Sri Lanka has long been known for its outstanding surfing beaches and is one of the premiere destinations for surfing in South and South East Asia owing to its dreamy tropical climes and tourist-friendly locales.
But Sri Lanka also has some of the best beginner friendly surfing beaches around the world. So check this list of beginner-friendly surf spots for a handy guide. Surfs up!
Way Down South is Weligama, the oft skipped over quieter cousin to Hikkaduwa. With a myriad of surfing schools dotted around the beach and some cheap surf rental places to boot, Weligama is known for a calm surf that is as easy for beginners as it is relaxing for a more experienced surfer. Weligama is a medium to low wave beach any way you look at it and the perfect place to get your surf legs on before diving into a deeper challenge.
Once a fishing town but now a main hotspot for beach-happy tourists and locals, Hikkaduwa is a prime surf spot. Because of its popularity, where to stay in Hikkaduwa is rarely a tough question to find an answer for.
Hikkaduwa is known for quite a few famous local wave breaks, among which Beach Break is a sandy break often favored by beginners and learners for its low waves.
A crescent-shaped beach surrounded by palm trees, Mirissa Beach is right next to Weligama and boasts equally beginner-friendly breaks and waves. With steady wave heights not exceeding 6ft, this is an ideal spot to build your confidence on a reef so that you’re raring to go when you’re in choppier waters. Mirissa is a charming beach town with beautiful waves, a friendly locale and the best sun and surf. There’s a number of surf schools and shops around, as is common around Sri Lanka’s surfing towns so there’s no excuses to skimp out on the waves.
Arugam Bay is Sri Lanka’s East Coast surfing beach to beat. It’s the beach that originally put Sri Lanka on the surfing map and still holds up as a haven for surfers of all levels to gather and try their luck on. Lighthouse and Whiskey Point are the main attractions here for beginner surfers, with chest- or shoulder-height breakers to cut your teeth on for some practice. Arugam Bay can get crowded, what with its popularity, with both visitors and local surfers alike but the upshot is that there’s any number of pros around to ask for a helpful pointer or two if you’re a beginner.
Near Arugam Bay is Elephant Rock, an oft-overlooked and isolated little beach. Few decide to make the trip owing to the 15-20 minute walk from the vehicle drop-off to the shore but it’s definitely worth it because Elephant Rock boasts one of the best kept beaches on the island. It’s clean, off-the-beaten path and chock-full of easy breakers for a delightful surf. And when you want a break from the waves, clamber up onto the sea-facing rock for a view-tiful break!
All around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a hold on many of the daily activities and everyday things we took for granted. With it has come a slowdown of international tourist travel and leisure travel as many would-be travellers responsibly choose to forgo their vacation and instead opt for a staycation.
But what if you could get away to a tropical island where there’s amazing deals on hotels and accomodation, stringent health and safety measures to protect you and the locals, reduced tourist crowds and the promise of a relaxing time for you to stretch, unwind and forget about the crazy year you’ve had?
Sri Lanka has all those things and more and, as of January 2021, is welcoming you with open arms to visit the beaches and the resorts you couldn’t get away to last year.
It goes without saying that in the past year, there’s been a sudden drop in international travel and tourism. Because of this, almost all Sri Lanka hotels are offering staggering deals on stays and tour experiences now that Sri Lanka has opened up for visitors again. And there’s no catch! You can book yourself a stay or a tour package for a fraction of what you would have spent last year with the same level of service and luxury as you’ve come to expect in Sri Lanka.
