Around the world Asia Sri Lanka

Discovering southern Sri Lanka

When I prepare a trip, I will always “stalk” photos of the country or place in question on social networks and mainly on Instagram, in the hope of discovering places off the beaten track. There are so many places in the world that have gone from singular activities to viral places to visit during your trip. A few popular Instagrammers or Bloggers expose a simple location and then, little by little, it becomes a must-see when visiting the country!

And this is therefore why we went to that famous rope at Dalawella Beach, in the south of Sri Lanka next to the famous little town of Unawatuna. The exact location is, actually, right across the street from the guesthouse called Pearly’s Dream Cabana. In fact, a friend of mine stayed there for a few nights during her trip and highly recommended it to us.

However, we had chosen a nice hotel, at first sight, located right next to the rope (we really stumbled on the rope while walking around to be honest), the Rock Fort Hotel & Spa, which we absolutely do not recommend. No need to go into detail, just don’t venture there…

Thus, the son of the owner, Pearly, told us that the family originally built this rope simply for fun. He explained to us that at the beginning of the success of the activity, they let people swing on the rope for free and then, from March 2017, they started, rightfully I think, to charge 500 rupees (which is about 3.00 CHF) to use it and as many times as we wanted. This small fee helps the family to maintain the rope. By the way, we had come in the morning and he advised us to come back at sunset as the place was even more magical at that time of day. That’s what we did and we didn’t need to pay again since the locals had recognized us. The Pearly family is very welcoming and caring and they also offer some food, beers and fruit juices. Also, they are happy to give advice on local life and love getting to know travellers to practise their English.

Despite its notoriety, during our two visits, few people were wandering around. It, therefore, allowed us to say to ourselves that we had found a secret and intimate place to enjoy the beauty of the sunset, surrounded by a peaceful and family atmosphere and above all by dogs, which delighted us the most! Moreover, we spent a few minutes trying to catch a glimpse of the turtles sticking their heads out of the ocean. It is necessary to scrutinize the horizon because this head movement is fleeting since it does not even last one second.

Venturing beyond the rope

On our first visit in the morning, we continued on our way to Wijaya Beach (only 2 minutes from the rope), to spend the day at the beach. This is the only beach in the area (apart from Unawatuna Beach, but the ocean was far too rough when we were there), which has a protective reef which creates a lagoon and ensures safe swimming. Beautiful and large turtles also venture into these waters, especially when an inhabitant comes to feed them with algae.

We had dinner at the Wijaya Beach restaurant, which offers a lot of European and Asian dishes which makes it famous in the neighbourhood. And then I ate the best curry of my life!

We then went a little further on our exploration by the beach, where it is deserted and quiet to rest away from the hustle and bustle of tourists and children. As we walked along, we spotted a second rope which, however, did not have the same vibe as the first one.

Very comfortable this book of public international law

Unawatuna is also a perfect place to unwind festively whether on the beach or in the meandering streets. It’s the perfect occasion to drink tons of Lion beer in the company of people you’ve met during the trip or with friendly locals.

Galle, time travel

One morning we went to Galle, a place straight out of the past. Initially, under Portuguese influence, it was under the Dutch era that Galle developed into a counter. However, following the arrival of the English and their domination, the city was supplanted by Colombo which became the official port of the country.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the former Dutch colonial city is perfect for a walk, rest in a nice café or a stroll through the shops of the city, as it has been frozen in time since the arrival of the English. It reminded me a lot of Colonia del Sacramento, in Uruguay, the first colonial city I visited during my trip to South America.

In this type of city, it is immediately noticeable that they are not quite in the image of the country. Indeed, this is also the case in Galle, which is based on a very European framework and does not reflect the rest of the country at all! In other words, the settlers did not want to mix with the “natives”…

Within its ramparts, Galle charms us with its architecture, its relaxed atmosphere and its straight streets. A real little cocoon for locals and tourists alike. Outside this enclosure, we find Sri Lanka, which we have been travelling through for a couple of weeks: restless and always on the move, which detonates with the almost serene atmosphere of Galle.

Tourism is very present there with many shops selling everything, this city is a major tourist point for the country. However, this does not disturb its eternal charm.

In half a day, the visit of the historical centre is done, so we didn’t take a hotel there but in Unawatuna, to enjoy the beach and a well-deserved rest before heading back to the grey Swiss winter.

And frankly, when life consists of nothing but long walks on the beach and breathtaking sunsets, what more could one ask for?

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