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!
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.
Sri Lanka is a land of multi religions, and if you’re looking to experience tranquility and devotion at its best, then a visit to one of the numerous churches, temples or mosques scattered around the island is a must. If you’ve decided on visiting the Kande Viharaya temple located in Bentota, with it’s world’s tallest sitting Buddha statue, then here are a few things that you need to know.
If you’re staying at the capital Colombo city, then the distance you’ll need to travel to visit the temple would be 99km, which would take you roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes by road. If you’d rather travel by train, then all you have to do is catch a train from Fort railway station, to the Bentota Railway station. From there, it’s a 10-minute drive to the Kande Viharaya temple. You could easily hire a road-side tuk for the journey, or pre-book a vehicle to meet you at the station.
If you want to continue staying at Colombo for a few more days in order to enjoy the city life for a bit longer, staying at Colombo and making a day trip to the Kande Viharaya temple is definitely possible. However, if you want to avoid wasting the time spent traveling, we suggest staying at one of the nearby beach towns. You can easily find comfortable Hotels in Hikkaduwa, Bentota as well as Kalutara to suit your expectation, or even opt for other accommodations such as hostels; all depending on your budget. Remember that apart from reducing the time and energy it takes to travel to the temple, you’re also saving up on your precious holiday time¾time you could use to explore and enjoy the island further.
As we’ve mentioned before, Sri Lanka is a multi religious country, and all visitors to the island are welcomed with open arms to any of the places of worship found at the island. However, most temples expect visitors to dress and behave appropriately. In general, avoid “loud” clothing, as the space is meant to be serene and calming. Choose clothes that cover your shoulders and knees, or you’ll be asked to use a shawl or sarong over your clothing. As most temples require that you enter it bare feet, choose foot wear that is easy to remove.
An impressive temple with a mixture of architectural designs, the first sight that will greet you as you approach the temple is the sight of the 160ft tall Buddha statue. Once you’ve got your fill of this awe inspiring sight, head inside the temple to explore it further. You’ll be able to see the stupa, the relic chamber, the image chamber, as well as the Bodhi tree which is believed to be over 300 years old. The image chamber is filled with paintings and carvings depicting important Buddhist historical incidents, mostly relevant to the island.
In order to make your visit to Bentota more productive, consider squeezing in a few more activities into your schedule for the day. Here are some options we’d suggest;
Galle Dutch fort – Sri Lanka is situated in a very unique position, making it an attraction to those following the silk route in the ancient times. This also meant the island was always attracting invaders, who left behind signs of their arrival, even decades after their departure. One such sign is the Galle Dutch fort, built in 1588. Visitors to this ancient building not only get to enjoy its spectacular architecture, but also the view from it. You’ll also be able to enjoy the unique atmosphere within the
Sri Lanka is one of the best places to try your hand at surfing for the first time – there are surf spots that suit everyone from total beginners to hard-core enthusiasts. Of these spots, Hikkaduwa is the most famous and probably the best place to surf in the whole island. Hikkaduwa is a few hours away from Colombo, and it’s on the way to Galle, so it’s easy to visit. Or for convenience, you can opt to stay in Hikkaduwa Hotels and roll out of bed straight onto the bright sands early morning to have a full day of surfing. Experienced surfers will particularly enjoy Hikkaduwa – it hosts surfing competitions, some even international, and can host some hearty waves that are a great challenge.
It’s actually possible to surf all-round the year on the island, provided you move around the coast, staying ahead of the monsoon. For Hikkaduwa, the best time to head down there is from the end of October to the beginning of May. The entire city will be in full swing during this period, with various resorts and beach accommodation open for service and most importantly the sea will be at its best, providing a flurry of great waves and low winds. The rest of the year might be too tricky for beginners, as the sea can get unpredictable with strong winds and the threat of rain at any given point. That being said, there are also blissfully sunny days with perfection conditions for surfing even during Hikkaduwa’s off season, so if you happen to be in the country around that time then you could try to visit this spot as it really is one of the best places to surf in the country.
Hikkaduwa really is the best place to learn surfing as there are a variety of beaches there that suit people at any level. There are tons of locals and foreigners from around the world who come to try their hand at these waves, and they sure seem to enjoy it! If you know nothing about surfing don’t worry as a number of schools, basically local surfers with boards, have popped up on the beach and will give you basic lessons for a price that’s quite affordable. The surf instructors tend to be quite helpful and after a one hour lesson you should be able to at least stand upright on your board with relative ease. You can opt for more in depth lessons after that, or simply rent a board and try to ride the waves by yourself. Beach Break, a sand and reef shore break, is pretty safe and thus absolutely great for beginners – you can practice to your heart’s content there.
Of course Hikkaduwa’s reputation doesn’t come from being an easy place to surf. Those who can’t surf should check it out for sure, but the main draw of Hikkaduwa is the challenge it offers to experienced, hard core surfers! There are about four or five surf spots that experienced surfers can try out, each with varying levels of difficulty. You can look them up online or you can go to one of the popular beaches and ask around the surfing folk. The surf community here is quite vibrant and very welcoming if you are a patient and respectful, so simply ask around and they’ll tell you how to get to the best spots. All these places have flat reefs and deep water so they’re ideal for surfing.
The Main Reef is pretty great, and is one of the most popular points in the entire island. The Japan Pro Surfing Association (JPSA) has even held competitions there a couple of times, which tells you that it’s an internationally renowned spot! It’s a deep reef so it’s safe, and attracts a lot of surfers. The waves tend to be 3 feet and above, but can get higher. Then there’s Benny’s, so named because of the small cabana of the same name nearby. This one’s a tough spot, and is recommended only for those confident in their surfing skills. A shallow surf break, surfers can catch some great waves here, and challenge themselves. There’s also the North Jetty which is a reef break by the harbour wall. This one is also recommended for experienced surfers. So if you want to try your hand at surfing in Sri Lanka, it’s best to head down to Hikkaduwa and enjoy one of the best surfing spots on the entire island.