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Camping everywhere in Sri Lanka (Part II)

A few days ago I started telling you how I decided not to pay for sleeping not even one night in the two weeks I spent in Sri Lanka. In the first part, I told how I did it in Negombo, Kandy and Ella. So now let’s continue!


    Sleeping among pilgrims

Again between train and bus to Dalhousie I arrived very late, past 10 PM and wanted to camp wherever to get some rest, since I had to wake up at 2 AM to climb the Adam’s peak. I started walking towards the peak, hoping that when I left Dalhousie I would find places without people and with grass where to pitch the tent. But it never arrived, because it was all paved and with small food and drink stalls on each side. I walked for 40 minutes and all I did was to walk towards the peak with other pilgrims. And in fact, I was seeing some of them sleeping around any corner with some space. So in the end, I saw a small place with grass and I put the tent there. I slept for a couple of hours but it was good enough to get strength and get to the peak the next day.


    Right in the fortress of Galle

My next destination was going to be Galle. I took a bus and checked the city’s map and thought about sleeping in the center where I saw a large park. I arrived about 10 PM on a Friday night and I found that there was a macro-concert and it was so full of people. Checking the map again, looked like there was no beach or park on the outskirts where to camp. Suddenly I saw two police officers and when I asked them where I could put the tent and sleep they told me that anywhere in the same fort where I found grass.

Camping right next to the old town’s wall!


I would have inspected and found a nicer and sheltered place but since I was so tired and I was told that I could camp wherever I wanted, so I did. I pitched the tent next to the wall at the beginning of the fort, a few meters away from the concert, and again I slept like a king.


    In the NAVY at Unawatuna

On the small beach of Unawatuna was great too. About 8 PM, when I started looking for a place to camp, I was inspecting with my flashlight a part of the beach with grass and a young man came and asked me what I was doing. I told him I was looking for a place to camp and he said no problem, that he was from the Navy and that he had a guard all night in the booth that was right next door. He helped me to set up the camp and when we finished, he told me to use their shower where I not only washed myself but also the clothes I wore. And when I got out, he and his workmate were waiting me for dinner!


    With the Hikkaduwa lifeguards

The next day, and after having spent it at the beach in Hikkaduwa, looking for a place to camp I found the post of the Coast Guard. Knowing that they also usually have night watch, I asked them if I could camp there next and they told me that without problem, I should put the tent in one of its covered parts because it might rain. While I was doing it, one of them was talking to me and asking questions all the time about this long journey. And he ended up inviting me to dinner at a place just outside Hikkaduwa!

To the left, the tent in the covered area. To the right, the improvised breakfast prepared by the lifeguards the following day!


When I returned I fell asleep and the next morning I woke up with one of them offering tea and cookies for breakfast. I was talking to them until I realized that the towel and the bathing suit I had left outside getting dry the night before were gone. I was angry and they told me not to worry about it. Then they told me to tell them the color of the clothes, to get a shower in their facilities and to leave it to them to be solved. And so it happened. As I got out of the bathroom I found the towel and the bathing suit next to my backpack. Apparently there are people who sell “second hand” clothes on the street and as they have them controlled it was easy to locate my clothes. After that, I spent the morning with them at the booth, taking baths and enjoying the giant turtles that I could see thanks to them that told me where to go to see them.


    Alone at Bentota’s kilometric beach

Every full moon day in Sri Lanka is festive. It was the one in February, called Navam Poya, and I took the train between Hikkaduwa and Bentota and it seemed that I was back in India again. There were people everywhere! When I arrived to Bentota, I found a lot of people on the beach, but the more that I walked the less people there was, until I reached the end where there was a beautiful temple surrounded by trees and vegetation.

Next to it, there was a group of four men taking the traditional alcoholic drink called Arrack and eating peanuts, who on seeing me called me to join them. I spent a couple of hours with them until they went back to Colombo, because the next day they all had to work again. And then I realized, I was totally alone on the kilometer Bentota beach. I set up the tent and under a starry sky, without any light or noise around me, I slept in absolute peace.


    And of course, the classic in the airport

Last night, as could not have been otherwise, I spent it sleeping in the airport and then on the plane. I arrived at the airport shortly after the sunset and I slept until 2 AM, when I woke up to catch the flight an hour later, and finished getting some rest more there on the way back to India.


In the end, and as I had said, I did not pay for sleeping not even one night. A total of thirteen nights, nine of them in the tent, which showed me how safe the country is, the good people who live in it and the advisability of wild camping when traveling by Sri Lanka.

2 Responses

  1. Bas

    Interesting post. Do you think it would be a bad idea to take a camping hammock instead of a tent to sri lanka to do something similar? Thanks

    1. Hey Bas!

      I’m sorry I didn’t answer before, I’ve been in Africa these last weeks :)

      I really don’t think you are gonna have any problem wild camping with a hammock. Are you planning on doing this soon?

      Let me know if you do and good luck with it!

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