Sri Lanka

23rd February 2007 at 00:00
Bhadra Piyarisi teaches English at Rohana College in Ahangama, Sri Lanka Favourite place when you have time off?

Ahangama is a small town about 16km away from Galle on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. With two small children, I do not have much spare time, so when the school holidays come I either stay at home or visit relatives. We live close to the beach, so I take the children there about once a week, though they like playing on the computer at home, too. Ahangama is famous for surfing and sometimes there are big waves but there are safe places for children. It is not too long a beach but it has nice sand.

Don't miss

Ahangama and other nearby places are home to many stilt fishermen. They catch small fish such as koraburuwa, halaburuwa and bolla.

Interesting places include: Kathaluwa temple; Giniwella temple, which has the first printing machine used in Sri Lanka; the Martin Wickramasinghe Museum of Folk Art and Culture, named after a famous local writer; an old temple called Yatagala temple; Unawatuna beach and a small hill called Rumassala.

What about eating out?

I like Insight, The Garden, Banana Garden, Deveni Nivahana and Walawva.

Dishes to try include rice and curry, sea fish, Kiribath (milk rice), hoppers and string hoppers (rice noodles).

When's a good time to come?

Throughout the year the climate is good. November and May are rainy seasons. In April, we celebrate the Sinhala new year; in May, the Wesak Buddhist festival of light; in August, Kandy Perahara (the procession of the Lord Buddha's tooth); and in July, we have the Kataragama festival.

Visitors beware

The village was severely affected by the 2004 tsunami: many became homeless. The effects can still be seen in some places.

Remember to buy

Local products from the cinnamon oil industry and tea factory

Find out more

How to get there

Mrs Piyarisi's school is visited on a number of itineraries offered by The Adventure Company (0845 450 5311, including the 16-day elephant paradise family adventure. Highlights include an elephant safari, guided wildlife walks, meeting local people in isolated villages, visits to Buddhist temples and an exploration of Kandy.

The price of pound;1,194 per child, pound;1,304 per adult includes flights, transportation, accommodation, some meals and a local group leader. The Adventure Company began supporting the school after the tsunami and makes a contribution of pound;5 to it for each booking to Sri Lanka.

Price to the planet

Offset the climate cost of a return flight to Colombo for pound;18.78 per adult (

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