After our flight from Chennai we arrived in Sri Lanka. As we had arrived in the early hours of the morning, and the journey to our transit hotel where we were just going to to get a few hours sleep was very short. We did not get any indication of what Sri Lanka was going to be like, the only thing that I noticed immediately was how much calmer the driving was. I thought that this was due to the fact it was 02:30 am, and everyone was asleep.
On our journey to the bus station to get the bus to Bentota it was quite clear to the fact that Sri Lanka was going to be nothing like India. As on the way was immediately evident that it was going to be much calmer “driving wise”, the streets were so much cleaner, and everything seemed so much more sedate. Straight away we knew we were going to love Sri Lanka. Our journey from Negombo to Colombo took around an hour, “but not without its problems. See below”, the second leg of the journey was around two and a half hours for a distance of just 70 miles because of heavy traffic. Total journey price £6;30 Taxi would have cost upward of £30.
Bus scam beware
We were taken to the bus station by Shaun who was the manager of the Transit Inn where we stayed for our first night. He told us that the fare to Colombo would be 130 lkr £0.59. We had three seats, one for our luggage. So our total fare for the journey would be 330 lkr. On arriving at the bus station in Colombo the conductor of the bus wanted 800 lkr, two seats for us a seat for each of our bags “both bags were on one seat” and 400 lkr for the toll which was the toll fare for the whole bus. “We noticed the fee at the toll booth”. Needless to say even though he wasn’t happy we said no and just gave him the correct fare. The next leg of our journey to Bentota went much smoother the conductor was very helpful and he didn’t try to scam us.
I’m sure if you looked at Bentota in the glossy brochures you will find endless high end faceless hotels, so for some this may well put you off visiting, but if you cross the bridge heading south out of town and head for the beach you will find, what seemed to us like miles of unspoilt immaculately clean white sand beaches. Our choice of homestay was Villa Lalita, a really lovely home stay, great value and amazing hosts. Villa Lalita is in Pitaramba Road, which is turning on the right, over the bridge heading south. There are plenty of other home stays to choose from down this road. Our homestay was just a 5 minute walk to an amazing beach, that you will almost have all to yourself. We possibly counted fifty or so people in like I said what seemed like miles of beach. We didn’t do much else in Bentota except soak up the sun, as we needed a rest after our busy schedule in India.
Restaurants in Bentota . Pier 88, which is in Bentota town itself, they served good food. Good location on the river. Happy Fish “although if you chose a fish dish the fish would not be too happy”. Located just across the bridge heading into town, another one with river views. Finally the Golden Grill which I can also recommend. “Just don’t order a bottle of Sri Lankan wine, it’s appalling”.
Über and Ola Cabs appear not to be available in Sri Lanka, but another useful app I found was PickMe which does work, but not in all areas.
Next stop Galle Fort.