Tissamaharama & Yala National Park

Tissamaharama Travel Blog

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Morning bath ;-), Tissa
While the bus journey from Habarana to Kandy was the most uncomfortable, this one was definitely the most annoying one. The bus from Haputale to Wellawaya was actually quite enjoyable, with even more great valley views. But after that I had to change busses, I was squeezed into a van with my backpack on my lap and rice bags stacked all around me. After an hour or so I had to change once again, and eventhough the walls of rice were now gone, the sheer number of people on the bus made the ride a rough experience.
Anyway, it's was cheap and it brought me to where I wanted to go. That's really all that matters at the end of the day!

So finally I arrived in Tissa, almost at the south coast. My original plan for Sri Lanka was to visit Batticaloa after Sigiriya, and then to head down along the east coast to Arugam Bay, including a visit to the "Yala East Nationalpark".
Pagoda in Tissa
But I soon decided that this would not be the ideal plan (too much time "wasted" with driving along the coastline). So here I am now, in a place I didn't have on my radar at all when I did my trip planning.

The good thing was that I could still visit Yala Nationalpark - the only "drawback" being that this is now Yala West (the big, famous, expensive national park) and not Yala East (the "little brother", a bit underdeveloped, but cheaper and less crowded).

The trip to/through Yala West is designed like a safari, so you are being driven around in a jeep, and hopefully see some animals on the way.

I have to say I was a bit disappointed for some reason. I knew beforehand what I had to expect,  but somehow it didn't feel the way I expected it to be. That being said, the environment was very remarkable, reminding me a lot of certain parts of Australia and Africa.
On the way to Yala National Park
The breakfast break at the beach was great, and I was finally able to see a wild crocodile...yay! No leopard though.. bummer!

Tissa itself is a nice smallish, but busy town (it's a bit of a transport hub from and to the highlands), with a very nice pagoda and extremely friendly people everywhere. I wanted to reach my next destination as soon as possible though, so I decided to do what I actually wanted to avoid: Take a private transfer by car. The thought of being packed into overcrowded busses again (only this time for double the distance!) was not really a great one, so I let myself have that luxury once.

After a little chat with the very helpful staff at my guest house, they organized me a car. The first surprise was that the driver was actually the owner of the guest house, who is now living in Matara, and only occasionally comes to Tissa nowadays.
Yala National Park
The second surprise was that his car was a shiny Mercedes Benz that he bought from the indian ambassador! Suffice to say, it was a very strange feeling to be driven around in a luxury car after two weeks of jam-packed busses and rattling trains. But it could have been worse ;-)

After around two hours I arrived at my destination, which turned out to be a small paradise hidden between several mass-tourist-towns.
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Morning bath ;-), Tissa
Morning bath ;-), Tissa
Pagoda in Tissa
Pagoda in Tissa
On the way to Yala National Park
On the way to Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Pagoda in Tissa
Pagoda in Tissa
Pagoda in Tissa
Pagoda in Tissa
Pagoda in Tissa
Pagoda in Tissa
On the way to Yala National Park
On the way to Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Tissa Lake
Tissa Lake
Tissamaharama
photo by: tj1777