Sri Lanka January 2020
Sri Lanka is a small island south of India and use to connect with bridges and corals until Tsunami have wiped it out creating now a deep trench. The name is Adam’s bridge or Rama’s bridge which was a king that invaded the island, conquering it. You can read more up on it but I will be writing to you about traveling Sri Lanka and giving you the best updates of the year 2020.
Let us not forget the damage that came through Sri Lanka with the last tsunami December 2004 that devastated 40 thousand people’s lives and even not to long ago in 2019 the bombing that occurred. The 2004 tsunami was one of the biggest tsunami and most deaths of a natural source in our history books that wiped out over half a million people. Very sad and the bombs made Sri Lanka a very sad tourist destination.
This island is filled with magic from beautiful beaches, amazing national parks filled with rare animals and rare trees, to glamorous hill stations. One good thing about this country now is the security but to me it’s to much but for most I guess it’s enough or even not enough but the more I traveled through the country the more security I seen. The security is so tough now it’s even affecting the tourism if you are a couple days after your visa expiration date, I have read you can get up to a $500 fine. One thing you do see a lot here especially on the beaches is families, lots of kids running around so if you worried about beaches being safe, don’t. For one if something is going to happen their is vary little if any at all for you to stop something such as a tsunami, a drunk driver hitting you or even a tire falling off a bus and causing major accidents. Please don’t live your life like this because it will get you no where. Let alone do not be afraid of a small bomb. More people die a year from tripping in their own shoe laces and causing a death. To assure oneself, one thing you can do is read, study about things and wish the best for the day. Living in fear will surely make you an unhappy person. Just do the things you want and then you’ll never have regrets.
I just see how many homestays, hotels are empty because of the bombing and how much the people here have complained about business being super slow. So if you on a budget I’d say it’s perfect timing to go to this island but let me clue you in on some things.
First off the prices on the internet could be slashed in half if willing to wheel and deal with the people up front. This is how we pretty much traveled especially within the more tourist areas such as the beaches. But regardless many times we got let off the bus around a main station and either the tuk Tuks drivers knew a cheap place or we found one by ourselves doing a little bit of work, calling the places, asking for bottom line price going there and still getting a cheaper price. Will include the places we stayed and what we paid but this doesn’t mean what you will pay but at least you can get a rough idea that most of the places we stayed at was around 1,500 a night for non a/c. But even the locals was shocked by some of the places we stayed in for so cheap. Why, because no travelers are here and the main places are even still half empty. You can easily get superb deal especially talking to the locals and finding it yourself, just google it and go yourself. Remember to try and do it yourself because if a local is going to help you most of the time they are getting a cut also.
If looking to do the small loop which would only take a couple weeks to do. Can easily get time to stay at places for a while as this is the loop we did. Did the small loop in less than three weeks but stayed in Unawatuna for one week. The small loop is basically from Colombo to center of country to the south beaches and back to Colombo or vice-verse. We started out using agoda which I find is the cheapest generally but in Sri Lanka they use everything from door knocking to air bnb, hostel world, agoda and prolly even Facebook. I’ve heard people getting five star hotels in Colombo for $100 a night. You can easily look on the internet and then call and make some final prices, which we did and when we even arrived we got the prices lowered even more. The people here are hurting and so many places was dead. Out of all these places the busiest was Mirissa and Galle. So if willing to go off the beaten track a little bit you can easily find amazing deals. Almost all the places either had a motor bike to rent, or a shop was very close by. Here is my list.
Prices; All non A/c
Kandy- Mountain View homestay $10 usd with taxes through Agoda, breakfast additional $3 and was ok breakfast
Has tuk tuk available but expensive. Use the app PickMe
Sigiriya- Niduwari Lake Homestay $9 with a huge breakfast. We also ordered food for 350 rupees each and got a huge meal and was delicious food for lunch and dinner.
Has his own personal luxury tuk tuk
Nuwara Eliya- Happy Inn $8 with a huge breakfast
Didn’t stay but one night
Ella- Misty View Inn $12 with huge breakfast and 300 rupees a person got huge dinner
Has a bike to rent 1500 one day only
Lunugamvehera National Park- Thanamalwila
Priyanthaniee Hotel $9 and food cost 450 rupees per meal and ate a lot. Was delicious food.
Park close to hotel but safari cane to pick us up. Hotel people arranged everything
Tangalle- Silence Garden Hotel $9
Bike to rent 1000 a day at convenient store 3 minute walk
Madiha Beach- Madiha Surf Resort $6
Rent bike $6
Unawatuna- Hansa Villa $13
Rent bike for 1000 rupees also
If interested in any of these places or any place I have been to traveling for years you can check me out in google reviews.
See what I’ve posted to Google Maps
Level 7 Local Guide
Besides the beaches and hill stations full of some of the best tea in the world you will also run across amazing Safaris. The beaches are mostly either sun bathing or surfing because diving is still going on I must say it is pretty horrible. I didn’t dive everywhere and we didn’t even go to the east side because everyone said it was the rain season but since the worlds magnetic poles are switching it is also causing a switch in the weather. Before the rain season was from November-February. But if you have been paying attention to weather in your hometown or even around the world all the weather now is being pushed back about one month. So the locals said the rain started around October and ended in January. So keep this in your mind when traveling. Either way the South East was still amazing with the beaches. I went diving one time in Unawatuna and that is where I seen it to be horrible. Not many fish and hardly any coral. Maybe it was just the dive spot but many dive masters I spoke to and they said after the tsunami it had ripped up all the coral same as in Maldives. But I did hear of people snorkeling and have amazing time. So if looking to save money just go snorkeling. The east side is suppose to have the best surf waves but since I didn’t go that way I’ll include what I seen or heard. If you are a beginner the best place would be Mirissa and more for expert experience would be Madiha, both are very close by. Many places you can do snorkeling and diving but I’d say the best is right around Unawatuna, they even have a place called the jungle beach there. You can also go out and do some whale watching to see the biggest creatures in the world. Blue 🐳. From what I have heard the best and cheapest place is from Matara. Good news is you’ll most likely see one because it’s one of the only places in the world these whales hang out all year long. If interested in fishing this is pretty much anywhere. The most quiet beach was Tangalle Beach and the most partying beach was either Mirissa or Unawatuna.
