SRI LANKA's Southern Province
Sri Lanka was a relatively late addition to our itinerary, as Brit decided we couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit. Finding cheap direct flights from Singapore made it an easy decision to skip over Indian Ocean for a couple of weeks to see what Sri Lanka had in store for us. We weren’t quite sure what to expect, from the little research we did beforehand we were impressed by the amazing diversity. Tropical beaches, historic cities, lush rainforests, abundant wildlife, mountain villages, and the chaos of Colombo were just some of the things we were looking forward to.
Our Sri Lankan Airlines flight had us touch down in Colombo mid-afternoon, leaving enough time to get a taxi to our first destination by dinner time. Dallawella was our first stop, a coastal town in the the Galle District - the main city in Sri Lanka’s Southern Province. We decided to take the anti-clockwise route around the tear-drop shaped island of Sri Lanka, beginning with 4 nights in the south, and returning to Colombo after a 2 week adventure through the southern half of the country.
We found ourselves a quaint little guest house in Dalawella, which was an easy 2 minute walk to the beach. Our guest house, which we found on booking.com was a 5 minute tuk-tuk ride from the city centre of Galle, which we found to be the perfect base to explore all the sights.
We both woke with excitement on our first full day. Our first activity on the hit last was the turtle hatchery. It was such a great experience to learn about the different types of turtles that inhabit the southern coast of Sri Lanka. The guys at The Turtle Hatchery do an amazing job of taking in injured turtles, and nursing them back to health before releasing them back into the sea. They also run a breeding program where they breed and then release baby turtles back into the ocean. For a fee ($25AUD) you can help release the baby turtles into the sea. Although it’s a bit of a tourist trap, we felt better knowing that the money goes back into the hatchery for conservation purposes. To date they have released over 500,000 turtles back into the ocean. It is definitely worth a visit if you get the chance.
We spent the next few hours on the beach, taking in the sights. We couldn’t help but notice how quiet it was, we virtually had the beach to ourselves. It didn’t take us long to work out that we had arrived the day before the biggest buddhist holiday of the year - Vasek. 90% of Sri Lankans are Buddhists, so as you could imagine the atmosphere on the streets was electric. Buddhist flags and fairy lights decorated all the houses and businesses and excessively loud music was blaring as they welcomed in the biggest celebration of the year - the day of the full moon.
Knowing that most shops would be closed for the public holiday, we made use of the afternoon by visiting the Galle Fort. We spent a few hours cruising around the fort visiting the lighthouse, the Dutch Markets, and of course we made time for a coffee break along the way. Despite the 40 degree heat I insisted we take a tour of the Galle Cricket Grounds. The locals here were stoked to hear that we were visiting from Australia. The cricket ground was badly damaged in the tsunami of 2004. We were told that Shane Warne funded much of the restoration of the grounds, and is therefore loved by the Sri Lankan people - what a legend.
Mirrisa Beach was our second destination. We had 3 options to get there; a 30 minute taxi, a 45 minute tuk-tuk, or a 1 hour bus ride. Although we wanted to experience the bus trip - being a public holiday the owner of our guest house advised that we didn’t get the bus today - it was busier than normal due to the festival. Trying to heave our luggage on these buses would be near impossible - they are insane! The buses are jam packed. They don’t even come to a complete stop, you essentially jump on board as the bus drives past you on the street. We opted for the tuk-tuk, which was considerably cheaper than the taxi, yet more comfortable (and safer) than the bus.
Mirrisa Beach is another beautiful coastal town, where we again stayed in a cute little guest house that was close to the beach. The public holiday meant that most of the cafes we found on TripAdvisor we closed for a few days. There were however, a few cool places on the beach that were still open. We found a newly renovated beach club / restaurant called Kama where we found ourselves eating most of our meals. They did great coffee, reasonably priced food, and point blank beach views.
One of the things we liked about Mirissa was that there wasn’t heaps to do. That might sounds weird, but after travelling for 6 weeks, we were perfectly happy to just chill by the beach, take some photos, and practise with our new drone. The “secret beach” was a 30 second walk from our accommodation, which is where we spent most of the day. The headland overlooking this beach was incredible - dozens of palm trees on bed of red rock, contrasting against the aqua blue sea.We sat and watched sea turtles play in the sea as the sun was setting - it was pretty special sight, I can’t wait to edit the drone footage we captured.
The night of the Vasek festival meant that a lot of restaurants were closed. There were huge parties with sprawled out on the streets. We joined in for a little while and were offered free ice cream and dinner (curry and rice). It was a truly special occasion, we were lucky to have been travelling through Sri Lanka at this time.
The southern district of Sri Lanka was a great way to start our trip. Looking forward to heading inland next, for some mountains, trekking, and more!
Our images were taken with our Sony a6000 with 18-105mm lens, Go Pro Silver 4, and DJI Mavic Pro Drone. For any questions about products please get in touch, or use the Amazon links at the end of the page to purchase. Please note we get a small commission if you buy through these links - this will help us to continue providing content :)
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