My second week in Sri Lanka has finished, and I only have a few days left here. I can’t get enough of it, especially now that I’m experiencing the variety of this island: last week was really cultural with temple visits and tea plantations, and now that I’m writing this, I have had some great days at the beach, but I also met more animals of Sri Lanka during a safari.
I do have to say that this week has been more difficult, because there were less solo travellers around the beach area, and therefore, it was harder to meet new people. On the East coast, the season was just about to start, and in the south, the season was closing. Nevertheless, it has been a great week with many nice sceneries and day trips.
Time for some palmtrees, beaches and relaxing! After having such a full week last week, I really enjoyed my time in Arugam Bay: a surfer’s village on the East coast of Sri Lanka. I filled my day here with reading, drinking coconuts and… surfing! At 7 AM me, two Germans and our surf teacher got into a tuk-tuk to a small beach where it’s a bit easier to learn, because it was the first time I stood on a surfboard. Ofcourse, it’s never as easy as it looks like, but I did stand up a few times until the end of the wave. I’ll get there!
During my time in Arugam Bay, I stayed in East Surf Cabanas and I could recommend it to everyone. It had an outdoor shower and the greatest breakfast. I actually didn’t think I would enjoy a yoghurt and muesli bowl this much, but after the standard white toast & omelet for a week I definitely appreciated this.
Tissamaharama/Yala National Park
A jungle safari in Sri Lanka won’t give you the chance to see the big five, but a visit to a national park should be on every Sri Lanka ‘to do’ list. I slept in a town near the National Park, called Tissamaharama. It was a nice area, but other than the safari there was not much to do. If I had known this, I would probably have booked one night instead of two.
At 4 AM my alarm went off, because the jeep safari’s were all in the early morning. Me and 4 other people of other guesthouses jumped into the jeep and together we drove to Yala National Park. In the beginning, I was a little disappointed, because the jeeps seemed to drive around in circles and we were surrounding 1 elephant with about 5 cars. Eventually, it got better while we took another road and I saw many different animals: elephants, waterbuffalo’s, lizzards, monkeys, peacocks, tukans and even a leopard!
On Friday, I travelled to Unawatuna, by bus again. The last time I took the bus, I got sick because I had to stand the whole time (when you know how bus driver’s in Sri Lanka drive, you know why). This time, I chose to catch the bus a little later in the morning, so it would be less crowded and it won’t be full of schoolgirls. And it worked! I had a seat all to myself.
Unawatuna is one of the most well-known beach areas of Sri Lanka, and therefore, a lot more touristic than Arugam Bay. After I had arrived, I walked to Unawatuna beach to get a drink, some lunch (no rice & curry this time!) and I did some souvenir shopping.
On my first full day in Unawatuna, I went to Wijaya Beach. This beach was being tipped by an English girl I met in Ella: it’s a beautiful beach and not as crowded as other beaches in Unawatuna. I went snorkeling and saw many colourful fish and a huge seaturtle which was even bigger than my own arm. In the evening I went to Kingfisher, a popular bar and restaurant.
Today, I paid a visit to a town that’s close to Unawatuna: Galle. Galle is a harbour and a part of Galle, Galle Fort, was built by the Dutch in the 17th and 18th century. It consists of a big lighthouse and has prooved itself during the tsunami in 2004. In the rest of the village you can also find some Dutch influences, like the ‘Groote Kerk’ and the Old Dutch Hospital. It was a very funny experience to walk in another country while things you’re looking at feel so familiar. This place is actually quite trendy and has many nice restaurants and shops. It all feels a little Mediterranean, which is strange in an Asian country, but I liked it very much.
And now that I’m typing this, I’m spending the rest of the afternoon at Jungle Beach in Unawatuna. Tomorrow I will go to Hikkaduwa, which is my last destination of this holiday. But I will tell you all about it next week!