It was always my plan to backpack in Asia after I’d finished my PCT thru-hike. As my hike ended earlier than expected, I had extra time for this Asia trip. My intended first destination was hiking in Nepal, which didn’t seem like a smart idea with the lingering injury. Furthermore, I would head East earlier than expected, leaving most of my planned destinations in the less desirable monsoon-season. Sri Lanka seemed like a good place to start, I’d been there before and the rain would subside during my stay there.
During my IT-studies in 2006, I travelled to the island with other students as volunteers to build computer rooms in primary schools and orphanages. Although we were there for multiple weeks, we didn’t get to see much of the country as we stayed mostly in the southern cities of Galle and Unawatuna. Besides that, 18-year old me had not appreciated the culture and nature in a way that I would now. So I’m glad I have to opportunity to revisit Sri Lanka.
To acclimate to the weather and time difference, I planned to stay a couple of nights in the beach town Negombo. It is relatively close to the airport and the country’s capital Colombo. I’d have to work out my further plans from there. The trip started off ‘well’ when I tried to check-in at my hotel and they informed me that they would be closed for 2 out of 3 nights I had booked. They had an affiliated hotel, further from the beach and the city centre, where they had planned to accommodate me, which was not something I wanted. It took me close to 2 hours to get them to cancel the reservation and book a different hotel.
Walking around the town, I figured that there was not a lot to do in Negombo, so I decided to rent a motorcycle and see the surrounding area during my days. The owner of the rental advised me to go up north to Kalpitiya. And that’s what I did. The next day I picked up the motorbike and started driving. The route weaved between coconut farms and little towns to occasionally end up at the beach. A beautiful drive through a, by foreigners, lesser travelled part of Sri Lanka.
When I got to my hotel, the exhaustion from driving, on top of the long flight of the day before, got the better of me. Without taking time to wander around and explore I fell asleep, only to wake in time for dinner.
The exploring came the next day. I walked along the deserted beach for a bit and visited the Dutch Fort, build by (for?) the Dutch in 1666 and now part of a Sri Lankan navy base.
After staying another night in Negombo, I had to travel to Colombo where I would catch the morning train to Anuradhapura. But not before taking a boat tour along the beautiful Negombo Lagoon. A large body of water home to many species of birds, fish, some monkeys and mangrove trees.
More about my days in Colombo and Anuradhapura in my next post. Or you can follow me on Instagram for more pictures.