Arugam Bay

MapCrew : 7

Transportation : Cars (Kandy > Mahiyanganaya > Ampara > Akkaraipattu > Pottuvil > Arugam Bay > Pottuvil > Lahugala > Siyambalanduwa > Wadinagala > Ampara > Inginiyagala > Bibila > Mahiyanganaya > Kandy)

Duration : Two Days

I had plans to visit Arugam bay beach and spend a night there during the surfing season (May to September), But it kept postponing. There was a free weekend coming and seven of my friends confirmed participation. This time our plan was to spend more time on the beach as possible, So I wanted to reserve a place closer to the beach unlike in our previous visit (Read about our visit to Arugambay and Kudumbigala).

The gathering point was Kandy as most of my friends were there. One came from Kurunegala and another one all the way from Colombo. I was already in Ampara and planned to join them from there onward.  It was around 6.15 am when others left Kandy and they took around 4.5 hours to reach Ampara Via Padiyathalawa. As soon as they arrived Ampara we had a quick breakfast and started our drive to Arugam bay via Akkaraipattu. There was almost no traffic, so we reached Arugam bay just around an hour. We directly went to the hotel we reserved. It took another half an hour for us to settle in, before starting our search for a good place to have the lunch. The staff at our hotel recommended a place (Ranga’s Beach Hut) which reminded us that we have been there in our previous visit. It was just a couple hundred meters away next to the beach and we decided to walk up there by the main road. Even though it is off season, there were few groups of travelers in the restaurant area. We asked for their famous “Rice and Curry with Fried Fish” but sadly it was finished by that time. So we ordered Fried rice and soft drinks after settling to a table under a shady tree. Environment was way cooler than the outside road because of the giant umbrella of trees branches. They took some time to prepare the food but we didn’t noticed that as we were busy with catching up and admiring the surrounding.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
22730249_10212747502459635_9045449545670765253_n22712308_10212747500219579_2597253512175104978_o…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
DSCF6272…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
DSCF6263DSCF6282…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
We spent a more than an hour there and decided to walk back to the hotel through the beach. It was easier than walking on the main road plus we had a perfect view of Arugam bay. My friends were sleepy as they started the journey in the early morning and decided to take a quick nap until the burning sun rays fade away. But no one could sleep but talk lying in beds and chairs!
😀

We took a shower first to cool off and then decided to walk to the beach around 3.30pm. Even though our hotel was next to the beach, famous Arugam bay surfing spot was another one kilometer away. We saw many places that was threatened by sea erosion (may be a seasonal thing due to the changing tide patterns). There were quite a lot of people on the surfing spot, but only a few were surfing. We walked further to avoid the crowd and spent hours lying on the beach. The tides were so strong that sometimes it dragged us along the beach for couple of feet reminding our younger days! We didn’t wanted to worry about getting our cameras wet, so couldn’t capture any photo during our “floating in the beach” session. It was around 6pm when we decided to head back to our hotel. The sun just sank behind the coconut trees within couple of minutes, making us to walk back under the dark starless sky. Lights from the hotels marked the beach, up until the Arugam bay bridge. It took us more time than we expected to walk back to the hotel and had to spend another hour or so washing away the sand from our clothes and hair.

We decided to go for another cafe for dinner just for a change and looked up for few restaurants with good reviews on the internet. There was a Pizza place and we walked along the main road towards panama side. After about a 700m walk we reached to a cozy looking place and decided to settle down there as we were bit tired of walking to the place we initially planned to go. Gladly they too had wood oven pizzas and took some time to prepare it.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
DSCF6284…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
DSCF6298DSCF6291…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
One story lead to another and suddenly realized that we were the only group left in the restaurant and it was almost their closing time. So we left there and walked back, admiring the atmosphere created by dim lights of the nearby boutique hotels. We all were so tired and just went to sleep as soon as we came back to the hotel.

