As Sri lanka is an island, it has abundance of bay and sands. It definitely has some quite and aloof beaches as well but I would share my experience of the ones I visited.
Looking for Nightlife or Surfing, Mirissa is your places to crash. This beach is vibrant and full of life. Specialy flocked by people of the age group 20-40yrs. Mirissa is absolutely exquisite. It has an array of dinning options (shacks). The accomodation ranges from a hostel to a boutique hotel.
Time for exploring the sea world!! Your destination is Hikkaduwa. Whether you want to go Snorkeling or scuba diving and even if you aren’t trained, this place has all the options to make you a pro. By this I mean Hikkaduwa has a training center which has packages and going via them is ensuring your safety.
For snorkelling you dont have to be a pro, coz the corals are right next to the sandy beach, you could stand at the beach and stare at the pretty school of fish and you don’t even have to enter the waters (In morning).The eateries shut down early, max by 11pm so follow “Early to bed eary to rise, makes the man healthy, wealthy and wise”.
If you are like Uncle Scrooge and longing for a Luxury holiday, pool infront of the sea, aesthetically decorated shopping arcades, plush rooms then Bentota is the place for you. The bay is full of hotels of nothing less than a 4 star. Backpackers keep away, dont stay just take a stroll thats what I did😁
We covered alot of terrains, so how could we miss a National park. Yala is a deroute from the road connecting Ela and Mirissa.
Its a huge territory where the animals rule. We are permitted only in a section of the forest. And I am glad its that way. Like other sactuaries the enterance gate is located 20km from the main town. The experience is incomplete without a ride in an open jeep, its windy and dusty but worth it.
Usualy tourists book a pre-packaged deal. And it is difficult to find a cheaper deal for the jeep if you are jus two. Coz they rent the complete jeep which costs around 8000-15000 SRs.(inclusive of enterance fees). We took an afternoon slot for the safari.
Since the permitted area is more of grasslands,its very easy to spot wildlife. In adittion to the below I spotted an elephant, wild boar, deers(ofcourse) and exotic birds. The guide said that we were lucky to find a leopard in such a clearing. (Lady travelers beware , the guides are big time pile ons, so maintain the correct distance) (Tip: carry multiple sets of camera betteries, mine got exhausted just after I clicked a mongoose😫, hence a mobile cam photo of the Leopord) To add on to the trail, the jeeps take everyone to the beach, swimming isn’t allowed but its good to be at a raw & non touristy beach. After the safari, our jeep dropped us to the town. And we were back to our guest house.
Ella is more about the journey rather than the destination. We were way early at the station to grab the best seats. (As I said it was all about the voyage)
There was a seperate toilet for the tourists, and we took advantage of it🤣. We had our breakfast at the confectionary situated at the platform, the shop was fully loaded with eateries . I felt like a 5 year old in the candy shop.😋
Soon our jouney began, a loooooooonnng jouney 8hrs to be precise. As I mentioned before, the first class coaches were full of different nationality travellers, some were on a guided/packaged tour & some were like us. The train had a small pantry from where one could grab hot tea, coffee, water, all at higher price ofcourse. (Better to stock beforehand)
I was mesemerised by the landscape through out the route. Also made some freinds on the way, posed for cameras while looking out of the window and just couldn’t sleep. It is a experience that every traveler to Ella should witness.
Alas during lunch time we reached the mini hillstation. I had already booked a luxurious resort (for a change) “The Okreech cottages” costing $32 for a night.But there are multiple cheaper options available starting $12.
For some reason Okreech’s kitchen was not operational. So we went to the main road for our meals, we were so lazy to climb back that we decided to come back to the hotel after ohr dinner only. We were hardly in Ee for 18hrs in Ella, but utilized our time to the fullest. Travelers with liesure time stay for 3-4 days, to hike and to visit the nearby attractions.
What we did is ate!!
We had a big lunch at Chill cafe. I ordered for a srilankan lunch platter worth 800Srs. (Food at restaurants is very expensive). But I was stuffed. The vibe of the place was nice.
We took a stroll and by the time we finished it was evening. We enjoyed some drinks and live music in a bar. And by 9pm we were in our bed, fast asleep😴
The next morning we revived ourselves with a cup of tea at our patio and yet another journey was waiting for us.