This winter, one of our many adventures took us to the little island of Sri Lanka. This tropical paradise is full of culture, curries, tuk tuks, waves, hikes, safaris, palm trees and yoga. It really is a dream island!
We escaped the unforgiving bitterness of February in the UK and took a flight to Colombo, the countries capital. Our long flight was made super comfortable with Emirates, films to entertain and guess what, our surfboards fly free! Bonus. The heat quickly hit us, the tropical moisture in the air and the over powering smell of spices, tumeric, cumin, rich with colour lighting up the market stalls. The Sri Lankan's have spices for all different uses including healing the body. If you ever have a stomach ache these guys know what to drink to cure yourself, it's all about having an Ayurvedic diet.
Although we love the culture cities can entertain, we made sure we headed straight to the empty ocean to breathe that sea air and journeyed down south along the coast to Midigama. This little village is home to the most consistent surf breaks in Sri Lanka and definitely worth a visit. Stay right in front of the breaks at Ram's Beach Guesthouse, they have basic rooms with a roof terrace, food, hammocks, palm trees, for just £11-£20 a night (depending on season), it's all you need. Check out the local surf breaks, Ram's Right, Lazy Left, Plantations, all can be found on Magic Seaweed.
Next stop, Mirissa! This place is perfect for a bit of touristy love, the stunning sandy beach is lined with restaurants, bars, the perfect place to have those sundowners after a long surf. There's a right hander over the reef but watch out for sea urchins! From Mirissa Harbour you can book yourself on to a boat trip to explore the rich waters of Sri Lanka, expect to see turtles, dolphins, whales and enjoy the sweet local tea. Whilst heading out to the famous snorkeling spots, we came across an incredible empty reef break, around Thalaramba (below). See if you can check it out, it's worth a go.
Following the ocean we then headed further down to Madiha. A quiet paradise surrounded in palm trees. The break here is a little less crowded, still a slight secret and life a little slower, stay in the beautiful Madiha Surf House or there are plenty of luxury villas around. For all your surfer chicks head to our friends, the incredible Santosha Society for a little yoga, good food and luxury in their beautiful beach front villa. Philly spent a week with the awesome chicks with Santosha and loved every minute. Drink out of the king coconuts and spend your evening eating on the beach at Polhena (also an awesome reef break). We spent most our afternoons escaping the heat of the day at Coffee Point for it's scrumptious pancakes.
We fell in love with Madiha and explored every inch of it's surroundings. We met a friendly buddha on the beach who invited us to his ancient temple, rambled up the side of a cliff to hear him chant. Listening to his voice was pure magic and so very peaceful, much like Madiha itself.
Our favourite spots further along the coast that you must see are SK Town, a great surfing beach for beginners and Horseshoe Bay. Dikwella, Horseshoe bay is absolutely stunning, turquoise waters surrounded by over hanging palm trees. Perfect for beginners and intermediates with two breaks. Try a yoga class or surf lesson on these beaches. Pure bliss!
All the surf breaks and the yoga had us completely surfed out after a couple of weeks, and trust me, you will be too. It made for the perfect time to adventure inland to delve deeper into the Sri Lankan culture. Make sure you catch a train, one of the best ways to see the country. The last leg of our trip, we went on safari at Yala National Park, one of the many spots to see Sri Lanka's wildlife in abundance.
We then packed up all our things, headed for one last adventure before stepping on the long awaiting flight home, hiking up Adam's Peak. This peak has been a holy pilgrimage for over 1,000 years and still is. Yep, you'll see 90 year old women hiking up and down this treacherous mountain, making you wonder why your feeble little english bones won't let you get to the top. The hike is it total 6 hours, we arrived at 2am and struggled to the top to for the sunrise to see it's most breath taking moment just after dawn. As the sun cast a shadow over the mountain, an eerie triangular shadow appears, magical!
Here is a huge WARNING, this hike is not for the faint hearted. It will make every bone in your legs ache, the steps are never ending and it will feel like you'll never reach the top. And when you do, it's overcrowded and beyond freezing, pack warm clothes and a LOT of snacks and water. The view is totally worth it, but never again...
Thanks to Northcore and FCS for keeping our surfboards safe and Animal for all the adventure clothing.