Surf and Travel in Sri Lanka
Want to know all there is to know about surfing in Sri Lanka? Then check out Rebel Surfcamp’s surfing guide to Sri Lanka below or get in touch for more information on how to find and book a surf trip to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is Tropical Fun!
Sri Lanka is a country to discover. After many years of a Civil War, the island has recovered its peace, so surfers and tourists can enjoy the beauty of this tropical island. Conquered by the Portuguese, Dutch and British, Ceylon (Sri Lanka’s name during the British colony) has a diverse mix of cultures and traditions. Tea and Cinnamon lovers have in Sri Lanka its paradise. Sri Lanka is perhaps one of the best countries in South Asia to visit if you’re a surfer thanks to its climate, variety of waves and the almost endless amount of surf camps and surf schools for you to choose from.
The best way to travel to Sri Lanka is flying to Colombo airport (CMB). Colombo airport receives international flights from global hubs like Dubai or Doha. Once at the Colombo airport you can choose to travel by train (what is a must in Sri Lanka), travel by bus or with a private driver to any other area of the island. The local currency is the Sri Lankan rupee and the language Sinhala, however English is spoken by many locals due to the British colonization in the past. The local time in Sri Lanka is UTC +5. You can get a cheap prepaid SIM card upon your arrival to the airport in Colombo to stay connected during your surf vacation.
Surf Regions in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has two main surfing areas. The East coast, where the best swell and surfing conditions work from May to October (during the southwest monsoon). And the SouthWest coast that works as its best from November to April (dry season).
Sri Lanka has been an undiscovered country until a few years ago. Sri Lanka still offers uncrowded amazing surfing spots where you can enjoy an almost solo surfing session during sunrise or sunset. We traveled to Sri Lanka in February 2020 (during the dry season), therefore we chose the SouthWest coast to surf, travel and discover!
We stayed in Sri Lanka for 2 weeks. We landed in Colombo from Dubai airport with Emirates airlines. We spent 13 days in Weligama Bay from where we moved to the different surfing spots along the coast and also made a couple of day trips to Galle and the Udawalawe National Park. We also made a city trip to Colombo for the last 2 days of our winter surfing escape to Asia.
We explored the SouthWest coast of Sri Lanka and surfed amazing waves in surfing spots such as Kabalana, Sticks, Lazy right, Lazy left, Fishermen, Mirissa point, Kangaroos and Ahangama. We also tried Weligama, of course. However we tried to escape as much as possible due to its crowdedness (you might find over 200 people in the water!). If you can, avoid surfing in Weligama! It is a good spot though for beginners where to practice your 1st take offs on your board. After 2 or 3 days, you will be ready to explore the uncrowded surfing spots.
Some of the surfing spots in Sri Lanka are beach breaks (like Weligama, that counts with kilometres of waves without any reefs or rocks), however most of the surfing spots in this area of Sri Lanka are reef breaks (not too dangerous though). The water temperature has an average of 27 degrees all year round. The good news is that you can surf in your bikini or shorts 🙂 What a feeling in the middle of the winter! On the down side, the weather in the island is very humid, however most of the accommodations, restaurants, cafes and public transports have air conditioning that will let you breathe.
As we are longboard surfing enthusiasts, we loved surfing in Sri Lanka due to its long right and left waves. Our favourite spot was without any doubts a secret surfing spot around Ahangama village with an amazing long wave where you can dance the waves with your surfboard. Get in touch with us if you wanna know where this spot is 🙂
Day Trip to Galle
But we did more than surfing since our nature is to travel and discover new cultures. We took a surfing day off and went to Galle for a day trip. Galle is a beautiful city full of history and a mix of cultures where you can find mosques, Dutch colonial buildings and Portuguese forts. We arrived in Galle by bus from Weligama. We advise you to take a bus in Sri Lanka, it is a memorable experience by itself 🙂 Once in Galle you can access the Fort by foot from the bus station. Strolling Galle Fort is an experience back in time through colonization and history. The main door of the Fort still has the name of the VOC (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie, the Indian Dutch company) from the Dutch colonization period of the island. You can stroll inside the Fort for around 3-4 hours exploring its restaurants, vintage clothes shops, pop-up stores, colonial furniture shops, museums, beaches, churches, mosquees and friendly local people. We chose to eat right in front of the beach enjoying an amazing curry overlooking the ocean and the waves breaking.
