Following on from part 2, here is the final instalment of our 3 part blog series about Tom's Sri Lanka tour...
And onto Ella
From Hatton we caught the train through the mountains to Ella Sri Lanka. The journey was spiced up not only by the breathtaking scenery but a group of inebriated local musicians who invited us to join and make merry with them. It would have been rude not to… so a few swigs of Arrak later we were banging bongos along to their slurred singing. The journey flashed by and we soon found ourselves in Ella where we stayed at a hotel called Ambiente. Ambiente has the most spectacular view from the mountains out over the southern plains towards the south coast and the following morning we embarked on another stunning trek up to Ella Rock. The route was pretty unchartered and leeches were rife but with the help of a local named Sudud we navigated our way to the top for an absolutely breathtaking view out towards the southern plains of Sri Lanka.
From Ella we descended towards the coast. The south coast of Sri Lanka is blessed with tranquil bays and white sandy beaches. We spent our last days unwinding at Tangalle, Mirissa and Unawatuna, all idyllic postcard settings. Rekawa beach near Tangalle is a turtle conservation sanctuary where you can spend an evening waiting in the hope of seeing a turtle scurry up from the ocean to lay its eggs. Our evening required hours of patience but in the early hours of the morning we were fortunate enough to find a Green turtle laying its eggs and make its way back to the sea. The process of manoeuvring on sand looked painfully laborious for the poor turtle but was fascinating to watch.
Unawatuna, great restaurants and cocktail bars
Unawatuna was our final stop and a great place to finish the holiday. We stayed at the immaculate Thaprobane, without doubt the number one place to stay in the village. Unwatuna is livelier than the sleepy bays of Tangalle and Mirissa with many great restaurants and cocktail bars dotted along the beach. On our last morning we went line fishing and caught corral fish, red snapper, and barracuda which we duly brought back to the shore and cooked up in one of the beachside cafes.
Reminiscing about the holiday whilst picking the Barracuda bones from my teeth, I concluded that, while Sri Lanka is blessed with immense natural beauty, delicious food, abundant wildlife, and a fascinating cultural heritage, what really makes this country so special is the warmth and openness of the Sri Lankan people.