After our trip back home, we were ready for country number 24 on our ‘round the world tour, Sri Lanka. It was sad to go though as we had a blast surprising family and friends who had NO idea we were coming back for a few weeks. We were like Ed McMahon showing up on everyone’s doorstep except without the million dollars, just hugs. Same same.
Headed to Sri Lanka it was our first time flying Emirates and the service was wonderful, but the flights were long. Our first leg from Seattle to Dubai was fourteen hours and the second leg to Colombo was another four. Cue us watching a ton of movies and eating all the free snacks we could get our hands on. We were complete slackers while home and were supposed to do planning and booking for Sri Lanka, but instead focused on recharging and hanging with our people. So after arriving we had to sit down for a day or two to plan our route, where to stay, etc.
Colombo is the only option to fly into but the city doesn’t offer much, so we got out as soon as we could. We took a train south to Unawatuna, just outside the city of Galle. Unawatuna was made for beach bums. It’s void of massive resorts and hotels, just smaller guesthouses mostly. The beach is full of rustic little beach bars. A lot of the restaurants along the water have beach chairs set up during the day then post sunset flip it to tables and chairs for dinner. We stayed in a great guesthouse just off the beach. It had a killer breakfast which we would later realize is the norm in Sri Lanka. Each day we ate fresh omelets, fruit, toast, coffee and other things depending on the place. It was nice considering each lodging was $40 ish USD per night for a decent place which included two breakfasts. During our time there we also caught a tuk tuk into Galle and explored the walled city which was interesting to see, but nothing compared to epic walled cities like Dubrovnik and Cartagena.
After a few days of sun bathing, we took a tuk tuk 45 minutes down the coast to a small fishing village and great surf spot, Weligama. We absolutely loved our time here as we stayed in an awesome guesthouse across the street from beach. The breakfasts were insane with tons of food (the way to my heart), the employees were so nice and helpful, and surfing was a three-minute walk away. You could rent a board for $2 an hour and the waves were perfect for beginner/intermediate surfers. They came in even sets and weren’t huge like the ones we surfed in Brazil. We spent multiple days surfing and I wish we would have spent more. The more I surf, the more I love it and want to get better at it. The other fun thing about Sri Lanka is there are a lot of little mom and pop restaurants where you get meals basically at people’s houses turned restaurants. Our favorite in Weligama was Meewitha Cool Spot & Restaurant where we ate multiple times. The curry was especially amazing. We also liked the backpacker rooftop restaurant Hangten Rooftop restaurant as it just overlooked the ocean.
Reluctantly leaving Weligama and the waves, we caught the local bus an hour and a half further down the coast to Tangalle with a big group of Sri Lankans. For 80 cents it was a no brainer to take the bus. Once we arrived, we caught a tuk tuk to our hotel, Sole Luna Resort. I would highly recommend this place as it is a nice hotel (the kind we’d stay in for an actual vacation) but for a fraction of the cost. It also put us close to one of our favorite beaches in Sri Lanka, Goyambokka Beach. This little beach is hidden down from the main road in a small cove and is basically heaven. It has a few rustic restaurants serving food and beer and a row of sunbeds with thatched roof umbrellas. The waves were pretty big and crashed right by shore, so a lot of unsuspecting swimmers would wade it just to get rocked and tumble down. We would be lying if we said this wasn’t a huge source of entertainment!
At this point into our stay it was becoming evident just how hospitable and friendly the people in Sri Lanka are. We experienced much more than just great customer service. There was a genuine warmth and kindness that oozed from everyone we met. When we departed from our hotel in Tangalle the entire staff helped us get loaded into our tuk tuk and then stood altogether waving as we drove away.
Stay tuned for our next post or two wrapping up the rest of our time in Sri Lanka