A Travellerspoint blog

Sri Lanka

Negombo stopover

0745 flight to Trivandrum, India the following morning - so decided to stay again in Negombo close to the airport. It was less than an hour from the Colombo bus station by air con minibus. Very pleasant guest house this time and very good value for money!

Restful day with a late afternoon stroll along the beach. We cannot understand why anyone would want a beach holiday here - the beach is not an attractive one and has litter everywhere. There is so much better elsewhere on the island,

So ... that's the circuit finished for Sri Lanka. The 4 weeks in Sri Lanka have really been amazing - so much variety - definitely to be recommended.! No photos to upload this time (see previous entry for the day we stayed in Negombo on arrival in Sri Lanka).

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

Colombo

We took the air con minibus from Galle for the journey up the coast to Colombo. It took three and a half hours for the 125k trip hugging the coast, with a long struggle at the end through the Colombo suburbs. We opted for just 2 nights in Colombo, staying at a quite new hotel with compact comfortable modern rooms (and large flat screen TV, fridge and even an AC which could be left on overnight comfortably!). The hotel was in the southern district of Bambalatipiya, which is more interesting and reasonably priced than the downtown Fort area, and there are very regular local buses for the trip downtown. On the Saturday afternoon, we headed into the Pettah - the bazaar area - which was absolutely heaving with people, tuktuks and the rest - complete bedlam! Then we headed over to the Fort area - a mix of old colonial buildings, interspersed with skyscrapers, with the container port on one side and the cordoned off area round the Presidential palace on another. The area is a bit strange, probably because it was much targeted during the conflicts and a lot of businesses moved away. Once through the Fort, we arrived on the sea front and Galle Face Green and joined the crowd of locals along the promenade the historic Galle Face Hotel. Although Bambalatipiya, the district where we were staying, borders the sea, we found that there was no access to walk along there because the train track runs right next to the sea. However, the area does have some different and interesting places to eat/drink, which we thought it would be rude not to testcheck during the short time we were there: Greenlands (good and inexpensive South Indian food) in an old colonial mansion, Siam House (Phad Thai, Green and Red (very hot) curries, etc - also in very pleasing surroundings), Cricket Club Cafe and Bradman Bar (very English!) ... Also, there are outlets for several interesting shops there - Barefoot, Odel, etc. The "famous" House of Fashion" should have been there too ... but has moved to another district entirely. So, we had to get the bus there. They sell considerable quantities of "surplus" labelled clothes made in Sri Lanka for the well known European brands (Desigual, H&M, Zara, Pull and Bear ....) at less than a quarter of European prices! So, our Sunday (and last day in Colombo) was spent having a look round Bambalatipiya, finding House of Fashion and picking up a couple of clothing items there, resting from the heat (34°) in our hotel room and then heading down to Galle Face Green again for the scene there at sunset.

Colombo - Gallery Face Green and hotel

Colombo - Gallery Face Green and hotel


View from hotel room window

View from hotel room window


Bambalaptiya - Galle Road

Bambalaptiya - Galle Road


The Pettah!

The Pettah!


The Pettah!

The Pettah!


The Pettah!

The Pettah!


The Pettah!

The Pettah!


The Pettah!

The Pettah!


The Pettah!

The Pettah!


The Pettah!

The Pettah!


Jami ul-Aftar mosque

Jami ul-Aftar mosque


Hunter building - Main Street

Hunter building - Main Street


Fort - Clock Tower and mosque

Fort - Clock Tower and mosque


Fort - Cargills and skyscrapers

Fort - Cargills and skyscrapers


Fort - Buildings

Fort - Buildings


Fort - secretariat and skyscrapers

Fort - secretariat and skyscrapers


World of Fashion - Bargains

World of Fashion - Bargains


World of Fashion - scrum!

World of Fashion - scrum!


