Arriving in Habarana, Sri Lanka

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Travelling to Habarana in Central Sri Lanka

North to Habarana

After our visit to the Elephant Sanctuary we get back in the van and continue our way towards our first hotel in Habarana, the Chaaya Villiage Hotel. However with the Sri Lankan roads, this will take most of the day. After travelling a further couple of hours we get our first taste of Sri Lankan food when we stop off at a restaurant, just of the main road. Our first view of the jungle in Sri LankaThis restaurant is a tropical paradise! It is peaceful and beautiful with a lovely open area surrounded by tall trees. We feel like we’re eating in the Sri Lankan jungle.

The waiter who greets us has a distinctive Hindu outfit and we sit in the hot air, shaded by the trees and try to decide on what would be safe to eat. We’ve read all the warnings about food being properly cooked, no ice, no salad etc so after a quick discussion we order a selection of Sri Lankan curries. We were so tired, I can’t even remember what the curries were but after our concerns having seen the state of the local shops, we all decide that coming to Sri Lanka was a great idea after all.

The final step of our first day in Sri Lanka goes past in a haze. It is now around three in the afternoon and we’ve been travelling, without proper rest for 24 hours. So despite the bumpy road, the final 3 hours of our journey to Habarana slip by, along with some beautiful countryside as we all drift in and out of sleep.

The Chaaya Village Hotel in Habarana

We reach the Chaaya Village Hotel in Habarana just after dark but the welcome could not have been friendlier. We are greeted at reception which is not in the least bit busy and we have a complimentary juice while we check in. We say farewell to Chris who is staying at another nearby hotel and not for the last time we wonder what sort of accommodation he has to endure – one thing for certain is that it’s not the five star accommodations we’ve got - i'd be surprised if it has a swimming pool! Chris informs us that he’ll be back to pick us up at 8.30am and I get a look from Lisa which says “this is supposed to be a holiday”. At this moment I am inclined to agree!

Chaaya Village Hotel in Habarana

The bar in the Chaaya Village Hotel in Central Sri Lanka

We’re then shown to our rooms which are miniature semi-detached, one story houses. They are attractive from the outside and beautifully furnished inside. This is an amazing hotel and we walk down to dinner feeling on top of the word. The hotel swimming pool is an unusual triangular shape and is illuminated at night. There is a large open bar and next to it a large restaurant area but the children are so captivated by the swimming pool that we decide to eat outside.

The food, from an extensive buffet was fantastic and we start, little by little to experiment with some of the food. In particular the sambol which is a coarse powdery substance which you can use to spice up your curry and string hoppers which are a tangle of very thin noodles which come in a burger shape.

We make our weary way back to the rooms and are intrigued by the crunching beneath our feet, in spite of the fact that we’re on a concrete path but it’s dark, late and frankly I’m not sure we want to know!

The start of day 2 in Habarana, Sri Lanka

We awake to a quiet but clear sound on the roof of our hotel room. At first we hear sounds like a clatter but as we listen more it is apparent that there is some sort of creature on the roof. Tentatively I venture out to see what it is and seeing that it is three or four monkeys skipping from roof to roof I call the children out of their room. In addition to dancing on our roof, the monkeys are picking some sort of plumb from the trees above our heads, eating the fruit and then dropping the stones – right onto the concrete paths. These are the source of the crunching on the way up the night before. They eat these fruits at an amazing pace because the hotel staff clear the stones daily but by the end of the day, the path is full of stones again!

We’re a little late getting ready so unfortunately the children can’t go for an early morning swim. We rush down for breakfast which is again a fantastic array of food on a buffet. Lisa and I are sorely tempted to try our first curry breakfast but given the time we opt for a dazzling array of fruit. We’re then off on our first full day of touring.