11 reasons to finally book that moody to Sri Lanka


I initial visited Sri Lanka in 2014. we was usually ostensible to stay for a integrate of weeks, yet finished adult not withdrawal for dual months.

‘Stranded’ on an island by a high boat – and we couldn’t be happier

There was something about a sensuous palm trees, bathwater-warm sea and laid-back locals that prisoner my heart.

Away from a cities, a gait was delayed and a lifestyle relaxed. It was usually what we indispensable after a chaotic time in India.

I had friends in a tiny, south-coast surf-town of Midigama so headed true down there and… didn’t leave. We surfed, napped and review books by day, afterwards drank Lion beers by night. we was vital my best life.

I went behind for a few months progressing this year, and managed to prize myself divided from a seashore to try some-more of a island. Holy hell, I’m blithe I’m did. Sri Lanka is a island that truly has it all.

Here are a few reasons since a square of my heart is still there:

1. The beaches

Coconuts beach in Midigama on a south west seashore of Sri Lanka
Coconuts beach in Midigama on a south-west seashore of a island (Picture: Lisa Bowman)

Whether you’re into totally forlorn stretches of sand, beaches with a few other people and a male offered coconuts, or sharp-witted resorts with sunloungers and full bar facilities, Sri Lanka’s got we covered.

Head to busier towns such as Arugam Bay or Unawatuna for a latter, or try quieter spots like Hiriketiya and Ahangama. Then sinecure a scooter and try a seashore to learn dark gems for yourself.

Also, we didn’t go there privately yet my crony would not tighten adult about how extraordinary and still Trincomalee and Nilaveli on a easterly seashore were.

2. The surf

Surfing on a south seashore of Sri Lanka
A celebration call in bliss (Picture: Chrille Rask)

There are breaks for all levels, from Weligama’s beach mangle for sum beginners to Ram’s (a right-hand embankment break) in Midigama for a some-more modernized rider.

If you’re after a blithe roller and yoga break, we suggest a revisit to a accessible folk at Sunshinestories in Ahangama.

You’ll incite sleepy limbs during morning yoga, fuel adult with a juicy breakfast in a colonial villa and afterwards get whisked divided by tuk-tuk to a roller mangle that best suits your ability.

They do video research on their lessons that is ridiculously useful in reckoning out what we do good in a water, and what we need to work on.

It’s value staying during Sunshinestories usually to make a many of a total supply of uninformed (and chilled!) coconuts.

3. The monumental sight journeys

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If we take usually one train, make certain it’s a Ella to Kandy one, where you’ll find yourself snaking by mountains, tea plantations and internal villages. This lane gets bustling so be certain to haven a chair – we can do it during a sinecure a integrate of days before.

Forget a air-conditioned first-class carriage and seize yourself a chair in second or third where we can association with a locals and lay during a open door. Just be certain to reason on or we competence find yourself forward down a ideal dump to your unequivocally tropical, yet unequivocally certain death.

Another favourite line is from Colombo down to Matara, that runs by renouned traveller destinations such as Galle, Hikkaduwa and Weligama. The lane runs along a seashore and, if you’re propitious adequate to get a seat, we can watch a festive sea cruise by.

This is a bustling commuter sight and can be destruction removing on during Colombo. If you’re travelling a prolonged way, it’s value streamer to a sinecure stop before Colombo and removing on there. Unless we don’t mind station and sweating for hours on end.

4. ‘Off-season’ doesn’t unequivocally meant ‘off-season’

The Island Suite during Ceylon Sliders boutique hotel in Weligama, Sri Lanka
The Island Suite during Ceylon Sliders in Weligama (Picture: Ceylon Sliders)

There are dual monsoon seasons in Sri Lanka – a south and west monsoon is May to August; and a north and easterly monsoon is Oct to January.

Having pronounced that, we was in Weligama via a month of May and aside from a freak complicated rain at a finish of a month, a rest of a time was mostly sunny, so it can be a good time to go to get divided from a crowds and take advantage of cheaper flights and accommodation.

I stayed during Ceylon Sliders, a boutique hotel in Weligama that is conveniently right opposite a highway from Taprobane Island – a usually mangle that unequivocally works during a south-coast’s off-season.

We’d always find a same, tiny organisation of people out in a water, a brew of locals and travellers, all egging any other on and holding a p*** out of themselves when they messed up.

I could arise up, check a waves from a comfort of my balcony, afterwards competition to a ocean. Then I’d conduct behind and food down on a juicy breakfast in their café.