Cricket Club Cafe - Bradman's Bar

Cricket Club Cafe - Bradman's Bar


Galle Face Green - late afternoon

Galle Face Green - late afternoon


Galle Face Green - late afternoon

Galle Face Green - late afternoon


Galle Face Green - late afternoon

Galle Face Green - late afternoon


Galle Face Green - late afternoon

Galle Face Green - late afternoon


Galle Face Green - late afternoon

Galle Face Green - late afternoon


Galle Face Green - late afternoon

Galle Face Green - late afternoon


Galle Face Green - late afternoon

Galle Face Green - late afternoon


Galle Face Green - late afternoon

Galle Face Green - late afternoon


Galle Face Green - late afternoon

Galle Face Green - late afternoon

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

Galle

Just an hour along the coast (with a few glimpses of stilt fishermen) by bus from the Mirissa to Galle bus station and then auto rickshaw to Galle Fort and our guest house. The Fort area is the old colonial heart of Galle (originally colonised by the Dutch and subsequently by the English) with attractive and very quiet streets (particularly in comparison with the busy new town). It has had a lot of renovation work done since the tsunami and is looking very well on it. Surrounded on three sides by the sea, there are ramparts all the way round the perimeter which make for a particularly pleasant stroll. Of course, with the exception of the judicial activities in Court Square (shaded by enormous beautiful trees), the buildings are mostly given over to guest houses, restaurants, souvenir and jewellery shops, plus a number of religious buildings of all denominations. We were rather lucky with the room at the guest house. The initial one we were given was small and dark - not great for 4 nights. However, we managed to change to another room just finishing being cleaned, which was much larger, faced the old Dutch Hospital (now converted for use as restaurants and shops) and had a balcony area in front which we regularly profited from.

Can't say we did an awful lot in terms of visiting sights etc over the time we were there! We did lots of walks to thoroughly explore the lovely streets in the Fort area (going back for breaks on our guest house balcony - it was excessively hot in the day!), Most enjoyable of all were the strolls around the ramparts, normally with a very welcome sea breeze. Watching the sun go down from the western ramparts was a lovely way to finish off the afternoon (when it did not coincide with a downpour), particularly when we spotted turtles in the waves below ... and then moved on for a sundowner beer upstairs at a guest house nearby.

Galle Fort ramparts

Galle Fort ramparts


Stilt fishermen at Koggola

Stilt fishermen at Koggola


Guest house

Guest house


Guest house - breakfast time

Guest house - breakfast time


Guest house - room

Guest house - room


Guest house - view from balcony

Guest house - view from balcony


Gallery Fort - street scene

Gallery Fort - street scene


Galle Fort - street scene

Galle Fort - street scene


Galle Fort - street scene

Galle Fort - street scene


Galle Fort - street scene

Galle Fort - street scene


Galle Fort - Historical Mansion Museum

Galle Fort - Historical Mansion Museum


Galle Fort - mobile baker!

Galle Fort - mobile baker!


Galle Fort - Dutch Reformed Church

Galle Fort - Dutch Reformed Church


Galle Fort - All Saints Church

Galle Fort - All Saints Church


Galle Fort - Maritime Museum building

Galle Fort - Maritime Museum building


Gallery Fort - Court Square

Gallery Fort - Court Square


Galle Fort - trees in Court Square

Galle Fort - trees in Court Square


Galle Fort - kiosk in Court Square

Galle Fort - kiosk in Court Square


Enormous banyan tree in Court Square

Enormous banyan tree in Court Square


Ginger beer in rooftop cafe

Ginger beer in rooftop cafe


Upstairs here is good for sundowner beer

Upstairs here is good for sundowner beer


Galle Fort - building

Galle Fort - building


Megran Jumma mosque and roofs

Megran Jumma mosque and roofs


Galle Fort - southern ramparts

Galle Fort - southern ramparts


Galle Fort - roofs

Galle Fort - roofs


Galle Fort - Clock Tower on ramparts, rain coming!

Galle Fort - Clock Tower on ramparts, rain coming!


Galle Fort - northern ramparts

Galle Fort - northern ramparts


Cricket lesson! - cricket ground behind

Cricket lesson! - cricket ground behind


Galle Fort - Old Gate

Galle Fort - Old Gate


Fresh fish!

Fresh fish!


