Sri Lankan South Coast – Surfing and Sunsets

Sri Lanka is GMT+5:30 and uses the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR). £1 = approx 200 LKR

Arrival in Sri Lanka

When exiting Colombo airport there are loads of taxi’s hanging around outside offering lifts to Colombo city centre for 3000 rupees (about £15), but you can get the bus from just across the road for about 100 rupees (50p).

The bus drops you a short walk from Colombo Fort station where you can get trains to pretty much anywhere in Sri Lanka, except parts of the north and east coast. I bought a ticket to Weligama for about 70p and then found a little shop nearby selling sim cards with 8GB of data for 699 rupees (about £3).


Weligama

In Weligama, I dropped off my bags and went to meet my friend Mike. We had a few beers and then made plans to go meet his friends in Unawatuna, about a half hour tuk-tuk ride away. Stupidly I was a bit drunk and gave the tuk-tuk driver two 5000 rupee notes instead of 500’s. Rookie mistake! Always take some time to get to know the notes when travelling to a new country. That was a £40 waste that I could ill-afford.

Sri Lankan sunset
Sri Lankan sunset

That night we partied on Unawatuna beach with Mike’s friends and then headed back to Weligama in the morning, ensuring we paid the correct amount this time. At my hostel, we got chatting with a fun group of people from all over the world, including Germany, the US and Iraq.  A bottle of whiskey appeared and a few drinks later we were all quite drunk and decided to go surfing.  We rented boards from Surf Mania on Weligama beach for 250 rupees an hour (£1.25).  Needless to say, I didn’t catch many waves.

Surfing Sri Lankan Style
Surfing Sri Lankan Style

Solo Christmas Party – Sri Lankan Style

That evening I moved to a new place nearby called The Classic that had private rooms for only 1000 rupees (£5).  Everyone had gone to sleep by then so I headed out on my own to find a Christmas party on the beach. I could hear music and see lights from miles down the beach so I walked for about half an hour amongst fishing boats, tripping over ropes until I finally reached what turned out to be just a few Sri Lankan guys dancing to very loud, cheesy rave. Turns out this is standard at any party around here. At least they had a tiny make-shift bar so, I grabbed a few beers and ended up having a great time practising break-dancing with them until about 1 am.

Sri Lankan Yoga


Sri Lankan sunset
Sri Lankan sunset

Read more of Sri Lanka here: Outstanding Beauty in Central Sri Lanka

Need somewhere cheap to stay? – Stay : Sri Lanka

 

Sri Lankan street parade
Sri Lankan street parade

After checking into our rooms at Space Garden Hostel, we were surprised by an awesome Sri Lankan street parade passing by! They had lots of dancers, musicians and even elephants (although the elephants didn’t look too happy). Unfortunately, at the end of it a fight broke out and a guy got smashed in the head with a bottle which was a bit of a downer.

Space Garden Hostel
Space Garden Hostel

The day before New Year’s Eve we bumped into an Austrian stuntwoman who had just arrived and we all decided to head down to the beach, where we spent the day chilling in hammocks under palms trees, drinking beer and chatting to another English couple.


Sri Lankan New Years

On New Years eve daytime, Mike and I headed down to the palm tree area and put up the slackline. We spent the majority of the day slacklining and attracting the interest of various people until eventually, we decided to grab some quick dinner before heading back to our respective hostels to prepare for the evening.

Mirissa Beach
Mirissa Beach

For once the music was actually decent and all the people we had met in the past few days were together on the dancefloor. We celebrated at midnight with hugs etc and then continued to drink and dance until about 3 am when I decided to call it a night. I left Mike and the others sitting on plastic chairs on the beach as the ocean washed up around their feet. That night I slept on a makeshift bed on the rooftop under the stars and full moon, which turned out to be a great way to enter the new year.


Sea Turtles and Slacklining

A friend of mine arrived from France the next day and that evening four of us went for dinner on the beach and saw a giant sea turtle wash up right next to the bar we were at.  The staff asked us not to take photos though as it scares them away and they’re trying to find somewhere to lay eggs.


We spent our last day in Mirissa swimming, slacklining, relaxing in hammocks and chatting to a hilarious Australian couple from Alice Springs – proper bogans, in the best possible way!

Slack-lining
Slack-lining

Unawatuna and Camp Kush

After Mirissa we headed north-west and booked 3 days in Unawatuna at a cool little place called Camp Kush, which is made up of tipi’s built around a campfire in a clearing amongst palm trees and a mangrove swamp. It has a few private rooms for £20 and five-person shared tipis for £7 per person.


There is a main covered sitting area with sofas and a dining table, and the lovely host Buchi tends to your every need – offering tea, coffee or beer at every opportunity. The facilities are fairly basic in a campsite kind of way – cold water, outdoor showers and only two toilets…. but if you aren’t too picky you’ll find it more than sufficient.

Camp Kush
Camp Kush

The first evening we took a tuk-tuk to Jungle Beach, where apparently you can snorkel with turtles. We didn’t see any turtles unfortunately but we had a great time swimming and drinking on the beach anyway.  After sunset, we headed back to camp for an amazing pasta dinner and partied the rest of the night away with some other guests who had arrived.

Surfing, Sri Lankan Style!
Surfing, Sri Lankan Style!

Attempting to Surf

The next day we went to Martin’s Surf Point (MSP) near Galle to do some surfing. I spent most of the day swallowing sea water and not catching waves since I can’t actually surf, but it was good exercise. The board hire is only 300 rupees an hour (£1.50) and they are very relaxed about it – so much so that we almost forgot to pay when leaving and nobody even said anything. That evening we again joined everyone at the campsite for dinner and afterwards had quite a few drinks, including a fair amount of the local Sri Lankan coconut rum, ‘Arrack’, mixed with coke – known as Arrack Attack!

Wijaya Beach
Wijaya Beach

On day three in Unawatuna, we finally got to swim with giant sea turtles! Typically my GoPro battery was dead so I didn’t get any footage, but it was an amazing experience none-the-less. We then watched the most amazing sunset from Wijaya beach and took photographs of the stilt-fisherman silhouetted against the horizon. That evening after dinner we decided to explore the nightlife in Unawatuna and went to an awful bar called Happy Banana, playing music so bad we endured it for only 15 minutes until deciding to call it a night.

Sri Lankan Stilt Fisherman
Sri Lankan Stilt Fisherman

Hikkaduwa

I spent a few nights staying in Hikkaduwa at a place called Hilda’s Guest House, run by a Swiss woman.  It’s a bit pricier than most places but has a swimming pool and includes a free breakfast of eggs, toast, fresh fruit and yoghurt.

A friend and I spent an evening having traditional Sri Lankan fish curry at a beach restaurant called Drunken Monkey. Very affordable too – large 620ml beers for £1.75 and curry for just over £2. Then we explored a bit of Hikkaduwa town before heading back to the guesthouse to swim and drink until midnight.

I also spent a few days with a group of friends at a large Airbnb house called Casa Hikka Villa, a few kilometres outside of Hikkaduwa.  It has a huge swimming pool, kitchen, living room and BBQ facilities, and is exceptionally good value for money if you have a large group.

Mirissa
Mirissa

 

The Southern coast of Sri Lanka has some of the most beautiful beaches and awesome surf spots I’ve ever seen! It’s still relatively cheap and unspoilt by tourism so if you have the chance I suggest you get out there soon!

 

Read more of Sri Lanka here: Outstanding Beauty in Central Sri Lanka

Need somewhere cheap to stay? – Stay : Sri Lanka

 

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