It was around 7 am when I woke up in the next morning. Sun was already up and making the morning tides shine. There were two hammocks fixed in the hut on beach, and i decided to hop on. It was my first experience about hammocks and it was better than i imagined. Everything was so calm and peaceful that I even noted pros and cons of living next to a beach in my mind. We decided to go to the same place that we had the previous day lunch for the breakfast. It was much closer through the beach, so we walked there. It was one of the best satisfying breakfasts that I have ever had. Tasty eggs with crunchy toasts and a hot cup of tea under the shade of a tree along with the company of good friends; that was perfect!
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

DSCF6309DSCF6311…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

DSCF6320DSCF6313…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

DSCF6330…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

After spending more than an hour on the breakfast we walked back and stepped in to the sea from the beach just next to our hotel. Some waves were higher than us, which tried to throw us back to the beach. We didn’t realize the time passing and it was almost 1 pm when we came out of water. It was time for us to pack our bags and check out from the hotel. Few friends wanted to buy souvenirs and there was a shop closer to hotel on the main road.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

DSCF6327DSCF6328…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

DSC_806822730250_2013397438673819_1982244821709289222_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Breakfast made a really good impression on us that we went to the Ranga’s Beach Hut for the third time to have Rice and curry for the Lunch. They had a tasty fried fish dish, which we ordered extra just because it tasted better. It was few minutes passed 3pm when we bid farewell to Arugambay and started our drive back to Ampara through Siyambalanduwa. There was a herd of Elephants near the Lahugala tank, so that we took  a break to add some photos to the memories. We all reached Ampara around 5 pm and my friends went towards Kandy after having a good cup of good bye tea.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….DSCF6338DSCF6341…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….DSCF6351DSCF6345…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

DSCF6355…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

Advertisements

Wilpattu, The Land of Ponds..

It was a while we, University friends  went on a trip. So we decided it’s time. Our initial suggestion was Wilpattu, and it was seconded by all without any hesitation. Then we tried to reserve a wildlife department bungalow inside the national park, so that our transportation time will be minimized while we have full time viewing access to the National park. Then we heard the bad news, all wildlife department bungalows were booked one and half months early. There were few discussions to change the destination, but all were disappointed with the situation. One day a friend came with a good news, He was able to reserve few rooms in a nearby place to wilpattu through a contact. So the planning began. We thought of utilizing a full day to travel inside Wilpattu. So we have spare 12 hours on the day we are travelling from Kandy. One came up with the suggestion, Thonigala and we thought of spending the rest in Picturesque Kalpitiya Beach. We hired a Van and started our trip around 7 am since we had a lots of spare time. It was around 9 am when we stopped at Kurunegala to pick one of our friends and to have the breakfast. Around 11.30 we reached Thonigala, and we spent quite long time taking photographs and wandering around the Lake near Thonigala inscript. Then we travelled to puttalam and the large portions of breakfast kept us going around 2.30 pm without stopping for the lunch. We didn’t planned for a place to have the lunch since it is hard to predict exact time and location when there are many photographers in the group. 😀 We searched for a place nearby and finally “Foursquare” came for the help. It suggested about a hotel nearby, called “Palmyra Village Hotel”. We just went there because we were lack of options since it is too late for lunch. But the food was great (To the standards of a local boutique hotel) and we had Seafood Fried Rice, Which is their identity. It was a long lunch as we had a lot to talk and needed a break from sitting inside the van.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

DSC_1085DSC_1084………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSC_1065DSCF8210

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

DSC_1063

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8159……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF8145DSCF8153

