Travel

Mirissa, a free and easy beach trip

It took me a long while to be able to decide which beach to go to as there were too many to choose from in Sri Lanka. There were beaches that are more touristy, great for surfing, has whale watching and a whole lot more. I decided to go to Mirissa after finding a place which offers bed & breakfast as well as yoga sessions.

Now that was probably the sole mistake I have made for this trip as the place did disappoint me in a lot of ways. Mirissa was perfect, but the pricey place I stayed in was not. I stayed at Surf and Yoga Mirissa, and for USD 310.00, here’s what I got:

  • accommodation for two nights in a sizeable room with a double bed and single bed, has a huge balcony as well, looking into the jungle
  • simple breakfast of toast, eggs and jam
  • two yoga sessions
  • a day trip all-inclusive to Yala National Park (transport to and fro Yala as well as the safari jeep)
  • a one hour massage at The Secret Root Spa

The place looked decent but there were a couple of things that were really frustrating. One, the door lock was so difficult to open – it uses one of those really old keys which had the longer stem and it made me so upset just trying to get inside my room. Two, they have major issues with water supply. I am not sure if this is the same for the rest of the hotels in Mirissa, but there is no water at major timings that you need to take a shower – mainly in the evening and morning. And the worst part is, the staff cannot do much about it. The bed was so-so, a little bit rickety, the AC gets really loud at night and disruptive. Now even if I live in the city, I am used to total silence when I go to sleep – so this was also kind of a let down.

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The yoga, on the other hand – was great. The sunset yoga brings us to the cliff by the beach where the view was perfect. The sun sets just when we are about to end our practice and it’s just mesmerizing to be part of it.

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Mirissa is a place that’s more for relaxing rather than exploring. There’s really nothing much I did during the two days I was there, except for laze around on the beach – practically anywhere I can lay my beach mat on and drink cheap cocktails at Papa Mango. This place is really chill with hammocks all around hanging on coconut trees, day beds and wooden planks to just lay on.

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Some of the places I would recommend:

  • Papa Mango – a place to chill with free WiFi, good chill out music and decent cocktails
  • Dewmini’s Roti Shop – the banana chocolate roti was superb!
  • The Secret Root Spa
  • The Secret Guesthouse – I wish I would have stayed here instead
  • Zephyr – awesome dinner place just along the beach with seafood, awesome cocktails and that chill out ambiance great with friends or your partner. Not bad for going solo as well!
  • and just lazing around the entire coast of Mirissa, choose a spot and chill out

P1030594.JPG my favorite beach mat made in the Philippines – it is ‘sand-resistant’

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Travel, Uncategorized

Galle, a Colonnial Hipster place of sorts

The Dutch first set foot in Galle Fort, and if I were them, I would stay for more than a hundred years as well. In most travel books and websites I have read before coming to Sri Lanka, most would say that there is no need to visit Galle as there is nothing much to do here. I’m glad I didn’t listen.

Galle is a great stop at either the start or the end of your journey to Sri Lanka. I didn’t stay long either, but I wish I could have stayed for at least two nights. I was there for 2 days and a night and I just find this place so charming. The narrow streets are within walking distance to most inns and B&B’s. There is just too much colour and contrast to this place that every nook and cranny is Instagrammable.

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Illustration Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/233272455674418764/

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I am so glad I picked out the perfect place for my stay – Antic’s Guesthouse. It was awesome. The location is just perfect to head out to anywhere within Galle, it is within walking distance to the main streets dotted with quaint shops, museums, cafes and restaurants.

Budget-wise, you wouldn’t really call it a budget hotel as it costs about US90/night inclusive of an awesome Sri Lankan breakfast (or Continental for those weak of heart) – but it was totally worth it.

The room is huge, the bathroom spacious and clean. All of the walls, windows, the poster bed as well as the ceiling are hand-painted as the owner is a local artist (I heard from the neighbor) who currently resides in the UK.

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The staff was really all very polite and helpful. They make sure they attend to everything you might need, you wouldn’t even have to ask! The receptionist has actually informed me that I was being ripped off by my tuk-tuk driver so I had to nicely ‘sack’ him. And this is how I found that overpriced tuk-tuk driver, read my previous post here.

You could walk the main streets of Galle Fort in half day, including visiting shops and maybe having a fruit juice or two along the way. There’s a good juice shop just opposite Antic’s Guesthouse owned by  an old Sri Lankan man and he was chatty and nice. Some notable shops and restaurants to see:

There was this vintage poster and postcard shop named Stick No Bills Poster Gallery, which I saw along Church Street  – and the prints and art are really awesome. If I wasn’t moving around Sri Lanka, I would have bought a poster or two for my bedroom.

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As I was taking photos around the Lighthouse, I saw this ‘rasta’ looking local who suddenly jumped off the cliff. Turns out, he has been doing cliff diving since late 90s/ early 2000s, for profit or not – I am not sure, but it didn’t seem like he was asking money for it. It was pretty nerve-wracking watching him, but he’s just so crazy about it you would kinda understand why he is doing it.

In a nutshell, I would still recommend Galle as a first stop to get ‘acclimatized’ to Sri Lanka. You can skip Colombo all together but Galle is a must-see, it’s too pretty to pass out on.

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