We'd been waiting for this trip for so long, it feels like such a dream now looking back. I never really considered Sri Lanka, but I'm so glad we went, and I'd love to go back. Only a 10 hour flight from London, it's a perfect sunny escape from winter - we visited in February and it was 33 degrees every day!
After landing in Colombo (this is their main airport), we headed straight for Café Kumbuk for lunch, before starting our journey to Dikwella. Colombo is really chaotic, and the traffic and way of driving may come as quite a surprise so be prepared for it! Lanes and indicators mean nothing, but everyone is friendly and they only beep to let other drivers know when they are about to overtake.
Cafe Kumbuk is definitely tucked away in a quieter part of town. It's a healthy food and brunch oasis which I discovered on Instagram -- I had the pineapple crush juice and the veggie burger, which was served on a charcoal bun and so delicious! (The majority of Sri Lanka is cash only but this place took card).
Dikwella is a small beach town at the very South of Sri Lanka. A laid back village with great charm and great waves. During our time here we stayed at Wetakeiya House where we enjoyed the most delicious home cooked meals for breakfast and dinner, including amazing curries and Sri Lankan style breakfast. We stayed here for 9 nights and it was heavenly! I've never felt so relaxed. We had an amazing veranda with a grass area, a pool on the lower level, with a sea view giving the illusion of an infinity pool. It had 3 bedrooms so not the best for just two but we were a group of four and it was just perfect!
These above are called hoppers, a traditional dish served for breakfast. Make sure to try these if you ever visit! They can also be served without egg, and they taste like fluffy pancakes!
My skirt is from Yoli & Otis and the top is from Topshop
Bikini is from Triangl
My jumpsuit is from Sir the label, purchased from The Lair
We saw monkeys everywhere! Dogs too, as well as peacocks and cows.
Our local beach was Hiriketiya Bay, where you could chill and sunbathe, have a drink at a choice of beach bars, or surf/learn to surf. It was less than £2 to hire a board for an hour! I feel like Dikwella is a really up and coming place with lots of trendy places just opening, I reckon it'll be a huge hit with tourism soon.
I recommend buying enough sun cream before you arrive in Sri Lanka as we found it difficult to find anywhere that sells. Here at the beach you could hire loungers on the beach for the whole day for just £1.40 which includes a freshly made juice. We had the pineapple every day, it was so fresh and yummy. The water temperature here is a dream! It's so warm but still so refreshing after sunbathing!
One other thing to note.. I was worried that it was going to rain every day before the trip as my forecast said so.. let me tell you.. the weather forecast LIED – it didn’t rain once and the sun shined every day! Don't let it deceive you!
FOOD IN DIKWELLA
The Grove cafe – this is a lovely café that has recently opened and is owned by a couple from Byron Bay serving Australian style food such as potato rosti benedict and strawberry compote, coconut pancakes! They also have their own store which sells healthy raw fruits and energy bars, as well as soaps, super foods, mosquito repellent, moisturisers and after sun. After burning pretty badly on the first day, I bought the mosquito repellent which contained lavender, aloe vera and green tea. It felt so good on my burned and dehydrated skin and smelled amazing! It's also important to note that they hire local people here, which is a good sign of effective community based tourism.
The Verse Collective – Surf, work, skate, and a hostel – This place has a lovely concept, capturing the surf culture in Sri Lanka – more pricey than a local owned place but still a lot cheaper than London. I had the raw veggie roti and fries and Cameron had the BBQ chicken with fries that he raved was amazing – the iced coffee was also perfect and refreshing.
It was so good we had to come back and try more! Cameron also had a skate this time..without his skate shoes lol.
We really loved Dikwella. It was so relaxing and charming and we'd definitely go back! Here's some more photos from our stay in Dikwella:
During our stay in Dikwella, we took a taxi to see Galle and the surrounding beaches such as Unawatuna for 2 days. We stopped off at Mirissa beach to find the palm tree forest below! To find this place, turn into the 'Seastar Hotel' on the main road and you should see a little path which will lead here.
We stayed at Mango House in Galle which stood out to me on booking.com A) because of how pretty it looked, B) it’s value for money and C) it’s ethos on being eco-friendly. For a country with not the best practices when it comes to waste (they burn their litter), it felt important to support a business in favour of protecting Sri Lanka’s environment and keeping pollution levels to a minimum. Here are some photos of Mango House. For 1 night including breakfast, we paid £70 altogether. The breakfast was so delicious it filled me up for lunch time too! The staff were also super kind and welcoming and happy to help you make any travel arrangements & provide recommendations. I would definitely recommend staying here!
Galle reminded me more of Europe in a way that there were so many narrow cobbled streets, vintage cars and white/pastel painted shops. After checking in, we were starving (p.s the above breakfast is from the next morning at Mango House) and went to Poonie’s Kitchen, which I discovered on Instagram. It was a hidden oasis which serves raw food and juices. I personally found it wonderful and refreshing. My boyfriend who prefers heavier meals however was not so impressed! Anywho, I had the caramelised onion and goats cheese tart and Cameron had the avocado on multi-grain toast with poached eggs.
After this we caught a tuk tuk from Mango House to Unawatuna beach in hope to sunbathe and find the famous palm swing. To be honest, I much preferred Dikwella beaches to Unawatuna. Unawatuna felt more touristic, more like you could be anywhere, with all the hotels on the beach front, music and water sports. It was lovely don’t get me wrong! But Dikwella beaches felt more raw and untouched.
We asked some locals who kindly told us it was at Wijaya beach, just a tuk tuk ride away. We got a tuk tuk here and found the palm swing by beach bar 'Dream Cabana'. Its 500 LKR a swing and the owner was so so fun and nice. You can also order drinks here whilst waiting for the perfect sunset moment. Unfortunately it was raining, so we didn’t get our dream sunset shot, but we had fun nonetheless and returned the next day in the sunshine!
After Wijaya beach we got a tuk tuk back to Mango House and headed to The Heritage Cafe for dinner and for dessert we headed to Isle of Gelato which had the most amazing flavours. I had the sea salt caramel and stracciatella (I always go for 2 scoops at any gelato store, even if I’m full!)
In the morning, we enjoyed our wonderful breakfast at Mango House, then went gift shopping. It’s a great place to shop! I recommend Stick No Bills, an awesome and famous vintage postcard store. You couldn’t take any photos inside but I sneakily did before Cameron told me we couldn’t haha.
To conclude, Galle was a lovely break for food, shopping and perfect distance to beaches and palm swings which is exactly what we came for. I think it’s a great hub spot to stay because it has so much to offer! Its also only 1 and a half hours away from Dikwella.
We absolutely loved our beach time at Sri Lanka and I hope this post has inspired you to check it out too! My next post will cover the rest of the trip, including Ella and Kandy :)
Thanks for reading.