Sri Lanka

Marissa Moments: The Best Of☝️

Being the island girl that I am, I was obviously looking forward to the beach vibes of Marissa and its sister coast, Weligama. But at the same time, I’d heard from people that the sand is littered with rubbish and that it’s a bit run down and miserable so I didn’t arrive with high hopes. But honestly, I don’t have a clue where they were staying because we had a great few days 🤗…

We arrived at our hostel (My Hostels) which is one of the more sociable in Sri Lanka and the staff are very kind and chilled, allowing you to play your music until late. The food is super reasonable (Fish Curry for 450R/£2/$3 and proper Western pizza for 1000R/£4.60/$6.50) and amazingly well-cooked, including the free breakfast. The location is perfect with it being just 5 minutes away from the beach. (An 8 bed mixed dorm: 641R/£7/$10 a night).

We found the beach of Marissa to be VERY clean and comfortable, with warm water and warm welcomes from the restaurant staff as we walked along the shore, flip flops in hand;

“FREE BED FREE BED”, they’d call out with a wave; smiles bright to match the bleached strands that dye their long black tresses (these guys absolutely nail the Reggae beach look)! My Scottish friend, Yas, and I accepted their offer and strolled over to a comfortable double bed to enjoy iced coffee (more like chocolate milkshake with ground up coffee granules thrown in 🤣) and far too much sun! Although the coffee was unusual, there’s nothing bad about the fish here…

One evening, we all ventured down to the beach to see what dinner deal we could find. We ended up getting a large Mahi Mahi fish, the most common and colourful in the Indian ocean, for 3000R (£14/$19.50) along with two portions of chips and salad to share.

Let’s just say that there was a party in my mouth; the garlic and lemon sauce dressed the succulent flakes of fish and we devoured the delicious fellah in no time at all! I also had a Tuna and potato salad a few days later for just 350R (£1.60/$2.30) and was super impressed with the size of the portion and the quality of the fish. We’ve had Tuna a few times along the coast in Sri Lanka now and it’s always been good, so I definitely recommend you seek it out on the menu 👍!

If you’re wanting something a little cheaper, head to the main streets and hunt down the Big Belly Roti Shop – you’ll recognise it from the long queues of locals patiently waiting for good food. There’s obviously Roti’s (a type of sweet or savory stuffed pancake) for 200R/90p/$1.30, but also Hoppers (paper thin crepes with fluffy egg) for 60R/25p/40c or mixed rice for 300R/£1.40/$2. The staff there are really nice and even allowed a tipsy Yasmin to wander behind the stove and try her luck at making the Hoppers whilst we all cracked up at her new culinary skills!

Tipsy you say? The strong religious undertone of Sri Lanka makes having a beverage pretty difficult and you usually resort to haggling down a bottle of Ascot gin over a counter in a wine store like a true alcoholic (AVG:1280R/£6/$8.50). This brand of gin is banging though – the best I’ve had in Asia so it’s worth every penny 👌. But anyway, this night in-particular we were tipsy before we even hit the counters because we’d been to W15 in Weligama for sunset cocktails! Our friend recommended it to us because ladies drink FOR FREE on Saturdays between 5pm and 7pm! We had a choice of Vodka Pineapple or a sweetened Cuba Libre and we definitely took the opportunity to show to the staff how much Europeans can drink 🤣…

The atmosphere was pleasant and as the sun went down, the glowing orange backdrop was scattered with surfboards and wave riders!

Weligama is the main beach for surfing due to the quality of the waves. They double break with enough trail for beginners, however there are bigger waves a little deeper into the ocean or a short walk down the coastline for hardcore surfers. Ben, Yas and I had never tried surfing before but the lovely Naduah surfs back at home and was happy to teach us the ropes❤️. She showed us how to straddle the board, where to position your feet and the best ways to jump up so that we were ready to give this sport a good go…

The best time to go is when the rental shacks open at 6am as the waves aren’t bombarded with surfers and the sun isn’t too strong in the sky. We paid 250R (£1.20/$1.60) each for an hour and when our time was up, we were starving. We went to The Hideout across the road for a delicious breakfast (Banana porridge and a soy latte -1000R/£4.60/$6.50) and itching to get back on the board again, we paid for another hour…

The first time round I was super unbalanced and heavy-footed when jumping onto the board, meaning that I never actually stood up. Instead, I’d kinda skim the board before face planting the waves 💁.  I was beginning to tire of my struggle, but once I was full of oaty fuel and realised I could take it slow (having about 20 seconds to get up on the board once I caught a wave), I actually stood up!! And then I stood again and again and eventually rode a wave all the way to shore😍🏄! It was such a buzz of adrenaline and an amazing feeling of freedom that I can’t wait to reach another destination where we can rent out boards again!

But the real highlight? Our morning whale watching in the Laccadive Sea! We set off from our hostel at 6.15am and for JUST 6,500R (£30/$42), we got our Tuk Tuk to and from the port, the amazing tour itself, breakfast and fruit snacks. We did the excursion with Marissa Whale Explorers due to their Eco-friendly reputation and we’re glad we did because the staff really knew what they were doing and they never circled or threatened the whales.

November until April is peak time to see the whales but we didn’t want to get our hopes up with it being such an amazing sight to witness – however we struck pure gold!

Have you ever seen such excitement before? Ha

We must have chosen a day when a family of Blue Whales (the largest mammal to exist on Earth 😱) were passing through. When we saw the first blow horn explode in the horizon, the boat almost toppled over with excitement.

The boat driver neared a little closer and in the distance, we saw the little fin that identified the species, before seeing his smooth body. He chugged along for a little bit and we all gasped when he went down to dive, his tail coming up above the water to wave us goodbye before he went! It was truly spectacular 😝…

Once we’d seen one, it was as though all of his friends wanted to show off and within an hour, another five came to the surface one by one at different points in the near ocean. Each one was just as exciting as the last, and we ran from side to side to get a good look. When the whale was on the right hand side of us (which was often), we had an amazing view as we were sat in a line along the VIP section 💁 – which I’d recommend you get if you can!

The only thing that would have made the trip more amazing would have been to see dolphins and other breeds of whale as they are often sighted on these tours – BUT I’m in no way complaining, knowing how blessed we were too see such a great number of Blue Whales in such a short space of time.

This beautiful country makes every day an Attenborough day and I’m beginning to believe that when it’s all over, it’s going to be my favorite country ever. I didn’t actually realise how much wildlife I’d see here, and I also didn’t realise that sighting animals is what excites me the most. I’ve been giddier and happier this past week than I have been my entire trip, and from now on, I’m going to create my travel bucket-list based on the magnificant creatures I can see in the wild!🤣

Attenborough, eat your heart out 😘…

Love always,
H x

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