Sunday, December 26, 2010
During the weekend (my weekend actually stretches 10 awesome-day long, with weekends, a couple of annual leaves and the Christmas holidays in between), I headed down south from the hustle bustle of the city to the more peaceful and serene seaside of Matara. It is about 3.5 hrs journey by car.
My way, your way or the highway
The distance from Colombo to Matara is only about 140km, much less than KL - Ipoh which only takes about 2.5 hrs. The issue here is the roads, unlike M'sia where all the states are connected by at least 4 lane highways, to get around the country here is through what we call trunk roads back home: 1 lane to and 1 lane back. The driver skills and precision is put to test when overtaking slow vehicles especially lorries, buses and tuk tuks.
While a journey on the M'sian highways may seem boring (all you see is trees, trees and trees), the scenic journey here makes up for the lengthy car ride. Now, I know most of us get excited at the sight of passing by the seaside, and that's what you get here! Clear blue seas, the locals having a frolicking good time, fishermen hauling up their trade, and the colorful tuk tuks parked at the roadside... just to name a few sights.
Well, less words and enjoy the pictures of Matara- these are some of my favourite shots!
The locals having a splashin' good time at the sea during sunset
This was the view I wake up and sleep to every day
And when sunset takes place
The iconic stilts fishermen of Sri Lanka
Fisherman of Matara
Fishmerman of Matara clad in sarong
A lonely fisherman trying to have some small catches
Nature taking its course
Boys catching fish
Smile for the camera!
Look what we've caught!
I've got some fishes too!
A typical seaside village
I've dedicated a label on 'budget hostels' which aims to provide other budget travelers an honest and pictorial review of the budget accommodation that I've stayed in. I usually book my budget stays through hostelbookers.com or hostelworld.com. Most of the time, it is price vs. comfort, you can't have both on two extremes. What I ultimately look for in a budget accommodation is hygiene, condition of the place, price and location. I'm not too bothered with service criterias or the facilities. I have had a few experiences with budget accommodation when I traveled to Vietnam and China so I didn't hesitate to go budget again in Matara.
Beach Inns surrounding
I had initially wanted to go to Hikkaduwa or Unawatuna but all of the budget hostels in the two towns were fully booked and finally I found Beach Inns in Matara which coincidentally also runs a diving school. There wasn't much reviews on it but it was going on a steal of only USD14 a night, so I did not hesitate further and placed my booking for 4 nights with a 10% deposit (which only equate to about USD5).
Beach Inns; breakfast in the morning; clean bathroom; decent and basic room
Beach Inns is located at the Polhena beach front. Matara itself is less touristy and popular compared to Unawatuna or Hikkaduwa, hence it is generally quiet and serene and a few of the budget holidaymakers that I spoke to told me that is the reason they enjoy their stay at Beach Inns. The rooms are basic and decent, refurbished due to the destruction caused by the tsunami a few years ago, with clean bathroom and an amazing view. The service staff is helpful, courteous and polite and the manager is also a dive instructor who is well traveled, hospitable and speaks good English. Beach Inns also has a working kitchen so there's always food available. Perhaps the only grudge I have is the annoying bugs at night (mosquito net is readily available though)! I think overall, Beach Inns has surpassed my expectations of being not only value for money but also a great place to meet other like-minded travelers and having a taste of the local non-urban culture.