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8177DSCF8178

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF8175DSCF8172

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF8160DSCF8151

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF8190DSCF8185

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF8200DSCF8181

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF8203DSCF8214

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF8207DSCF8187

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF8182DSC_1081

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSC_1078DSCF8210

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

It was around 3 pm when we reached to Kalpitiya beach, and we just jumped into our swimwear and walked to the sea. The sun was burning hot and that made harder for us to walk on the sand. We knew that Kalpitiya is one of the world famous Kite Surfing destinations but didn’t realized it is that much interesting until we saw it. The famous Kite Surfing Lagoon was just a Beach stripe away and the scenery of people riding Huge Kites, attracted us to the lagoon. It was an awesome feeling even just to watch them surfing and one item was added to the bucket list 😛 We came back to the beach and stayed dipped in the sea water to avoid the harsh rays of the burning sun until around 5.30 pm. We had to leave Kalpitiya at that time as we had to find a place to have our dinner and to buy some food to bring to our accommodation. It was around 7.30 pm when we reached back to Puththalam and brought some food to have on the safari jeep ride as well as to prepare breakfast and lunch for the next day. Most of us had a light dinner and hurried to our accommodation. We reached there around 9 pm and it was surprisingly closer to the Wilpattu National Park. It is Just in front of the Park Gate and was in very good condition. We thought of going to sleep early as we are supposed to wake up in the morning. Then we got an invitation from another group who was staying at the same place to join with them for a BBQ. As we had a light dinner and they seemed very nice people, we couldn’t decline the invitation. Most of them are from the same professions as ours and all are wild life enthusiasts. We stood awake talking with them until it was midnight and finally decided to sleep. Beds were comfortable and as fans worked full time to cool down the heated air to a bearable level, we had a 6 hour long sleep under the cover of mosquito nets.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8218DSCF8292

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8234DSCF8235

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8217DSCF8255

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF8229DSCF8267

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF8216DSCF8257

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF8281 DSCF8276

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8264DSCF8252

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

As our friend and the accommodation caretaker promised, there was a safari jeep ready in front of the “Wilpattu Holiday Home” exactly ay 6.30 am. Caretaker and his wife had prepared Noodles for Breakfast and Kadala (Peas) from the things we provided them last night. We just had some snacks before starting the jeep safari and planned to have the breakfast near “Kumbuk Willu”. For some reason there wasn’t a Wildlife department guide/tracker available so we decided to continue the journey as we could use our experienced safari jeep driver as the guide since he was born and raised in the wilpattu area. There were three friends among us who usually take part in wildlife observation tours with the group “Haritha Diyatha” and it was a huge advantage for us as they had the knowledge about wildlife in wilpattu as well as they had required sources (Books and Leaflets) when we need to search about the animals we observed. One of those friends told us to focus on every single bird, insect and reptile we see as then we can make this trip worthwhile, even if we didn’t see any mammals. We all agreed that it is a good idea because we heard that no one has seen any leopard in past two days. Our driver had a hard time driving the jeep 1cm forward and 2 cms backward all the way along the journey to give us a better view of birds as 6 out of 9 of us had DSLRs or Bridge Cameras aiming out of the safari jeep. We reached “Kumbuk Willu” around 10.30 am and had our breakfast there. We saw a giant elephant enjoying some kind of grass on the water bed of “Kumbuk willu” few feets away from us only after finishing the breakfast. We observed few “wali kukulo” who were waiting to feed on any leftovers of the travelers meals. It was comparatively clean and free from polythene but still we saw few biscuit packets and lunch sheets here and there.

In the evening we went to see “Thambapanniya”, where the King “Vijaya” has first set his foot on this island as legends relate. The name “Thambapanni” means “Tin (Lead- plumbum) colored soil”. Actually the soil still looks a like and there we observed some kind of different soil/ rock formations, which we couldn’t explain from the little geology knowledge we had. We had our lunch nearby, and started the evening safari. We were lucky enough to see Few dozens of Bird species, Few Reptiles and mammals. That includes Deer, Wild Boar, Elephant, Water Buffalo, and a baby Sloth Bear at last 🙂

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8318DSCF8315

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8326

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8336DSCF8387

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8348DSCF8330

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF8327DSCF8334

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8325

DSCF8329

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8397DSCF8386

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8374DSCF8363

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8360DSCF8370

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8525DSCF8531

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8308

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8393DSCF8524

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8515DSCF8520

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF8422DSCF8419

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF8412……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8479

DSCF8413

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8509DSCF8514

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8526……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8506DSCF8487

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8502DSCF8445

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8402

DSCF8499

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF8456

DSCF8457

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8454DSCF8455

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………DSCF8400DSCF8410

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

DSCF8470

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………