We spent a weekend at he Blue Magpie Lodge in Kudawa, Sri Lanka, using it as a base for visiting Sinharaja Forest. We left Colombo at dawn and drove to Ambalama – a roadside cafe in Hanwella, for a fine Sri Lankan breakfast of freshly made hoppers – pancakes made with rice flour and coconut milk & fish curry.
The French Way Cafe at Kuruvita is a good place to stop for a coffee. It sells tasty milk toffee as well and the toilets are clean and modern.
We arrived at the Blue Magpie in time for lunch. The talented chef produces excellent Sri Lankan dishes for the buffet. Local beer is available. Coffee was served at 6 am and afternoon tea at 4 pm. The hotel has 12 standard rooms with en suite bathrooms and air conditioning. 1, 2 and 3 are new and are the best. 11 and 12 should be avoided. The new block of excellent, moderately priced ‘luxury’ rooms up the hill are well worth considering.
Many interesting birds visit the hotel garden. Fantail Flycatchers, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrots, Black Bulbuls, Red-vented Bulbuls, Black-headed Yellow Bulbuls, Yellow-browed Bulbuls and Coppersmith Barbets were some of the birds observed.
Some of the low hills near the hotel are planted with tea. At midday, a truck a truck collects plucked tea leaves, packed in to white loosely woven bags. A little shop round the corner sold excellent local Kithul jugrey and treacle.
A rick strewn stream flows in front to the Blue Magpie. Villagers bath and wash clothes in it but the hotel has a private river front for guests.
We walked in the village, bought jugery and treacle from a small village shop, bathed in the stream, hiked in Sinharaja Rain Forest, visited Duvili Ella Waterfall and watched birds in the hotel garden and at Kithala Paththla Village. In the evenings, we relaxed, chatted, drank chilled beer and Scotch on Rocks and waited for the chef to serve another delicious dinner.
It was a delightful weekend.
The weekend at the Blue Magpie was arranged and led by Padmini Hussein of Flamingo Tours.