Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pasikuda and Maalu Maalu

Too much work is not good, so me and the folks at the office packed our bags and headed for Pasikuda last weekend for a well-deserved break. The journey itself was a bit tiring because it took nearly 10 hours. This was mainly because we went in one of those big tourist coaches, comfy, but not good if you want speed. There was also a huge traffic jam along the Dambulla Habarana road due to road-works, which also added to the delay.

CJ had post last week about the pros and cons of Maalu Maalu. While I have to agree on some con points, for me, the overall experience was good. The overall response of the folks at office is also positive.

What won me over was the food. It was excellent. I’m a foodie, so for me, good food will triumph over everything else. I left my diet in Colombo and stuffed myself, consequences be damned. Their soups and salads were top notch. I think I ate more of the salads than the main courses. Event he kola kanda they had for breakfast was good. I’m not a big fan of kola kanda, but this one I gave a try. The same goes for the deserts too.

The place is built as close knit cottages, with 2 rooms on some and 4 on others. There are also two family suit cottages with four rooms (I think), with its own private pool, a Jacuzzi and a steam room. The rooms themselves were quite comfy. The bathroom was huge. I think it was about a third of the whole room. You could have easily put in another bedroom in there if you wanted. 

The land on which the hotel is built is not that large, hence the cramped feeling. They have had to bring the front of the hotel right up to the front boundary. Because of this, the area left for parking is limited, unless they have some external location. The main building which houses the reception and dining areas is small compared to somewhere like Cinnamon Lodge. But the design of the chalets gives a sense of space. I think this is what the architects might have envisioned. To accentuate the sense of space for the chalets they have built them on a V-shape, extending outwards from the entrance. The infinity pool also adds to the sense of space. As a layman, I think it is a great piece of architecture which enhances the sense of space on a relatively small land extent. Even though the main building area is small, it does have two upper floors. The top one has a Karaoke Lounge and a night club with a superb sound and lighting system. The DJ on the other hand has lot of room to improve.

Now, for the important part; the beach. Awesomeness!

The area is part of a huge bay. When you stand in the middle looking out at seas, the white sandy beaches curve out on both sides. The sea isn’t rough and stays shallow for some distance, ideal for a dip. If you walk north along the beach you come across a coral reef. The water is so shallow that you can wade in for quite a distance and see the corals and the marine life using a snorkel. There is also the option of taking a glass bottomed boat and going a bit further into the sea. This area is also shallow, so you can jump in with a lifejacket on and do some snorkeling. Unfortunately other than the beach, sightseeing option are limited in the area, unless you go to Batticaloa, which about 40Km away.

The only side effect of the place is the sun burn you get. I have a dark complexion and even I’ve gotten a tan. However, because of the constant cool breeze coming in from the sea, you don’t feel the heat, but it does burn. A hat and sunglasses are a must.

In my opinion the best way to enjoy the place is to become a night owl. Sleep during the day and party all night. Ideally start around 4pm with a dip in the ocean, a game of beach volleyball or cricket, and finish off with a long soak in the pool till the sun goes down. At night, a good barbecue on the beach accompanied by alcohol of your choice and you can have an excellent time. End the party while watching the sunrise and go to bed afterwards. The sunrise is definitely not something you want to miss. It’s a beautiful site. Both times when I went to Trinco, I missed it thanks to my laziness so I made it a special point to catch it this time.

Passikuda is not crowded at the moment and very peaceful at the moment, but there are hotels coming up all along the beach, which is good for the economy of the area. These new enterprises offer direct job opportunities and indirect tourism related income opportunities for the people in the area. If the people have enough money to satisfy not only their needs, but their wants as well, they tend to be happier. When the people are happy then it will be difficult for external factors to influence them into unrest. Once these hotels come up, it would be ideal to make Passikuda also an air taxi destination. It already goes to Arugam Bay, so it can be part of the same trip. This will drastically reduce the travel time and leave more time to enjoy the place. This is especially good option for foreign tourists.

We are all too familiar with the environmental destruction caused by ad hoc development. The challenge here is to accommodate development while preserving the environment and the beauty of the area. For this to happen, proper planning and management is a must. Hopefully, the related authorities will take this into heart and have an environmentally friendly development plan so that the natural beauty of the place is not destroyed for the sake of progress. 


cj said...

Wooow I love the pics of the sun rise and the reflections off the pool. You should actually sell them to the owner of the hotel because your pics are better than whats on their web site.
You are right about the food at Maalu Maalu its absolutely awesome. In another review of the place on trans currents it was said the experience at Maalu Maalu can be enjoyed as long as you come to terms with the fact that you are paying five star rates for a three star service. I couldnt agree with that more.

Azrael said...

Thanks CJ :)

Lady divine said...

OMG!!the pics are beautiful!!!

Me wanna go there naaooowww!!!!

thanks for sharing..:) Someday, hopefully I'll get to see this place.:)

Azrael said...

Thanks LD :)

Cadence said...

Not a beach fan but that beach does look lovely. Kinda like the beaches in Maldives! and the hotel itself looks quaint!

Delilah said...

oh wow. super pics. was waiting for this post:)

a combination of work, aversion to sun (due to a health reason) and the long drive kept me from going but now i almost wish i had!

Azrael said...

Thanks D :)