Sri Lanka, or the excuse of surfing (to motivate your guy) to discover an incredible and fragile island.
Let me introduce myself, I'm a commercial Alex at 360° Surf and one of my missions (among others) is to check if the surfing destination can correspond to the expectations of our surfers... And the result is unequivocal:
SRI LANKA IS THE BEST DESTINATION FOR SURFING IN 2021
Sri Lanka, an island out of the ordinary, it does not look like any other island, we go there to surf but not only!
The landscapes and the cultural richness are such that it would be a shame to miss some absolutely unmissable sites.
From visiting the ancient sites of the cultural triangle, to enjoying a sunset cocktail in Mirissa, to a good slide session in Ahangama, Sri Lanka offers a variety of authentic experiences... and there is something for everyone!
What you need to know before you leave :
The + : the cost of living : you can eat a copious and local meal for 2 €, sleep for 8 € and take a 3 hour train ride (in 3rd class otherwise it's not funny) for 1,50 €.
The - : the distance/time ratio : when we read the Routard which tells us that it will take us 5 hours by train to go from Colombo to Anurhadapura (200 km), we are optimistic and we say to ourselves that it is a mistake. But you are wrong!
The choice in transportation is also crucial: you have the choice between train, bus, tuktuk and private taxi.
The train is the cheapest and the slowest! It's a bit of an adventure in travel, first to make yourself understood when you buy your ticket, and then to be in total immersion. Forget about comfort, we never managed to find a seat on a bench, so we travelled on the ground on our luggage.
The bus is very cheap and faster, but also more dangerous. The drivers drive like crazy and sometimes they overtake on the curves. The technique? Put yourself at the back (if possible, because it's often crowded) and avoid looking at the road. If you have motion sickness, avoid it!
The private taxi is much more expensive but the way I strongly recommend if you travel with your family.
The tuktuk is ideal for short distances, however, you should always negotiate the fare.
Cultural visits not to be missed
- Kandy and the temple of the tooth: high place of pilgrimage at the Buddhists, it would contain the relic of the tooth of Buddha. If you have the chance to go there during a ceremony (3x a day) you will attend a great moment of fervour from the locals and may have the chance to see THE tooth.
- The ancient city of Anuradhapura and in particular the Bodhi Tree, the sacred tree where the Buddha is said to have received enlightenment
- Sigirya and the Lion's rock : climbing an archeological site perched 200 m high on a huge red monolith overhanging the jungle. The view is breathtaking and almost mystical... before the tourist buses arrive. Advice: get up very early to be quiet. Second advice: don't be afraid of heights, the climb can be tough.
- For the most courageous, but it's worth it: the sunrise on Adam's Peak. The mountain is sacred for 4 religions, it is a real pilgrimage. To arrive in time for the sunrise at 6 am, you have to set your alarm clock for 2:30 am and climb 4500 steps to reach the peak at 2243 m altitude.
You will have understood, Sri Lanka is a country really centered on an omnipresent religious culture, and still, I passed you the giant Buddhas or in statuettes, white or gilded, sleeping, dying or upright...
But Sri Lanka is not only that, it is also sipping a fresh coconut after a good surfing session in 30°C water.
Surfing : the main spots
Generally speaking, Sri Lanka is not known for its powerful and radical waves but you will have some good sessions to put under your board ;)
Here is a non-exhaustive list of the most famous spots in the southwest of the island:
- Tangalle : I didn't have the chance to see the spots of this area working but the local surfers told us that the conditions could be very clean (we'll have to go back !)
- Mirissa : very touristic area, the wave works almost systematically. Intended for intermediate surfers, you have to paddle for about 10 minutes to get to the bar. The wave is soft but pushes well in spite of the bottom (attention there are some rocks here and there).
- Welligama : huge beach and much less touristic than its neighbour Mirissa, it is an ideal beach break for beginners.
- Midigama : spot for intermediate level, here we are more on reef but once again there is a little bit of bottom. You will find about 15 waves on 2 km and will have glassy conditions every morning and surfing every day with certainty. Sometimes there will be a few people in the water, so it's up to you to get lost and find the right wave for you.
- Hikkaduwa : seaside resort par excellence, you will have to get up very early to catch a wave serenely. That said, there are several breaks for all levels!
- We loved the small spot of Dickwella where we were able to surf in the company of sea turtles for the first time.
You can also go on a safari in a natural reserve to discover the endemic species of the island such as elephants or leopards.
Except that at 360° Surf we prefer to have the chance (or not, so much the worse!) to see animals in their natural environment rather than tracking them down in a 4x4.
To sum up, Sri Lanka has more than just waves to offer (shippers will move on to more power destinations...): the cultural richness, the stunning landscapes and the authenticity of the locals are all reasons why Sri Lanka is THE destination for your winter 2019 surf trip.