[Morning stroll at Hikkaduwa Beach]
Happy Sinhala & Tamil New Year!
After celebrating New Years Eve in Bangkok, Lunar New Year in Cambodia, Nyepi in Bali, and now Sinhala New Year in Sri Lanka, you quickly learn that everything tends to shut down for the holidays. Local transportation is one of the many challenges that tourists face during this time. You are also constantly reminded that the country is celebrating by the nonstop explosion of fireworks, which explains why I was up for sunrise!
At this point, I hadn’t decided whether to stay in Hikkaduwa for another night or to head down to Unawatuna, a less touristy beach further South. Although it is a nice spot for snorkeling and I got to see a sea turtle on my stroll, Hikkaduwa was too developed for my preference.
Since I was told that trains and buses aren’t running, I approached two locals on the beach and they confirmed that this was true. Both are from Colombo but because of the holiday, they happened to be heading down to Unawatuna for lunch and offered me a ride! The universe is working it’s magic, I’m telling you!
We all instantly connected and I brought them back to my guesthouse so they could wash up after a few hours of snorkeling. We chatted over breakfast, loaded up their car, and off we went. An impromptu road trip led to a spontaneous stop to Galle Fort, a UNESCO world heritage site originally built by the Portuguese and later fortified by the Dutch. The town of Galle is super quaint with colonial architecture, boutiques, cafés, and delicious gelato!
Another 15 minute drive down the coast and we made it to Unawatuna. Wow! What a stunning beach! The turquoise water shimmered under the clear blue sky. The sand was a distinct camel colour. If you enjoy beautiful beaches, chilling out, and getting away from the crowd, this is the place for you!
I came to Sri Lanka with an open itinerary and open mind. I wanted to spend time at the beach, but also hangout with locals. I’ve just been going with the flow, not booking ahead and letting things happen. Let’s just say it’s been working out so far!
“I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be” -Joseph Campbell