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Monday, 2 February 2015

Sri Lanka Travel Pt 1: 7 Nights In Balapitiya


Balapitiya, a tiny coastal town in south west Sri Lanka is a place I have never heard of prior to this visit. Its 5 syllable name also took a while before I could pronounce it smoothly and mention it with ease. For most travelling trips my preference has always been to stay in happening places. I particularly like places with endless corners to explore but there is a four star resort by the beach which we could stay for almost free in Balapitiya (for private reasons). This is reason enough to opt for the latter and that was how we ended staying in tiny, remote Balapitiya for 8D/7N.
We left our hotel early to visit the town on our first morning in Balapitiya.  We decided to walk as walking is the best way to explore a new place. At 7.30am,  Balapitiya was still sleeping.
We passed by a number of houses and shops with nice balconies.

This pretty Sri Lankan lass who was drying clothes saw me and happily posed for a snapshot.
The post office is reminiscent of the 70's era.
There is only one bank (People's Bank) and this bank gave a better exchange rate compared to airport money changers.
The wet market sells mostly fish as Balapitiya is a fishing town.
A grocery store along the main road displaying fresh produce.
A bread store.
A modern chain and better stocked grocery store.
In Sri Lanka bananas are always displayed in long bunches but buyers can ask for a small bunch to be sliced off.
There are no international fast food chains and hardly any decent restaurant in Balapitiya. Our presence invited a lot of stares as we were the only foreigners walking the street. Nevertheless, many greeted us and a few tried to get some tourism business from us.
We haven't eaten breakfast so we joined the locals for a meal of 'roti canai'.
Sri Lanka is  predominantly Buddhist but there are big mosques to cater for the Muslim communities.
Indigenous to Sri Lanka are King Coconuts (locally called Thembili) which are small in stature but sweeter than other species of coconut. We had close to a dozen of these during our short stay here. This man sells each for only RM0.90 (30Rs)
After an hour's walk it was the best thing to do.
Balapitiya is the nearest town to Madu Ganga River, which is famous for river safari tours.
We visited Captain Boat House, the biggest boat operator in the region to check out the safari tour rate. There are a few other smaller boat operators at the edge of town. 
Just opposite the river stood The Mangrove Cave Hotel. We walked in to check out the dining menu. Having seen enough for the day we took a stroll back to our hotel. All in we walked 2 hours and a distance of 6km that morning.
On another occasion we visited an ancient Buddhist temple. This is located about 500 metres from where I stayed.  Sri Pushparama Maha Viharaya is believed to be 130 years old and is in the list of archaeological protected monuments in Sri Lanka.
Trains like this serve the locals travelling within the country. I have not seen any flyovers while traversing parts of Sri Lanka and on many occasions and in many places, we had to wait  for the train to pass before continuing our journey.
This is Balapitiya at 5pm. We wanted to have dinner at  'Asian Restaurant' but it was not yet opened for business.  Reluctant to wait, we got the tuk-tuk to take us to another town (Ahunggala) to get our dinner.

Related Posts: Click To View
Sri Lanka Travel Pt 7: The Journey From Galle To Balapitiya








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