There is something special that Sri Lankans are blessed with, when it comes to holidays. The Long weekends! You cannot compare the happiness you get, when you spot a Full Moon Poya Day or some other national holiday fallen in either Friday or Monday. That sort of happiness appeared on the calendar, for the month of November 2016. To make sure we make the best of out this long weekend, we planned a trip to Batticaloa. The destination had always been in our “To Go” list as both of us have never been there before. Also, Pasikuda Beach in Batti, is known to be one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka.
For the Locals, most of the travel destination in the Island are known by the best resorts or hotels located there (Except for Cultural sites). Same goes for Pasikuda Beach. If you do a Google Maps search, the Bay is studded with hotels owned by Hospitality Giants in Sri Lanka. Few of the hotels to name are,
All of these are much heard names among locals, and also costs about 60,000/= for a 2 day vacation including taxes (If you use the taxes, you can stay another night at these hotels. It is that huge!). Knowing how we have been during our earlier trips, we agreed that going for such an expensive hotel stay would be a waste as we won’t be spending a lot of time indoors. While waiting for offers, and a reasonable drop in the prices of these hotels, I noticed another hotel on the Kalkudah Bay. That was Laya Waves. There was a good offer going on at the time we were “Hotel Hunting”. The pictures seemed ok, so did the reviews. We were skeptical about how the hotel would be, but decided to book it anyway as there won’t be any rooms left to book, closer to the long weekend holiday.
Journey to Batticaloa
By now, you would know that the origin of our trips can vary from either Anuradhapura, Kandy, or Colombo. This time, it was Anuradhapura. We estimated to reach the hotel by about 3 hours, so we left from Anuradhapura around 9am. Right after a bit of rain, the road towards Batti looked lovely! It was an infinity road that we drove in, with green land on both side with bushes around, no mountains. Felt as if we were driving in a different country.
The roads are in really good condition and qualifies for a highway, if not for the speed limit of 70 Kmph. Saying that, we did get copped for high speed of 81 Kmph 😛 and then we found a post office (Thanks to Google Maps), We noticed the Tyre puncture that accompanied us maybe for the last 2 hours or so. We managed to get that fixed as well, from the Valachchinei town.
After all of that, we finally reached the hotel by 2pm.
While we were planning on this trip, we did a bit of online search and made a list of what to see in Batticaloa. There wasn’t much information about any of the places that we came across, other than the Pasikuda beach. After the trip, we realized why. Here are the details from our own experiences, of each of the places that we planned to visit.
Kalkudah Beach of course was available right in front of our eyes for the entire two days, as the hotel was located there. A beautiful stretch of coast, with plenty of corals and clean white sand. If you do manage to wake up early morning, you can catch the million dollar view of the sunrise. Even though this bay was a favorite of foreign surfers, the sea looked very mild during both the days. Because of that, I’m sure this bay is for families, to let their kids enjoy the waves, rather than for surfers. It was like our own private beach with less visitors at the hotel as well. Loved the view of the clean cost & the pale blue sea, complimented by the cloud art with colors we saw during the dawn and dusk.
The most popular beach in Batticaloa. Of course it should be! The shallow water, allowing you to walk about a mile away from the shore, is ideal for a family beach vacation. Since we were on the other side, we paid a visit to the beach, reserved for the public. It was crowded! All what I saw in the sea, was bobbing heads, screaming kids & teenagers attacking each other with sand buckets. We actually wanted to get a few good snaps of the sunset from Pasikuda bay, and we were foolish to think there won’t be such a crowd on a long weekend. Since it was useless to even wait until the crowd was less, we just walked along the beach and had a ride around the Hotel road.
About the Public area of the Bay, it had a few facilities that surprised me. It was nice to know that the beach had it’s own Public help center, with a life guard and medical help. Also, there was a well built corner of changing rooms, divided for male and female. Not sure how well they are maintained, but the fact that these were in place, made me happy.
Since our plans of clicking pictures didn’t work, we drove along the Bay, which had all the above mentioned hotels located one after the other. Must say, that area looked so beautiful, with well maintained entrances of each of these properties. It felt almost like a middle eastern area.
To cover the list of “Places to see in Batti”, we managed to find the Batticaloa Fort. Unlike any other fort in Sri Lanka, this one looked ignored. And it was like that for a reason, which we learnt until we went close. Batticaloa Fort is now used as a government office, and there is nothing to see! It was not open for public, and I guess there is nothing interesting as well. So much for travelling all the way from Kalkudah Bay. Since we came already, we just snapped a few pictures right from our vehicle. Our suggestion, Skip this! There is nothing to see here.
Our next location in the list was the Lighthouse. I thought Ah! we can get inside the lighthouse, make it to the top, and click a few snaps. I was wrong. My expectations were too high for the Lighthouse that we saw. It was smaller in size, than many of the lighthouses we see. Also, it had fences and walls built around it, you can only snap a picture from outside. Nothing much to write about it, as there is nothing to see. Again, better to skip this as well.
We were able to do something that was out of the planned “To Do” list. As soon as we got out to see the Lighthouse, we were offered to have a boat ride from a few boat owners closeby. There was a “menu” to select from. It was possibly the worst time to do a boat trip in the sea, as it was 12 noon. Scorching hot sun, and Middle-East like weather, yet we agreed for a boat ride.
If I remember the name right, we saw the “Bone Island”, and then we got down at a little patch of land. There were lots of fisherman boats, and at the same time that we got off in the island, a boat with a fresh load arrived. I could have stayed a bit to experience how things happen in the fishing department, but I could have melted (or roasted) under the hot sun, on the burning sand.
There is a small Eco-Land, with various types of Plants. Built for the purpose of Environmental education, it had what I would say, “Middle-Eastern like” plants. Palm Trees, and many other trees that can survive in the ruthless hot weather, were seen around. That was nothing much in my opinion. We figured that more than for the purpose of education, the little land was used for frequent booze parties.
What you find on Google, is really what you get in Pasikuda. The clean beach all for yourselves, a relaxing vacation at a classy hotel! If you are a beach lover, you will surely love your undisturbed, serene vacay which Pasikuda has to offer. When it comes to “Things to do/Places to see” in Batticaloa, The list actually begins and ends at “Beach”. There are a few sights, but I felt that it will not be worth to drive all the way from your hotel venue, up to those places, as they have nothing much to offer.
Compared to other destinations, I was a little disappointed with only a few attractions, but I guess I had too many expectations from Pasikuda. All in all, it was a good long weekend spent, away from the hustle-bustle of the city. The sun, sandy beaches, the sea, gave us a calm and relaxed two days. Taught us how to just be lazy, sit back and relax while staring at the horizon.
A bit of creativity and a lot more sun, sea and sand!