For my Indian visa, I needed to take a short brake outside the country. I decided to travel to Sri Lanka for a short break, also to see if I wanted to go here for a longer trip in the future. Unawatuna in the turned out to be a very good choice, a short travel from the airport of Colombo, on my arrival I had organised a car and on return I made the trip by train. Unawatuna is a very popular area in the country, many tourists like to spend their time in the southern part of Sri Lanka. Mainly because the south has the most beautiful beaches And because of the short distance from the airport a perfect area to stay for a few days. The town itself is small, has great shopping, guesthouses, trendy restaurants and quite some activities and sightseeing nearby.
Using a scooter or motorbike to explore new area’s, is my favourite. These are easy to rent for a few euros a day and give you a lot of liberty . Unawatuna and it’s surroundings has a lot to see: Galle Fort, Japanese Peace Pagoda, the Buddhist temple Yatagala Raja Maha Viharaya and Koggala Lake. Wijaya Beach was my go to place, a lovely place with a large reef which was making a nice swimming area and breaking the larger waves. The days I was there, two large turtles were swimming in this natural pool, together with the tourists.
There are many turtles in this area and because of that also a few hatcheries. In Habaraduwa I visited a hatchery where small turtles are being taken care of. Sometimes they get stuck in fishing nets or they take care the baby-turtles are already somewhat stronger before put out in the ocean.
Close-by also some nice beaches if you would like to surf or learn how to surf.
Guesthouses and hotels are a little higher priced in the area because it is a popular destination, for people from outside Sri Lanka, but as well with local tourism. Through booking.com I found a lovely homestay on the beach of Mihiripenna, which was called The Beach Villa. (Use this link to receive an instant discount on your next reservation: https://booking.com/s/73_6/30b5ced5)
There are many places to eat, I am always on the look out for the more healthy restaurants which have vegetarian and vegan on the menu. Definitely worth going back is Wijaya Beach for the over delicious pizza’s and desserts, Happy Spice for the local Sri Lankan food and the Italian ice-cream of Love Gelato
The most recommended travel period for the Southwest of the country is December-April and July-September. I had great weather during my stay, one afternoon a big rainfall which lasted for about half an hour, afterwards the sun came back. That was the afternoon I visited a tea plantation and an Ayurvedic spice farm close by.
The train back to Colombo was a very nice trip. From Galle already very busy so had to stay in the doorway, which was probably the most comfortable place anyway. Met a great couple from Australia who were on their way further North. I love traveling by train, you get to see different aspect of the country, meet more people locals and other travellers too. Exchanging numbers for photos that were taken, and discovering during the two hour train ride that the time was too short and looking forward to organise meeting somewhere later, probably with a good meal and glass of wine to have a conversation without the background sounds of the sri lankan railway...