Sri Lanka Part 5 – Hambantota Salt Flats, Southern Coast

May 30, 2013 at 11:50 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)

♥27th March 2013♥
Of all the hotels that we’d stayed in during our Sri Lanka trip (actually in all the hotels we’d stayed in), Saraii Village was the stingiest with their breakfast. Breakfast was just an egg each (yes, only ONE), and some toast. Another big family who occupied the 2 mud houses and the tree house had to cook instant noodle to feed their group.
(They even charged us for the water!)

This was the resident dog in Saraii Village which ‘guarded’ our tree house, and followed us almost everywhere we went within the compound.

We checked out after breakfast and then started our journey along the southern coast.

Tissa is famous for curds, a staple in Sri Lanka, so many curd stalls line the road at Tissa. I was tempted to get myself a pot just for the pot…

I remember seeing salt pans around Tissa area on google map when I was doing the Sri Lanka research. So when we left Tissa, we kept a look out and then spotted them, i.e. big squarish lakes, at Hambantota. These are the salt flats (flat expanse of salt left by the total evaporation of a body of water), which Hambatota is famous for.

We walked around the area, and then an extremely friendly salt miner came over to talk to us. Upon knowing we were from Malaysia, he asked we could send him post cards from Malaysia, so I passed him my phone.

Thuwan, the salt miner, then showed us around. He told us that in March, the salt crystals were still not fully formed yet, there was just a thin layer of salt in the salt pans. In April, when the salt crystals were ready for harvest, they could be as thick as 3 feet. Salt miners will then have to shovel and break the crystals to harvest them. He went into the salt pan, and then tried to shovel out some crystals for us.

Shovel of salt, not much, because the it wasn’t time for harvest yet.

Salt crystallization happened at the banks too.

The girls, wanted to try to mine some salt.

Thuwan brought us to the salt factory, where he worked, for a visit as well, however no photos were allowed. Apparently, Hambantota produces 30% of the salt in the whole country, and is the major industrial activity in the District and also one of the oldest in the land. The girls now have first hand knowledge of how salt were mined (crystals), then processed into the table salt that we see.

Bidding farewell to Thuwan (and giving him a small tip for his time), we moved on. We saw lots of greyish white balls being sold, and asked Asanka what they were. He stopped at one of the stalls to show us, and let us have a taste.

The fruit, wood apple in English, or Divul in Singalese, is mushy and sour, with a strange custurdy-saw-dusty texture, and a quint smell.

Divul tasting turned to a fruit feast.

We had more king coconut. The girls have some fist size watermelon (but very juicy and sweet).

The stall owner was kept busy cutting this fruit and that for us.

We spent so much time at the stall, 2 school boys came by and tried to befriend the girls (but the girls seeing these were boys, didn’t want to entertain them).

Driving along the coast, we soon came to Dondra Head Lighthouse at Dondra Point or Dondra Head, the southern tip of Sri Lanka, near Matara.

Paying a fee, we got to climb all the way up to the light house. The view from the top was quite nice.

After a climb up the stuffy lighthouse, the girls didn’t mind the glaring sun and heat at all, and wanted to explore the beach at Dondra Head, I just hid under the shade.

Lunch that day was a local cafe near Matara. Besides pastries and buns (which were quite delicious), they made very good Chinese fried rice too. It seems Sri Lankans love Chinese fried rice. So it was a satisfying (and cheap) lunch.

Going to the beach was one of the things we promised the girls. None of the hotels we stayed were next to the beach, hence taking the opportunity of being at the Southern coast, we asked Asanka to stop at a beach for the girls to spend some time at. Asanka brought us to Mirissa beach.

Along the coast near Weligama, we saw fishermen selling their catch. As fish is one of our daily staple, we just have to take a look what is available.

Love how these fishes were displayed.. on a leave with sand sprinkled on it.

And this is the guy who was managing that stall.

Everything looked so fresh. If we were staying at a place with cooking facilities, I would have definitely bought some to try.

The fishermen’s boats were just docked nearby.

And across the street, there were some interesting sights too.

At a big junction (Habaraduwa) just before Galle, we turned in land to get to our hotel, Apa Vila Illuketia.

Oh My!! Of all the hotels we’d stayed in Sri Lanka, this was the best and most luxurious. We took the smallest room due to budget, and requested for extra bed. This is our bed.

And the extra bed we got was queen size, so the girls were very happy to share that.

The girls, after ooo-ying and ahhhh-ying, seeing the beautiful layout, and inspecting the room, wanted a dip in the pool.

Just to show you the courtyard where our room is.

We decided to eat in that night. Siting at the patio, listening to insect chirping and frog croaking, it was quite lovely.

The main house where our room was located (4 rooms in this house, and another 2 further away in another house), and where the dining area is at the patio.

The girls have hot dog and burger, and we had Sri Lankan set dinner. It was great stuff!

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