I beheld they use reusable steel straws in their cold drinks that is a large plus-point on an island that has a serious cosmetic problem. This is singular though, so cruise holding your possess reusable straw with you. I’ll unequivocally be holding one subsequent time we go divided – it’s one tiny step in being a some-more obliged traveller.

5. The drool-inducing food

Traditional Sri Lankan breakfast of paratha roti, dahl and coconut sambal
Traditional Sri Lankan breakfast of paratha roti, dhal and coconut sambal (Picture: Lisa Bowman)

Cook a curry during home and you’ll expected have one form of curry and some slimy rice. Sit down for rice and curry in Sri Lanka and you’ll be presented with a charming array of opposite dishes to try including dhal, aubergine and beetroot. Don’t get me started on a coconut sambal – it competence usually be my favourite thing to eat in a whole world. Go truly internal and we can get your rice and curry repair for as small as Rs. 100 (50p).

The ride food is ideal for holding on train journeys – design unfeeling roti, samosas and boiled dhal balls, mostly wrapped adult in aged homework. Seriously.

If we tire of internal cuisine, there’s copiousness of juicy Western options to try – conduct to Camp Poe‘s cafeteria in Ahangama for celestial vegan fayre (their rainbow salad with chickpea and turmeric patties is epic), Hideaway in Arugam Bay for top-notch coffee, and Hangtime in Weligama for all your burger needs (including an comprehensive belter of a veggie option).

6. The culture

11 reasons to finally book that moody to Sri Lanka
A Buddhist church in Koggala (Picture: Lisa Bowman)

There’s something about Buddhist temples – they have such a pleasing atmosphere of assent about them. Check out a Peace Pagoda in Unawatuna – watch a object set over a sea while a monks’ chants boyant by a air.

Kudumbigala monastery, on a hinterland of a east-coast’s Yala inhabitant park, is usually stunning. Your high mount to a tip will be rewarded with breathtaking 360-degree views of a surrounding areas.

Get a tuk-tuk motorist to take we from circuitously Arugam Bay or sinecure a scooter and do it yourself. The views are implausible once we get nearby a inhabitant park, yet a roads are also flattering sketchy; usually expostulate if you’re assured on a moped.

Ask a internal a best time to go as, while it’s cold observant furious elephants from afar, we don’t wish to be pushing anywhere nearby them when they’re streamer for a watering hole. Unless ‘get killed by an elephant’ is a final thing on your bucket list.

7. The coconuts

A aristocrat coconut unaware a sea in Tangalle, Sri Lanka
Gettin’ prepared to sip on a nipple of a uninformed coconut in Tangalle on a south seashore (Picture: Lisa Bowman)

Sri Lanka is a world’s fifth largest writer of coconuts and even has a possess internal chronicle – a aristocrat coconut.

It’s sweeter than your unchanging coconut and we can squeeze one from a roadside mount for as small as Rs. 50 (25p). Expect to compensate some-more during a beach.

Consider holding your possess reusable celebration straw to save all those cosmetic ones finale adult in landfill… or in a ocean.

Greenfield Farm Organic Life do good jars of cold-pressed organic pure coconut oil to batch adult on, as good as ridiculously juicy honeyed spreads such as coconut cacao, and coconut pineapple. Great on pancakes or true from a jar.

8. The hikes

The perspective from a tip of Ella Rock, Sri Lanka
I had to ask a foreigner to take this pic and hated myself for it (Picture: Lisa Bowman)

Pack some stout trainers or walking boots as there are some epic walks to be finished in Sri Lanka.

A four-hour spin ride adult Ella Rock is value it for a absurd alpine views.

I left my guesthouse during 7am and felt flattering self-satisfied that we was forward as many climbers were usually usually starting, so go as early as probable to equivocate a heat.

You don’t need a guide. we managed to do it totally alone, regulating these notation instructions from Atlas Boots. However, we don’t suggest going though a beam if you’re formulation on going tighten to sunset, as we don’t wish to risk removing mislaid on a towering as dark falls.

If you’re adult for an even bigger challenge, Adam’s Peak is a leg-busting event adult 5,500 stairs to a site where Buddha initial set feet on Earth after being expel out of Heaven.

Wait for a jaw-dropping morning during a tip with a pilgrims and your associate tourists. Take a comfortable tip as you’ll persperate like a pig on a approach adult and afterwards spin into a retard of ice during a cold summit. Don’t make large skeleton for a subsequent integrate of days as your legs will be cooked.

