Sri Lanka 7 days, 12 cities, under 500$ (Part 2 of 3)

Arghya Saha
7 min readDec 3, 2020
Somewhere near Bentota.

Previous part of the trip was more about trek, sanctuaries, elephants. This part was all about beaches, old forts, and the exotic Sri Lanka with very few people are aware of.

Day 4:

Thats the smile you get when you wake up 4am. 😆

As usual our day had to start at 4:00 am because the hotel and the station was around 3 km. So we needed atleast 30 min to walk down the station. Our next destination was Mirissa. We took a train from Kandy to Matara, which starts at around 5:15 am. We went from the middle of the country to the southern most part of the country. You would mostly hear about the Galle to Elle train journey, unfortunately we didn’t take that journey due to time constraint, but we took this underrated train journey.

Needless to say you don’t have any reservation in the trains, so please do make sure you reach early to grab a seat. On the left you would find green fields and on the right you would have the Gulf of Mannar. This is one on the longest train journeys in SriLanka since you cross more than half of the country.

The view you typically get throughout the train journey.

We got down at Matara station and then took a tuk tuk to Mirissa. By now we knew the art of bargaining with the tuk-tuk drivers. The trick was to avoid tuk-tuk from the station, walk down 5 minute into the city and you get the genuine rates, though that is also a bit on the higher side but still its much lower as compared to the ones you would get in the railway station. Another hack we had learnt was to ask the tuk tuk driver to help us find the best accommodation in our budget and we shall pay him additional 50–100 LKR. This way you would get the best and cheapest place to stay without hustle.

First thing we did on reaching Mirissa was to lookout for rental 2 wheeler, and this was a life saver for us since we were travelling to nearby cities and remote places at our own convenience at much cheaper rates. Remember to carry your driving license of your country of origin. The rental people will ask you to submit your passport, you can avoid it by taking help from the house owner where you are staying and submitting some other government ID card. Always avoid submitting your passport since that is the only document which will save you outside.

First place we visited was Sri Lankan Snake Farm, Matara. This place is a bit remote so please follow google map with some help from locals, but do remember to not fall into the trap of locals taking you to different farms. Here you can negotiate the price per person, we were not able to reduce the price much since we were only 2 people and also it was off session. We ended up paying 1000LKR per person. But totally worth the experience. He has a lot of variety of snakes and he would show you his amputated finger due to snake bite, I guess thats how you verify the authenticity of it.

From coding in python to having it around my neck. 🐍

Do be cautious in handling the snakes since they would try to slip by, so you have to pay attention. Otherwise you might end up hurting them.

Kept my fingers crossed that none of them get inside my clothes 😆

After spending good 2 hours at the snake farm we moved to Matara city to roam about the temples and beach in our bike. Most of the places were closed since it was noon so we went to one of the the buddhist temples around the beach. It was a calm place where we sat for an hour and simply enjoyed the sea breeze and the view.

View from buddist temple in Matara beach.

You basically don’t have much to do in Matara city, so we took our bike and then explored the city, went to the clocktower located in the middle of the city, explored few ruined buildings and finally decided to return back to Mirissa, our decision to stay in Mirissa and travel via 2 wheeler now seems totally worth since Mirissa beach seemed heaven compared to Matara beach.

Clock tower, Matara

Once we returned to Mirissa, first thing we did was to rush to the beach since we didn’t want to miss the sunset. This was one of the high points in our trip. I still can’t get the sight out of might head. Must visit for anyone who is making Sri Lanka trip.

Sunset from Mirissa Beach
Panaorma view of Marissa beach from the top of the hill.

Our day was still not over, finally we had our leisure time, after waking up at 4am regularly and travelling between cities we thought to take a step back and just live the moment.

Day 5:

We finally didn’t wake up at 4am. We woke up late, 6am 😆. Our body clock didn’t let us sleep more than that. We went to the beach and explored the coral by ourself, we didn’t have any tools for snorkelling but still it was fun.

Under water Mirissa beach shore using GoPro.

From the beach we went back to our hotel freshened up and then finally moved to our destination, Galle. Galle is a place of historic importance, once would see all the forts and towers from British era. It takes close to 2–3 hours in bus to travel between Mirissa and Galle.
In Galle I had the best Sri Lankan meal in the trip. People visiting Galle this is a must visit place, Pedlar’s Inn Cafe and Restuarant. The curry is something which you simply can’t miss.

Best Srilankan Meal I had. :)

Post the delicious meal we called it a day and went back to our rooms.

Day 6:

I know I can fly, ready for take off. 🐢

This was a late morning, since we had to visit Sea turtle Hatchery, Habaraduwa, and it opens at 10 am. We took a bus from Galle to Habaraduwa. Bus journey is typical 30–45 min, you can even take a tuk-tuk, but no point in spending money, since buses are equally convenient. We had read somewhere that you could bargain the price, but this was not the case here, the entry fees was fixed.

They would explain you the whole process of Sea turtle laying eggs, hatching and then how they are grown here and also how this got started. They have a special function once a year when they send all the grown up turtles into the sea and hundreds of people gather to see this festival. There are hundreds of turtles both infant and grown ups. Few of them grown ups travel back to this place when they get injured and post recovery they are released into the sea.

We returned back to our room in Galle. The home stay we were doing in Galle was a building with wooden structure, which was minimum 100 yrs old.

The Place we did our home stay in Galle.

6 days we visited 9 cities

Colombo • Habarana • Sigiriya • Pinnawalla • Kandy • Matara • Mirissa • Galle • Habaraduwa

If you have missed my previous blog here is the link to it

Here is the link to the final part of this series.

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