Surreal Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka had many names in the past. Persians and Arabs referred to it as “Sarandib” or “Serendip” from the word serendipity. A true to the meaning this beautiful island in the Indian Ocean is. Arthur C Clarke, the famous science fiction writer made Sri Lanka his home and stayed here till his death and has written much about the cultural and geographical diversity of this island nation. Recovering from the decades of tragic civil war that split apart the nation, Sri Lanka is taking rapid strides forward economically. Blessed with natural beauty and diversity, Sri Lanka is already a favorite travelers destination from many. The place from North to South and from East to West provides great many opportunities for various activities and travel experiences. With its pristine beaches and beautiful ocean with bustling marine life scuba diving and snorkeling, along with kite surfing and other water sports are popular out here. As you go deeper inside the country, the green forests and the wild life with leopards, elephants, birds are a treat for any wildlife enthusiast. The green country provides amazing trails for bikers and cyclists. The swelling rivers are great for white water surfing. Culturally Sri Lanka is a diverse country with Sinhalese Buddhists having the larger numbers and hence the influence. Though one may find enough influences from the Portuguese, Tamils, Muslims and other ethnicities or nationalities that have come and stayed in Sri Lanka for centuries. Not to forget the tales from the epic Ramayana about Lord Rama’s nemesis Ravana who ruled Lanka as part of the myth. Sri Lanka is a microcosm of diversity with everything yet something for each and every traveler.
The wildlife of the land has been famous for centuries, but only in this generation have we grown to know the wildlife of the sea – which is even more prolific, and far more colourful.Sir Arthur C Clarke in The View From Serendip
- Destination: Sri Lanka
- Nearest City (Airport): Colombo
- Dates: On request
- Months: Throughout the year
- Level: Easy to Difficult
- Guide: Available
- Price: On request
The rich diversity in Sri Lanka has created the potential for many a experiences ranging from adventure to nature to culture to religion to food and much more. We are trying our best to curate these. Some of those are here and rest we could curate or design on request.
Sri Lanka has many PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) approved site. The Sri Lankan waters are clear and rich in marine life. No wonder this has been a popular scuba diving and snorkeling place for years now. Arthur C Clarke the renowned author settled in Sri Lanka so that he could be closer to his passion of diving. He has also documented many discoveries like Taprobane Reefs in his books.
The PADI diving sites are widespread across the island right up in the North East at Trincomalee to way down South at Batticaloa. And down in the South East at Galle all the way up in the East coast near Colombo, Negombo and Kalpitiya.
Dive Summary (from PADI):
Visibility – Visibility ranges from around 10-25 metres/30-80 feet between high and low seasons.
Water Temperature – Water temperatures are usually around 27° C/80° F for most of the year.
Weather – Seasonal averages: 22°C/72°F in winter and 33°C/93°F in summer.West coast diving is best from around October to May, and the east coast is best from around May through to October.
Featured Creatures – Blue and sperm whales, whale sharks. Green, loggerhead, hawksbill and leatherback turtles. Parrot fish, Napoleon wrasse and barracuda. Macro invertebrates, including nudibranchs.
Sample Diving Excursion:
Kalpitiya Peninsula: Diving and Bar Reef Marine Sanctuary
Best Time November to March (best for Diving), April to October (for Kite Surfing)
Highest Point Green Lake (5000 m)
Highlight People, Village, Flora, Wildlife.
Level Moderate to Difficult
The windswept Kalpitiya peninsula is fringed with un-spoilt beaches, and bounded on opposite sides by sea and lagoon. It has a diversity of habitats ranging from bar reefs, flat coastal plains, salt pans, mangroves swamps, salt marshes and vast sand dune beaches. It provides nursing grounds for many species of fish and crustaceans. The coastal waters are also home to spinner, bottlenose and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, sperm whales, sea turtles, and even the illusive dugong. November to March North East Monsoon wind season is ideal for diving while the South West Monsoon wind season is ideal for water sports such as Kite Surfing.
Kalpitiya has many different diving sites. For instance, “Eel Rock” at a depth of 16.5M is a great spot to discover many varieties of eels, such as Reticulated moray eel, and Honeycomb eel. “Kalpitiya Ridge” at a depth of 16.5M, is a spectacular slope situated on the edge of “Bar Reef”. The ridge is home to a very large number of species. “Bulldog Reef” at a depth of 15M, is a shallow dive point, spreading around a large area, with lots of nooks and corners to explore. Each site comprises of different aquatic life. Whale sharks, sea turtles, Rays, and Eels are popular attractions at the dive sites, along with schools of Angel fish, Surgeon fish, Trigger and Parrot fish. Kalpitiya is also home for the Sperm whale. There are underwater gardens, which offers different coral formation and bottom. The Bar Reef sanctuary spanning over 300 Sq Km supports 156 species of coral and 283 species of fish.
Bar Reef Resort
Situated on the beautiful 2 Km stretch of beach called Alankuda Beach, the resort stands hidden amidst the breathtaking beauty of Kalpitiya, offering stunning views of the Indian Ocean and gentle sounds of birdsong.
