Sri Lanka is on of our most popular surfing holidays. The waves range from mellow and cruisy to knackeringly long and damn right scary. This combined with the jungle-fringed beaches and tropical temperature are probably just a few of the reasons why its so popular, but here are my top five reasons why Sri Lanka is a must for any surfer to tick off their bucket list:
Standard Sri Lanka Sunset
I’m talking about everything here. Sri Lanka is on the other side of the world, yet you can fly their in complete comfort with Sri Lanka Airlines for around £500, including a continuous stream of complimentary food and beers. When you arrive, assuming you’re heading South West the train from Colombo to the SW coast costs 240RS (£1.20) and it’s one of the most beautiful train journeys you’ll ever make. All this traveling will probably make you hungry so you’ll probably need a couple of fish, egg and vegetable rotis (kind of like a folded crepe), maybe a few lentil biscuits and a milo to wash it down, which will set you back around 150RS (75p). When you arrive at your planned destination you can expect to pay around £260 for a week’s all inclusive at a nice surf lodge. If you’re a competent surfer and want to check out all the reefs in the region a moped with board rack costs about £3.50 per day and petrol is like UK prices in the 80’s.
Fish and chips Sri Lanka style – around £1.50
Chicken and cheese Kottu, around £1
Even the guys at Sri Lankan Airlines are super friendly, probably the friendliest airline staff going and they give you a very friendly 40kg luggage allowance, which includes as many boards as you can cram into your board bag. If you take a few for the locals you will feel the friendliness levels turn up a notch or two. These people have just survived a civil war that ended only a few years ago,l everyone knows someone who died or was seriously hurt in the tsunami yet they still have hearts of gold and welcome travellers visiting their tender and bruised but beautiful country. They also appreciate anything travellers are willing to donate, especially surfboards, which in return you will make friends for life.
Local lads love a photo
Hikkaduwa is the hub of South West Sri Lanka’s surfing scene. The main wave is very good, breaking over reef with a long (3-5 turn) left and short barrelly right. The beach break to the left has a few peaks with nice walls and sucky sections. The town itself is also a bit of a hippy party town where you can party all night then surf all day if you’re that way inclined. But beneath it all is a nice vibe, attracting likeminded travelers after a bit of escapism. Peace man.
The Hill Country
Most who book a holiday through Errant to Sri Lanka give themselves an extra week after a week in a surf camp to explore the hill country because it is genuinely breathtakingly beautiful. It’s pretty much in the Southern heart of Sri Lanka but a world away from the rest of the country as its tangled green mountains rise into the sky and the weather changes so drastically that you can get sunburnt, soaked and need a warm fleece all within a few hours. It’s all about the fascinating temples, vast tea plantations, slow winding trains with their tea stops, massive waterfalls, wonderful wildlife and the arduous but must do Adam’s Peak. If you go to Sri Lanka you must give yourself at least 5 days to explore this incredible part of the island.
Not a great shot, but it is a bloody great great feeling climbing Adam’s Peak; 7,359 ft of steps!
The best way to soak up the sights
The journey to Arugam Bay from all directions is very special as you skirt Yala National Park and are almost guaranteed to see Elephants in their natural environment as well as a whole load of other wildlife. The wave itself is also so, so good, kind of like a tropical Anchor Point in Morocco. An easy walk and paddle to the lineup will then leave you in the firing line of one of the most rippable right handers in the world. It’s not ideal for beginners but there are waves in the bay and loads of other semi secret spots in the area that the locals will be more than happy to take you to for a small fee. The area immediately around the wave is also surprisingly untouched with one small bar overlooking the wave and then Mambos Surf Lodge tucked away out of sight around the corner. The town itself is chilled, with the fishing scene and fishermen at the core meaning development in the area is minimal and subtle. To top it off you can get a mean garlic rotti and pumpkin soup for around £1.
Golden Arugam Bay Bazza
That’s it. Na not really, there are heaps of reasons to go to Sri Lanka but you have to go there to experience the place for yourself and add to this list!