Posted by: sinhalaya | January 7, 2010

Backpacking to the Kudahs

Day 3 and 4 of our backpacking trip saw us heading out from Pottuvil at 5:30am on Wednesday morning to reach Batticaloa around noon. Stuck for an alternative, the bus was a neat enough place to experience the sunrise from.

We went back to Thameemy’s to get some food, found a local barber and even got haircuts and shaves. Batticaloa town is colourful. It looks a lot like you’re walking through an old south Indian movie.

Back in Batti

In Batticaloa, it feels very much like you’re in a different world. It’s a bustling city with colourful buildings and equally colourful locals. A gentleman invited us in to have a chat with him over some delicious samosas (Batti samosas are a local specialty). Wandering around the city, we had lunch at Hotel Thameemy again. Most of the East Coast seems to have great food. The paratas are warm and fresh, and the curries are seasoned to drag you in off the street by your nose.

We then proceeded to a local Barber shop/saloon to get a shave and haircut. The barber was quite talkative and friendly, with other people occasionally dropping in for this and that. After a refreshing shave, we found the bus stop to take us to Pasikudah. The bus stop was on Trinco Road. The Vaalachchenai bus was our chariot for this leg of the trip, taking just over one and a half hours to get to the Vaalachchenai depot. From there, a three wheeler took us to the Kudahs.

Pasikudah & Kalkudah

The Kudahs are two famous bays that are located side by side In the small Kalkudah town. ‘Kudah’ is a Tamil word that describes a small bay. Kalkudah is a coastal town which used to be quite the tourist destination before the war. Now it is a quiet town occupied mostly by people who used to work at the local hotels, before they were destroyed one way or another by the war and the tsunami.

At Vaalachchanai, get off the bus and find a three wheeler to take you to your chosen place of dwelling in the Kalkudah area. We chose the New Land Guest House, cheap and comfortable. A room for three cost around Rs. 1000 and a great cutllefish rice and curry dinner was served at about Rs 150 per person.

The walk down to the beach from the the Guest House is just about ten minutes and takes you past Mr. Loganathan’s shop, where we found quite possibly the best kottu any of us had ever eaten. And we aren’t just saying that to make you envious. If you go there, try it, and remember us to Logi.

The Pasikudah beach is calm and quite nice to wallow around in. Nothing to write home about, though. The tsunami in 2004 had changed its face quite noticeably and most of the powdery beach had been stripped. A bunch of army personnel were setting up a large concert and carnival near the beach.. Light rain prevented us from taking our cameras.

Kalkudah Beach

Kalkudah beach is a few hundred yards North from Logi’s shop. direct entrance is barred by a Navy base, but it is possible to get there by taking a slight detour. The beach is magnificent and makes up well for the mediocrity of Pasi.

There are odds and ends like an almost completely destroyed pier and hotel that gives this endless expanse of beach quite a mysterious aura. The magic of the place gave us such a carefree attitude that we frolicked around like little boys. At least, that’s our excuse.

After a while we decided to explore the ruined hotel, at which point we were warned by some passing army personnel that there may still be mines in the brush, and to be careful. We wondered if they were simply jealous of our youthful exuberance, but decided to watch out anyway, just in case.

Getting out of Kalkudah

The easiest way to get to most major cities from Kalkudah is to grab a bus from the Vaalachchanai junction. Our next destination was Polonnaruwa, the city of historic ruins. We proceeded to the junction at a leisurely walk and got into a bus after an unsatisfying lunch at a shop opposite the bus halt. If you are there in the season, try the mangoes.

Tsunami alerts and warnings are seemingly commonplace in this part of town with the locals barely taking notice of the blaring loudspeaker. We, however, hastened to quicken our step. But not because we were slightly nervous about the tsunami warning. Oh no, that definitely wasn’t it.


Responses

  1. beautiful Sri Lanka! 🙂

  2. The unannounced tsunami drills are making the warnings utterly useless in the event of a real tsunami, aren’t they? I wonder what the idiot in charge of the thing must be thinking! 😕

    Also, you went into a mined hotel??? 😯 duuuuude! 😕

    Love the pics, ‘cept the malnourished cows… saw a lot of those when I visited the east too… 😦

    • I think there is a difference between a tsunami ‘warning’ and ‘ alert. Villages along the coast are taught to understand the difference. An alert is no big deal and that must have been what was heard. Of couse, we found this bit of information out after we got back to Colombo

    • you mean it was an actual alert and not a drill? 😕

      • Yup, it wasn’t a drill. They said to await further instructions. Didn’t stick around to hear the rest of it 😀

  3. Lovely trip report!

    Why went all that way for a hair cut? Is it that cheap? 😉

    • We were just drawn in by the bright colours 🙂

  4. Sheesh cows in Kalpitiya need to be fed more. I tell ya.

  5. […] Backpacking to the Kudahs « Sinhalaya Travels January 7th, 2010 at 3:46 […]

  6. […] Backpacking to the Kudahs […]


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