“Get ready faster as we don’t want to miss the sunrise”, “Let’s grab a quick subway on the way so that we find a spot”, “Let’s go to bed early so that we beat the morning tourists”. – All of this would sound very familiar if you’ve traveled with me. I love spending hours planning trips and doing micro-optimizations but this trip wasn’t one of those. Earlier this year, I spent a week in Sri Lanka, and a couple of weeks in Tokyo. Both these trips had a lot of similarities. These were with my best friends from childhood, so I was more excited catching up with them than anything else.
While most of our trip was filled with nostalgia, old jokes, and laughter, there were a few beautiful places we visited, that’d make for a great one week trip to Sri Lanka.
Pro tip: Avoid driving in Sri Lanka, even after 10+ years of driving in India, I felt I made an wrong decision to rent a car and drive. Taxis are very affordable. However if you do end up driving, you’ll need an International Drivers Licence Permit and an endorsement from Sri Lanka. The rental companies take care of this if you book the cars a few days in advance. If you live in the US, walking into AAA is the easiest way to get an IDP. I was done getting an IDP in 10 minutes at the AAA in Mountain View, CA.
Day 1-2 : Galle and Unawatuna
After landing early morning before sunrise and renting a car from the airport, we stopped in Colombo to fill the back seats with snacks and made our way to Galle by sunrise.
The city is beautiful with Galle Dutch Fort, Galle Lighthouse and the streets with Portuguese architecture. We didn’t spend a whole lot of time here as the weather was too hot pretty soon, and made our way to our AirBnb, which was the highlight of the day for us.
[Having breakfast served on a private patio with beach access was the highlight of the stay]
Day 3, 4, 5, 6: Ahangama + Mirissa
Lots of this was whale watching, great food, cocktails and coconuts on beaches.
[Our original plan was couple of days in Ahangama and Mirissa, followed by couple of days in Nuwara Eliya, but we had to skip the later and let go of our AirBnb reservations as I wasn’t feeling too well after the lunch on our 2nd day in in Ahangama]
We stayed at Insight Resort Ahamgama. While the place itself was good, with volleyball and pool side bar with music, their staff really stood out to make a difference. Everyone from the front desk to the lifeguards at the pool greet you with a smile and go out of their way to make to help. The person at the front desk in particular was very friendly and helped us with planning things to do nearby. There was something that really stood out about their hospitality.
Here’s a picture of the amazing lunch we had outside the hotel.
Most of the beaches around Ahamgama were quiet and peaceful, whereas in Mirissa there were more options to eat and drink on the beaches.
Day 7, 8: Negombo/Colombo
The highlight of Negombo was staying in this newly opened hotel named Nico Lagoon. They had this outdoor pool, which was open all night! We enjoyed “Ceylon Arrack”, a traditional Sri Lankan spirit [guess what? It has coconut flavor] beside this little pool, followed by swimming. Not a bad way to end the trip.