Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Long Weekend in the Southern Tea Hills of Sri Lanka - 6 Day Itinerary

Water Well on the road Matugama Kalutara Sri LankaSix days of holidays are coming up! The 9th to the 14th of April, 2009 are holidays for most of us - for others, you just need to take the 10th off.

Only in Sri Lanka do we get these kind of long weekends. Most of us head in one direction: down south. The roads are good, the beach is there, etc. But so is everyone else.

Sunset through rubber tree silouhettes Matugama Kalutara Sri LankaHere's a slightly alternative itinerary, with minimal travelling time, which will take you to parts of Sri Lanka which almost no one sees. As a plus, you'll visit unique hotels - most of which you've probably never been to - and support them through this difficult time.

First, go to Halketha. Leave Colombo early in the morning when there's minimal traffic. It's in a rubber estate in Matugama, off Kalutara. Enjoy the scenery - go for a bike ride using the hotel bicycles in the surrounding paddy lands and rubber estates with minimal traffic - we counted 1 van per hour. See if you can bike to the Peeli Hatha (7 Waterfalls).

Then, head to Rock View Motel, Kalawana near Sinharaja. The road takes you across the Agalawatte tea plantation, which is gorgeous. When you get there, hike to or drive to Sinharaja if you want - stay in the room and enjoy the view and the chop suey if you don't.
Kalawana Sinharaja Sri Lanka Cloudy Mountains Panorama

You can also try Rainforest Edge, also in Kalawana, which is much more expensive - about twice the price of Rock View - but also much posher.

Finally, hit Bopath Ella Rock Chalets in Kuruwita past Ratnapura. The road from Kalawana/Sinharaja to Ratnapura/Kuruwita is similarly scenic, full of southern tea.They have an amazing chop suey and fried rice, so try both. Remember to take the Bopath Ella main road from Kuruwita junction and, when you come to some rocks on the Bopath Ella road put there by touts who want you to pay for parking, just drive past them and you'll find the hotel. By no means should you stay in Minara Bopath Ella which is just nearby: the parking lot is prettier than the hotel.

Travel time should not exceed 2 hours per leg. The total should not exceed LKR 30,000 accomodation for two people.

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