If you’re the type of person who gets itchy feet after 5 minutes of lying on the beach then fear not as Sri Lanka has lots of adventurous and active excursions that you can build into your trip. Here are a few of our favourites:
Surfing at Weligama
Surfing’s really taking off over here. Until recently it was the preserve of the very keen who, in the main, made for the likes of Arugam Bay (sometimes Peanut Farm) on the East Coast and some of the tougher reef breaks down south.
It seems to have opened up in the last few years and there are some fantastic beaches for beginners; just as there are for those who’ve done it a while. If you’re a bit of a novice we suggest you head to Weligama (about 50 minutes from Galle). It’s a wide-open beach with regular, good but not too huge waves. There’ll be a host of guys ready to flog you boards and tuition but we can send you out with our good pal Freddie. There are, for sure, plenty of good instructors on Weligama beach but Freddie, who we’ve known for some time, is a lovely chap and wonderfully patient (which we found very useful indeed!).
For strong surfers, the reef break on the west side of Mirissa beach is a popular spot. There’s another great break on a stunning little beach further down the coast. We just can’t quite bring ourselves to share the name of the beach until you’re out here with us. Sorry.
An hour’s lesson with Freddie is roughly $20 per person. Board hire is minimal, around $3.
Boat trip near Galle:
Pootling around Galle Fort or dozing on the beach at Wijaya is great. But if you’ve gota decent stint down there you might like a change of scene. Jeff is a wonderful Scot who’s started, quite recently, taking clients out on early morning and evening boat trips up the Ginganga River. You head out from Tamarind Hill, a pretty smart hotel just outside Galle, and drift up river in some lovely old canoes. We think best to enjoy the river in the early evening, ideally with a bottle of something carefully stowed away.
For too many visitors, time down south is spent no further than a hundred yards from the beach. Lovely as those beaches are, getting on two wheels and heading inland through paddy fields and villages is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon or morning.
We offer rides with a group set up in Thalpe – 20 minutes or so down the road from Galle.
Sailing on the east and west coast
Sailing, much like surfing, is becoming ever more popular here now. It was pretty much off-limits as a pastime with the civil war going on.
Now, there are a number of guys doing day-trips or half-day trips.
We operate day trips as well longer overnight trips on luxury catamarans in conjunction with Sail Lanka. It’s not cheap but we think it’s a fair price for the experience you are getting. For more information do have a look at http://toniclankacollection.com/property/jade/ or http://toniclankacollection.com/property/pearl-catamaran-sailing-srilanka/
Climb Adam’s Peak
Having absorbed all the Cultural Triangle had to offer you thought you’d done your cultural bit. But then Adam’s Peak and it’s 5,000 or so steps hovered into view. Oh good God, you thought. But you climbed it – 4am start and all – and loved the experience; were startled by the sunrise. Possibly. Some folks love and rave about Sri Pada; others are more indifferent and a little peeved at the effort expended.
The view from the temple, though (and Sri Lanka is not short on views) is uniquely wonderful. It’s a moving thing, too, to see the spirituality of the mountain’s pilgrims evidenced so plainly by their struggle to the top.
There’s no cost to make the climb. Logistics can be tricky, though, but we can help with this if staying at one of our properties.
Spot whales and dolphins in the Indian Ocean
Being down on the south coast is a fantastic opportunity to head whale or dolphin watching.
There are a load of folks offering trips – most of them now based around Mirissa. If you want a cheap and cheery experience then Raja and the Whales are the guys we’d go for as they’ve been doing it longest and do it well. But it can be crowded and there may well be lots of boats doing the same thing. Cost is around $50 for adults and for kids under 12 it’s half that.
The alternative option, if you are happy to spend some extra cash is to do take a day trip out on one of our catamarans (Pearl or Topaz) and combine whale/dolphin watching with a relaxing half-day cruise. Fantastic for families or small groups.
Hiking in the Knuckles
If you enjoy your walking/hiking then its well worth factoring in a bit of time in the The Knuckles Mountains in central Sri Lanka. The scenery is stunning and due to the altitude the walking conditions tend to also be very pleasant. From Ashburnham, our tea plantation in the foothills of the Knuckles, we run half day and full day guided walks with our resident naturalist. The full day walks require a certain degree of fitness but the rewards of 360 degree views at the top are seriously spectacular.