We finished our tour with G Adventures having met some really cool people and hopefully with a better understanding of how to get around the rest of Sri Lanka. After a fairly tame few weeks we decided somewhere with a atmosphere was in order, so we booked a Hostel in Mount Lavinia, the ‘party’ part of Colombo. Well, it wasn’t too much of a party place, and the hostel we were in locked the doors at 11.30pm so even if there was a party then we’d have ended up leaving early! But, this was by far the most sociable hostel we’ve stayed in so far. The beach was, like many of the beaches in Sri Lanka, a bit rocky & not amazing for swimming, but the evenings were brilliant as we would sit in the roof terrace and meet new people. There was everyone from a 20 something Norwegian guy on vacation from his job as a English teacher in China, Paula, a Londoner living in Cornwall who was nearer our age, who was hilarious, and the very lovely nutty Francesca from Scunthorpe who was stuck in Sri Lanka waiting for her passport having lost it in Oz. Not to mention the Bavarian brother & sister who seemed intent on getting us all wasted on Schnapps!
After a few days there we decided to go to Tissamaharama, a town in the far south where you can go on Safari in Yala National Park, which has the highest concentration of Leopards in the world. After 8 long hours on a non ac bus playing Sri Lanka dance music full blast the whole way it’s fair to say we were ready for a beer & bed. As Tissa does not have a nightlife this was not a problem!
Sadly, the Sri Lanka tourism industry has ruined Yala as a place to go. There are just far too many jeeps there at any one time and this means you end up in traffic jams to see stuff. We spent 30 minutes waiting to see a bear! When we got to the front of the queue we had 30 seconds before we were getting herded along. It’s really just a series of photo opps rather than a proper safari and the jeeps were very competitive to get them too.
Added to this, and i promise i will refrain from too many generalisations about countries, but wow! The Chinese are EVERYWHERE and they do not seem capable of shutting up! Kind of a problem when animals tend to run away from noise and a lot were scared off before we got to see them.
Suffice to say that Tissa was not our favourite place, but we did meet a really nice couple who had travelled for a year previously and we had dinner with them whist they gave us a ton of advice which we have already used to save us money. They were brilliant.
4 hours north of Tissa (back on the Sri Lankan Dance bus) is Galle and the beach resort of Unawatuna. Galle is a Dutch fort town with some amazing historic buildings, but on our trip it is famous as the place I officially lost my sense of humour with people taking the piss. I didn’t need a Tuk Tuk to drive 100 metres. I can see the bloody steps to walk up to the top of the fort without you pointing them out, and I too can read the date on the stone which tells me when it was built thank you. I didn’t need to you tell me those things. I also didn’t need you setting the feminist movement back 50 years by then asking me to get my husband to give you a nice tip for telling me things I already knew. I felt like burning my bra in his face, but I only bought two with me so I contented myself with raging silently.
Unawatuna was however really cool. We stayed at a hostel run by two Dutch siblings. It was really laid back; they made amazing banana pancakes for breakfast. They were party animals and invited us to a rooftop party that night. This was the best and most random night ever. The 1st person i saw when i walked in was the Norwegian kid from our hostel in Colombo. He was being preyed upon by a local so I tried to get him away but in the process got offered every drug under the sun and a threesome, so not all bad (joke mums!).
The night was about to get even more weird as Steve went to the bathroom and came back with Paula and Francesca, also from our Colombo hostel in tow. Funny how you greet people you’ve met twice like old friends. We had a great night drinking and dancing in the rain and managed to outlast all of the younger people from our hostel.
On from Unawatuna we stayed in Bentota. This was by far our favourite guesthouse, and Bentota was by far the nicest beach and stunning sunsets – as good as any in the Caribbean. We were the only people staying except a Bavarian lady who was really cool.
We ended up spending every night sitting talking and laughing after dinne
r cooked by the owner’s wife. Her food was stunning, and we really felt properly looked after, if a little overfed.
We did have the weirdest couples massage ever where they gave us both tiny paper g strings to wear and seemed to not be to worried about covering me up at any point. I dunno who was more traumatised by it out of me & Steve!
So, Sri Lanka is done, next stop Bangkok. Time to start really being backpackers as Sri Lanka hasn’t felt like a backpacker type of place. It is a stunning country, there is loads to do, and its people truly amazing, but it’s definitely felt more like a holiday than a travelling destination.