25th February, 2018
Sri Lanka was always on the list of places we really wanted to visit on this trip.
For a while I have been seeing images on the internet and in magazines of the beautiful beaches and the stunning inland mountainous regions. Tea plantations, their people, their cuisine. We were really looking forward to our time in this beautiful country known as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’.
We’d arranged our entry Visas online a few weeks prior, which was quick and simple and the approval came through in a matter of hours.
A double entry Visa, the cost is $35USD for adults and children under 12 years are free. Here is the website we used.
Flying into Colombo, the country’s capital, we spent a few days catching up on washing and schoolwork and nutting out which parts of Sri Lanka we really wanted to see. With 2 and a half weeks to explore, we decided it was best to discover the lower half of the country to ensure we weren’t moving around every two days.
We took a 3 hour train ride from the Fort Railway Station in Colombo to Galle and it was then a quick tuk tuk ride from Galle Station and we found ourselves on Unawatuna Beach where we stayed here right on the beach.
The accommodation was nothing fancy – but the location was incredible!! The beach was beautiful and great for the kids. Our hotel rate included breakfast and also dinner each night – traditional Sri Lankan cuisine and it was delicious.
We ventured into Galle Town one afternoon to check out the Fort. Incredible history and architecture in this lovely town. Stone walls trail around the sea and the Galle Lighthouse stands on the Forts most southeast tip, surrounded by palm trees. It really was a sight to see.
Galle Town reminded us of Georgetown, Penang and also Hoi An, Vietnam. Quaint little laneways and streets and the delightful smells of delicious food wafting through the air – definitely worth the trip.
A few days later we headed a little further around the coast to Mirissa – a 45 minute drive from Unawatuna.
Mirissa Beach was just as beautiful as Unawatuna – but the sea was rougher. The kids quickly worked out how to manage in the waves enjoyed a few days perfecting their body boarding skills.
Mirissa is well known for its marine life. There are tour companies along the beach offering whale watching, dolphin and turtle tours. This time of year is the perfect time to spot whales. Unfortunately, we ran out of days in Mirissa – but it will be at the top of the list next time we visit.
We were fortunate enough however, to witness sea turtles hatching on the beach one sunny afternoon. They were incredible. Such strong, determined little creatures. The Coast Guard was helping them out onto the sand safely and he let the kids have a hold before releasing them into the ocean. It was such a special moment for us all, and a memory we will carry with us for a long time.
We found a few brilliant places to enjoy a meal and discovered the most delicious $1 vegetable Roti at Ambrosia Roti Shop dining here for lunch and dinner on two seperate occasions.
Dewmini Roti Shop is the number 1 restaurat in Mirissa.
We enjoyed a very tasty dinner here one evening – but the standout for us all was the banana-chocolate roti we all shared for dessert. SO GOOD!!!
There are also these cute little mini vans driving around packed with fresh pastries and breads. They play Mr Whippy style music and cruise all over town, stopping to sell their tasty delights to passers-by. Super cheap too at only about 50 cents a piece!
If you fancy a cocktail on the beach there are plenty of options with Happy Hour from 5-10pm each day and Mojitos under $5! Best spot to enjoy the sunset.
We also discovered this amazing little palm tree island at the far point of Mirissa Beach. We hiked up the top and had it all to ourselves for half an hour or so.
Just gorgeous and a great spot for a photo or two!!
The south coast of Sri Lanka has such beautiful beaches. From Bentota to Weligama, Unawatuna to Mirissa. You really can’t go wrong.
We had to be quite diligent with mosquito protection in Sri Lanka due to the recent outbreak of Dengue fever. We found a great all natural spray at the chemist which worked wonders. I also bought a can of Mortein and sprayed our room each night.
It seemed to do the trick, as we all made it through without a single bite.
Our beach days had come to an end and it was time to head inland to Ella.
More on that very soon.
Click here to read Sri Lanka Part Two: Ella & Kandy