It came down to our final week. Our friends were leaving a few days early, and even though they were the ones leaving, it felt like we were leaving too. But we actually had an entire week left.
We had driven over from Nuwara Eliya to Negombo because the Colombo airport is actually there. We decided to get a nicer hotel for the night because we were going to have an entire day to spend with them before their flight left and we wanted a nice pool/beach/lounge area to do so in.
We all wanted to soak up plenty of heat after being up in the mountains the previous week. And boy did it feel good after coming from chilly ol’ Nuwara Eliya.
We went in search of a final veg curry for them and ended up at this place just across the street with a character of a guy who worked there. He was one of the co-owners and I don’t even know how to begin to describe his personality, but he was amazing. He had us laughing and brought us way to much food, promising even more. It’s called Scandic Restaurant if you’re in the area waiting for a flight.
After a tearful goodbye, we parted ways. They headed to the airport in one taxi and we hurtled down the coast in another.
We arrived at our place on Ahungalla beach around 9 p.m. only to be told there’d been a mix up with our booking and they didn’t have a room for us for the full four days, but thankfully they were able to put us up that night. Disappointed we headed to our room and Michael made a phone call via Skype to try and sort out our accommodation situation for the next few nights.
We woke up, ended up finding a new place to stay, and decided it was a lucky break because in the daylight most of the patrons of that hotel were older and just laid out on beach chairs all day, secluded by the hotel walls.We packed our bags, walked out to the main road and grabbed a tuk tuk. He was the nicest guy who was actually taking his son to school but said we could ride along for no cost (we gave him money at the end of it). We talked about tourism along with other things with him. While it can be a little off-putting at first to have tuk tuk drivers constantly asking if you need a ride, don’t let that deter you. We had some of the best convos with our tuk tuk drivers.
We spent the next three days just south of Bentota along a little unnamed beach (or I just can’t find the name). We ventured into Bentota twice, and it really reminded me of a lake town in Iowa. Very odd and not our scene. But the beach we were on was really nice, quiet and warm.
The following day we decided to venture down to Hikkaduwa to visit the tsunami museum and then further down the coast to Galle. Both of which I highly recommend. We hired a tuk tuk driver for the day to take us to both places for 3000 RP ($20USD).
The tsunami museum was sobering, but if you’re in the area or even passing through it’s a must-see. It takes about half an hour and the lady who runs it is such a sweet woman. She explains different aspects of it, answers any questions you have, shares her story of that day and even asked at one point if we were ok looking at some of the more graphic photos.
Next, we continued on to Galle which I had zero interest in visiting initially. But if you’re on the fence about visiting Galle I definitely recommend taking a day to go down there. We spent a few hours in the fort and it’s filled with cute little streets lined with shops and restaurants. It’s obviously a bit more touristy but after being deprived of food options for so long it was amazing to be able to choose between a few places.
We ended up going to Crepe-ology (a crepe place, obviously). We both got our own savory crepes and iced teas and then split a sweet crepe at the end. It was fantastic.
We spent our final day by Bentota, just hanging around our hotel. Michael worked from the room most of the day and I spent a lot of time out on the beach. It was calm, relaxing and simple. (Not to mention I didn’t have a computer or book.)
We decided to take the train from Bentota to Weligama where we were going to finish off our stay. It cost us a whopping 280rp for our two tickets, which comes to a grand total of .91 cents each. Insane.
The train ride was pretty great (especially for that price). We chugged down the coast to Galle pretty fast, but after that, we were stopped at Galle for 20 minutes and then we got stopped at another station for 30 minutes, which got us into Weligama an hour late. But still worth it at that price if you’re a bit time-flexible.
We pulled into our final stay, Elephant Stables, and it ended up being the best accommodation of the trip. The rooms are lovely, the property is lovely, it’s on the beach and within walking distance to almost everything. What more could we ask for?
And wow, Weligama, I was not expecting it to be so happening. We had debated between going back to Mirissa or trying out Weligama and I’m thrilled we ended up going with Weligama.
The beach was lined with places renting out surfboards and offering lessons, there were fishing boats and places to eat. Michael grabbed a surfboard for the three days we were there, which I stole for a bit on the second day.
But mostly I just legit frolicked in the sea for three days. My goal was to be outside as much as possible, and I’ll give myself an A+ on that assignment.
It was absolutely brilliant. I loved every moment of it. I remember showering and looking out the window, seeing the palm trees and just feeling giddy with gratitude.
There were countless moments on this trip where I found myself wondering how is this real life, and how is this my life?
One of the nights we grabbed a tuk tuk over to Mirissa beach for dinner and ended up getting veggie burgers at Zephyr. And we joked how we had completed our circle of the island by going to Mirissa for the second time.
Sri Lanka is much bigger than I had realized and there’s so much that we didn’t get to. There are a few different paths you can take around the island, but I think you would have to go back a few times to even get close to visiting it all.
We had an entire day on our final day being that our flight left at 2 a.m. in the morning. And of course, we decided to spend the time in Weligama instead of heading up by Negombo. Michael surfed and I grabbed a boogie board to just float around on. We had booked in for massages at Good Spa for 5 p.m. which I recommend before jumping on a long flight. You’ll still get home a bit jumbled and cramped, but it’s a much better baseline to start from. We both got 90-minute massages for around 40USD, which is pricey but cheap when you compare to prices back home.
From there we went in search of a final full meal before heading up to the airport. We ended up on the other end of the bay at Tiki Cliff Top Restaurant & Bar. It was super chilled out and the food was delicious. Oh, not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but don’t forget bug spray. They come out at night, and since most places to eat are outside you’re going to want some so they don’t go to town on your ankles (which they will).
We had a taxi scheduled to pick us up from our place at 9 p.m. which is obviously more than taking the train, but then we weren’t limited to the train schedule and could squeeze out every last ounce of beach that day. We made great time on our way to the airport, and after a grueling 30+ hours of travel we arrived back home in Des Moines jetlagged, a little sick and ready for sleep.
And that finishes off our three-week adventure in Sri Lanka. I hope this has helped if you’re planning a trip there, or just like reading about travel.