And relax.....welcome to Unawatuna

Trip Start Aug 07, 2013
Trip End Aug 22, 2013

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Monday, August 19, 2013

After a 5 hour drive down from Ella, we caught our first glimpse of the sea in nearly a week (since Negombo/Waikkal/Colombo). Initially we had thought to stay at Tangalle or Mirissa or Unawatuna and work our way through the different towns and stay in Galle too before making our way up to Mount Lavinia. As it turns out, the towns were so small and so similar (Galle aside) that we drove through them and headed to Unawatuna, the smallest of them. 

Arriving at Flower Garden Hotel and ditching the bags in the lovely rooms (complete with unexpected jacuzzi baths), we camped at the pool for a few happy hours having fresh watermelon juices and enjoying just being in one place. 2 nights easily changed to 5 as we relaxed and had the traditional part of the holiday. Sunbathing, swimming in pool, reading, wandering down to the beach, bobbing about in the sea and cocktails by the waves in the evening.

We used Unawatuna as a base to see Galle and didn't return to Mirissa- the differences between Unawatuna and Mirissa seemed so few that we picked one and stuck to it. This tiny place was recommended by one of my favourite people and it did not disappoint. Never busy (off-season), at times you had the sea and the beach practically to yourself. The cove itself has a pagoda at one end and seems relatively unspoiled. Flattened by the tsunami, subsequent developments were torn down by the government for being illegal/no planning, which allows little beach businesses to establish themselves. 

Seafood restaurants, bars and cafes sit along the beach offering much of the same thing but a few stand out places:

- Full Moon- great red wine (difficult to find in Sri Lanka), lovely prawns and reasonable prices, Italian restaurant

- Happy Banana- the BEST fresh calamari- garlicky, lemony, peppery sauce and fragrant fish curries

- Chilli Bongo Cafe- 700rupees/3.50 for a whole range of cocktails

- Nautical Cafe- great passionfruit mojitos

There was one small bar/restaurant the other side of Nautical cafe the name of which can't be recalled, where for 15 we had fresh salads, waters, chips and jumbo prawns caught fresh in the bay and simply cooked. Delicious! 

The street behind the beach is lined with other restaurants/cafes/shops/ayurvedic retreats/spas/hotels and many more small businesses trying to establish themselves before the high season starts- lots of entrepreneurialism and reasonable prices. Only fake starbucks Starpipel should be avoided as they don't have anything on the menu that they publish.

Flower Garden itself did for 890 rupees (4.45) a 3 course dinner. Soup or huge salads, pastas/pizzas/curries/rice dishes/seafood for main, desserts of cakes or pastries or mango icecream. Not to mention the 800 rupee massages- not a part of dinner, but available at the spa above the restaurant, we found the place really good value.

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