Things to do Out East: Isha Water Park
The East Coast of Sri Lanka is a very under developed and untapped part of the country. Arugam Bay has been discovered for it's waves, but I'm sure there are many other spots of undiscovered goodness waiting to be found. And not just waves mind you.
On a recent family trip to Trincomalee (a few hours North of Arugam Bay) we discovered Isha Water Park quite by chance. It's on the 3rd Mile Post on Nilaveli Road (technically Uppaveli, map link below). You would drive right past it unless you knew it was there.
On entering you are embraced by what can only be described as the most delightfully weird and frightful collection of Mesozoic era fauna statues, a semi-threatening dolphin cave and a strange and random smattering of simian statues just hanging out. I can't really do it justice. I was so distracted that I didn't even take pictures of everything except the dolphin cave, which was... remarkable.
When we rolled up here it looked empty and abandoned. Walking around we found the ticket booth and a solitary guy who assured us that the park was open. He even gave us a discount on the tickets and pointed us to the dolphin cave. Upon approaching a silhouette emerged from inside and invited us in. She was a nice old lady that was our personal tour operator for the duration of our 2 hour ticket. She dutifully turned on any ride that we wanted and waited patiently as the three of us (kid, wife and myself) took turns on everything.
There are 3 main sections here. The adult section which consist of a long open slide, a covered tube slide and a semi open tube slide. The tube slide was the most fun and memories of a 9 year old me at Singapore's Wet n Wild water park (sadly no more) rushed over me. It was my favorite place to go to as a child, other than McDonald's and comic book stores. I was 9 mind you and in Sri Lanka we didn't have any of these things. The open slide is the most exhilarating as you really feel you're going to propel off of it at any second. Especially on the second ramp. They encourage you to ride face forward, super man style, as apparently that is the safest way. Rug burn on the slide is a separate issue and you will leave an occasional piece of skin here and there if you hit the slide without your mat.
The kids section had a sparkly clean pool and a very patient operator.
The adult pool, the second section was closed for renovation and the third section was for kids. It has a similar set up to the adult pool, only smaller. An open slide, closed tube and semi open tube.The pool was surprisingly clean and I felt safe letting my two year old run around in the water. After much coaxing he got on a slide as well. Then we couldn't get him off it. Our lady guide pretty much let us do what ever we want and waited patiently as Logan wanted to try out the slide foot by foot. We really loved it and now I feel it is my duty to tell as many people as possible about this place so that it can remain open. I have no idea how they survive financially but this place is golden!
Hot tip: Bring lots of sunscreen as there is no cover out here.