Sri Lanka Adventure Travel Guide
Sri Lanka is a tropical island in the Indian Ocean, found just off the south-east tip of India. Being an island, Sri Lanka i... (Read more...)
Sri Lanka is very close to the equator. As a result it has a tropical climate with distinctive dry and wet seasons. The weather can be unpredictable at times, but you can probably guarantee on every visit there’s some sun and some rain. This unpredictability is because the island experiences two monsoons. In the south-west half of the island, the Yala monsoon usually lasts from May through to August, with the dry season lasting from December through to March. The south-west experiences the highest rainfall for the island, up to 4000mm per year. The north-east is hit by the Maha monsoon from October through to January, with the dry season lasting from May to September. The north and east sides of the island are relatively dry compared to the south and west sides, receiving around a quarter of the amount of rain.
The up-side of all this rain is that the island is covered in vegetation and plays host to plenty of wildlife. The low-lying coastal regions, such as Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, tend to have average temperatures of around 27C, with the sea temperature being around this same temperature all year round – perfect for watersports! The higher the altitude, the cooler the temperatures, which is perfect for any overland adventurers exploring the wildlife and nature Sri Lanka offers in its 65,000sq km of land. Travel to Kandy (at 500m) where the temperature drops to 20°C, and continues to fall the higher you travel, until you reach Sri Lanka’s highest peak in its lazy mountain range, Pidurutalagala, at 2,524m high.
Discover Sri Lanka by bike. Ride around quiet back roads, visit the misty tea plantations and highlands, and explore the dense jungle and national parks that Sri Lanka has to offer. Once you have navigated a few untraveled paths, or if you are looking for something slightly less exhausting, check out some of Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage by visiting the Buddhist and Hindu monuments at Polonnaruwa, the medieval capital…then continue onto the rock formation with its ruined fortress at Sigiriya and its surrounding structures and gardens.
Pick a beach. Get on your board. Grab your kite…it’s that simple. With over 1600km of coastline around this beautiful island, there are so many places with great wind conditions; ideal for kitesurfing. Find the perfect spot on a kite surfari rather than waiting around for the wind to come to you. Negombo, on the west coast, is a great place to do this and isn’t very far from the island’s capital Colombo. Travel here anytime during the months of January through to March to experience great conditions. Many of the watersports providers in Sri Lanka tend to provide the latest equipment available.
Sri Lanka’s mixed cultural heritage makes this such an entertaining and enlightening prospect. There are wondrous Buddhist and Hindu rock statues at the medieval capital of Polonnaruwa, some of these dating back to the 12th century! Then on to the even more ancient and history soaked Anuradhapura, where there is plenty for the adventurist in you to take in. Check out the town of Ella, where you can come across Sri Lanka’s famous tea plantations as well as more monuments. Ella is surrounded by hills, which make it perfect for exploratory walks around the surrounding forests to find waterfalls and wildlife. Sri Lanka’s various cultural and religious backgrounds help to make this one of the most interesting and vibrant places to visit, From the bustling city of Colombo, with it’s packed in population of over 600,000, to dense forests where you can find Buddhist monks silently praying.
Wildlife and Nature
The sounds of monkeys swinging in the trees of the overgrown forests of Sri Lanka ought to excite the explorer in you. Try joining a wildlife safari in one of Sri Lanka’s national parks, such as Yala where you can hope to catch a glimpse of leopards. Other national parks, such as Horton Plains, offer equally impressive wildlife spotting opportunities, as well as a great view from the 3,000ft straight and sudden drop from the cliff face they call World’s end. Elephants are allowed to roam freely in parts of Sri Lanka, and you can hope to spot other animals such as water buffaloes, wild boars and jackals.
Because of Sri Lanka’s monsoons, if you are looking for sun, it is best to plan the time of year you visit. The driest times to visit Sri Lanka are from December to March on the west coast and May to September on the east. Start your trip in Colombo on the west coast in late March (as the island tends to become full of tourists escaping Europe over the winter months) enjoying the vibrant city and its welcoming locals. Head on a short trip north to the water-sports haven Negombo. Spend a week on the beach here, where you can try your hand at an array of water-sports, especially give kitesurfing and windsurfing a go.
Next, head on an overland tour visiting Sri Lanka’s numerous monuments to its various religions, exploring jungles along the way and feeding monkeys and jumping from waterfalls. If you are brave, you can visit Sri Lanka during the monsoon, and enjoy the ten-day festival Esala Perahera at Kandy, in the centre of the country. If you are going to do this, book in advance, as accommodation may be difficult or expensive to come by.
Now it is time to check out the east coast. Get another dose of watersports fun by visiting Arugam Bay and surfing for a few days, checking out what the scuba diving has to offer along the way, before heading back to Colombo and home.
Because it’s home to more than 100 rivers, no trip to Sri Lanka would be complete without having a go at kayaking or white-water rafting! Conditions for these sports are great year round, with the rapids becoming fiercer as the various monsoons hit the island. A popular destination for kayaking is the Kalu Ganga River, while the Kelani Ganga River offers fast rapids ideal for the rafter – with names such as Head Chopper and Killer Fall!
If surfing is your thing, or you want to give it a go, Arugam Bay is an easy-going village on a beach, with some great surfing available as well as lots of wildlife. Here you can also find lagoons, which provide great flat water for the water skiers and wakeboarders among us.
Other activities to try are para-gliding, for an aerial view of the islands dense forestry, rock climbing and cave trekking; Sri Lanka is packed full of adventure sports to try.