Back in our hotel in Weligama we went out for dinner to a local restaurant in the Bay: No Fish Today We enjoyed an amazing vegan meal (falafel bowls) and cocktails. Try their gin and mango cocktail, it is just amazing! A superb combination of dry gin with and sweet local mango juice served in a tea cup…
The swell in SouthWest Sri Lanka is consistent all year round and is hard to find flat surfing spots. However, the best period to go is from November to April when it doesn’t get too messy due to the monsoon season. If you are planning to travel to Sri Lanka from May to October, then the best option is to stay at the East coast, in Arugam Bay, where the surfing conditions are as it best during our summer time.
Before your trip to Sri Lanka
As most of the surfing spots are reef breaks, and probably you will be surfing just with bikini or shorts, we advise you to prepare at least 6 weeks in advance prior traveling to the island with the needed inoculations. There are still quite a few Tropical diseases in Sri Lanka that you don’t want to take in case of some injuries while surfing. Also mosquitoes love biting during the nights 🙂 It is convenient to arrange a medical travel insurance. Even though all worked out perfectly in our case, in case of medical assistance, the cost can be very high. You also need a VISA to stay in the country that you can arrange online a few weeks before departure date. The cost changes often and sometimes you can even get it for free (it depends on how busy the island is at the moment). You can find out how to get your Visa to Sri Lanka here . Don’t forget to travel with your passport valid for at least 6 months from the departure date.
Udawalawe National Park Day Trip
After a few more days, we decided to visit Udawalawe National Park, which is around 3 hours drive from Weligama Bay. We made it with a local tour guide who came to pick us up at the hotel early in the morning. The day trip to the Park also includes lunch in a local restaurant near the National Park (the restaurant offers all kinds of curry, rotis and teas). The drive is super comfy in a van with airco. The visit to the Park lasts for around 2,5 hours in a safari car. We were so lucky to find so many elephants and baby elephants on our tour. They were the reason why we went to visit this place as we were dreaming of seeing elephants for the first time in life. Aren’t they cute?
It was time to take an Ayurvedic massage after almost a week of surfing and traveling. Have you heard about Ayurvedic massage? It is an ancient massage technique that combines massages with spices, medical plants and essential oils that will rejuvenate you right after you leave the SPA. We chose a nice SPA in Mirissa. Mirissa is another surfing village near Weligama, where the surfing vibes are all around. We went shopping after the massage to some local shops looking for spices, cinnamon, tea and fine clothes and refuel ourselves with a good cappuccino at Jungle Cats. Both Mirissa and Weligama have plenty of surf shops where you can rent or buy all the surfing equipment you might need while in Sri Lanka. We recommend you Dylan’s surf shop (in front of the Marriott hotel in Weligama) and avoid the hassle of traveling with your surfing boards. There are also a couple of nice organic cafes in this area where you can eat some healthy food and drink some coffee or tea after surfing.
Best Longboard Surfing Spots
There are plenty of virgin and pristine beaches in Sri Lanka and surfing spots, however if you are looking for the best longboarding spots our recommendation is to visit the ones below:
Arugam Bay area: Arugam Bay (long right point), Pottuvil point (long right point), Peanut Farm and Okanda (also right points).
SouthWest Coast: Hikkaduwa (Main Reef point and North Jetty point), Midigama (mellow left) and Mirissa (right point with the famous palms around you where you can also watch whales).
Once you found your favourite spot and enjoyed surfing the waves, ask a local for some fresh coconut water directly from the palm trees. Refreshing and healthy! The best way to go from one surfing spot to another is by Tuk Tuk, the local transport of Sri Lanka. Actually it is the best transport to go anywhere on the island! Just make sure you agree on the price with the driver before starting the ride.
We still had some more to visit in Mirissa after a surfing session. Its famous Coconut Tree Hill. The nicest side of visiting this hidden place is snorkeling while watching turtles and enjoy a great avocado toast afterwards in cool terrace overseeing the ocean. Just tropical!
