For those of you reading this right now that do not belong to the only developing country with the 2nd largest population on earth and the country that boasts of the most number of gods in every possible form and figure, I am afraid you will never understand the true complexities of travel. Ask anyone privileged to have the above added to their résumé and they will tell you in a heartbeat that of all the gods we worship the travel gods are most definitely against us.
Yet, given the above fact I will be surprised if there’s any part of this world you will not find at least one of us!
Ok! jokes aside and coming to the point that I am trying to make is….it is really not funny when life hands you over a week of free time to squeeze in a quick vacation and the only problem you encounter is that your travel choices are terribly limited. The initial plan was to hop over to Turkey and explore the iconic city of Istanbul but fate decided it had other plans. With no visa attainable in the immediate future and the lack of time on our hands we decided to travel back to Sri Lanka to explore new beach towns. (For Visa & Transport details see post – https://questandmark.com/24-hrs-in-the-tear-drop-of-india)
This time as soon as we landed we parked ourselves into a comfy brand new hybrid Hyundai and drove 2 hrs. straight to Unawatuna. Landing in time for lunch and for a celebratory vacation drink we stopped at a local alcohol store hidden in a back alley. My driver asked me stay in the cab while heading over with my Mr. to buy us a nice big bottle of chilled local beer – Lion.
Now as I mentioned earlier we planned the trip last minute and hence looked up places to stay the night before. Personally we love staying at B&B’s and so after a little research we choose to book ourselves a stay at the French Lotus. I have though listed a few more that you could choose from.
My Top 3 place to stay
French Lotus – This home away from home is tucked in 250m from the beach. As soon as our car got to the gate a Popeye’s Olive looking woman opened the gate for us with a big smile on her face. It was like she had known us forever and was happy to see us again. Ushering us to our room that was beautifully set with some antique treasures I would have loved to steal Gaelle made us feel at home in a jiffy. This dual colonial house is separated by a beautiful patio that has a large community table where breakfast is served and new friends are made. Gaelle and Cedric are the perfect host. She is all chirpy with lots of recommendations and Cedric is the quite mellow man lingering around the house helping out with chores and passing out heartbreaking smiles every now and then. Rooms are extremely clean and a simple continental breakfast is included in the package.
Sunil’s Garden Guesthouse coffee and more – If we hadn’t booked prior we would have opted to stay at this cozy garden serving the best brewed coffee in town. The sticky toffee and cookies are to die for. I think this café/restaurant could be mistaken for branch of a New York hotspot. Esthetically done this café soon became a must stop through spot on our trip for the perfect cup of morning coffee and a chat with the barista. Rooms are tastefully done and are kept clean and tidy. The place is run by a Belgian woman who is sweet but not chatty. The confectionary here is freshly baked on a daily basis. The best thing about this place is the beach across the street.
Thaproban Pavilion Spa & Resort – A bright orange house that is a only few kilometers away from Galle fort, this spa and resort is the perfect choice if you want to unwind and relax those tense muscles that have been killing you. With the option of a pool overlooking the sea you can decide which waters you want to sail in by taking a few steps either way.
Top 3 Restaurants:
Samaya Tranz – Great for lounging with a book at the bamboo stilted seating serving shisha. High community bar tables see travelers exchanging notes over casual conversations. There are large white cabanas scattered around the beach to mingle around over food and drink if you’re travelling in a big group. (You may also opt to stay here) http://www.samayatranzunawatuna.com
Full Moon Resort – Tucked in towards the end this is a nice romantic spot for a meal with the perfect view. www.fullmoonresortunawatuna.com
Pink Elephant – Sitting bang on the main street this Middle Eastern influenced restaurant is a good option if your tummy can’t digest any more chilly or spice. Lots of young people with great travel stories sit and lounge making meaning philosophical conversations over shisha, hummus and Wraps. www.pinkelephantunawatuna.webs.com
*There are plenty of restaurants on the beach serving fresh catch of the day walk into any one of them and you won’t be disappointed.
- Coral reef – Snorkelling
- Jungle beach – * my favourite. Don’t miss this spot. A little hike, some rock hopping and climbing and you will find yourself in a perfect little piece of private heaven. Walk back to the café for some food and drink.
- Buddhist Temple
- Cooking Class – Was the most fun thing we did while on our trip. The class commenced with ingredient shopping at the local market followed by a quick stop to buy some fresh fish from a grim fisherman. A 3 hr. class later and exploring the art of cooking 5 different spicy curries ended in a lunch party with our fellow classmates and our hyper chef with an exaggerated extraordinary laugh. All in all it was my idea of a perfectly well spent first half of the day.
After spending enough time at base in Unawatuna make a daytrip to Galle. Hire a bike or rent a tuk tuk and explore the next town. Don’t miss-
- The Galle Fort
- The Dutch reformed church
- Japanese Peace Pagoda
- Clock tower
- Galle Lighthouse
- St Mary’s Cathedral *my favorite
- Yoga in Niyagama House (Want to keep fit on your holiday try an early yoga class before sightseeing)
– Food recommendation *Mamma’s Galle fort roof café
The drive from Unawatuna to Mirissa is absolutely gorgeous as you pass through little towns facing the Indian Ocean. You will witness a very common tedious fishing practice but more of a form of art to me called – Stilt fishing. The fisherman perched on a stick like a bird will let you capture him through your lens but may also ask for money to be your muse. A few rupees won’t harm your pocket but will make his day besides you will still walk away with a stunning image to frame.
I suggest you leave a day or two to spend at Mirissa our final spot left with pristine waters and much more of beach after the tsunami than Unwatuna. I assure you, you will not regret the trip. Laze on the beach and hike up to the massive rock jutting out of the ocean, find a spot to chill and grasp the view in so you can go this happy place when you have a bad day at work in the real world.
Best place to stay if you’re traveling in a big group is to rent out an entire villa. The most expensive one starts as $300 per head/ a night and is called Taprobane Island. it will drill a hole in your pocket or not who knows? but what you will get is a private little island with a picture perfect white dream house sitting on top of it and a pool that merges with the sea.www.taprobaneisland.com
Unfortunately we only spent a day at the beach and hence I am not entirely sure of places to sleep in this beach town.
Places to eat
- Dimwini Roti shop
- Zephyr Restaurant & bar – all day dine/ lounge and bar. Unfortunately we have come to the end of our trip to the southern most tip of the island.
Saying goodbye to this part of the country was not easy but we were glad we made the trip though it was not our first choice of place to see.
Now for all you tea & mountain lovers we will go on a short trip up north of the Island to Kandy and I will have that post up on the blog sometime in the near future. For now enough of Sri Lanka.
In the next coming week I’ll be traveling to 2 beautiful cities in the Mediterranean. The first one is my favorite costal city to visit in Europe and the other a city bit more inland ,famous for its architecture made with pink terracotta bricks.
Can you guess where???? leave me a comment if you do 🙂
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If you need any more information on where to or how to please feel free to leave me a message in the comment section or mail me at you firstname.lastname@example.org.