Tag Archive for: Mirissa

At the beginning of our journey through Sri Lanka we agreed on a short list of places to visit, which got longer and longer as our increasing curiosity made us want to see more of the natural wonders of the country. One of the main attraction points, the famous Adam’s Peak, brought us to Hatton, in the green but also rainy and cold mountains at the time of our visit.

We reached Hatton late in the evening, after taking an early bus from Galle to Colombo, from where we continue for another 5 hours in the probably  most crowded bus we ever traveled with. There was also a bus going only once a day from Galle directly to Hutton, early in the morning, which was earlier than the time when we planned to start the day.

Taking local buses is probably one of the most authentic experiences travelers can have in Sri Lanka. There is no limit of colors and motifs in the design of the buses and the journey itself is not the only experience. Any bus we took felt like the scene of a spectacle where tourists and locals come together, where music is played loudly for the entertainment of whoever doesn’t feel disturbed by it, and where vendors of different snacks and drinks board the bus at almost every station, squeezing their baskets filled with fresh pastry, vegetables and junk food through the already crowded corridor, turning the bus into a mobile market. The same experience would repeat itself during our trip in India, only with stronger flavors and smells.



We were welcomed by a cold and strong rain that continued during the whole night after our arrival, which made us understand already that the climb to Adam’s Peak might feel very unpleasant. Climbing seven km through cold rain and strong winds was not what we imagined, so we gave up on our plans to climb the mountain. But apart from the hike to Adam’s Peak, a trip to Hatton offers also other experiences. We negotiated with our host, which was also a tuk-tuk driver, the price for a tour around the town, which included visiting the waterfalls, the tea plantations and tea tasting at one of the tea factories in the area.


It has been the only three days in which we felt the rainy season which brought less rain in the other places that we visited, but apart from stopping us to venture out to the most spectacular spots in the mountains, it made the surrounding landscapes look even more beautiful than probably in the absence of the grey and rainy sky.


Hatton was “flooded” with restaurants and coffee shops, where we could always enjoy a cheap and delicious meal and a hot coffee at the end of our walks through the infinite green tea plantations.

During our return trip to Colombo, we found more comfort in taking a minibus, that arrived in the capital city later in the afternoon, giving us time to catch a bus to Negombo, where we spent our last days in the country.

At every bus station in Sri Lanka, “friendly” people will try to help you find a bus and guide you to private minivans that are more expensive than regular buses (although more comfort is offered in return for the extra money paid). But if the price is the main argument for you when choosing transportation methods, then always look for the big buses that are considerably cheaper.

Our travels continued towards one of the more adventurous of our destinations, India.

The small city of Galle became for us a point of interest only during our journey to Mirissa. When the train brought us from Colombo to Galle, before continuing our trip with the bus towards Mirissa, we decided to make a quick coffee stop in Galle and that’s when it happened that we fell in love with the city.

We were looking for the nearest coffee shop, which, according to our map, was hiding behind the walls of the Fort. After visiting several forts before in Sri Lanka and being disappointed by the experiences, we did not expect much to happen here. But, when we passed the entrance gate, we realized this time the experience would be different. We found ourselves inside a well maintained and, as we found out later, also a quite touristic fort.



We stopped at a small coffee shop that looked good and had fair prices. The owner proudly spoke about the place as being the oldest coffee shop in Galle Fort, opening its doors in 1932. Despite its historic importance, the owner of National Tea Rooms continued offering to its clients an authentic experience at normal prices and preferred to preserve the traditional look instead of turning it into a fancy place, as it happened to many other places inside the Fort. The good breakfast and the refreshing coffee were just some of the ingredients that added to the positive feeling which we had towards the place and the friendliness of the owner convinced us to come back a second time, which we did at the end of our stay in Mirissa.

We understood that Galle Fort is a touristic destination for locals and foreigners. However, prices here are quite high compared to other places outside the old walls. Still, we weren’t disappointed with our decision to shorten our stay in Mirissa and spend a night in the hostel in Galle.

So, after our time at the beach in Mirissa, we came back one week later to this cute city. We arrived early to enjoy our time to the maximum. We went for a walk inside the big walls, observing the architecture influenced by the Dutch during colonial times.



Later we visited the museum, that was free of charge, followed by a walk to the “Dutch market”, which, honestly, felt more like a souvenir market where people sell overpriced clothes and spices.



Many locals recommend the place to tourists and even offer to bring them there, as they will earn a commission if the tourists purchase anything from the vendors. And, if the merchandise at the market does not present any interest, the helpful local will turn into a beggar with an emotional story, asking tourists for money. We’ve been approached by one of these people but kindly declined their offer and went first to the local fish market, right outside the fort, which did not impress us much either.

It is true what people say about Galle: it is very touristic and expensive, but we did not mind it so much. Traveling off-season has its advantages, as the number of tourists is always low. We really enjoyed our short escape into the modern colonial city.



The following day would bring us to Colombo and further to Hatton, back in the mountains area. Find here more pictures about Galle.

We didn’t plan a return to Colombo very soon, but our travel plans during the journey through Sri Lanka changed already so many times and, since traveling in this country is made so easy by the cheap and convenient transportation options, we’ve been more spontaneous with our decisions.

We spent a full week traveling as a small group, after meeting with Miriam’s cousin and her fiancé in Batticaloa and, due to their limited time in the country, we joined them on the trip back to Colombo, from where they flew back home. We opted for a faster and more comfortable transportation method this time and hired a private driver, that drove us to Colombo straight from the east coast, on a journey which lasted around 10 hours.

The short time that we spent in Colombo was sufficient to explore the city. We started our sightseeing early in the following morning, after breakfast at the accommodation. The first stop on our list was the Gangaramaya Temple, one of the best known in the city and quite different from the many others we’ve seen in the country. It felt more like visiting a museum of antiquities, where thousands of Buddha statues and other artifacts of all sizes populate the temple. Hindu elements were also present, all giving the impression of a collection of cultural and religious essence. It serves as a worship place for Buddhists but also welcomes people of all religions.



Paying the fee of 300 Srilankan rupees gives visitors access also to the smaller Seema Malakaya temple, placed on the side of the Gangaramaya Park’s lake, featuring several statues of Buddha and shrines.



Our walked continued along the seaside, where we visited the old fortification walls of the city and later got lost on the streets of the most popular area in Colombo, the Colombo Fort, which marks also the center of the city and its main connection point for transportation methods.


The easy way to explore Colombo is by booking a tuk-tuk tour, which can be organized and negotiated with most drivers. 10 USD per person is more than enough for a half-day tour, but the same price can be also negotiated for a small group of 2 to 3 people together. Know the prices by checking them with mobile apps like PickMe or Uber, which work very well in Colombo.

On the following day, we returned to Colombo Fort to board the train to a new destination, Galle, on the southern coast, from where we continued the journey by bus, till Mirissa. The train ride along the coast was almost as impressive as the one from Kandy to Ella. Although we managed to buy only standard 2nd class tickets, what we enjoyed the most about the trip was the low number of people traveling in the early morning, which made the experience better than previous rides.