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Maldives - Short Island Hop

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UVA Province

Telephone dialing code for Wellawaya is 055
Telephone dialing code for Uda Walawe / Embilipitiya is 047

Places of Interest

  1. Kateragama is a place of worship for many religions . the most important shrine is the Maha Devale and is a 6 faced Hindu war god. Neighbouring shrines are dedicated to Buddha and Ganesh.

    Prayers are at 4.30am, 10.30am. 6.30pm.
    In July & August the Hindu Kataragama Festival draws many pilgrims who have walked the length of the island from Jaffna . this worship is as the Perahera begins in Kandy.
    Poya days are also very busy.
  2. Many temples, waterfalls and historic war memorials can be found in Wellawaya where the Portugese invaded Sri Lanka. Trekking through the paddy field, through the woodland and up onto the Poonagala Jungle and Mountain range.
  3. Baduruwagala statue is 6 miles from Wellawaya. It is the largest statue in the world and carved into the rock.
  4. Around Buttala, and Galapita is home to many Veddha villages. See the well constructed mud huts and admire their simple living. They are friendly people but very reserved with tourists. You will pass many villages as you head South to Yala on the Kateragama Road.

Activities & Safaris

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National park Opening Hours Entry Fees Main attraction
Uda Walawe 6.30am- 6.30pm daily closed 31 August - 15 October $26 inc. 4WD can be found in Embilipitiya for Rs1500-2000 for a ½ day. Contact Sanath Bowala for an experienced jeep Tel 0712 301358 or ask your hotel manager Elephants, buffalo, Green Bee-eater,
Yala West  

6.30am- 6.30pm daily.
Closed 31 Aug – 15 October $26 inc
4WD can be found in Tissa for Rs1500-2000 for a ½ day.

Contact Susantha for an experienced jeep Tel 047 39209 or ask your hotel manager

Leopards, Elephants, Crocodiles,
Black eagle
Bundala Bird Sanctuary, Hambantota August – April is the best time to catch the migrants. $10/ person Flamingo’s
149 species of birds
Elephants, crocodiles, giant squirrels, turtles.

Safaris and cycling are the main attractions and bicycles can be rented in Tissamaharama Heritage home, Don Diogu also rents quality mountain bikes.


The East Coast sea is far to rough for swimming but the beaches are clean and make a pleasant walk at dusk. Watch out for sand flies and snakes.

Getting About

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7- 9hrs from Colombo to Kirinda 10km South of Tissamaharama. Rs200.
Buses from Kateragama to Tissa are fairly frequent and the private bus goes along the South coast to Colombo.

Tuk Tuks are handy for travel within the towns but not for long distances.


For details on private drivers and getting about the island, click here as this is certainly the most efficient way of moving around the Hill country.

Air Taxi

Sadly the air taxi can not fly to the East coast but I am sure that it will be negotiated very soon. There is also talk of a second international airport in Wellawaya by 2010.

Bars & Restaurants

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The local guesthouses, hotels and heritage homes are the sole source of restaurants but the standard is high and the produce local:

Sudu’s guesthouse, Tissamaharama
Simple Sri Lankan food and a friendly atmosphere but basic décor.

Rosen Renaissence, Kateragama. Tel. 047 223 6030
A la Carte and buffet menu in 5* surroundings.

Yala Village, Yala. Tel. 047 223 9450
New Eco resort with observation tower from the restaurant overlooking the lake.
Buffet, Western or a la carte and around $10 / head for dinner. Seafood specialities , fresh from Trincomalee or Aragum Bay.

What To Wear?

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Shorts and t-shirts is fine for Safari. The jeeps in Uda walawe can travel free of the roof cover so, a hat and plenty of sun crème is also a must.

Beware of leeches in Bundala as it is wetland. The coastal salt usually keeps them away however.


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Banks can be found in Tissamaharama and Kateragama.

UVA, the largest province of Sri Lanka. Ella and Heputale hills for walkers, abundant birdlife, Uda Walawe Elephant Park. Plantation bungalows, colonial homes and safaris of the Hill country Sri Lanka. Religious sanctuary of Kateragama Sri Lanka. Boutique Sri lanka specialists for hotels and walking holidays in the Hill country Sri Lanka and UVA province