"Small Town Sri Lanka" Bulatsinhala by Maxus

Bulatsinhala Travel Guide: 0 reviews and 3 photos


I came across Bulatsinhala quite by chance in 2001 and it has since become a regular port of call for me. To be honest there is not a lot here to draw the tourist crowds, which for me is the one of the main attractions. It is just a typical small Sri Lankan town and if you want to see a little real Sri Lankan life then place is maybe as good as anywhere as a hassle-free base to do a little walking, shopping or just people watching.

You are unlikely to meet any other tourists here (unless it's me!) nor have I ever come across a tout. As with anywhere off the beaten track you might get a few curious looks on your first day but the smiles will break through eventually and you will soon feel welcome, without a fuss.

With around 1500 people, largely Sinhalese with a smattering of Tamils, Bulatsinhala is generally a busy little town which really comes to life on market day (Sunday) when you can buy anything from incense to oranges and all at the same price as the locals - I have yet to be ripped off in Bulatsinhala.

During the week local shops and small cafes have most things you might want, theres a pharmacy, post office, clinic and a Bank of Ceylon which will change your pounds, euros and dollars (but which is not too keen of travellers cheques and has no ATM). The bustling city of Horana, less than an hour away by local bus, has everything else you will need and is a good place to buy your presents and souvenirs. Matugama is a similar distance in the opposite direction.

There is also a Methodist church for any practising Christians amongst you, which serves the Tamil community. I attended a Christmas service here in 2002 (more from curiosity than devotion) and was made very welcome.

What to do and where to stay

just outside Bulatsinhala is the impressive rock temple at Pahiyangala, which is famous in Sri Lanka, drawing Buddhists by the bus load on Poya Day, but largely over-looked by the western guide books so you will have it largely to yourself much of the time. There is no fixed entry charge but a donation of a few hundred Rupees will be appreciated, will gain you merit and maybe even tea with the Head Monk.

In addition to the rock temple the town has it's own temple (behind the police station) which is worth a visit, I know the Monk here and he is a really nice bloke.

If you really want to get away from it all, a few days at the Sampath House is an opportunity to spend some time with a real Sinhalese family in a real Sri Lankan Village. It is good value, ultra friendly and a genuine experience. There is more information in my travel tips under accommodation.

Getting There

From Aluthgama/Bentota get the Matugama bus then change here for Bulathsinhala (via Agalawatta), from Panadura on the west coast (which is well served by buses and trains from all the west coast resorts) head for Horana 21 Km inland. At Horana you can pick up direct and frequent buses to Bulatsinhala. It's easy - honest.

There is more stuff on getting around by public transport and the village side of life in Sri Lanka on my home page, If you would like anymore info get in touch.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:No Beach Boys
  • Cons:No Beach
  • In a nutshell:off the beaten track
  • Last visit to Bulatsinhala: Jan 2006
  • Intro Updated Jan 15, 2006
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