Canoeing in River Kalu Ganga
A fun and unique way to absorb the culture of Sri Lanka is by canoeing down the Kalu Ganga, as those cruising down the river get to see every day Sri Lankan life as well as the beauty of nature and the spiritual core of the country. Even absolute beginners or amateurs can take this route, as places that offer this will have a short tutorial before the trip begins. Experienced ones can choose a half day trip or even have a trip that lasts for days, camping out between river runs. An excursion down Kalu Ganga is part of the trend of eco-tourism, enabling tourists to see the most intriguing parts of Sri Lankan nature. If you’re staying in one of the Kalutara hotels situated by the river then this is the perfect way to see your surroundings. The river itself is quite safe to traverse, and floating down past the banks of the river on a sunny morning is a delightful experience that is both adventurous and relaxing.
Explore Fa Hien caves
The Fa Hien caves, also known as Pahiyangala, are absolutely fascinating, and an intriguing way to spend a day exploring. They are named after a monk who is believed to have stayed here for a while as he journeyed through the country. That is not the only thing that makes the caves historically significant, however, as the remains of several ancient humans were found in these caves, dating to possibly the Mesolithic period – thousands of years ago! The trek to the caves isn’t too difficult, and is a rewarding one as it combines a great view with the interest of the caves themselves. You can walk through the system, and look around the architectural digs. Take care, because there are stones with sharp edges.
Bodhinagala Forest Reserve
This is a hermitage in Dombagaskanda that is right on the banks of the Kalu Ganga near the Dombagaskanda hill. The shade of the trees that reach to the skies in this wet zone rain forest reserve makes for a serene, calm, and meditative atmosphere which explains the location of the hermitage. Trekking to the hermitage is a nice, quiet adventure that will lead you to where monks have been ruminating since the 1950s. The reserve is also lovely to visit whether you’re staying in Kalutara or Colombo, as it is an easy drive to it. As you walk through the grove, you may want to imagine what it was like when the entire forest was wild and pristine, before human intervention. You might witness a number of birds, butterflies and other wildlife, and watch out for leeches! Take plenty of pre-emptive measures where they are concerned, and have some salt on you to remove them if you one does find itself attached to you. The reserve is a haven for bird enthusiasts, so take your binoculars if you can.
An ingenious and surprisingly recent form of catching fish, Stilt Fishing was born from the idea of fisherman who wanted to fish in the water without the use of their boats, hoping to catch fish in shallow waters with relative ease. However after the Tsunami, Stilt fishing has not been as viable as it once was. As a technique, however, it is still a fascinating one, and you can try it for yourself! Picturesque and unique, Stilt fishing requires an incredible amount of balance on the part of the fisherman. It consists of a skeletal structure, a pole embedded into the sea with a bar attached that becomes the seat. The fisherman is thus positioned above the water, so that the fish are not aware of his presence. Using a rod, the fisherman then endeavours to catch small fish, collecting them in a bag that will be attached to their waist or to the pole itself.
Wind surfing is picking up speed in the country, and anyone can try it, whether total beginners or experienced surfers. There are beaches that lend themselves to those trying it out for the first time as well as those who want to challenge themselves. An adrenaline filled activity, windsurfing is the perfect way to spend a day at the beach! November to April is the best time to do it, and you can always hire boards and even trainers if you feel the need, and spend your day riding the waves.