HOW TO PLAN A TRIP TO SRI LANKA // #JUSTPASSINGTHROUGH WITH ADVENTURE SEEKER ANNA EHRGOTT
The tropical island of Sri Lanka is an oasis in the Indian Ocean, drifting in-between the Maldives and India. The country is illuminated by warm colors- marigold, turmeric, and saffron are apparent in everything from the stalls of street vendors, to the food, and to the long robes of Buddhist monks. The warm colors are not dissimilar from the hearts of the kindest people who walk the planet. Anybody you cross paths with is likely to flash you a bright smile and invite you over to dinner with their family. It’s hot, humid, welcoming, and has perfect waves.
Here are some tips to plan a trip to paradise island:
Weather: Monsoon season is May through September. As long as you don’t mind a bit of an afternoon downpour, you can score empty waves each beautiful, glassy morning and an outdoor shower every evening. If it’s the sizzling sun you’re after, better to plan to be there between December and March.
Transportation: Take advantage of the tuk-tuks (3-wheeler taxis), trains and buses! It’s easy to get around without having to rent a car and finagle the crazy roads first hand. These alternative forms of getting around are an adventure in themselves.
Accommodation: Can be extremely affordable - less than $10 for small beachfront rooms! If you’re looking a little more luxury, options generally range from $30-$60 and often include a pool and nice breakfast.
Food: A big ole YES. Sri Lanka boasts some of the worlds best cuisine. Ayurdedic styles of eating are popular here (the theory of food being our medicine) Rice and curry is the staple; similar to Indian, but with more seafood and spice. The fresh fruit is gonna change your life, and some of the more unique dishes like gotu kola soup and unidentifiable plates at local restaurants are worth tasting as well.
Where to go: Keep in the mind the place is huge! 10 days could just about allow you drive the circumference of the island, but I’d recommend choosing two or three zones to really get a feel for them.
Waves: There is a wide variety of surf, and something for everyone from beginners to barrel hunters. The south west is littered with reef breaks, and the south east is known for its cruisy right point breaks
Other stuff to do: Just a few hundred miles south of the birthplace of both yoga and Buddhism (India), there are plenty of places to check out either. Studios and retreats for yoga are beginning to pop up in the main coastal towns and most temples are open to the public. Many of them are over 2,000 years old and have intricate paintings and sculptures within the walls. A few other ideas; tea plantations, national park safari, trekking in Ella or Kandy, checking out fishing villages in the North.
What to pack: Breezy clothing for hot weather, a couple waterproof options, swimwear, long sleeves and pants, as is customary at temples, sandals for day-to-day and closed-toe shoes if you plan on doing any hiking or spending long days in the urban zones. I brought Reef Day Catch Sandals, I love the style to go with dresses and shorts, Reef Rover Hi Sandals for a more dressed up look, and my favorite sneakers, the Reef Rover Low for everything else.
It quickly becomes impossible to pick a favorite thing about Sri Lanka. The fireflies mirror the sky full of stars. The peach-hued sunrises pull you towards them with the offshore winds nudging at your back and the people will leave a lasting impression on you as they teach you lessons about happiness without having to say a word. These are a few highlights I’d recommend:
- Sunshine Stories Yoga Retreat in Ahangama
- Turtles Rest Hotel at Main Reef, Hikkaduwa (short walk to surf, but just out of the noise and partying scene)
- Aroma Restaurant, Hikkaduwa (Organic, Ayurvedic Sri Lankan Food)
- Yala Leopard Paradise Safari (ask about camping or staying in the treehouse before taking a jeep into Yala National Park)
All photos by Chris Delorenzo