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The Rocky Southern Coast of Sri Lanka

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Luxury Hotels in Sri Lanka

An unbroken string of tiny towns and hotels stretches out to the east of Galle. The busy road which hugs the coastline passes through Unawatuna, Dalawela, Thalpe, Habaraduwa, Midigama, one right after the other; each offering tourists an insane number of places to stay and things to do.

Sri Lanka Island

We were on this road constantly, en route to places like Alanthgama, where we hoped to see stilt fishermen, or Weligama. This village is set up around a gorgeous circular bay, with a lushly forested mini-island as its centerpiece named Trapobane (also the name Arthur C. Clarke lent Sri Lanka in The Fountains of Paradise). You can rent the villa on Trapobane by the day for an obscene amount of money; it even comes with a full set of personal servants to help you indulge your tackiest private-island fantasies.

Taprobane-Island

We spotted a couple other islands up and down the coast. One just past Midigama, where there’s supposed to be great surfing, and another in the bustling town of Matara, where we switched buses once. Matara’s island is just across from the bus station, and occupied by the picturesque Parey Duwa Buddhist temple.

Matar Temple Island

Most of the coast is rocky, but every so often you’ll spy a bit of golden sand that’s good for a dip. The waters here are rougher and rockier than on the beaches of Trinco, for example, but that makes for more dramatic scenery. Although the coastline itself is heavily developed, it stretches out for so long that finding a small bit of private sand isn’t impossible.

Daytime Turtle Watching

Our best day along the coast was spent at the Wijaya Beach Club, in Dalawela. Pizzas which could almost compete with those of Palermo (almost), and a tiny but excellent beach. While we ate, we watched the waves where six sea turtles were struggling to swim back out into the ocean. Every once in awhile, their heads would poke above the water. They kept getting swept toward the rocky shore, but eventually made their escape. Nobody else in the restaurant had seen them, and they all must have thought we were crazy, staring out into the ocean and randomly cheering.

Location of Trapobane on our Map
Location of Wijaya Beach Club
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April 28, 2012 at 5:52 am Comments (3)

Galle Fort – Our Final Stop in Sri Lanka

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Guest Houses in Galle Fort

After two and a half whirlwind months touring Sri Lanka, we pulled into Galle with exhausted bodies and tired minds. This would be the last extended stop of our 91 days in the country.

Lighthouse-Galle
Yes, that’s lightning behind the lighthouse. Nature and man, working together!

We were actually spending our nights in Fort, not Galle. That might sound like an unnecessary distinction, but the peaceful neighborhood demarcated by the old stone walls of the colonial fort feels a world away from the noise and hubbub of modern Galle. It’s so disconnected, that we’ve come to think of Fort as an entirely different city.

Fort occupies an area roughly 130 acres in size, and about a kilometer from north to south. Apart from a smattering of tuk-tuks, tourist buses and old-timers, traffic is very limited on the neighborhood’s few streets, which provides Fort with a tranquility I had reckoned impossible in Sri Lanka. We were instantly charmed — after so much time in congested cities, Fort would be an excellent place to relax in our final weeks.

There’s a heavy expat presence here, mostly British, whose influence is unmistakable. Upscale restaurants occupy nicely restored colonial buildings. A variety of shops and boutiques offer selection (and high prices) not seen elsewhere on the island. The sight of an older British gentleman puttering down the street on his moped is commonplace, here. I did a double-take on our first afternoon, when a white guy at the Peddlar’s Inn asked his friend if she was going to play cricket with the gang, later. “Say what? That’s not what tourists… ah, yeah. You live here.”

Fort has a sleepy, comfortable rhythm that threatens to make us lazy. Dangerous, given the abundance of things to do and see around Galle. But you know? A chilled banana coffee does sound good. Who cares if it’s pricey? We can afford it, and we can afford to relax for another hour. Or two.

Location of Galle Fort on our Map
Hotels in Galle

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April 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm Comments (4)
The Rocky Southern Coast of Sri Lanka An unbroken string of tiny towns and hotels stretches out to the east of Galle. The busy road which hugs the coastline passes through Unawatuna, Dalawela, Thalpe, Habaraduwa, Midigama, one right after the other; each offering tourists an insane number of places to stay and things to do.
For 91 Days