International travel and tourism in a pandemic is scary but when the safety and health measures are strict, up-to-par with international standards as set out by the WHO and assiduously overseen by both the Sri Lankan Tourist Development Authority (SLTDA) and the Health Ministry to ensure that you and your loved ones can safely experience Sri Lanka there’s no cause for worry. With a safe tourist bio-bubble set up by the SLTDA and all cooperating and safety certified hotels and tour operators, there’s no reason a pandemic should stop you from booking a trip to Sri Lanka. For comprehensive information on the safety guidelines and health measures in place for your safety and comfort during your stay in Sri Lanka, you can visit www.srilanka.travel/helloagain/
Since being named Best for Travel in 2019 by Lonely Planet and even before the award, Sri Lanka has always pulled in high numbers of tourists meaning that there’s often large swathes of other tourists and even local vacationers around on your visit. But with vacations taking a backseat for everyone in the midst of a global pandemic and Sri Lanka having just opened its doors, right now is the best moment for you to visit. There’s no crowds clogging up queues, beaches,rooms or pools anywhere and what’s more, there’s even safety guidelines recommending more than enough personal space for everyone once you get here.
It’s also worth mentioning that as a top tourist destination, Sri Lanka took a severe stumble in 2020 when the pandemic hit. Though Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 numbers stayed low, the sudden drop in tourism meant that one of Sri Lanka’s main economic revenue sources halted. With thousands of local tourist industry employees left without an income, Sri Lanka opening up again in January 2021 has been much-awaited. Your vacation here is thus not just a leisure activity for yourself; you’re also helping to uplift Sri Lanka’s tourism industry.
2020 has been a stressful year for everyone in the world. The pandemic has shuttled a lot of people indoors and forced a lot of us to stay glued to our screens at home for work. So what better way to deal with all the stress and anxiety than with a trip to Sri Lanka? There’s a variety of nature retreats, meditation centers and wellness resorts all around Sri Lanka that will help you destress and relieve your anxiety with Ayurveda, spa and wellness treatments around the clock.
Sri Lanka has been gaining buzz as one of the top holiday destinations in the world and as you’d expect, tourism thrives on the Island.
But what a lot of tour guides and packages don’t mention is that Sri Lanka is also really cheap to travel to and around on a budget. If you don’t want to spend an exorbitant amount of money on your next holiday, read on for why Sri Lanka is one of your best options for an amazing time and an easy load on your wallet too.
Sri Lankan tourist visas are quite cheap. If you apply ahead of your arrival online, you’ll only pay a fee of $35. There’s also the possibility of a tourist visa on arrival at the Sri Lankan airport but there’s a price hike and long waiting lines if you choose this option so for a budget holiday, apply online and get your visa cheap and fast!
While your typical, touristy hotels can be a bit pricey on a budget, there’s any number of budget hotels, hostels, small bungalows and homestay opportunities for as low as $10.
What’s more, booking rooms in advance using online trip planners such as Booking.com will net you cheaper prices than if you book directly at the place. And it will also help you plan out your trip around the Island a bit better too, as a side bonus.
It goes without saying that booking private transport around the country is much more expensive than public transport. What’s surprising is how much cheaper public transport is. There’s an extensive bus network throughout Sri Lanka and even a journey of more than two hours will only set you back a couple of U.S dollars. Buses can get crowded but there’s never a dull moment in one with booming Sri Lankan music and screeching horns so it’s definitely an experience not to miss.
Sri Lanka’s train network, although not extensive and certainly not fast, is also quite cheap and is often the best way to get from one large city to another, especially in the Southern and Central regions of the country. Like buses, train rides are very cheap. Though there are air-conditioned, 1st class cabins in pretty much all intercity trains, opting for a much cheaper 2nd class seat is a much better idea. How else are you going to hang out the doors of a long winding train on a hill and take that photo you’ve only seen online and always wanted to take?
For shorter trips within cities, tuk-tuks are abundant although it’s general practice among tuk-tuk drivers to charge tourists almost double the local price. But you can ask your homestay family or the manager of your budget hotel for a local price point so that you can negotiate the price down to its normal level before you set off on the tuk-tuk ride.
There’s no shortage of cheap food options in Sri Lanka. Street-food in Sri Lanka is amazingly cheap and quite often are unique experiences you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
For meals, it’s quite easy to duck into small restaurants, recognizable by their mostly local clientele and small spaces, and sit down for a full rice and curry lunch or dinner for just a U.S dollar or two. Just make sure to keep smaller notes in local currency on hand and you’ll be saving quite a lot in food expenses while still getting Sri Lanka’s iconic, delicious food experience.