Fresh fish!

Fresh fish!


Galle new town with buddha

Galle new town with buddha


Fruit stall - cutting bananas for us

Fruit stall - cutting bananas for us


Fruit stall

Fruit stall


Another Morris Minor! - in excellent condition

Another Morris Minor! - in excellent condition


Galle Fort - eastern ramparts with small beach

Galle Fort - eastern ramparts with small beach


Galle Fort - lighthouse

Galle Fort - lighthouse


Galle Fort - southern ramparts

Galle Fort - southern ramparts


Galle Fort - southern ramparts

Galle Fort - southern ramparts


Galle Fort - western ramparts

Galle Fort - western ramparts


Galle Fort - western ramparts

Galle Fort - western ramparts


Galle Fort - western ramparts

Galle Fort - western ramparts


Western ramparts - what's that in the sea?

Western ramparts - what's that in the sea?


Turtle!

Turtle!


Turtle - from western ramparts

Turtle - from western ramparts


Western ramparts - awaiting sunset (and turtles!)

Western ramparts - awaiting sunset (and turtles!)


Western ramparts - sunset

Western ramparts - sunset


Western ramparts - sunset

Western ramparts - sunset

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

Mirissa

Bus again, with change at Matala, for the journey from Tangalla to Mirissa, taking about 2 hours. Quite a pleasant guest house well located just off the main road in the centre of the village (booked in advance on the Internet - as we have been doing as we go along for all the accommodation). We just had 2 nights stay arranged.

Mirissa has a very attractive beach and has so far not been over-developed. There have been a lot of (temporary, apparently) cafes with loungers etc set up at the back off the beach - going right along the beach - so it is not pristine and wild, but it is certainly pleasant and popular. There are quite big waves coming into the main beach.

We found a pleasant beach to the north of the main one which was protected from the big waves and was not developed at all - practically no shade though. It was very enjoyable spot to spend a hour or so - mostly in the sea! The sky clouded over partially to cover the sun by mid afternoon both days, which made it pleasant for a walk down the main beach and back, and then profit from the reduced beer prices for "happy hour" (often 1600-2200!) at one of the beach restaurants for a sundowner.

On our only full day, we caught the bus into Weligama, about 20 minutes away. Pleasant walk along the shore where there were characterful fishing boats.

We decided against a whale watching trip - one of the big draws at Mirissa - so the two days was right for us. (Including 2 days at Tangalla, we had swum in the sea 4 days in a row - for the first and probably last time of the trip!).

Mirissa Beach

Mirissa Beach


Guest house

Guest house


Guest house

Guest house


Guest House - Breakfast

Guest House - Breakfast


Morris Minors !!!

Morris Minors !!!


Colonial house up the street we were staying

Colonial house up the street we were staying


Mirissa - main beach

Mirissa - main beach


Mirissa - main beach

Mirissa - main beach


Mirissa - main beach

Mirissa - main beach


Mirissa - main beach at night

Mirissa - main beach at night


Mirissa - main beach at night

Mirissa - main beach at night


Weligama - Tradition fishing boat

Weligama - Tradition fishing boat


Weligama - Tradition fishing boats

Weligama - Tradition fishing boats


Weligama - fishing boats and Taprobane is

Weligama - fishing boats and Taprobane is


Contortionalist camelion!

Contortionalist camelion!


View from rocky outcrop (north of main beach)

View from rocky outcrop (north of main beach)


View from rocky outcrop (north of main beach)

View from rocky outcrop (north of main beach)


View from rocky outcrop (north of main beach)

View from rocky outcrop (north of main beach)


Mirissa - quiet beach to north

Mirissa - quiet beach to north


Mirissa - quiet beach to north

Mirissa - quiet beach to north


Mirissa - view from quiet beach to north

Mirissa - view from quiet beach to north


Enjoying the swim!

Enjoying the swim!


