After Udawalawe we travelled to the coastal town of Tangalle. We had 2 nights here.

Unfortunately as I write this (yet again) the wifi is terrible and I cannot upload pictures in wordpress. Sri Lanka has a thing with bad wifi.

Pictures now…

The resort we were at was very nice, and we had a lovely spacious “villa” with a mezzanine floor with beds for the kids.

Our villa:

The beach was very nice, and swim-friendly, and the little pool was also a hit.


On the 2nd of December we climbed aboard a van heading for Udawalawe National Park. We had booked 2 nights at Eagle Safari Family Bungalow.

We arrived early afternoon, and settled in. Our room was quite cramped for us all, but we had a nice balcony, and the place was really cheap. We had a nice home cooked dinner.

The next day we had booked 2 trips (safaris) to the nearby national park. One starting at 5:30 in the morning, the other at 2:00 in the afternoon (each of 4 hours duration).

Both were excellent, and to be recommended. We saw lots of animals and stunning scenery.

We also nearly had a close encounter with a large bull elephant…


and on the way home in the afternoon the clouds rolled in.

The next morning we took another van to the south coast, and Tangalle.


The 30th of November we left our safe haven in the middle of nowhere for the relatively short trip to Ella. The rain was gone, but we could see many trees that had fallen over, and power lines that had been knocked down. There were many work crews cleaning up along the road.

At one point it looked like a tuk-tuk had rounded a corner and crashed into a power pole, and large trucks had to scrape under the lines.

Our residence in Ella was a beautiful little place called Waterfall View Inn, and we could sit on our terrace and look across the valley to a lovely waterfall!

The clouds rolled in and out of the valley, again lending that mystical quality to the landscape.

The town of Ella (about 1 or 2 km away from our “inn”, down a winding, steep up and down, single lane, bumpy road) was really only a curve in the main road and an intersection – but it had some ok restaurants and great views all around.

The first afternoon, we went to see the “nine arch bridge” which is a picturesque railway bridge a short distance outside of Ella on the way to Badulla.

Our first full day in Ella, we walked along the railway to the waterfall. The trains were still not running, so we didn’t have to keep looking over our shoulders. The walk to the waterfall and back would normally take about an hour – it took us two. We could also have walked a little further up to “Ella Rock”, which apparently has a wonderful view, but we decided to prioritise familial harmony, and went into town for lunch instead.

In the afternoon we went to see another waterfall called Ravana falls. This was a much higher waterfall a few kilometres out of Ella.

Train to Ella (or nearly)

On the 29th of November we packed all our stuff into a van for the very short trip to Kandy train station. Even though it was really only half a kilometer or so, we didn’t feel like rolling five heavy suitcases and a pushchair along the streets of Kandy down to the station.

Anyway, we arrived 45 minutes early… and waited.

The train was about half an hour late, and when it did arrive, we all scrambled on board. We had 5 reserved seats in second class. And nearly enough space for all our luggage.

The journey started off very nicely, and soon we were out in the countryside, passing green and lovely valleys, waterways, forests and tea plantations. Even the slight rain and clouds only added a mystical quality to the scenery.

Unfortunately the rain increased, and had been falling in the area for several days. When we reached the station of Nanu Oya, we stopped and stayed stopped. Sri Lankan railways did not come with any info, so we waited. Other passengers heard there had been a landslide further along the line, which had been cleared, and we would be underway in 30 minutes. Others took the advice of their local drivers (who had transported them to the station) and left again to travel by road.

After 1.5 hours, with no official information whatsoever (thank you Sri Lankan railways) we accosted the local “station master” who admitted that the train would not be leaving again that day, and we should seek alternatives. He said there was a bus in about an hour, which could take us on a 3 hour journey to Ella.

The station master couldn’t help with private transport, but luckily a local bystander had a van and driver who could deliver us to Ella. So we raced away with them.

We did not make Ella however.

After a longish trip on a very windy road in the hilly hills, through the driving rain, we rounded a corner, and came to an abrupt stop behind a bus and a couple of other stationary cars. Our driver ran out to investigate in the dark and rain, and found a tree had slid down the slope and crashed over the road and power line.

It was absolutely not possible to continue on that route, and while our driver did say there was an alternative route (about 30 extra km) it was not 100 percent certain that similar problems wouldn’t occur there. So we took the decision to backtrack a couple of kilometres to the nearest hotel, and overnight there.

No electricity at the hotel (the lines had just been torn down), but they did manage to rustle up some “chicken fried rice”, and a room with beds for us all.

We slept there the night, and left for Ella the next morning.


On the 27th we left in the van from Sigiriya to the town of Kandy, full of high expectations. The drive should have taken 2.5 hours, but ended up taking 5, due in no small part to a large traffic jam once we reached Kandy, and our driver taking an “alternative” turn off at one point. Luckily Peter and Albert were able to help with the navigation.

