kai and i flew from the gold coast in australia to sri lanka on the 19.09.2017. we had an 8 hour flight to malaysia and from there it was another three hours flight
to colombo, sri lanka. when we arrived at the airport in colombo we waited in a line to get the visa stamp in our passport. the guy behind the counter didn’t even look at us, i never got a visa stamp so easy before.
once you go out of the airport hundred people want to sell you an expensive taxi-ride. we jumped in a bus from the airport to colombo city. once we arrived at the railway-station in colombo a guy came to me and asked me if he can bring us somewhere with his tuk-tuk.
i told him that we have a huge surfboard-bag which doesn’t fit in the tuk-tuk. he said “no worries for me” and put it on the roof of his tuk-tuk.
we planed on staying one night in colombo and catch a bus the next day down to kalutara, because my mum and sister booked a resort there for two nights when they arrive. he told us there are no cheap hotels in colombo and we have to go further outside of colombo. he was a really good salesman and he also said that the local buses don’t take surfboards so we can only travel with kai’s surfboardbag when we take a taxi or tuk-tuk. i didn’t believe thats true, he just wanted to make a lot of money – which he did in the end – because he brought us all the way down to kalutara which took around 1,5-2 hours.
the traffic in sri lanka is craaaazy. there are tuk tuks everywhere and local buses as well. everyone just drives whenever they feel like going. traffic lights exist but noone really gives a shit about them. it’s crazy to see how the people drive here without any accidents. buses overtake in places where you can’t see anything, around blind corners.
we arrived in the evening in kalutara and found one “hotel” directly on the beach for 16 euros per night for a doubleroom.
the room was not very nice and the fan didn’t really work. it was crazy hot during the night as well as during the day & the bed almost fall apart. but at least it was cheap.
i went for a run in the morning and stopped at a small shop on the way back from the run to buy some vegetarian rottis. they are so good and sooo cheap. when you buy around 6 rottis it is maybe 1 euro.
the next day we went to a nicer hotel where the people where amazing and they even made us breakfast for free.
when we checked in it was already pretty late and we had to pick my mum and sister up from the airport in colombo. we jumped in a localbus and drove 1,5 hours until we reached the centre of colombo. the local buses in sri lanka are so funny, loud disco-music, so crowded, so cheap, all the busdriver drive insane, everywhere colourful paintings on the walls, ..
we arrived at the airport in time. we had to buy a entry-ticket that we could go in the airport. i never had to pay something to walk in an airport so far, that’s a strange system. we bought a ticket for 1,5 euros and went in.
we waited not even 5 minutes in the airport and i saw my mum and sister with two small suitcases coming out of the door in the airport – IN SRI LANKA!! i couldn’t really believe it – my mum and sister were REALLY in SRI LANKA !!! i was so happy and ran to them and i was also so proud of them that they only brought their small suitcases. did i mention i was happy?
we jumped in the airport-bus again and my mum told me: “i really thought the buses here are worse, they are not as bad as i thought they would be”! i laughed because the airport bus has air conditioning and comfortable seats, lot of space and not crowded. the bus looks like a bus from back home so of course it is not bad.
but then we went out of the nice bus and had a look for the local-bus in colombo and that was crazy. so many buses everywhere and noone knew where our bus was leaving from.
it took us quite a while until we found out where our bus was leaving from. we jumped in and i guess my mum could see the difference immediately. crowded, hot, windows and doors always open, loud music, .. it took us forever until we went out of the city because there was so much traffic and the bus stopped every couple of metres.
it was fun to watch the faces of my sister and mum because the traffic in colombo is really bad and everyone drives without any system. the people in the bus don’t really know the word “personal space” either. they almost sit on top of each other. after 2 hours of insane driving we finally arrived safe in
the next morning we made our way to my family’s resort. we bought a pool–ticket for one day which was 5 euros and it means that we can join them in the pool area for the day.
after two days at the pool we caught the train from kalutara to our next stop: weligama. it took around 2 hours and the doors and windows were open all the time so that we had wind. the train drove right next to the ocean and through beautiful landscapes. everytime when the train was just about to stopp the door was closing and we almost fall out of the train because we were standing in the door the whole time.
we took a tuk-tuk from the trainstation in weligama to our hotel which was around 5 km outside of town. it was called villa tissa resort and it was directly on the beach.
we arrived there around 7 pm and i asked at the reception if there are two rooms available for the night. he said that i am lucky because they are just about to finish work. he showed me the standard-room for 30 dollars per night with breakfast included. the room looked so luxurous and they had wifi and even a nice pool outside.
my mum and sister stayed in the standard-room and kai and i took the budget-room for 20 dollar per night. our room looked exactly the same so i don’t know why it was cheaper.
in the morning we got rice cooked in coconutmilk with an onion-chilli-sauce and a plate with fruits and a mixed-fruit juice for breakfast. we also got another spicy sauce in a seperate plate. we tried it and it was very spicy. i asked the workers there what is inside. it looked like it was shredded coconut with chilli. he told me it’s with prawns. i thaught that is a joke. it didn’t look like prawns and it also didn’t taste like fish at all. i felt my tongue get a bit numb and i run to my room to get my anti-allergica pills. i am highly allergic to seafood and i can’t breathe anymore when i eat it so i was happy that i had my pills with me. after one hour i felt good again.
