Getting to Negombo


Our departure from cold Adelaide yesterday morning was marred by the realisation that Australian Immigration is now the unpleasantly re-named Australian Border Force. Everything has been rebranded from the queue tapes to the uniforms. They didn’t hesitate in getting that done!

Bikes in the newly acquired bike bags were easier to manage than the boxes we have previously used. So off to Singapore with air quality deteriorating noticeably over Java and becoming worse as we arrived. I can report that Changi airport shops are quite adequately meeting the needs of anyone who requires a new handbag. If you are sky training from Terminal 3 to 2, look out for the topiary plane – it’s a nice touch!

We arrived at Bandaranaike International Airport at midnight, collected our luggage and found our friendly pre-booked driver who brought us to the Windmill Beach Hotel at Negombo, a beachy touristy town about 30km north of Colombo, but quite close to the airport. Driving through the dark streets we saw many illuminated roadside shrines to Christian saints, each announced by an elevated red neon cross.

Already our priorities for today had been determined by our failure to pack a bike pump or sun screen. Our early morning perambulation in the cool took us to the beach, only one block away, where fishing boats were out in large number. We were warmly greeted by a fisherman who had not yet gone out on his boat.

Negombo Beach

Searching for breakfast we were obvious game for tuk tuk drivers who wanted to meet all our touristic needs. However, we fended them off until string hoppers with dhal and fish curry had been consumed, accompanied by Liptons tea and Nescafe – very nice. Sitting on the breakfast terrace allowed observation of the passing traffic – many people cycling on clapped out classic bikes with varied loads including crates of fish with scales (the weighing kind) hanging off the back, kids being dinked to school by parents and siblings, school buses, scooters, tuk tuks, busy but not manic.

We have now explored Negombo town, a place with interesting sights everywhere. Sri Lankan business owners are completely customer focussed and will help you with anything in the hope of establishing your continued loyalty. They assisted us to change money, buy sim cards, visit the beach side fish market (lots of sardines, squid, fat tuna, a huge marlin and acres of fish drying on coir mats on the sand) and buy a $2 Chinese bike pump that turned out to be useless. Our hotel proprietors are also keen to be sole providers of all services and have warned us off anyone from outside who approaches!

Negombo Fish Market

Bicycle assembly on the hotel terrace had some frustrations and a return trip with the bike wheels to Cycle Bazaar was needed to enable us to get the tyres pumped and to purchase a pump that works. Transport to Anuradhapura tomorrow proved more difficult to organise than anticipated and unfortunately the train appears not to be a viable option. We are taking a bus instead to cover this longish leg to the Cultural Triangle.

2 Responses to “Getting to Negombo”

  1. rosalind powrie Says:

    Hi Rosalie and Ian ,yes those small taken for granted items can be annoyingly difficult to find.Lot of fish there to look forward to eating.Enjoyed you arrival news and look forward to next update xRos

  2. parksidestories Says:

    great to hear your descriptions and the photos as usual are very well composed! love the fish shot. Hang onto that pump; you’ll be able to sell it for a high price at the end.

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