Kandy is a quite dirty and busy town. It rained a lot while we were there. We had 2 nights, that is one full day (the 28th) in Kandy. I don’t really think you need more.

We saw a temple which houses Buddha’s tooth.

On the 29th we left on the train from Kandy to Ella. Supposedly one of the most spectacular train trips in the world. Well, you’ll never guess what we experienced… wait for the next exciting instalment.



Cave Temples

After the rock, we drove a few kilometres down the road to a restaurant for lunch.

And then on to some ancient temples carved into the side of a mountain. There were 5 of them, next to each other, and of varying sizes.

They contained different sorts of Buddha statues and paintings and patterns on the walls and ceilings.

It was actually a very nice setting, and a nice place to visit.

After that we drove to the world famous golden Buddha, and then back to the resort.

That evening it began to rain. And rain. And rain. Followed by torrential rain. It will probably stop some time.

We didn’t do much the next day (the 26th) because it was raining too much all day. So we stayed mostly on the balcony, reading and playing.

Lion Rock

On the 25th we had breakfast at the horrible hour of 7am, so we could take a taxi to “Lion Rock”. This is a huge rock, sticking up out of the jungle almost 200m vertically.

Here we are, about 200m horizontally from the car park. I was exhausted in the muggy heat.

And starting up the first steps

There were lots of ancient ruins around the bottom. Actually not that impressive unless you’re really into that sort of thing. Lovely green landscape though.

So up we went

There were some paintings on the walls at one point, which you were not allowed to photograph, according to the signs. There were no signs saying you weren’t allowed to take scrapings home as souvenirs though.

Beautiful scenery on the way up

Just before the last set of steps, there was a largish flat area.


Look at that chicken clinging tightly to the handrail

Finally at the top. Ofelia was a hit.

A nice man offered to take our photo. He then offered to take our money.

I took the rest of the photos for free.

Starting down again. By now the place was teeming with people, and there was a queue both up and down.

And photo opportunities

Made it to the bottom again…

Then we went back to the taxi, on to lunch, and the exciting tour of the afternoon… stay tuned

Trip to Sigiriya

We got up early on Friday the 24th, had a quick breakfast, finished packing, and bundled ourselves into the van for the trip to Sigiriya.

Took 5 – 6 hours to make it to Forest Garden Eco Village, which is quite a nice mini-resort.

And after 6 hours in a van, it was a relief to get wifi again.

We have two rooms next door to each other, with a shared balcony looking down to the pool.

Didn’t manage much more than the trip from Colombo to Sigiriya, but the kids did manage a swim, and we did have lunch and dinner at the resort’s restaurant.

(That, by the way, is my “hamburger” – no bun).



Yep, we made it to Sri Lanka after a short flight on a quite empty China Eastern Airlines flight. Biggest hiccup was at check-in at the Maldives departure point, where they wanted to see our Sri Lankan visas… which are e-visas and therefore have no “physical” stamp.

Eventually they gave in and simply allowed as through. Anyway, that’s something to bear in mind in this age of digital convenience.

We arrived middle of the night at Colombo, and couldn’t find our pickup driver. There were dozens and dozens of drivers waiting, but no one for us. Luckily, a very kind and helpful official (I think he was some sort of driver organiser) approached us and phoned our hostel for us. They said our driver was there, we should just look… After a bit, the organiser-guy came up to me again, and said he had spoken to our driver by phone, and had arranged that we should meet him outside by the post office. I was very impressed by the help!

Anyway, the hostel was cheap, and showed it. But serviceable for the 1.5 nights we were there.

Breakfast on our first morning:

And the reception area and pool

We spent a day in Colombo, in the Fort and Petta areas. We took a local bus the 4km from the hostel. That was an experience in itself. In fact so much an experience, that I didn’t manage to get my camera out to take a photo.

We walked about 20km through the market at Petta to a food court in the Fort area. Malene says it was 1.5 km, but I disagree in the heat and humidity.

Some pictures of the market area…

Lunch at the food court.

And a race home to the hostel in some tuktuks.

Maybe it sounds boring

Our last few days on Ukulhas consisted mainly of the same old things. Snorkelling, breakfast, snorkelling, lunch, relaxing, dinner, sleeping. Sometimes with a little extra snorkelling or swimming thrown in.

We did manage a nice short trip out to swim with Manta rays. A two hour trip, where Malene, Albert, Elise and I had a few plunges into the ocean to watch mantas feeding. A good experience, but I must admit that it was not quite the same as the trip we had some years ago in Indonesia where we saw hundreds of manta.

Malene took some good video, which she has put on facebook.

Eating breakfast…

And malene and I even walked down the beach to see another sunset.

Then our last day came, and we took the 1pm speedboat over to the airport. The trip was 1.75 hours or so.

We had several hours wait for our flight, so we took the 10 minute ferry trip to the capital Maldivian island of Male’.