Perhaps the best thing about Sri Lanka when it comes to budget travel is that there are many things to do and experience around the country, completely for free.
Because of Sri Lanka’s all-around coastline, there’s definitely any number of local beaches that are completely free and oftentimes, completely devoid of other visitors. Settle down, stretch out and get ready to lose quite a few hours on a gloriously empty and completely free beach.
It’s common practice, too, for travellers on a budget to make a beeline for a beach town like Hikkaduwa and then make full use of the beautiful coastline nearby for free while staying at cost-effective accommodation and budget hotels in Hikkaduwa like Citrus Hikkaduwa. You can even take an early morning stroll to see local fisherman prepare for the day’s first catch.
Colombo too, despite its reputation as a tourist spot, has many intriguing and free attractions for the budget traveller. To ease up on travel within the city, book an affordable city hotel in Colombo such as The Steuart by Citrus and then head off to explore the historic districts of Colombo Fort by foot, completely free of course! The local markets are an amazing way to get the feel of the city and also the perfect way to meet the friendly locals.
As a tropical Island right on the equator, Sri Lanka is known as a genuine year-round destination.
But that doesn’t really mean you should travel to Sri Lanka on a whim too. Because Sri Lanka also has its fair share of upsetting weather and seasonal attractions so if you’re looking for a helpful primer on when best to visit Sri Lanka and what things to do in Sri Lanka based on the season, you’ve come to the right place.
Sri Lanka is a dual weather Island meaning that pretty much all of Sri Lanka’s weather patterns are dependent on two big monsoons that sweep through Sri Lanka each year.
But don’t worry, because the two monsoons blow past in opposite directions, and never overlap, you can be sure of fair weather on either side of the Island at any given time.
Once you understand the two big monsoons, you’re pretty much done with figuring out Sri Lanka’s tropical weather.
The Southwest monsoon brings rain to the west and southwest coast and the central Hill country from April or May to September, but is generally wettest from April to June. Thus, in the west and southwest coasts, the dry season runs from December to March.
The other monsoon, the Northeast monsoon brings wind and rain to the eastern and northeastern coastal regions, with rain showers also in the central Hill country, from November to March, with the wettest months being November and December. The dry season, thus, in this region is from May to September.
There is also an inter-monsoonal period, right before the Northeast monsoon hits, where rain and thunderstorms can hit anywhere across the island but it usually clears up in the second half of November.
It’s a trick question, really, because the answer depends on where you want to go, where you’re staying and what things you want to do in Sri Lanka.
Because the monsoon seasons alternate, with half the Island in a wet season and the other half enjoying a dry season at any given time of the year, when you should visit Sri Lanka really truly depends on your itinerary.
So how do you decide?
Here’s a quick guide:
Visiting Sri Lanka for the European Winter (December – February)
December to February is smack dab in the middle of the Northeast monsoon so if you’re planning a trip to Sri Lanka around these months for your winter, you should make a beeline for the western and southwest coastal regions.
Colombo is a great place to serve as the hub for your trip and once you decide on where to stay in Colombo, destination beaches in the western coast such as Bentota, Kalpitiya and Hikkaduwa are a short train journey away.
In the south western coasts, fair weather is pretty much the order of the day too and beaches such as Mirissa, Tangalle and Weligama are all pretty popular at this time. Make sure to hit Galle, in the south, for a historical escape and you can even make it to Yala National Park, one of Sri Lanka’s largest nature reserves teeming with leopards and elephants for your viewing pleasure.
Visiting Sri Lanka for the European Summer (June – August)
Since the Southwest monsoon is in full swing by the time your summer rolls around, this is the perfect time to hit the north, north eastern and eastern regions of Sri Lanka.
