Backpacking around Sri Lanka in 2 weeks - Galle, Hikkaduwa & Bentota

This is the final post on 'backpacking around Sri Lanka in two weeks' series and it's been an epic story to tell. If you want to read from the beginning click here, here, here and here.

Galle is the administrative capital of the south and has an interesting mix of architecture from its various occupations, including the Portugese in the 16th century, the Dutch and the British. Much of the building and infrastructure is Dutch, including the intricate canal system, which makes it an interesting melting pot of styles.
It was the Dutch that fortified the country and the Galle fort is a world heritage site and still the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers. It has many features of a large city with cricket grounds, financiers and banks and feels a little more metropolitan. We had the opportunity to catch some cricket, visit some shops and were driven to the main sights, including some beautiful temples. 

Upon leaving the city we were driven to a lovely botanical garden, where we wandered looking at the many species of plant and got to try some of the products made from the flora here. There was a hut where therapists offered Ayurvedic treatments, such as massage, and demonstrated how the creams could help with chronic skin conditions. Although it was clearly an opportunity to get some sales from tourists, it didn’t feel all one sided as some other tours have, as there was the opportunity to have a free short treatments.

Our tour then took us back towards the coast and by this point we were really missing beach life and sun. We were ready to flop on the sand and swim in crystal clear seas. Next on the list was Hikkaduwa, a laid back, hipster surf paradise with white sands and warm water. It is also home to coral reef and some good diving but we mainly sunbathed, explored the pretty stalls and relaxed. 
On the evening, we had a choice of restaurants and bars, with some cool beach shacks selling cocktails and holding bonfires on the beach. With blissed out tunes in the background and the most striking sunset giving us a spectacular show, we were well and truly back in holiday mode.
After a good night’s sleep, aided by that fresh salty air, we began our journey towards Bentota, one the most beautiful of the beach resorts in the country. The main reason was to witness turtles hatching their eggs on the shore, which is magical to see. Nearby was also a turtle conservation project which rescues adults who have become injured as a result of rubbish and fishing nets. Some of them had lost their fins and couldn’t protect themselves any longer. There was even a large male albino turtle who they couldn’t release because he would get picked off by predators.

The also had many baby turtles who had been orphaned and actually bred them here as well, so we got to hold unhatched turtle eggs and even some teeny tiny baby turtles, which were just too cute. We made a donation to the cause and talked to expats who had moved out there to help the turtles and rebuild the community after the tsunami. Hearing the brave stories of those people that had experienced it and lost family and friends was humbling.
Whilst in Sri Lanka we had been advised to try an Ayurvedic treatment and so each booked in for a head and shoulder massage. It means ‘life knowledge’ and is considered a form of holistic medicine. We were allowed to choose the oils that appealed to us most and each taken into separate rooms. I don’t know if my experiences of massage have been more of the relaxation kind but this one was pretty rough but I did feel good afterwards. It could have just been this particular centre, though.

We enjoyed soaking up some more sun before it was time to return to our base for the rest of the holiday. I was so glad that we explored the country and if we’d had more time, I’m sure we could have done more, but what we did do helped give us a sense of the diversity, culture and beauty of this island and it remains one of the best adventures we’ve had.


  1. Replies
    1. It really was a beautiful place. Those skies are something I'll remember forever.


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