We arrived in Hikkaduwa early Sunday evening, we took the train from Colombo, which is a much more reasonable option than a taxi. We pre-booked an airbnb for 10 nights; Banana Leaf Apartments, and we totally fell in love with our new home on arrival. The house is set back from a small road in the jungle and feels hidden away and immersed in the Sri Lankan wildlife. Our airbnb hosts are super friendly and made us feel at home right away. We love being walking distance to the beach, but with our own quiet space to retreat back to. It's also really wonderful to have our own kitchen. One of the first things we did on Monday morning was visit the local market and pick up lots of fresh fruit and veggies which we've had a lot of fun making into spicy curries and stir-fries.
Many people who visit Hikkaduwa claim that it's very built up and has lost its charm over the years, so we were wondering what to expect from our first Sri Lankan beach experience. Hikkaduwa town itself isn't particularly charming, however, the two beaches, that flank the town are both very beautiful. We're staying near Narigama beach which is longer and quieter than the beach at Hikkaduwa. The only draw-back being that you can't really swim in the sea as the waves are very strong. You can jump in and out and dodge waves, but it's not great for swimming. We lazed away a Monday afternoon here and basically had the whole beach to ourselves.
The following couple of days the rains came, and it was impossible to do very much, we spent time reading and writing in our jungle home. Yesterday we visited the turtle hatchery in Hikkaduwa, it's a conservation centre for sea turtles and is worth a trip if you're in the area, the baby turtles were incredibly cute. We also visited the Tsunami museum, which was a harrowing experience; learning about the death toll and destruction on the small island in 2004.
Today the sun returned so we walked to Hikkaduwa beach for a spot of swimming and sunning; we found a great place for lunch; Mama's at Coral Beach hotel, right on the ocean. Tonight we're trying a restaurant near a lagoon and tomorrow we're renting a scooter so we can see more of the South Coast over the next couple of days.
Our plan is to head to Galle tomorrow, which is supposed to be lovely to walk around with lots of restaurants and boutiques to browse. We also want to get a few surfing lessons in before we head to Arugam bay, so we might book those over the next few days. We've had a really relaxing first week in Sri Lanka, (I'm feeling much better post-flu) and we're getting used to the slower pace of life and taking things easy.
One of my favourite things here is our walk to the beach, past Sri Lankan houses, nestled into the jungle and lots of friendly dogs (and some not-so friendly dogs) accompany us along the way.