Located between Ambalangoda and Iduruwa, Madu ganga is a perfect one day trip for those who are resided in Colombo. The complicated network of lagoons, the birds and the interesting Kraal fishing spots are just the highlights of this boat trip. My experience of Madu Ganga is about 2 years old ( 2014) but worth to mention.
We opted for a Boat Safari through Captain’s Boat House. There were four types of tours, which included Lunch or overnight stay in an island. We chose the 2 1/2 hour boat safari as it was convenient for our day’s getaway. The cost when we traveled was 3000/=.
As you will be sitting in the boat for about 2 hours, I suggest you start your trip early morning than waiting till afternoon. You are likely to forget the entire beauty of mangroves and the little islands that you see, when you see the roasted and burnt body of yours after the boat ride 🙂 So, keep in mind to wake up early on your day to visit this beautiful river or, go for an adjustable roofing cover when you choose the boat.
The guide who accompanied us was absolutely great! He was very informative and smart. He understand you when you are carrying a DSLR. Controls the speed of the boat to catch beautiful moments and offers to take the picture of you and your friend when you are struggling to take a selfie from the DSLR 😛
So, Here goes what we saw and and what we did during our boat ride 🙂
King Coconut Sellars
This is probably one of the first things you will see. Those little huts built right towards the middle of the river to sell King coconut, water and bites. Well, it’s the usual king coconut but still it feels fancy to have it while floating.
Mangrove forest tunnels
The highlight of the trip is the mangrove forests. It feels amazing when you float through those tunnels, almost giving you the feel of a romantic movie. You will notice that birds and animals have made homes within those branches. The guide will make a short stop inside the tunnel for photographs and to be awed by the beauty of it. The stop won’t last for long as there are many other boats lining up to pass through the tunnel.
If I say “Jaa Kotu” A sri lankan might understand what this is. The main occupancy of the village is fishing. There will be many setups of Kraal fishing, made out of Bamboo. The guides are trained well enough to avoid the nets laid as a part of those setups. One of the fisherman did a demonstration of how the fish are being caught as well. So if you are lucky, you will be able to see how they dip in through those constructions and do their job.
This was a fun experience. You dip in your legs to a tank of fishies and they will clean the feet for you. The ones who feel extra ticklish might not stand this fish therapy for long. The cost for it was 100/= with a addition of a guest appearance from a baby crocodile. You get handful of fish food to throw at the tank as well. The moment you throw, your foot is forgotten, they are busy eating the food. 🙂
Satha 5 Duuwa
This little island gives chills down the spine as well as a vibe of old world charm. It is ruins of a Devalaya, after a flood as I remember. Most of the building is washed out, leaving a little bit of walls where a carving of a god with 7 faces displays. The boat goes close enough to this little island but you cannot really stand there and pose for pictures as there is no room. The guide got out and took some pictures with his expertise but I will not risk myself for that
Temple in Maa Doowa
Honestly this was one of the boring/ not so interesting stops from the trip. It is an ancient temple, a house for some really old documents and a lot of history. Maybe I’m not much of a history person but visiting this place gets you to donate a certain amount for the well being of the temple. I am all up for donations for religious activities but you feel like it is not coming from your heart when you do the donation here. At the end of the explanation by the head monk, both your guide and the monk give “That” stare at you until you pull the wallet out of your pocket 🙂 Maybe avoid if you are not that interested.
This was right after the Fish therapy where you have to go through a beautiful arch of greenery. The place is entirely covered with Cinnamon and you get a demonstration of how cinnamon is made. It is pretty interesting to see. At the end of the demo, you are served with a bunch of cinnamon inspired products, where you have no choice but to buy it as a price of the demo.
Overall, it was a day well spent! Not every day you get to do a boat ride so it was well worth. Since it is just maximum 3 hours, you have the rest of the day to enjoy a good lunch at Balapitiya and do a road trip around the area.