Diary Entry

At 8:30 a taxi picks us up at Mama’s Place on the beautiful beach in Mirissa and takes us comfortably to the door of our next accommodation. The route is incredibly beautiful and takes us through tourist-free landscapes full of rice fields with water buffalo, jungle and villages.

We avoid accidents involving wild animals twice on the route. We drive part of the way on the motorway. Since the motorways have expensive tolls by Sri Lankan standards, the road is clear. That’s lucky for the monitor lizard.

I am happy about nature!

Finally we see the “wild” landscape of Sri Lanka

Rice fields and swamps characterize the country.

We crane our necks to see some wild animals

I found accommodation on Booking.com that made a good impression. The pictures are nice and the price is fair. The hosts also organized a taxi from Mirissa for us at a reasonable price. In reality, the accommodation is even nicer. It feels like we are in the middle of the jungle, even though the center of Tissamaharama is only a ten-minute walk away.

In Tissamaharama we meet Sara’s best friend Shima, who accompanies us for the next few days.

The accommodation is not called “Safari Inn” for nothing. The town is mainly known as the starting point for tours to the nearby Yala and Bundala national parks. We will accompany one of these safaris to Yala the next day. Tissamaharama itself also has a lot to offer.

The relaxed safari lodge in paradise

Not far from the city on foot, in a beautiful location between the rice fields.

Note: these are not affiliate links. I do not receive any commission for the recommendations!

We go into the small town and stock up on cash from an ATM and, most importantly, fresh fruit from the market. There is also a proper supermarket in Tissamaharama.

The people are very friendly. Even though few people speak English in the countryside, they are always helpful. I would have expected it to look more touristy, as many travelers stop here to go on safari. But in the city we don’t see any tourists next to us.

I buy incense sticks to combat the annoying mosquitoes and also find arrack, the delicious palm sap whisky from Sri Lanka.

A merchant is not only offering incense sticks. He also shows us a chair that he made out of shells. Apparently it is going to the royal family of England!

Drugs and booze!


Arrack, also spelled arrak, is a spirit distilled from pure palm juice or a mash of sugar cane and rice. Arrack production is now mainly limited to Sri Lanka, Indonesia and some Southeast Asian countries. The production method and ingredients vary from country to country.

Arrack is often classified between whiskey and rum and is the main ingredient in traditional punch. Arrack, which originates from India, is believed to be one of the oldest spirits in the world, having been invented in the first half of the 2nd millennium BC. It is considered the forerunner of several spirits known today, such as rakΔ±, vodka and rum.

The origin of the word “arrack” is not clearly established. One theory is that the term “arrack” is derived from the Arabic word for “sweet juice” or “sweat”.

Another theory says that the term arrack comes from the areca nut or areca palm.

The origin of the first arrack is believed to be in South Asia, particularly India and Sri Lanka. It is assumed that the associated distillation process was invented in the region around East India in the first half of the 2nd millennium BC.

Arrack is an important part of the culture and history of many Asian countries and remains a popular drink today. Although less well known in Europe, it is gaining popularity due to its unique taste and rich history. It is a drink that both honors the past and welcomes the future.


To the north of the city lies Lake Tissa. There are huge trees in the water, the branches of which are full of huge fruit bats. They fan themselves with their wings to combat the heat, try to sleep, annoy each other or visit friends in another tree. It is very funny to watch.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of fruit bats. The animals are huge. We could sometimes see some in Mirissa in the evenings and at first we thought they were big birds.

I first thought it was a big bird

The large Buddhist monument Yatala Dalada Wehera stands outside the gates of the otherwise insignificant city. The large dome of the stupa can be seen from far away.

While the rest of the family retreats to our lodge because of the heat, I walk over to this stupa, take a closer look at it and let my drone fly over it.

Yatala Dalada Wehera

Yatala Dalada Wehera, also known as Yatala Vehera, is an ancient Buddhist stupa dating to the 3rd century BC, located at Deberawewa Thissamaharama in the Hambantota District of Sri Lanka. The stupa is built on a platform made of large flat granite stones and is surrounded by a wall with carved elephant heads, a moonstone and a moat.

The stupa is believed to have been built about 2300 years ago by the regional king Yatala Thissa of Ruhuna to commemorate the place where he was born.  However, some believe that the stupa was built by King Mahanaga, the father of Yatala Thissa, to commemorate the birth of his son.


In various historical documents and chronicles, this stupa is also referred to as Mani Chethiya and Yattalaya.  It is not known what was enclosed in this stupa, but a large number of reliquary boxes have been discovered in the stupa.

It is believed that this stupa was offered to Arhant Arittha Thero, the first Sinhalese Arhant, by the regional king of Ruhuna. This stupa is also considered to be the first stupa built in the Ruhuna Kingdom.

Restoration work on the Yatala Dagaba began in 1883 AD and it took over a century to complete.

Sara, Shima and I get ready for the next day. Our vehicle will pick us up at 4:30 in the morning.

We pack everything we need and are happy that Ethi and Maryam are looking after Leon while we go on safari!

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