Relaxing on the west coast

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Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Bentota
August 21st 2018
Published: September 15th 2018
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R: This will be a fairly short post as we didn't do much here. With a long flight day to Australia to look forward to, we opted to have a few days of relaxation in a resort type place. We arrived about 4pm, and one of the quirks of this hotel was the boat transfer. When you arrive on the boat landing stage on the mainland you get whisked onto a small transfer boat which whisks you onto the hotel complex on a spit of sand isolated from the mainland.

The hotel is fairly nice, 4* kind of resort. Large pool, quite a few families, three restaurants etc. But its location is quite special, directly on a spit which you can walk down a long sandy beach just outside the pool. We got upgraded to all inclusive here, which meant unlimited local beer and spirits plus tea, coffee and some wine. So we went to the bar and found they made a rather good mint julep where we let the all inclusive go to our heads a bit... After getting a bit too drunk for the first night, we headed for dinner in their attached Thai restaurant which was amazing (not just because we were already drunk when we got there).

Next day was reserved for pool mooching, swim up bars, and chilling out after several days on the road. We went for the Italian restaurant at night at the hotel, but meanwhile eating as much Sri Lankan food at the breakfast and buffet - and without a car journey to look forward to, I tried as many spicy things as I could. Also, their egg hoppers where the best I had tasted in Sri Lanka. We had a nice room overlooking the mainland which was across a lagoon used for watersports, and from our little patio we could sit and watch the speedboats heading up and down the lagoon. I was tempted to try stand-up paddleboarding here, but the going seemed a little bit rough!

The next day was another pool day - Cate had organised a few treatments at the Spa which were remarkably cheap, given the quality, and I had wedding speech writing to do, given there being now just under a week until my best man speech in Australia. Sitting by the pool with a beer was a perfect way to do this and when I got bored I went for a walk down the beach to play with my camera, and apparently meet some locals.

Some were a bit insistent and I had to walk increasingly deeply in the water to escape them, with my shorts getting increasingly soaked, but as I approached the bottom of the beach, it opened out into the area more inhabited by locals having fun, as opposed to the locals that wanted to take me to see giant salamanders and "nice markets" in the village. (None of this was threatening, I add, all very friendly, but sometimes you just want to be left alone...)

After another nice meal in the Thai restaurant and several more cocktails, we left the hotel under the cover of darkness (2am!) back across the water on the boat to the landing station, which felt like we were smugglers on some night mission, to our waiting transfer back to Colombo airport for our long flight to Australia via Singapore.

Colombo airport, I can report, has its own tea district, with upwards of 10 stalls selling touristy overpriced black stuff for you to take home to your loved ones. It also has
Resort LifeResort LifeResort Life

(at sunset!)
a very limited selection of cafes, each selling sandwiches for 15 USD or some such ridiculous price. We ended up in Pizza Hut at 5:30am, for a quick Hawaiian before the flight.

Our first flight with Sri Lankan was 4.5 hours, and got to Singapore in time for us to have lunch and use the rooftop pool, where it promptly decided to rain for a short time. If you ever get time to use the pool, it's well worth the £9 entry fee to stretch out on a sun lounger, have a swim and jacuzzi, and use a shower between flights. We also had a potter around the butterfly garden - which is quite fun if for a while if you like to watch pretty things fluttering around to the backing sounds of jet engines.

Our flight to Perth on Qantas left at 18:40 and got us in just after midnight Perth time - 20 hours or so door to door. (It's a shame there are no direct flights from Colombo). Our family were waiting for us in arrivals which was very, very welcome, and we were back to 10°c temperatures in the Australian winter.

We have to say in terms of airlines, Qantas was the most disappointing this time around, having had good trips with them before. The service and offering has definitely gone downhill.

Oh look, it turned out longer than I thought....

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