I'm now back after 2 amazing weeks in Beruwela, Sri Lanka enjoying the Indian Ocean, very cheap food & drink, some incredible wildlife and a cultural experience like nothing before. The cost of living is amazingly cheap - £10 for a 3 course meal for 2, with drinks in the tourist areas! Of the beaten track, it was much less. A 100km train ride was around 75p!
Highlights of the trip were a visit to an Elephant orphange, watching wild monkeys, going on Safari and seeing bears, elephants, crocodiles and very rare birds, climbing to the top of Sigiriya Rock - a 2000 year old palace built on top of a huge outcrop, releasing baby turtles into the sea, swimming in the pool at night whilst fruit bats swooped a few fete above us, 30c + all day and night, and even the monsoon rains which only lasted an hour or so came down warm!
Picture slideshow here!
We met some great people over there, but I've got to mention Kumara, a tuktuk driver who became a great friend and took us to some great places. A lot of tuktuk drivers will try to overcharge you, or take you to shops to earn a commision, but Kumara was as straight and honest as they come. If anyone is visiting Beruwela, I will pass on his mobile number.
We went on a number of trips to Kandy temple, tea plantations, ancient monuments, coral reefs, rainforests, historic cities and also a National Park Game reserve for Tams' birthday. We stayed in a wooden cabin in the park, which meant we could not leave the room at night as wild animals wandered freely around! We only had wild boar snuffling around, and a Lizard in the room when we woke, but the previous night an elephant was in the grounds!
The roadtrip to the Yala national park was with a guy called Desha - www.deshatours.com
- and it was only a group of 4 passengers so it was a very laid back affair. Desha had a Vengaboys tape that perked everyone up on the longer stretches of the journey, and the minivan we were travelling in became known as the Vengabus!
The standard of Driving in Sri Lanka is awe inspiring - in that it amazed me people were not dying every few seconds! This clip was taken on a trip to the Hill Country, but NOT on the Vengabus!
There is still huge areas still devestated by the Tsunami, 50,000 died in Sri Lanka, and even though we were on the West Coast, the wave was still 12m high - reducing many concrete buildings to rubble, and leaving no trace whatsoever of the shack type houses.
It's not all grim - the people are incredibly resilient, and eternally grateful that us tourists still visit, despite the civil war that was going on in the North of the country.
I'm still uploading pics and video footage,but here are some more clips of the holiday!
We will definitely be going back, and despite the 11hr flight it is only 4.5hrs ahead so jetlag is not an issue. We really could not fault it (except for the chillies disguised as green beans - BAD mistake to make!) and would recommend to anyone to take the opportunity to go!