A trip to Sri Lanka. Best done in two parts; sea and land. Here is the first part to my ‘Lanka instalment, as the locals would call it. The sea!
Whichever direction you decide to take your trip, you must start at Colombo airport, check the season (wet/dry) and go from there. We had wet in the east… so we stuck to the west and central areas. Any questions or need for further info feel free to comment below!
The west and south coast offer all that the sea has- surf, creatures, sun, sand and triple vodkas on demand. Take a deep breath, and be ready for excitement of all kinds….
Here is my round up of the absolute best (and a little secret) places to go:
This is a beach destination off the beaten track. Think quiet blue beaches, surf, minimal tourists, and kind to thou wallet.
Arrive: in Dikwella!
Tuk tuk- ask for Hiriketiya. 200 rupees should do it. A tiny beach only reachable driving dirty, hilly roads through a wet and wonderfully green jungle filled with monkeys and cows. Eventually you find a stunning beach with excellent surf for beginners and barely any human traffic. Ah! Paradise. A nice left point break for those of you who don’t mind surfing above coral/rocks also!
Book before or rock up… we just rocked up and the locals walked around with us helping us find a place and a good deal. The locals really are lovely. Prices range from 30-150, spa retreats available for those who are fancy and don’t care who knows it.
Surf. SURF! No boogie boarding is actually a law there… just kidding. But seriously surf instead- these waves are kind and consistent and perfect for learners. Best in the morning or evening! Board rentals are cheap as chips, maximum 20AUD per day.
Drink beer (LION….LARGE SIZE!) on the beach with a book, with a mate, over cards…whatever phwets your phwhistle.
A brief but important mention of the west-coast town of Hikkaduwa. Touristy, BUT, if you like turtles and are a hardcore surfer. HIT THAT!
*Not far south of Colombo. We arrived at Colombo airport at 10pm and took a taxi straight down south to Hikkaduwa so as to wake up in beachy bliss. Cost next to nothing and worrrrth it girl.
Fish of course. Also their set menu for breakfasts are so good- scrambled eggs every which way and jam flavours you couldn’t, and sometimes wish you never heard of. Yes it says 1000 rupees and that feels like a lot because of all the 00’s, but remember- thats 10AUD and drop those hundreds.
Once again…SURF. Surf. suuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrf. With perfect wind (usually early in the morning), Hikkaduwa offers some of the best surf in the country. Rough though, so if you’re a beginner have a go but don’t expect to be all Kelly Slater after one hour. Humbled am I.
Snorkel and have a splash with sea friends! In abundance here, and you don’t even have to take a tour. Just hire those goggles and boom-shacka-lacka.
Turtles. If you have always dreamed of being part of the Turtle Club, here is your chance to once again face rejection. You are not turtley enough, and if you follow those buggers out to sea you will face imminent peril. Trust us.
Unawatuna has a beautiful main beach, however the best BEST spot is Jungle Beach. And how can it not be? Such a magical name. No George on beach. Thought I’d let you down now.
My advice: ask a tuk-tuk driver to take you to the closest place to Jungle Beach, or on the road to this. You will be in a lush green, jungle environment where you can walk to the secluded beach OR the main beach and bars without a care in the world. Anything back from the main beach, further north rather than south is the best bet.
We were lucky enough to celebrate our New Years Eve on this very beach. We danced all night and saw the sunrise from the dance floor. I recommend.
Kayak, snorkel, monkey watch, visit the buddhist temples- if not just for the unbelievable views, explore the little bars and restaurants away from the main beach. If you do happen to stay on the main beach, the walk to Jungle Beach is not far and really enjoyable what with all those cheeky monkeys and cardboard pointing signs.
Mirissa is something you can’t miss because its where you find whales and dolphins. There are many a tourist, but I personally prioritise seeing a HUGE WHALE over peace from other gross humans such as myself.
Watch whales (cost sometimes upward of 50 buckeroonies Aussie) . Lie on the beach. Body-surf. If staying in a dodgy hotel, sneak into another more expensive place to lie on their sun beds and drink their coconuts.
Local bars are a must, and I won’t reiterate my opinion on Lion beers… just mmmmmmmmm. Eat at the shitty-looking hole in the wall restaurants. More likely better curry, cheaper AND risk of tummy ache is VERY low. Yee haa!
Last bit of general info just. for. you
Buses. Take them. It costs 1 buck for a trip you might pay 30 for in a tuk-tuk or taxi. They drive like HOONS! Its like the Fast and the Furious for buses and I personally love it. They play amazing tunes, and the locals are amazed to see you always.
Try eating with.. your hands! If you can, find a local to teach you the hand manoeuvre that changed my curry eating life. The flick of the thumb is a simple move to shovel ones perfectly hand mixed curry-rice-sambol combo into ones pretty mouth. Street cred is thrust upon you.
50AUD a day should do you, but you could even go CHEAPER! Its definitely possible, but you gotta work for that kind of (amazing) budgeting result.