Wednesday, 1 April 2020

A Sri Lankan Holiday - New Years in Bentota

This trip was planned on the pretext of spending new years with friends, Sri Lanka was a location that was easy for everyone to get in and the VISA was on arrival. We wanted to have a quiet new years away from the crowds and confusion, so we rented a  private villa not to far from Bentota beach. We booked Nick's Villa though Airbnb and lucky enough the house was well maintained and we had a wonderful stay in Bentota. 
Beautiful mangroves on the edge of the beach 
 Bentota Beach
Bentota Beach 
Bentota Beach is very scenic with calm waters; we went into the sea quiet a bit and still could feel land beneath our feet 
The morning started off with yummy hoppers (idiyappam) with chicken curry and a Sri Lankan staple chutney, Sambol (made from grated coconut, red onion, dried chilies, lime juice and dried Maldive fish). Since it was New Years our chef got fresh crabs from the local market and made pepper crab for lunch; it was delish 😋
Sri Lankan Food
Specialties of our in house chef ; hoppers and crab curry 
We had some interesting visitors that day! Early morning it was a mongoose and late afternoon it was a monitor lizard. It was incredible seeing these creatures up close.
Mongoose and Monitor Lizard in Sri Lanka
Ruddy Mongoose commonly found in Sri Lanka and India 
Monitor lizard posing for us 
In the afternoon we went to the Bentota Turtle Hatchery Project, up to 5 endangered species of turtle frequent these islands. The hatchery is a protected place where the turtles can lay their eggs; the volunteers collect eggs from the beach and some even buy the eggs off fishermen. The collected eggs are hatched away from predators and the little baby turtles are release back into the sea. It seemed like the hatchery was made more for tourist than actual conservation work but I would still recommend visiting one; holding a tiny baby turtle in your hand is a pretty special feeling.
Turtle Hatchery
We saw Olive Ridley, Loggerhead and green turtles at the hatchery 
This one is called Tiny; baby green turtle 
For New Year’s Eve we had reserved tables at a restaurant recommended by our Airbnb host; it was his friend’s place called Trax Garden and it was by the railway tracks. The place was nothing fancy, what it lacked in décor it made up in the food and service. Menu for the nigh was grilled jumbo prawns, butter poached spiny lobster and grilled snapper. We got beer and mixers from the restaurant and gin and whisky we carried our own (very few places let you take your own booz). Later that night we went to the beach and we were there till about 12:30. There were New Year parties in each of the resorts by the beach so there was music and fireworks thought the night. 
Night out in Bentota
Lion Beer, Tanquray and Patron to end the night strong
Lobster crab sri lanka
A true seafood trinity - Lobster, Snapper and Jumbo Shrimp 
Vendors selling boiled peanuts; a hazy shot of us at midnight; our table for the night at Trax Garden 
On Jan 1st our friends headed back to India and Neeti and Myself continued on with our Sri Lankan adventure...... Next Stop Beruwala !
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