Our travel methods remain much the same no matter where we are traveling. We both decide where we want to start, then I research the how we get there. I usually have it right down to “go to the bus station marked xyz and ask for a ticket to ABC and it should cost $—“. This time though I had left a lot of that organising to Dave (or so I thought) so it was a bit of a novelty to arrive in the Colombo airport (Sri Lanka) and to have Dave turn to me and go “so how do we get to Hikkaduwa?”. Ummmm – I had nothing and it turned out neither did Dave. So it was back to the old fashioned pre-internet method of just asking around. We, of course, managed just fine. A bus took us into Colombo central where we managed to find a very helpful guy who got us onto a local southbound bus that connected with another service to Hikkaduwa. Mission accomplished and 6 hours later we were in our hotel thanks to a helpful tout with a minimum of fuss.
Hikkaduwa is a town on the Western Coast in the southern corner of the island. It is very much a tourist town with an abundance of hotels, restaurants and bars. The main road runs straight through the middle of town with only a strip of buildings separating it from the sea. Our hotel is a bit further back from the ocean hotels and the main road which works well for noise (well except for the 3 trains that come past during the night but they are already white noise 😉 ). The closer you get to the ocean the more you pay so no seaside bungalow for us.
Over the last 2 days we have managed to hire a motorscooter and start exploring using Hikkaduwa as a base. The fort city of Galle (Gaul) further south is a thriving metropolis where the tourist trade must cater to a rather more cashed up clientele. The coastal views are still spectacular and well worth the drive. The end of a peninsula is a great walled fort that has been commandeered by some ritzy shops, cafes and galleries. It was like walking into a European city with narrow alleys and colonial buildings. We definitely felt the Portuguese influence.
As I sit here beside the “river” of our hotel there is an amusing local gentleman who is happy to answer Dave’s questions. He is the one who happily told us the joke of the title … “What to do ah? Hikkaduwa”, followed by peals of laughter at his own joke. The people here so far have been pretty friendly, although the touts can be pretty determined to offer all manner of tours. All we have to do is tell them we have a motorbike and they shrug and seem to leave us alone.
The plan over the next few days is to take our little bike and go a bit further afield to see how the real Sri Lanka lives, away from the tourist strip.
Below are a random selection of shots from the last couple of days. I hope they help to show the beauty of the area we are in.
Local Costs (R = Rupee)
Bus from Colombo airport to city R260 = $2.20 for both of us
Total for 2 buses from Colombo to Hikkadua R430 = $3.65 for both of us
Hotel (no hot water which is ok as it is beyond hot and fan room which is clean and comfortable with a lovely garden on a tiny river) R1800/night = $15.00
Motorscooter hire R600/day = $5.10/day
Dinner for 2 in a tourists restaurant approx R1000 = $8.50
Local restaurant dinner for 2 last night R400 = $3.40
Beer 625ml Lion beer (which I might add is pretty darned good 😉 ) R300 = $2.55 (although it is proving hard to find it super cold 🙁 )