After so many waves during sunrise and sunset for almost 2 weeks, the end of our surf trip was about to end. During the last night of our stay in Weligama we went out for dinner to a beautiful restaurant in Mirissa beach. The tables of the restaurant are directly on the sand and you can choose the fish you wanna eat before they serve it to you. They also have very good cocktails and live music. This was the best way to end our time in Weligama. Even though Weligama beach wasn’t our preferred surfing spot, we totally recommend staying there as a base to explore and surf all the area. Weligama is right in the middle of the SouthWest coast and very well connected by road, train and bus with the main places to surf and explore.
Colombo in 2 Days
After a 3 hours drive from our surf hotel in Weligama Bay, we arrived to Colombo, the capital of the Sri Lanka and where we first started this adventure. The best way to explore Colombo is by foot, even though you can of course move around by Tuk Tuk. We stayed at the 1st hotel built in Colombo, The Grand Oriental Hotel. It is a colonial style hotel overlooking Colombo port. From its restaurant you can see the magnitude of this worldwide known port while you enjoy your breakfast. One of our favourite highlights of Colombo was the Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque, also know as the Red Mosque located in the Pettah district.
Colombo has 2 main districts, Fort and Pettah. In Fort you will find all kind of colonial buildings built by the Dutch and British. The district gets its name from the traditional Portuguese fortification. Pettah is the commercial district with plenty of markets and local goods shops. We strolled around Colombo with Harold (from Colombo Walks). If you wanna know all about the history of Colombo and Sri Lanka, Harold is the go-to person. He is a super experienced local who will make you go back in time with his walking tour around Colombo. But his tour is not just about history as it ends with a very nice lunch in a local restaurant where you will really enjoy local food.
Most of the traveling guides recommend the restaurant Ministry of Crab (inside the Dutch hospital building) as one the best restaurants in Asia. We’ve tried it and honestly, it isn’t the best 🙂 Skip it if you can, it is super pricy and the seafood is not the best we’ve tried! What you shouldn’t skip is the Colombo markets in Pettah district. This is a must! You will find amazing fine clothes, spices, fruits and teas. Do not skip this one and you will fly back home with amazing smells from this market 🙂 There are also plenty of Buddhist Temples around Colombo that you can visit.
And yes, our Sri Lanka trip ended, so we headed back to the airport. Colombo airport has several security checks (we counted at least 4 before you get into the plane), so be prepared for this 🙂 Also, make sure you spend all your remaining cash before arriving to the airport as in most of the exchange offices at the airport they run out of Euros in cash! Unless you wanna keep some rupees (or dollars) as a souvenir, you better drink a last couple of cocktails at one of the hotel roof terraces in Colombo. Take many photos… we couldn’t find a single nice postcard in Sri Lanka to be sent to our friends… 🙂
Prices in Sri Lanka
We want to share with you some examples of common prices in Sri Lanka so you get an idea of the cost of living in the island:
- Safari Day trip to Udawalawe National Park from Weligama (including lunch) costs 125 EUR per person.
- Taxi to Colombo city from Weligama Bay costs 70 EUR.
- Surfing leggings at Dylan’s surf shop in Weligama Bay 46 EUR.
- Tuk Tuk from Weligama to Mirissa 1.75 EUR
Overall Sri Lanka is not an expensive country except from the touristic areas and facilities.
About Rebel Surfcamps
Rebel Surfcamps is a thoughtful and innovative surf travel guide website based in Spain that connects keen travellers with the best surf camps, surf schools and surf accommodation in the dreamiest surf destinations around the world.
Our aim is to make the process of booking a surf vacation in Sri Lanka or anywhere else as effortless as possible, whilst also following through with our promise to make every trip an inspiring and enriching experience.
So if you’ve ever dreamed of surfing in Mirissa, surfing in the Weligama Bay or booking a surf trip in Sri Lanka, reach out and contact Rebel Surfcamps by filling out our contact form today.
Get in touch and let us know you’re down to surf good waves, meet new friends and make memories that’ll last a lifetime with the best of them.
We hope you enjoyed this guide and perhaps visit the island very soon! We will be glad to take you with us in our next group surf trip to Sri Lanka in February 2022. We also want to leave here a big Thank you to the amazing group of people we’ve met during this surfing trip, for sure friends for life. Aloha!