatory where they take care of the turtles before they can be released to the sea again. We thought we could see turtle eggs hatching, and many turtles in a wide area. Disappointed!
There were around 4 cement tanks with some turtles. The largest tank was about 10 ft by 4 ft wide. We lingered around for sometime, before we left. The price we paid was absolutely not worth it.
The next day we were in Hikkaduwa the whole day. Relaxed and read books, with the sea before me.
In evening, while walking around, we found this amazing shop of Sri Lankan masks. The shop owner was a third generation mask maker. Awed by the mastery in display we went around the shop as he explained to us the significance of the different types of masks, and also signed the mask we bought.
We were nearing the end of our trip. Next day morning, we packed our bags and headed for Negombo, a beach just 6 kms away from Bandanaike Airport. Being so close to the airport many travellers stay here the day before leaving the country, as it’s very easy to go to the airport from here. We also did the same.
We again took a train to Colombo from Hikkaduwa. This was a slow train, which we boarded around 10am. It remains practically empty as there is a fast train which comes 1hr later, but reaches at the same time in Colombo.
The train to Negombo was around 4pm, we went into the Colombo city and has lunch there. Had Lamprais, which is a popular food in Sri Lanka. If you are in Sri Lanka, this is a must try.
The train to Negombo took around an hour. From the railway station we took a Tuk Tuk to the hotel.
Staying in Negombo:
We stayed in Topaz beach hotel. As we were just going to stay the night, and would leave for airport early the next day, I had booked a budget hotel. And it was quite a mistake.
They were having a wedding party that night. Loud music started playing, which made staying in the room impossible. On complaining, the manager, changed our room, but even after closing all doors and windows, the music was too loud. The noise went all till around 12 at night. Which is when I could finally sleep!
This hotel was also right on the beach. Next day morning, we strolled around the beach for sometime, before we headed for the airport. It was time to leave!
We boarded the flight with some memorable time spent in Sri Lanka!