9. The wildlife

A quadruped in Sinharaja rainforest haven in Sri Lanka
A accessible small critter in a Sinharaja Forest Reserve (Picture: Lisa Bowman)

Take a guided ride by Sinharaja rainforest and your internal beam will be means to mark all a animals from a mile off – design snakes, monkeys, hulk millipedes and charming critters such as a small male above.

Wear prolonged hosiery and hiking boots or trainers, unless you’re a fan of ripping fat, bloody leeches off your possess skin. we found a outrageous one nestled between my toes on a expostulate back. He was a genuine onslaught to detach, and left a unequivocally disorderly wound. You have been warned.

You can also get up-close-and-personal with elephants during one of a inhabitant parks, including Udawalawe and Yala.

Be heedful of any debate beam charity to get we too tighten yet – there is a outrageous human-elephant dispute in Sri Lanka and reprobate debate operators are unequivocally not assisting a case.

10. The crazy train rides

A train pushing past Lazy Left roller mangle in Midigama, Sri Lanka
A train pushing past Lazy Left roller mangle in Midigama (Picture: Lisa Bowman)

remember a film Speed, with a bus? Ever wondered what it’d be like being a newcomer on that bus?

Wonder no some-more – usually burst on one of Sri Lanka’s engorgement of erratically driven buses and suffer a uninformed swell of adrenaline impiety by your physique as we wobble in and out of trade – mostly on a wrong side of a highway – during absurd speed.

Rumour has it they get elect for any passenger, so they’re fundamentally racing any other to a subsequent stop.

The rides are fun though, mostly with loud, Sri Lankan song and brightly illuminated shrines to Buddha. And with space up-front (or in a boot, for long-distance buses) for your luggage, they’re a perfect, crazy inexpensive approach to get around.

10/10 would recommend. Just be prepared to get thrown off a relocating train when it comes to your stop. we wish we was joking.

11. The juicy tea

A tea picker during Bluefield tea bureau nearby Nuwara Eliya in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
A not-at-all staged print during Bluefield tea bureau nearby Nuwara Eliya (Picture: Lisa Bowman)

Us Brits adore a cuppa and nowhere does it fresher than Sri Lanka.

Head to a camp and take a giveaway debate (just tip your beam a integrate of hundred rupees). Nuwara Eliya is a ideal bottom to do this – it’s a British-built city with a surprisingly British climate. I’ll be honest, it’s a small uncanny visiting as a Brit. Cute, yet weird.

I went to Bluefield tea bureau and it was cold examination workers use a selected equipment; it’s like being in a operative museum.

Finish your debate with a tea representation and some chocolate cake. Delish.

How to get there

I fly with Emirates from London Heathrow to Bandaranayake airfield for £435 return, with a 90 notation stopover in Dubai. Total ride time one approach was around 13 hours.

A pre-booked cab from Bandaranayake airfield to Weligama on a south seashore costs around £50 and a tour takes around 3 hours. Ask your accommodation to organize this for you, differently we will get fleeced by a cab drivers during a airport.

A stay in a Island Suite during Ceylon Sliders in Weligama costs from $149 (£115) a night.

An comprehensive stay during Sunshinestories shelter in Ahangama costs from $1,199 (£926) for a week, including food, board, and roller and yoga lessons.

A word of warning for solo females

I debated including this, yet motionless it would be insane if we didn’t.

I and many solo females we spoke to suffered a satisfactory volume of passionate nuisance from internal men, trimming from catcalling and earthy molestation, to carrying a male holding cinema of us and w****** on a isolated beach.

The initial time we visited a nation we was always with men, so we didn’t unequivocally notice it. This time around, we did a lot of travelling by myself and unequivocally felt a hold of a patriarchy.

You will be a centre of courtesy as a sole Western womanlike since a) many locals can’t get their heads around since we would be travelling by yourself and b) there’s a lot of passionate hang-up in a country.

Of march I’m not observant each male is out to get we – a infancy of group are decent folk – but there are a minority of bad eggs, usually as there are anywhere.

It’s positively not a reason to not visit – we usually wrote a whole bloomin’ essay about since we should go, and I’m already formulation my third outing there – yet it’s a reason to be wary, usually as we would be during home.

Don’t let your free-spirited holiday complacency cloud your judgement: go with your gut; don’t splash too most if you’re by yourself; be clever removing in tuk-tuks alone after you’ve been drinking; don’t accept scooter rides from strangers; honour a internal culture; and dress modestly (especially on open transport).

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