When Ben suggested we start our SE Asia trip in Sri Lanka, I was 100% onboard. Lonely Planet has ranked Sri Lanka as the top destination to visit in 2019 & it was also the closest destination to London, it completely made sense to begin our adventures there.

We spent 3 weeks traveling all around Sri Lanka, so I’ve broken down our trip into 3 parts, sharing the details on all of our accommodations, restaurants & actives in every place!

Just a heads up…
We ONLY stayed in private double rooms with an ensuite, so the accommodation prices are for those rooms
When we were in Sri Lanka it was £1 to 240 Sri Lankan Rupee

Week one consisted of Colombo, Unawatuna & Welligama.

  • Day 1 – 3 Colombo
  • Day 4 – 5 Unawatuna
  • Day 6 – 8 Welligama

DAY 1 – 3: Colombo (3 nights)

We took an overnight flight with Swiss air via. Zurich & arrived at 8:30am on day 1. After a long flight, we passed out as soon as we arrived at our hotel & woke up in time for dinner! The next two days, we walked all over Colombo and through the various districts. While I definitely think we stayed one night too long, it was a great chance to figure out our route and whether we would go east or south first.

To do at the airport:

  • Buy a SIMCARD once you get into the Arrivals area, we paid 12 USD each for 20 GB of data – perfect for using google maps to help find the various bus stops!
  • Exchange money. Sri Lanka has a closed currency, so you are only able to get Sri Lankan Rupees when you are in the country. They also don’t charge you additional fees at the airport!
  • Use UBER! If you are going to Colombo & don’t want to take the bus, book via. Uber. It’s going to save you at least 1000 SRL & with the intense heat that will hit you once you walk out of the airport, you’ll be thankful for a car with A/C.

Accommodation:
Backpackers Villa

Pros: Quiet as we were the only people there, close to restaurants & clean
Cons: 40 minutes from the train station & centre of town. The pool is more of plunge pool rather than a swimming pool
Price: 17.00 GBP/Night

*Before flying out of Sri Lanka, we spent another night in Colombo & stayed at Hangover Hostel. We much preferred this spot as it’s right on the beach, close to various restaurants & a great atmosphere. Price: 18.00 GBP/Night

Favourite Eateries:
Breakie 
Black Cat Colombo ($$) Their smoked salmon toast is SO good
Plus Nine Four ($$) Ben had a bacon sandwich while I ordered avocado toast with prawns & mango salsa. I’m going to add that to my list of breakfasts to make when we next have a kitchen, it was seriously that tasty

Lunch
Hotel Pilawoos (Outside Old Dutch Hospital) ($) The locals behind the counter will help you order based on what meat you would like

Dinner
Old Fort Cafe ($$) Curry & Seafood…both were fantastic
Curry Pot – Colombo 03 ($) Order the Kottu & only get curry if you like it super spicy

Things to do:
While we didn’t love the busyness of Colombo, we made the most of our time there & walked all over the city, a few of our highlights are:

Old Dutch Hospital – Great bars, cafes & restaurants in the centre of the city
Patteh Market –
Wonder through the bustling street market 
T Lounge –
 Lovely tea cafe in the Old Dutch Hospital, great spot to cool down after a few hours of walking around the city
Cinnamon
Park – Lovely park in the city centre – there is a small lake with row boats that you can rent. Serval Ice Cream tuktuks park on the grass as well. 

 


DAY 4-5: Unawatuna

From Fort Station in Colombo, we took the train south to Galle. From Galle, we travelled along the waters edge to Unawatuna, a quirky beach town full of boutiques, smoothie bowls & luscious jungle.

Transportation:
Train:
– Fort to Galle 180 SLR each
– Sit on right hand side of the train so you have the ocean views
– It takes about 2 hours

Tutktuk or Bus
– From Galle Train station to Unawatuna 400-500 SLR
– Takes about 20 minutes
– All busses heading to Madiha or Welligama will pass through Unawatuna 120 SLR
– Takes about 15 minutes

Accommodation:
Sam’s Guest House (2 nights)

Pros: Fast wifi (perfect for booking our next few nights of hotels), only a few minutes from the beach & large room
Cons: On the main road (it was rather noisy during the day, however it did get quieter at night)
Price: 16 GPB/Night

Favourite Eateries:
Breakie:
Kat’s Coffee ($)
Yummy porridge & variety of coffees

Lunch
Black & White ($$)
Great salads & curries
Skinny Toms ($$) Awesome for Smoothies & Paninis

Dinner
Nanda ($)
Try the Kottu here, it’s a local Sri Lankan dish of stir fried vegetables, mixed with chopped flatbread – so yummy!
Bed Space ($$) The menu is full of freshly caught fish & incredible burgers. We recommend arriving a little earlier than you usually eat as there was quiet a wait to get a table after 7:30 pm.

Things to do:

Beach: Relax on the beach & go for a swim! If you head to Peacocks on the beach, they offer free sunbeds for the day.
Relax with Cocktails: We sat at Funky Cafe for a few hours, sitting on there pillow covered balcony with a mojito & our kindles.
Wander the Streets: There are loads of beautiful trinket stores, spas, cafe’s & bars along a series of windy colourful roads. All of the roads lead to the beach & it reminded us of Mexico with the beautiful artwork on the walls.

 

 


DAY 5-8 Welligama

Transportation:
From Unawatuna, hop on the bus that says Welligama on the front. It will cost around 150SLR to get you to Welligama.

Accommodation:
(3 Nights) We stayed at Open Sky guest house & we didn’t love it. The wifi didn’t reach our room, we had to move rooms because our bathroom was totally open to the corridor (so weird!). I highly recommend trying to booking in at Hangtime Hostel. We met up with our friend Milly in Weligama & she was staying there. It looked AWESOME, sadly it was booked up when we were in town, so this is definitely a spot you want to prebook. 

Favourite Eateries:
Breakie:
Ceylon Sliders ($$) Try the Tumeric Latte – such a nice change from my morning tea!
Soul Cafe ($) Smoothie Bowl!!!
Good Time Coffee ($) Smoothie Bowl!!!

Lunch
Dolphin Beach Resort ($) Order the Veggie Roti & Chicken Roti! They are Sri Lankan dishes, essentially a rice flour wrap that’s filled & than grilled. Awesome afternoon snack & super duper cheap.
Hungry Birds ($) Don’t order a salad like I did, go for the curry instead. You won’t be disappointed!

Dinner
Ceylon Sliders ($$) Definite splurg meal for us backpackers, but 100% worth every penny! My tuna sushi bowl was divine & the cocktails are SO fresh!
Froggys ($) Pizza. Pizza. Pizza. They are massive, so we ended up taking half a pizza each home & having it the next day!

Things to do:

Surfing: There are loads of surf schools on the beach! We rented boards from Freedom & I managed to get up a few times which was awesome!
Yoga: There are signs for yoga all along the street & Hangtime Hostel also has 2 daily classes
Exploring: Midigama is only a short Tuktuk drive away & the beach is much quieter.

Next week I’ll be sharing part 2 which includes snorkelling with turtles, the perfect beach town, an elephant sanctuary & more! We definitely kept busy!!

Have a question about Sri Lanka? Ask in the comments below!

Big Hugs,

Gemma

 

 

 

Gemma Hulbert
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Gemma Hulbert

Hello! My name is Gemma, the girl behind The Yacht Stew. After 7 years of working on yachts, I wanted to create a platform where I could share my stories, travels & passions. I have been asked a million and one times “What do you actually do working on a yacht?” – hopefully this blog will give you a good insight. I’m so excited to share my travels & stories with you.
Gemma Hulbert
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