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Wellawaya

6 hours towards the Eastern countryside, from the commercial capital of Colombo, lies a sleepy town in rural Sri Lanka that is famed for its weather, lush greenery, ancient history and its laid back vibes. Perched in the serene setting of the Paradise Island’s hill country, surrounded by greenery, draping the daunting mountains of the countryside, Wellawaya is an idyllic setting to escape to from the rat race of the urban jungle.

Top Reason to Visit

Although overlooked by many a traveller, Wellawaya has quite a number of reasons to visit the laid back town, such as its history that is strongly connected to the ancient Kingdom of Ruhuna, its mellow vibes and rustic grandeur that boasts of evergreen paddy fields surrounded by serene mountain ranges. However, it is its natural bliss that takes the top reason to visit the mountain town, as the fresh air and untarnished nature proves to be an idyllic setting to just kick back and relax.

While You’re There

Mountain getaway:

Wellawaya is conveniently located at the crossroads of the Hill Country and the Southern Coast, making it an important stopover to travellers, exploring the rural Sri Lankan countryside. Situated in its convenient perch in the country, boasting of lush foliage in the form of evergreen paddy fields and serene mountain ranges, the place is ideal to let your hair down.

Feeling a little bit adventurous? Wellawaya does not disappoint, as the nearby Poonagala Mountain Range proves to be an idyllic stomping ground for hikers and campers, allowing the more wide eyed traveller to explore the exotic flora and fauna that dwell in the area.

You could go on ahead to the tourist town of Ella too, as it is a great place to enjoy yourself in the many swanky cafes and bars, which has become a fan favourite for travellers, local or foreign.

Unravel an ancient kingdom:

Wellawaya may be known for its lush greenery and surrounding mountains, however, the place is also home to remnants of an ancient kingdom that once thrived from the 3rd Century BC to the 11th Century AC. The ancient Buduruwagala carvings and temple, along with archaeological sites such as that witnessed in Maligawila and Galabedda prove to be physical vestiges of the Kingdom of Ruhuna that was once an epicentre of religion and economic importance to the island in the days of yore. Visiting these archaeological sites are certainly a considerable allure to the traveller journeying the hill country.

Insider Advice

Travel: Getting about in Wellawaya is relatively easy, as there are a number of transportation options in the form of busses and tuk-tuks. Should you choose to hire a tuk-tuk, please make sure you research on the distance of the destination and agree on a price before you hop in, since you might need to haggle a bit with the driver.

Weather: The town in Monaragala District experiences a more temperate climate, where temperatures would average around 25°C with very low humidity. Moreover, the town also experiences occasional precipitation throughout the year, with little to no rain in the months from June to September.

Money: Credit and debit cards are worthless here, apart from the supermarkets, therefore it is imperative that you carry cash in hand with small notes like LKR 20s, 50s and 100s, so as to make those small transactions all the more easier.

Clothing: Since the town experiences a temperate climate, it is best to traverse the town with some light winter clothing. Do keep in mind to follow religiously accepted attire when entering the temples in the area.

Safety: Wellawaya is a very safe, laid back and accommodating town, however, it is still imperative that you keep a watchful eye on your belongings.

Meals and refreshments: There are quite a number of restaurants and snack stands near the main bus stand, but you could also opt for your accommodation provider to cover this for you.

Wellawaya then, may be a small rural town in Sri Lanka, but is packed with serene mountains draped in evergreen foliage, providing that exquisite natural bliss. Coupled with intriguing ancient history that can be witnessed by any all; what is stopping you from visiting this mountain respite?

Title image by: Jehan Gamalathge
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