The Jaffna peninsula and Jaffna city is an excellent outdoor location during these times, with its bustling and colorful atmosphere. So are the east coast beaches, namely, Passikudah, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Nilaveli and Arugam Bay, the latter being famous for its world class surfing waves.
This is also a great time to visit Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle, home to five of Sri Lanka’s seven UNESCO world heritage sites. Because this region is in the ‘dry zone’ only December and November bring rain here and it is quite arid and dry the remainder of the year. This is also quite close to Minneriya National Park where you can watch the annual elephant migration.
Since both monsoons influence the weather in the Central region, there’s not a dedicated dry season here but the high altitude and the surrounding hills mean that the climate in the Hill country is quite balmy and mild most days.
Kandy, the Hill country’s cultural capital, enjoys lower rainfall than elsewhere and the December-May period also marks the pilgrimage season for Adam’s Peak, a must-do for any trekker and hiker.
Sri Lanka has recently become quite popular as a venue for destination weddings. Sri Lanka is an ideal location to make your dream come true and have a beach wedding. Weddings, in general, are quite stressful to plan and execute as there are many tiny details that need attention but might completely slip your mind. Planning a beach wedding in Sri Lanka might seem too big to handle right now, but we are here to help you out and reduce some of that stress you may be feeling! Here are 7 tips on how to plan a perfect beach wedding.
Not to state the obvious, but the location of your dream wedding is quite important and affects all the other details. Hikkaduwa has some of the top wedding venues in Sri Lanka as they have luxurious hotels serving high quality food and a clean wide beach. But since you may have not been to all the possible beach hotels in Sri Lanka, spend some time talking to people and researching on your various options. Do not rush your decision. Pay close attention to the setting, the view and the various amenities that will be provided by the hotel to find out if it suits your liking.
Before you jump into any conclusions about how obvious this might seem, hear us out. Yes, informing guests about the date and venue is obvious, but for a beach wedding, especially if it requires your guests to make travel arrangements, inform them well ahead. Some people may need prior notice to arrange their trip to your wedding which will help you finalize the wedding list as well. Secondly, it is vital that you mention it is an outdoor beach wedding so that guests will attend in suitable and comfortable attire. The last thing you would want is for guests to be unhappy because their heels are stuck in the sand or their brand new suit has got spoilt by the salty air.
Just like any other wedding pick whether you would want to get married in the morning or evening, but choose it well ahead. Unlike an indoor wedding, the lighting at a beach wedding can be quite unpredictable. Therefore it is important to decide on the time of day and inform the photographer so they can be well prepared with the necessary equipment. Additionally, the make-up, suit and even menu would depend highly on the time of day. So the sooner you decide on it, the sooner you can get started on the other details.
Unfortunately, no matter how meticulously you plan, everything is not in your control. Especially the weather. In case the weather on the day is not favorable for an outdoor wedding have a backup ready close to your beach location. You can even consider setting up decorated tents and marquees to fight the weather. But let’s hope and pray that on your wedding day the sky would be clear and the weather would be perfect.
Make-up is quite a crucial component in the bride and the bridal party’s attire. And even though it can generally be quite tricky, outside weddings make it even more challenging. It is important that your hair and makeup will sustain the outdoor winds. It might be even worth it to have a few trial runs to see how long it may last outdoors.
Beach weddings have an atmosphere of fun, dancing and drinking. The key to ensuring food and money is not wasted is to serve a light meal. Depending on the seating arrangement you may even consider serving finger food. Guests don’t usually expect a huge buffet at a beach wedding and most guests may not even be interested in it as they may be eyeing the dance floor. So cut down on the food, but don’t forget to spend on the drinks.
In the mad rush of planning and ensuring everything is perfect, don’t forget this is you and your loved one’s special day! The wedding may be planned to the very last detail, but don’t forget to make it more special for the two of you. Take advantage of the location and plan a memorable ending to your wedding. Most hotels offer a boat ride for the newlyweds and this getaway might be the perfect end to your perfect day.