Udawalawa with its Udawalawa National Park at Sri Lanka
We were ready to leave Tissamaharama with its Yala National Park to visit the Udawalawe one so we went to the main bus station of Tissamaharama. We asked employees how to get to Udawalawa, they told us that the direct bus is only in the morning around 11h and that if we wanted to go in the afternoon, we had to make a change.
We took the bus 335 of 12h35 from Tissamaharama to Thanamalwila (last stop) for 75 rupees each (0,50 euros). The trip lasted 1 hour; once off the bus, we crossed the street waiting for the bus 98 Ampara-Colombo for 65 rupees each (0,40 euros) to get down at Udawalawa and we arrived at 15h30.
Meanwhile we were waiting for the bus to Udawalawa, some tuk-tuks tried to trick us saying that the bus would be there in 3 hours, there were no bus, we were waiting in the wrong side, etc. so be careful.
The bus dropped us near to the park and immediately, tuk-tuk drivers and a jeep guy jumped on us asking the name of our hotel. We told them Happy Elephant Resort (mudunmankada road - 18,50 euros per night without breakfast) and the jeep guy called it. He gave me his cell phone so I could talk with the owner and he told me that he would send his own tuk-tuk to pick us up.
In fact, confirmed by the hotel owner, the jeep guy works with different hotels and the deal is that if he helps their customers, the hotel will call him if customers will want to do a safari tour in the Udawalawa National Park.
We got a big room with an all-in-one bathroom but the air conditioning didn't work (it could be turned on but no cool air was coming out), to get the hot water, we had to turn on a heater but each time we did and when we took a shower, after some minutes, the circuit breaker cut off the bathroom electricity. There were a lot of insects during the night time (we got a lot of ants in our room).
Anyway, it was for 1 night, we were tied and we had to rest since tomorrow morning, we had our safari tour at the national park at 6ham. We accepted the 4h tour offered by the hotel owner, for 2250 rupees each (13,90 euros no including the entrance) with a private jeep.
We woke up at 5ham since our jeep came to pick us up at 5h30am. In our way to the park, we saw our first elephant eating near to the road. The entrance ticket costs 3100 rupees each (19,15 euros) and a guy working in the park proposed us to be our guide for 1500 rupees (9,25 euros) that we accepted.
It is good to have a guide because the driver couldn't hunt 100% with his eyes meanwhile driving. And us, we were not too expert to spot things. For instance, without the guide, we wouldn't see a female crocodile putting eggs because it was well hiding. Moreover, he was able to explain us things about the park and animals. He told us that the best time to see animals is in the evening during the dry season and in the morning during the raining season. Now we understood more why we didn't see a lot of animal in this park and in the Yala National Park.
During our 4h tour, we saw crocodiles, peacocks, a lot of different birds, 5 elephants including a baby, 1 turtle, buffalos, wild pigs, monkeys and 2 small monitor lizards. We didn't visit the elephant orphanage at the Elephant Transit Home because there are only 3 sessions to see them feed, one at 9ham, then at 12hpm and the last one at 18h.
Once back to our hotel, the owner proposed us a breakfast for 350 rupees each (2,15 euros) and we took advantage to ask how to go to Mirissa with its blue whales because it was our next point of adventure and they told us that there is only 1 direct bus per day leaving at 12h.
The tour in this park was better than in the Yala National Park. In the Yala, we were always running looking for animals, no time to enjoy the beautiful landscape. In this one, Udawalawa, we drove quietly, it was much more pleasant but my number one is the Minneriya National Park.