Mirissa - view from quiet beach to north

Mirissa - view from quiet beach to north

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

Tangalla

The usual combination tuk tuks and bus got us from Tissa to the guest house we had reserved just to the west of Tengalla. We were across the road from an okay beach but it was mucb too dangerous to swim. The accommodation was very well appointed and spacious, had a pool and a pleasant restaurant area with good food. It was a bit upmarket from what we have normally had this trip - but it was Lindsey's birthday on the day we arrived!

On the second day we walked to the beach area to the east of town which went on for ever - getting better and more natural and wild the further we went. We eventually got to a really lovely spot by the Mangrove Chalets where there was a restaurant and, best of all, rocks/reef offshore which created a large safe area for bathing - regularly refreshed as the bigger waves came over the top. Really lovely to swim in the fresh sea and it was our first swim in the sea this trip. In fact, we liked it so much we did the same on our other day there.

In between, on our second evening we took a tuk tuk trip to Rekawe Beach, 10k east of Tangalla, hoping to see a turtle laying its eggs. It is the most important turtle nesting site in Sri Lanka - the Turtle Conservation Project there protects the nesting sites along the beach, carries out research into visiting turtles, encourages locals to protect the eggs from poachers and some act as guides for the tourists. Turtle watches are held nightly and, if turtle(s) arrive, tourists are taken to view one laying its eggs.

The whole process takes a couple of hours or more (most of the time digging a big hole for the nest and later filling it in after laying the eggs) and much of the time the visitors are kept a distance from the turtle so as not to disturb it. (At such times you stand/sit in the dark and just hear the periodic sound of great clouds of sand being scuffed up). Once our Green Turtle (about a metre long and apparently weighing about 150 kg) started to lay its eggs (average 120 in 20 minutes!), we were invited close to look in groups and then later, when she had filled in the nest and started her crawl back across the sand down to the sea, those who stayed were able to follow her until she returned (a lot lighter!) to the sea. (Practically impossible to get photos as it was rather dark and they only use red torches so as not to disturb the turtles - on the few photos uploaded you may see the eggs and the vague outline of a turtle!).

A pleasant and relaxing few days.

Tangalla - Medilla Beach

Tangalla - Medilla Beach


Guest House - Lindsey on balcony

Guest House - Lindsey on balcony


Guest house - spacious bedroom

Guest house - spacious bedroom


Guest house - our balcony

Guest house - our balcony


Guest house - view from balcony

Guest house - view from balcony


Guest House - breakfast

Guest House - breakfast


Tangalla town

Tangalla town


Beach area opposite guest house

Beach area opposite guest house


Beach area opposite guest house - birthday cheers!

Beach area opposite guest house - birthday cheers!


Beach area opposite guest house 1

Beach area opposite guest house 1


Rekawe Beach Turtle Watch

Rekawe Beach Turtle Watch


Green Turtle - laying eggs

Green Turtle - laying eggs


Green turtle - laying eggs

Green turtle - laying eggs


Green turtle - job done - crawling back to the sea

Green turtle - job done - crawling back to the sea


Green turtle - job done - crawling back to the sea

Green turtle - job done - crawling back to the sea


Tangalla - Medaketiya Beach

Tangalla - Medaketiya Beach


Tangalla - Medilla Beach

Tangalla - Medilla Beach


Tangalla - Medilla Beach - coke stop

Tangalla - Medilla Beach - coke stop


Tangalla - Medilla Beach

Tangalla - Medilla Beach


Tangalla - Medilla Beach - Mangrove Beach Area

Tangalla - Medilla Beach - Mangrove Beach Area


Tangalla - Medilla Beach - Mangrove Beach Area

Tangalla - Medilla Beach - Mangrove Beach Area


Tangalla - Medilla Beach - Mangrove Beach Area

Tangalla - Medilla Beach - Mangrove Beach Area


Medilla Beach - Mangrove Beach Area - safe swims

Medilla Beach - Mangrove Beach Area - safe swims


Medilla Beach - Mangrove Beach Area - safe swims

Medilla Beach - Mangrove Beach Area - safe swims


Medilla Beach - Mangrove Beach Area - relax!

Medilla Beach - Mangrove Beach Area - relax!


Tangalla sunset

Tangalla sunset

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

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