Beach hopping from Arugam Bay to the South coast
With weeks into my Sri Lanka trip, it was time to hit the beach once I was done with all the inland attractions. And was I in serious need of some relax time and a beer ! Not that I needed a tan or anything, I mean, I was getting so tanned just walking around in the intense heat for weeks that I started to look like I wasn’t Chinese anymore.
So the beach hopping started at Arugam Bay on the East Coast, one of the best surf spots in the world. Apparently the place is really popular for their reef breaks. Luckily I visited in low season, because everything here was SO expensive ! The accomodation was pretty alright because we could negotiate, but cost of food was exorbitant.
Ate at this restaurant and the menu made me burst out laughing for a good 5 minutes as the man tried to take my order. He was a real sport too, playing house music on his radio and dancing along to the beats. Gotta love his energy! So what really cracked me up for days was “Sees Toes”. Apparently that translates to “Cheese Toast” as he pronounced it in his Sri Lankan accent. DYING OVER HERE~ Okay moving on.
Since there was nothing to do by the beach, Adam & I rented a scooter and took our own little safari bike tour. This was to replace the fact that I couldn’t go for the Yala National Park tour for 2 reasons. #1 it was too far away and there wasn’t any time #2 I didn’t have the budget for it 🙁
Our self guided tour was pretty eventful though! Rode around to places that were completely secluded where it was just us and the wild, seeing wild peacocks, elephants and countless attempts to spot crocodiles.
There was actually so much to see just exploring by ourselves on a bike. Simply ask the locals where to see certain animals and they’ll point you in the direction. So maybe I didn’t get to see leopards in a jeep, but this was close enough and as natural as it can be.
A few hours by bus would land us on the South coast, which wasn’t too unbearable of a journey. But as usual the bus ticket attendants try to rip us off and charge us a lot more than what the locals pay. I for one hate that kind of dishonesty and had to call him out for it.
Out of the many beaches along the south coast, I chose to stay in Mirissa because the other travellers that I met on the way recommended that for cheap lodging. Using that as a base, I would then take buses along the coastline to see other beaches.
& Because my travel buddy was a surf enthusiast, we headed down to Weligama where he taught me how to surf (SCORE! FREE SURF CLASSES). This beach was THE perfect beach to go to as a beginner since the waves were gentle and the board rentals were dirt cheap. It would cost approx $5 a day for a board !
Unawatuna was supposedly one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but because of that many resorts have since sprouted up. And with a famous beach destination and high end resorts, that only means one thing – Russian tourists. Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against Russians but the stereotypical Russian tourists are just plain obnoxious in my opinion. They spoil tourism by paying for everything and anything, even exorbitant amounts because they simply can.
One of the things I wanted to see really badly was the stilt fishing that most Sri Lanka travel guides feature. So I asked some locals and they recommended that the best place to see it was along the coastline near Weligama. I was really disappointed to find the fishermen demanding money from tourists JUST to take pictures. They were trying to profit from photos that people are taking for an outrageous price, and it didn’t help that a bunch of Chinese/Japanese tourists just paid them! And the worst part was that they weren’t even really stilt fishing, the fishermen were just sitting on the stilts pretending to be busy, yelling at people who try to sneak photos without paying. Such culture is really a shame in a beautiful place like that. Of course our refusal to be extorted for such nonsense means we simply sat by the rocks from afar and watched this horrible act go on while trying to enjoy the sunset. What a mood kill.
Man, I really miss those bright surreal looking sunsets :/