Discovering Sri Lanka: A Journey near Indian Ocean from Colombo to Galle

  • Colombo is the commercial capital of Sri Lanka and is known for its blend of modern and colonial architecture. Some of the must-visit attractions in Colombo include the National Museum, Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, and the Viharamahadevi Park. The city is also a great place for shopping, with markets like Pettah and Colombo City Center offering a wide variety of goods.
  • Bentota is a coastal town in Sri Lanka known for its beautiful beaches, water sports, and seafood. Some of the popular things to do in Bentota include water skiing, windsurfing, and jet skiing. The town is also home to the Bentota Turtle Hatchery, where you can see baby turtles and learn about turtle conservation efforts.
  •  Galle is a historic coastal city in Sri Lanka that was once a major port and trading hub. The city is known for its Dutch colonial architecture, which can be seen in landmarks like the Galle Fort and the Dutch Reformed Church. The Indian Ocean, which borders Sri Lanka, is a major attraction for visitors to Galle, offering opportunities for swimming, surfing, and whale watching. The waters around Galle are home to a wide variety of marine life, including dolphins, sea turtles, and colorful fish.

At the start of 2022, we traveled to Sri Lanka for about a two-week-long life-changing journey.

In this article, I'm sharing my travel notes with listing places of interest we visited. Also, make sure to watch our short video from this trip: Sri Lanka, Colombo, Bentota and Galle

The Tbilisi-Doha flight was good, with plenty of legroom. The plane seemed a bit outdated, a Boeing A230. But for a less than 3-hour flight, it was very decent.

The biggest surprise came at the Doha Airport, where we had reserved a business lounge with an option to stay at the so-called cubicles. It turned out they were on a first-served basis. I thought, "Alright, we got scammed."

Nevertheless, after some 40 minutes, we got our cubicle. It was nothing fancy, but better than nothing. We managed to get some sleep at our cubicle, and soon we were boarding the next plane departing for Colombo, Sri Lanka.

On the plane, I met a nice Sri Lankan software developer. We talked a bit, and he told me about Asian careers in Qatar. It turned out he hadn't been home for two years because of the pandemic.

Before booking the plane, we reserved Hilton Apartments in Colombo and requested an airport shuttle. It was approved for USD 35. After arriving in Colombo, we were asked to fill out a few more declarations and forms related to health and crossed the border.

Our driver waited for us, and soon we were taken to the Hilton Colombo hotel in Colombo. Here, we ordered a nice dinner with some fish and chips, rice and beef, and more. I also got a complimentary adapter for European/Sri Lankan plugs.

The next morning, we visited the hotel swimming pool and were surprised at the cold water in it, despite the temperature being +30 outside. The hot pool located inside helped.

After visiting the pools, I made a list of the top 3 sightseeing places in Colombo and caught a tuk-tuk on the street. The driver agreed to take us to the first location for 100 Sri Lankan Rupees.

We arrived at the temple, paid the entrance fee of 800 Sri Lankan Rupees, walked around, and took a lot of photos. When leaving the temple, another tuk-tuk driver approached us and offered to show us the top 10 places in Colombo for 1,000 Sri Lankan rupees. I quickly agreed, as I was against walking. We made stops at a few places, and I took photos and videos. We decided to skip some places from the list and return to our hotel.

In the evening, we visited the pool again, hoping it would be warm, but it was pretty cold again. The hot inside pool helped. Later in the night, we booked the next hotel in Bentota.

The next morning, before breakfast at Hilton Colombo Residences, I asked if they could help us arrange a transfer to Bentota, and the hotel helped. We were asked about 12,400 Sri Lankan rupees (around 60 USD) for the transfer.

In about two hours, we arrived at the Bentota Taj Spa Resort, checked in, and got a nice ocean view room. We went to the swimming pool and spent a few hours there. In the evening, we went to the ocean, and I took some amazing drone footage. Nice.

We spent a nice 2 nights here, and during our stay, we met Bata, a local tour seller at the beach. He sold us a day trip to the Madu Ganga safari boat, a visit to the Turtle hatchery, and a local spices and herbal garden. On the second day, I bought a surfing class again from Bata. Surfing was very fun. I took some more drone footage in the evening, with lightning in the background. Awesome.

In the evening, we agreed to cancel our plans to visit Kandy and instead spend the rest of our days near the Indian Ocean. We booked another 5-star resort spa located about 12 km away and paid 1,500 Sri Lankan rupees for the transfer. Once we were in the car, the driver started to sell us his awesome tours. Well, that's how it works here, I guess.

When we arrived at the Cinnamon Bay hotel, we were assigned a superior room. I made a little fuss and we were upgraded to a nice deluxe room for free. There's no victory without a fight! We enjoyed swimming in the deluxe pool, kids pool, and at the nearby Beruwala beach.

We also ordered a boat trip to the nearby Barberyn lighthouse for USD 30 the next day. I wasn't very excited about what I saw, but I'm just a very spoiled tourist, and it's hard to excite me. But what can you do? At least I made some nice drone footage.

I asked the same guide if he could provide us a day trip to Galle and the surrounding area. He agreed, but he was asking for USD 150. I tried to bargain, but the guide was not very flexible and wouldn't agree to a lower price. The next morning, before breakfast, I ordered the same day trip from another driver for USD 50.

We got a very nice and friendly driver who took us to a jewelry shop to exchange money, then to the moonstone mines where we learned how moonstone is mined out of the ground and bought some jewelry.

We made a short stop at the Tsunami victim memorial and were then taken to the amazing Galle Fort, where I met a Latvian-speaking craft seller named Jeffrey and made some nice drone footage.

We had a lovely dinner in Galle city and were later taken back to Beruwala by our driver with stops to buy some fresh fruit and visit temple elephants. It was a lovely day. With the same driver, we agreed that he would take us to Colombo the next morning for 8,000 rupees.

The next morning, we also ordered PCR tests to be done at our hotel. We woke up early, did the test at around 8 am, had breakfast, and spent a few hours at our deluxe pool, where we met a very curious baby lizard. At 12 pm, our driver arrived and our drive to Colombo started.

Despite the location being quite short, about 60 km, we spent more than 2 hours driving. Crazy! In Colombo, we checked into the Marino Beach hotel.

The hotel has a rooftop infinity pool, where we took a nice swim and ordered a few milkshakes. Sandra did some shopping at the nearby mall, and we went to bed early as we had a morning flight from Colombo airport. We had to leave at 6:30 am.