Sri Lanka 2013 Part 4 – Saraii Village,Tissa Wewa, Kirinda, Yala Safari

May 22, 2013 at 11:20 pm

The post and summary of the trip can be found here.

This was what we covered on this post. (Credit : Map taken from google map)

♥26th March 2013♥

Looking at their website, we were so taken by what Saraii Village has to offer. Staying on a tree house! That would be nice.

Look beyond the novelty and there’s nothing else. We took the bigger of the tree house, i.e. The Nest. We were told there were 2 floors, one for the children and one for us. The 1st floor was only good for putting our luggage, as it was moldy and dirty with tree brunches sticking out from the middle of the ‘floor’. So we were all sleeping on the 2nd floor, which was fine, it’s just that I believe we were mislead in some ways.

The ‘siting’ area consist of cushion laid on branches. While Zaria was siting there soon after arrival, one of the cushion fell right through the big gap of the railing down to the ground. It could have been her! We banned the girls from going to the corner for the rest of our stay.

Getting up and down the tree house took a bit of effort, and it’s an adventure itself. From the room, climb down to the 1st floor.

Then from the 1st floor, to the ground.

The ladders are sturdy, no doubt, I just didn’t like the idea of having to do this middle of the night to go to the toilet, which is shared between the 2 tree houses.

We stayed 2 nights there, and throughout our stay, no one made our rooms, cleaned the toilet, cleared the rubbish bins. The 2nd night, it was raining in the afternoon when we were out, and we came back to find 2 of our mattresses were soaked wet. We were given dry mattresses but had to change our own bed sheets. A bummer, because after a long day out and all you wanted to do was to rest.

If this is all fine for you, it is then the place for you. We got loud peacocks calling in the night and in the morning lots of birds were seen around the village. A truly back to nature place.

Now back to the day. The plan we had was to go for a half day safari in the afternoon, and spend the morning at Kirinda. We got Asanka to pick us up after breakfast, and headed to Kirinda, which is 25km away from our hotel.

On our way there, we passed by Tissa Wewa, a huge man made lake near Tissa town. It’s such a beautiful place, even when it wasn’t on our agenda, we asked Asanka to stop, and spent some time there.

The hubs was having a great time taking photographs of every thing.

There were many local (colourful) transport bringing locals there.

And many Vendors doing their business from their bicycles or motorbikes, selling fried fish and prawns from the lake (no photos), drinks and decorative items.

It’s a place locals like to hang out, not just to sit around and have a picnic, but also to bath!

When I went near the banks, these guys didn’t even shy away, but instead, came closer to me and started soaping themselves! Such good sports!

They seemed to be having fun attracting an audience, and the girls and I have fun just watching them.

Kirinda is a beautiful beach with rocky outcrop with a Buddhist shrine built on a big round rock.

There were quite a lot of people going to the shrine for prayers, probably because it’s Poya Day (full moon prayers day).

The girls who like adventures, turned the rocky outcrop to their play ground.

Kirinda Beach looks nice from afar, but because it was late morning, and extremely hot, even with the girls’ begging, we didn’t go out to the beach, we spent all the time at the shrine. It definitely looked like a very good day to have a cool dip, and again we saw some locals washing themselves at the river outside the shrine.

Asanka suggested we have lunch at Serene Park, a place his clients usually stay. It’s located next to Tissa Wewa, we were back there again. The midday sun was getting hot, so no one was bathing when we got there.

Guess who came out to bath instead? The buffaloes!

Local lunch at Serene Park was pretty good.

Zara who never used to like eggplants, couldn’t stop eating the ones prepared at Serene Park.

The dessert was a plate of papaya and a bowl of refreshing local curd (Tissa is famous for curds, i.e. buffalo milk yogurt).

However, for these, plus a pasta for the girls and drinks, it came up to almost RM180, a steep price to pay!

We booked our afternoon safari with Saraii, so we went back there after lunch to wait for our guide and the safari jeep. We are very glad, we got this very knowledgeable, sharp eye safari guide, Dinesh.

There are a couple of national parks in Sri Lanaka to go on a safari, we chose Yala National Park just because it is renowned for the variety of its Wildlife, and it’s the best park to spot a leopard. The cost of going on this Safari is not cheap, for a 5hr half day safari, the price is USD43/head (children are counted as 1/2 head). It was quite an experience though, so again, it’s something you shouldn’t miss when you go to Sri Lanka.

We had to go on a safari jeep, get entrance tickets and get registered (and go to the toilet if need to). Once we entered the park, we are supposed to stay in the jeep all the time, so going to the bushes to release yourself is not possible. There are only certain areas dedicated for a pit stop, for a half day safari, there won’t be time to stop.

Once we entered the park, Dinesh started pointing to different bushes, different directions to show us the animals his sharp eyes spotted. We were intrigued by peacocks which were every where, and wanted him to stop for us to photograph them. After a few stop, he told us that we did not have much time especially for peacocks as they are every where. He told us to focus on animals which are more rare, but he’ll stop if we saw something we really want to photograph. We went with his suggestion, and here are some of the things we saw.

(don’t know how Dinesh could even spot this among the bushes while navigating the bumpy road)

(Ok, biology isn’t one of my best subject, I don’t know what are the names of these birds we saw even though Dinesh mentioned their names when he pointed them out).

Things got excited when we started seeing mammals! Like wild boars (no photos though as they were really fast), and elephants!

One got really near. These are wild elephants, no chain marks on the legs, not trained, just wild and free to roam.

I think a Safari is considered successful/complete when a leopard is spotted. Dinesh was eager to let us see one, but by evening, there was still no leopards spotted.

We saw more things, but still no sign of the leopard.

Another lone elephant spotted.

As dusk fell, we were giving up hope, as all safari jeeps have to leave the park by 6:30pm, we were running out of time.

Good thing was Dinesh WANTED us to see the leopard, so he used whatever time that’s left to drive through the park again and again (although most other safari jeeps have started to leave the park). We honestly didn’t think we’ll see one and then there it was.

Resting on a rock.

Only 3 safari trucks (including ours) saw it. What an achievement! Even though it was a bumpy ride (literally), we left Yala National Park happy.

On our way back, Dinesh in good spirit, asked if we wanted to stop at a supermarket to buy snacks or drinks. We didn’t want to, instead, hubs wanted a stop at the temple to see people praying during Poya.

It was an exceptionally long day, we were all tired and dirty (from the dust at Yala) when we got back to Saraii Village. So imagine how annoyed we were to find our mattresses at our tree house all wet AND to know we have to change the bed sheets ourselves?

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