We stayed in Beruwela on the Sri Lankan west coast. It’s a busy town with lots of beach hotels but from here you can easily walk far away from the tourist places and not get hassled very much by the locals trying to make a few bob from the foriegners.
There’s lots going on at the beach to keep you amused and unlike some places you can walk for a long way without being stopped by barriers or private beaches. You can buy most things – I was very tempted by the idea of having my own dressmaker. Next time I wont resist!
The great thing about this country is that you don’t have to miss out on any aspect of a perfect holiday. The luxury is affordable, the beaches are perfect and there’s enough culture for anyone.
Our visit to the elephant orphanage at Pinnawala was included in our package. I don’t think we would have booked this on our own but it is one of the most famous places in Sri Lanka.
The elephant orphanage was established in 1975 to rescue baby elephants found abandoned in the wild. Mahouts take care of them and twice a day they are herded to the river probably mostly to make photo opportunities for tourists. They let people feed the babies with bottles and all the animals looked healthy but many of the older elephants seem to be chained. More interesting to us was a shop selling paper from elephant poo!
Dambulla has been a place of worship since the first century. There are five caves full of Buddha statues and paintings. King Vallagamba hid in them for fifteen years when he was driven out of his capital, Anuradhapura. When he regained his kingdom he painted the caves to give thanks. Later kings added to the collection until there were over one hundred and fifty painting and statues.This place is really worth a visit even with a long climb up the many stairs in the heat.