after our exciting breakfast we took a tuk-tuk to weligama where they have the best beginner-surfbeach i have ever seen. it is the beach where i tried surfing the first time in my life 1,5 years ago. we rented two surfboards. one surfboard was around 1,5 euros for one hour. i gave him 5 euros and he gave me around 4 euros back so we paid 1 euro for two surfboards and we even got two bottles of water for that, awesome 😀
my mum and my sister went surfing with me. i was so proud of them because normally they hardly go in the ocean. kai pushed my mum into a few waves and she didn’t try to get up. she just layed down on the board and the wave took her to the beach. she said it was an amazing feeling and my sister did really really good for her first surf.
after a couple of chill days in and around weligama we decided to do a safari.
it took us very long by bus to our next place in undawalawe. the bus dropped us in the middle of nowhere in the dark. we asked the guys on the side of the road where our hotel is and one of the guys told us it is 190 m away and he works there. i checked on my offline maps.me app and it really said that it is there. he brought us to the hotel and we didn’t see a reception or anything. the rooms where not ready and he told us that he can arrange dinner for us. he brought us to a place close by where they cooked kottu roti for us and we got sprite as a drink, he didn’t even asked us what we want to drink and there was no menu.
he told us about four different types of safaris. the first one is the cheapest and it is 3,5 hours but only on the main road in the park. the second one is the same ammount of time but you go off-road and the last two ones where full day safaris. he told us that the first one is really bad and you can’t really see animals.
we decided that we wanted to do the second safari for 30 euros per person. he was happy and brought us back to our hotel and told us that he picks us up at 5:30 am the next morning.
we had a shower and after that we chilled in the bed and i checked my mails. i got a mail from the greenwood safari resort if we are still coming today or not.
i answered that we already checked in and then i read the first e-mail i got from him again and it says in the end that we should be careful with tu-tuk drivers or safari drivers because they only want to make money and bring you to different places and charge more for safaris because i already wrote mails with the owner of the hotel before about the safari and the costs and he said it is not even 20 euros per person.
stupid me! i didn’t read the first e-mail properly because it was really long and the information about the fake-hotels and to be careful who to trust was at the very end. i told kai and my family that we pack again and move to the real hotel where we made the reservation before.
i went out and asked the lady who owns the place which adresse it is here and she just called the guy again who brought us to the place. she played stupid that she can’t understand english but i heard her talking the the guy about the adresse, she knew exactly what i mean.
i walked to the neighbours’ house and they opened the door and smiled at me. i tried to ask them where we are because there was no streetname or anything and no sign around.
the lady didn’t really understand what i mean but then the guy from the real hotel where we booked called me and i gave her the phone and let her explain where we are, so that the man can pick us up from there. the owner of the real hotel told us that he picks us up in 5 minutes. i turned around and the guy who brought us to the place came on his scooter. i told him we are leaving because this is not the real hotel and he knows exactly that this is wrong what he is doing here! he told us some weird bullshit stories and played stupid.
our pick up was there in the next minutes because the real hotel was not far away from the fake one, just 4 km down the road. the owner of the hotel welcomed us with some juices and explained us that this happened a lot lately to tourists and we should be really careful here in sri lanka who to trust.
we all woke up at 5 in the morning were we got picked up from the safari-jeep. we were 6 people in the jeep and everyone paid 3000 rupies for the entrance-ticket in the nationalpark which is around 18 euros.
it only took a few minutes to drive there. our safari-driver was so slow and everyone overtook him, we were not sure if that is going to be good with such a slow driver. he always followed the other drivers and parked the jeep behind the other cars so it was not so good to see all the animals. after one hour his driving got a bit faster and suddenly we arrived at a place were it was full of mud and another jeep got stuck in there. it took them a long time to get out of the mud again.
he asked us if we want to go this way.. we were not sure why he asked us the question and we asked him if there is another road to go there. he said yes but he likes this one. we said: “okay, then we like what you like, let’s go for it”!
we went down in the mud without getting stuck and as we drove further we saw another jeep which was stuck with two scared looking people in it. it was fun to watch them trying to get out of the mud. our driver and another driver tried to help them with pushing the truck which worked out well in the end but they were both covered in mud.
we drove further and saw crocodiles, heaps of elephants who came really close to us & also a monkey family who were really cute, lots of birds, foxes, water-buffalos, peacocks, ..
it was so nice to see them in the nature.
there was not much else to do our the area so we decided to catch the bus back to the coast which turned out to be a very very long bustrip. after 5 hours of busrides we arrived in a place called hikkaduwa. it’s known for surfing, snorkelling and the turtle sanctuarys – a very touristic place.
the main beach there was beautiful. some surf-schools on the beach and lots of palmtrees which give you shade. there are not so many waves at that point so it was great for swimming and the water was nice and clear as well. we stayed the whole day there and i learned how to bodysurf.
we went to the trainstation at 4 pm to check when there is a train going and the worker there told us that we just missed the last train. that sucked because that meant that we had to take the localbus again for a couple of hours, yeaaaaah…
the bus was crowded and it took us around 5 hours to get to negombo.
we arrived at our hotel around 10 pm which was pretty late.
we slept like babys that night because the room so was nice and we even had air conditioning. we had breakfast early in the morning around 6:30 am because my mum and sister had to go to the airport and fly back to austria.
the owner brought us all in the taxi to the airport which took only 10 minutes and i had to say goodbye to my mum and sister again. but this time not for long because i plan to visit them again for christmas in austria this year.
i was so proud that my mum and my sister never really complained about driving in the crowded and hot localbus. they also always wanted to do stuff like the safari, see temples and visiting places close by. i was so happy that they enjoyed it and that they saw a lot of the beautiful country and culture here in sri lanka.