Good information huh? Well let me tell you even better information about some spectacular locations here. Everyone knows the viewpoints such as Adams mountain, or amazing waterfalls in Nuwara Eliya, or the famous overcrowded Safari Park of Yala. All these are great and most likely you will pass by but let me clue you in on some of the better parts of Sri Lanka. For one thing skip Yala National Park and head directly to a park that is bigger, more animals and most likely you’ll be the only ones in the whole park. Not only is this park famous from being on one of their dollar bills you will get first experience of a real national park and not feel like a commercial trap. Head directly to Lunugamvehera National Park, Tanamalwila, Sri Lanka. This is what I wrote in google maps.
[So here is some information about this park. Very limited on information. Lucky we found some locals at Priyanthanee Hotel where we stayed. I don’t know local language but I can just say the things I had seen. First off, didn’t see any jeeps out front. This place is not commercialized at all. Actually we were the only ones in the whole park, on Sunday. We seen so many animals though.
Wow. Incredible time today in the wildlife safria of Tanamalwila, Sir Lanka. Seen today about 100 birds, monkeys of course, elephants, deer, crocs, lizards, many peacocks, foxes and so much more. Will make a video on it soon so stay in touch on my YouTube.
Epic! Forest Destine
So if coming here I highly recommend finding a hotel to help you or take your time coming here. You might have to question things all day long even before you can find a Jeep, driver and even a ranger as a guide. But we seen so much. It was truly an amazing experience.]
Will also say if interested you can just follow my google maps account and it will explain so many details on lodging, restaurants and activities. Can click here
See what I’ve posted to Google Maps
Level 7 Local Guide
If you are interested in a park with the rarest of trees, plants and animals. Head to the not so famous UNESCO Sinharaja Forest Reserve. I didn’t go but I read up on it and it seems like an amazing park. I did hear it was expensive but let me just give you a clue about the local Sri Lankins. Most of them lie like crazy and even the locals will agree to this. So be careful and never take advice from just one person. Most everyone knows about Sigiriya famous mountain top where a kings palace sat upon a time. But most are discouraged about going because it is a crazy price to go up at $30. I guess it’s not that bad of a price but to me nothing is up there. I’ve seen hundreds of forts still standing in awe for an average price below $10. What makes things even a little worse is that there is a rock directly next to Sigiriya called Pidurangala which costs $3 and you can see just as of an amazing view. Not to far from here is also another UNESCO site named Lankatilaka Viharaya – 90, Polonnaruwa. And very close to here, in and near Jayanthipura, you will find loads of ancient ruins. If keep heading East you will reach the famous Trincomalee beach area that was an old Dutch colony. If looking for more older quests then look no further than probably one of the most oldest segments of human bones dating back 33,000 years in Kalutara close to Colombo. Be sure to also stop at the castle of Richmond.
Click here to find out more about this phenomenon of a cave.
Another famous cave is Dambulla with ancient old paintings. Can easily spend a month here if not two months and if looking to extend your free visa be sure to click on my blog because you won’t find hardly any information on the process. So let me explain. First off do not be one day late on an overstay it’s ridiculously expensive and every country pays a different rate on top of a $25 fee everyday. Only place to get an extension is in Colombo so weather you pay someone to do it or do it yourself it can only be done in the capital at:
Department of Immigration & Emigration, Suhurupaya, Subuthi Dr, Battaramulla, Sri Lanka
Go super early at it opens and gets flooded at 8:30 am. Process can be a little wack but will get done. Be sure to glue your stupid photo before getting back in line. The glue is under the extension fee board or ask someone. Other than that it’s just about waiting and going from one line through four others including the security line. Don’t bring any cigarettes or lighter they check you throughly. Can also see all this information on my google account.
So this pretty much wraps up the country. Will post some other blogs I found that had really good information on it. One secret about Sri Lanka and the buses is wake up around 4am and be in the first bus around 5am if not earlier. Some can be rude some can be incredible but never ran into anyone aggressive even with sales. One thing like I said is they lie, lie like crazy and will tell you anything to get money out of you so be prepared and be smart. I liked Sri Lanka and I didn’t but everyone has there own opinion. I will mention one thing you will get no matter where and that is spicy food. OMG. Prepare yourself 😝!!! If you are leaving from Colombo to go straight to Kandy I would recommend you taking the train it’s fast. But if you wish to take the bus you can get picked up right outside the airport but I recommend you get a taxi to go to bus station about 2 km away, because you might not be able to get a seat. The buses fill up quickly and I’d say the most rudest people in the whole country is the bus ticket people. So buses are sometimes awful to be in. The best train ride is from Nuwara Eliya to Ella. And once you are near Ella be sure to visit one of the only train tracks in the world, one station away named Demodara. Also a famous prehistoric site is close to Ella named
Kurullangala Prehistoric Cave Art Site කුරුල්ලන්ගල ප්රාග් ඓතිහාසික සිතුවම් සහිත ස්ථානය, Badulla, Sri Lanka
Remember history is everything for the future and the future is nothing without history. Keep the truth alive. Have fun and give me some comments. Be sure to check out my famous YouTube page.
Sri Lanka famous train ride
Sri Lanka famous safari park I was talking about
Reference of some great blogs;