I drove all the way through Colombo from south to north – something that had been unimaginable when I started driving in Sri Lanka! It wasn’t easy, but I have learned the game of how to drive here. We were able to return our little rental car, after driving 2000 kms, with not a single scratch!
The final leg of the circumnavigation was from Galle to Negombo. The first plan was to circle back into the central hills and Ratnapura on the way back to Colombo. Bad decision!!! We had a well-worn map, 2 versions of Google Maps – Apple and Android – and HereWeGo gps apps and they all conflicted with each other. It was a nightmare of lost main roads and unmarked intersections and secondary roads going nowhere. After 5 hours of going is circles and wandering in hope of a proper roadsign, we gave up and headed back to Galle and the freeway heading north to Galle. I drove 11 hours that day, the last hour trying to locate our hotel in Waduwa.
I’d booked the Kumbukgahawatta Hotel just because I liked the name. It was really a strange island of calm and greenery in a cramped urban setting. Good choice. The best part was the morning parade of poultry.
And then the drive through Colombo!!!! It was like a dangerous video game, with a blue bus pushing into my lane beside and another riding my bumper and locals casually roaring past. The thing is to hold your ground but to be ready to dart to a safe space. Horns honking. Lights flashing. Pedestrians squeezing thru stopped cars and tutktuks double parked in front of massive cement trucks. Wild! I did it!! The last part into Negombo I did from memory having taken that tuktuk ride many times to Pettah Market and Barefoot in the city.
Negombo proved to be a different driving challenge. On busy Beach Road, I finally figured out that I had to drive in the middle of the street to avoid parked vehicles and only use my land for passing moving vehicles. Another element to the game.
Negombo was the beach scenes familiar to us.
Waves by Tranquil lived up to its name. Great staff, great restaurant and a great pool to end the trip.
I sit here with my bags packed waiting for my airport taxi. More Sri Lanka posts will come as I digest the thrilling experience of sort-of circumnavigating Sri Lanka by car.