A highly sacred religious site where Lord Gautama Buddha had left his holy footprint. A 64-feet waterfall that cascades to a mist halfway down. A Rock Temple with ancient paintings and a uniquely half hewn Buddha. A magnificent bridge carved entirely of wood. A spectacular military training ground where you can watch their annual motor cross tournament. Grave of Major Thomas William Rogers who killed 1400 elephants and finally died himself struck by lightning…
You would never regret what Badulla would offer you the next day as you head Udawalawe. Rather than paying for a straight trip to Udawalawe from Colombo, it is far more fruitful to plan the same journey via Badulla. Yeah, you would have to sacrifice a better part of a whole day to get there, 250km on the road or 300km length of upcountry train track.
It is only a 3-hour drive – rail road comes to a dead end at Badulla – along A4 and A2 Highways. So you have plenty of time to enjoy the surrounding hotspots, in keeping with the order we afore mentioned; Muthiyangana Temple, Dunhinda Falls, Dhowa Rock Temple, Bogoda Bridge, Fox Hill Motor Cross, Graveyard of St. Mark’s Church. Each has its own uniqueness and had attracted favourable comments across numerous travel sites.
No train. No Plane. You have only the tarmac in front you. Great if you can hire a vehicle from Badulla, rather than bringing it all the way from Colombo. BadullaCabs is an exemplary rent-a-car service that operates in Badulla. Check them out at http://www.badullacabs.com/ Instead of a hired car you can jump on to a bus heading Monaragala, but that is possible only if you are travelling light, a feat quite impractical for Udawalawe.
Badulla to Udawalawe on the Road
The directions you can easily obtain from the hotel you put up for the night in Badulla. You go along Bandarawela Road and switch on to Peradeniya – Badulla – Chenkalady Highway. Then comes Colombo–Batticcaloa Highway A4, pass Wellawaya and then drive along A2 Thanamalwila Rd. On this route, you get a chance to venture into another Park. It is called Lunugamwehera National Park.
Always accompany a guide wherever you go; a guide with a proven track record. For this trip we reiterate the necessity of hiring your own vehicle, or else you fail to reap the full benefit of this journey. Insist on public transport? Visit National Transport Commission at http://www.ntc.gov.lk/timetable.html
This is a trip that you can apparently finish within a couple of hours. After Udawalawe, either you turn back towards Badulla again or travel further down South. Carefully choose the places you are going to visit before and after Udawalawe and also the end destination. Try to get the maximum advantage out of this little journey, but always keep in your mind that you are miles away from Colombo. Sri Lankans are naturally friendly, but it is up to you to take care that you do not take chances.