Reasonable Beachside Hotel
The Emerald Bay is clean, comfortable and right on the beach, it not so special that I bothered to take any photos of the place except for one of the pool, which is too small.
We booked a package and certainly couldn’t complain about the price, easily cheap enough to use as a base for your travels. The food was just about good enough but nothing exciting, generally a buffet with a mix of Western and Sri Lankan dishes.
The guests are mainly English and German.
As for the staff, Pradeep and the other waiters in the restaurant were always happy and helpful as were the room boys and the guys on reception but the bar staff appeared to begrudge serving us for two weeks and then seriously lent on us for a tip when they knew we were about to leave.
Before I went I had read one or two complaints about the hotel being too close to the Galle Road and therefore noisy, well it didn’t bother us in the least. There is nightly entertainment which to be honest is bloody awful, particularly the musicians who assail you at your table during dinner but watch out for the magician, he is the most unintentionally hilarious act I have seen in years.
I would particularly recommend this place but there is nothing wrong with it either so if you have booked, relax. One of the plus points is that (we when were there) we didn't get treated like second class citizens at the weekend, which is what happens elsewhere.
VIETNAM: Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay is also known as the Emerald Bay and it's one of the most beautiful places in the world. Literally thousands of small uninhabited islands rise out of the sea, with sheer rock faces covered in dense, dark green woodland. The water lapping against the cliffs is transparently clear and almost emerald in colour - in beautiful Vietnam even the water is green!
I'm not sure if this is possible today but when I spent the day sailing around Ha Long Bay we went the whole day without seeing any other tourists. In fact the only people we saw were fishermen from whom we bought delicious food. With fresh shrimps and crabs added to the tropical fruit we'd brought with us we had an absolute feast while watching the sun go down, briefly turning the water a dark orange and silhouetting the rugged islands against the sky.
There are so many beaches that you can simply take your pick whenever you fancy a break from sailing. The deserted golden sands are ideal for sunbathing and the steep cliffs and deep caves behind are great to explore. When we didn't want to sunbathe we simply weighed anchor and stopped in the middle of the sea and dived off the boat in to the wonderfully warm water.
The largest island we stopped at housed a massive 'musical cave' where the rocks each gave off different notes when struck! On top was a stunning view and the island's own lagoon, hidden behind two volcanic-looking peaks and high above sea level. As night drew on I wished that we could spend the night on the boat, under the stars and anchored in the Bay. It was not only one of the best days of my time in Vietnam but also one of the most memorable days of my life.
diving in sri lanka
have now been in sri lanka for about a week and having a great time....everyons adice on the cultural triangle was a great help, a terrific part of the world....made all the better by me being about the only person visiting the ruins, made for a welcome change to macchi pucchi where i was a few months earlier
anyway, i am interested in possibly doing a scuba diving course while over here.....does anyone know the state of the coral etc post tsunami?? - as i have heard snorkelling may be just as good as a result of this...pretty pricey course so just thought i would see if anyone knew
Re: diving in sri lanka
no its not sri lanka steve but i thought i'd tell you my daughter has just passsed her PADI Open Water Diving course in Lanzarote and sounds like she had a really grat time
it cost 385 euro for the course but worth every penny ( i paid for it cos she was 21 yesterday)
have fun whether you scuba or snorkel
Re: diving in sri lanka
glad it's going well, hope we get a full account when you get back, it's great not being surrounded by crowds init
There are diving schools on the west and south coasts, in particular Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna (Unawatuna is a nicer place to stay) unfortunately the coral has a hard time of it and not just from the tsunami, there’s been climatic problems and the locals don’t help (I have seen guys bringing lumps of it ashore lot’s of times) but there’s still some about .
I would think about getting the train down to Polhena (near Matara) if you don’t want to spend too much cash on a scuba diving course. The sea at Polhena is sheltered by a reef, it's calm and perfect for snorkelling, there are lots of cheap places to stay too, I was at the Emerald Bay Inn in January it was sound and the guys will sort you out with any gear you want.
Hope you can help me,we have just seen a cheap deal to stay at the Emarld Bay in Bentota(2 WKS IN fEB)the hotel looks nice but what I can"t find out is,
1)Is it miles away from the shops,bars e.t.c?
2)Is it a complex that you have to stay on or is it safe to walk about?
3)Is Sri Lanka a expensive place to holiday?
4)What is the weather like in Febuary?
Thanx in advance
Re: 1st timers
I was at the Emerald Bay a few weeks ago, I had no real complaints, except that it's in Induruwa rather than Bentota (which is a few mile up the coast).
1) There are a few shops in Induruwa but for more serious shopping you would be better getting a bus (they run right passed the hotel) or a three-wheeler either up to Aluthgama or down to Ambalangoda (the latter has more shops and slightly less touts). A few minutes walk along the beach there are three of four locally owned bars with cheap beer and good food.
2) There is definitely no need to stay in the hotel grounds, it’s perfectly safe to walk around the area night and day, although if you walk along the road you need to keep an eye on the traffic and I guess single women should take care if they go out alone at night just in case someone gets the wrong idea but this would apply just about anywhere in the world.
3) Sri Lanka is not as cheap as India but, no Sri Lanka not an expensive place to holiday and as you will probably be All Inclusive in the Emerald, it’s a very cheap holiday indeed.
4) The weather is good in February if you like it hot, sunny and usually dry, it's a good month for weather.
Generally, if you are looking for a cheap package holiday this place is as good as any at the price, the pool is a little small and I have heard some people complain about it being close to the road but no one in our party noticed this. It's a reasonable small friendly place, I would go for it.
Give me a shout if there is anything else.
Re: 1st timers
Agree with what Maxus says, Ihaven't actually stayed there, but I know people who have,and they said much the same as Maxus, I was there for dinner last week and the food was excellent. You will have a ball in Sri Lanka it is a super place. Regards Jeananne
Re: 1st timers
Thanx for the replies we have decided to go for it,so any more info would be a help I.E good food-drinking spots, shops, feel free to e.mail me via v/t