Day 1 – Day of Arrival
Travel time from airport to hotel, 2 hours. Depending the time of arrival, visit Kalpitiya town including the old Dutch Fort. (2 hour excursion) The Fort was built by the Dutch in 1667 to command the entrance to the adjacent bay, Puttalam Lagoon. Puttalam area then was a major cinnamon cultivation area. Cinnamon and pearls, both originating in Ceylon were most sought after by the Europeans then.
Day 2 and 4 – Diving
Leave by 8 am and be back by 12 noon. Includes two dives per trip, full sets of gear, tanks, some snacks and bottled water.
Day 2 Afternoon – Anawilundawa Sanctuary
Anawilundawa is a migratory and local water bird habitat consisting of mangrove and freshwater swamps. It is one of six RAMSAR Wetlands in Sri Lanka. It consist of six large man made lakes and three peripheral lakes originating from 12th Century and interconnected to create a complex irrigation system. Leave hotel at 2pm for a 4 hour excursion.
Day 3 – Wilpattu National Park
Wilpattu means ‘natural lakes’ in Sinhala and ’10 lakes’ in Tamil and lakes are exactly what you’ll find at Wilpattu National Park, Sri Lanka’s largest national park. As well, you’ll also find huge swathes of dense, dry country woodland, masses of birds and, an impressive array of wildlife including leopard, elephant, sloth bear, spotted deer, wild boar and crocodile. Leaving at 5 am to reach the park by 6:30 am, this is a nearly full day outing (with packed brunch).
Day 4 Afternoon – Sunset & Dinner at Dutch Bay Resorts
A 30 minute drive and 15 minute boat ride across the lagoon gets you to Dutch Bay Resorts set within an oasis of mangroves between the lagoon and the sea. We will get there around 4 pm to explore the surroundings including sunset and have dinner. Return to Bar Reef Resort by about 10pm.
Day 5 – Day of Departure
Visit Munneswaram Kovil (Hindu temple) on the way to the airport. Travel time to the airport, 2 hours. Extra 1 hour stop at Munneswaram. Myths surrounding the temple associate it with the popular Indian epic Ramayana. The temple is one of five ancient temples (Ishwarams) dedicated to Shiva in the India/Sri Lanka region, and includes a Buddhist temple.
NATURE & WILDLIFE
Sri Lanka is a treasure island indeed esp. in terms of flora and fauna – wildlife and birds that are protected across 22 national parks. These include two marine parks at Hikkaduwa and Pigeon Island. The most touristed are Yala, Uda Walawe, Horton Plains, Bundala, Minneriya and Kaudulla.
Our experiences are around the offbeat national parks – Anawilundawa sanctuary and Wilpattu national park in the form of Wildlife Safaris, Birding and even Conservation Projects (like Elephant orphanages).
The big outdoors in the small Sri Lanka provides great many trails for trekking. Trek to Adam’s peak is one such popular hike.
Adam’s Peak Trek
Adam’s Peak, also known as Sri Pada, is a 2,243m (7,359 ft) mountain in the central highland region of Sri Lanka.
For Sri Lankans, Sri Pada is an important pilgrimage site. The Buddhists claim the footprint mark is the left foot of Buddha. Hindus consider the footprint to belong to none other than Lord Shiva. Muslims & Christians believe it’s Adam’s first step after being exiled from the Garden of Eden.
The route is a mix of incline trekking and 5,000-6,000 crumbling stone steps. Takes most people 2-4 hours to summit based on fitness, crowds, and breaks. 1-2 hours to come back down.
The typical climb is started in the middle of the night so you can reach the peak for a breathtaking sunrise.
Closest city: Dalhousie (Some climb from Ratnapura)
Elevation: 2,243m (7,359 ft) at the peak. Gain nearly 1,000 meters (3,280ft)
Time Commitment: 5-7 hours
Altitude Sickness: Not a concern
Sri Lanka with its beautiful countryside, ancient cities, temples and monasteries, dazzling beaches and green forests is best seen in leisure. And what could be best than a bicycle that could fit right in with its huge network of roads, routes and tracks.
There are multiple tours you could do on a bicycle across many days. Some of these are:
1. History & Heritage trail (7 days/6 nights)
– Visit five of Sri Lanka’s UNESCO World Heritage sites while cycling through the rural tranquility of local life. This tour will enrich you with the history and heritage absorbed during our journey through central Sri Lanka.
2. Spice route (12 days/11 nights)
– Explore Sri Lanka – The smell of spices, ancient cities, cool highlands, tropical beaches, all await you on this paradise island.
And other trails on request.
ADVENTURE: River Rafting and Surfing
The picturesque Kelani river in Kithulgala is a popular white water river rafting destination. The typical distance of 5 km has 5 major rapids and 4 minor rapids. It is an exhilarating experience.
Arugam Bay is “the surfing capital of the world” Adventures from the tops of the mountains to the depths of the oceans
A must do for all adventure and non-adventure folks visiting Sri Lanka.
HISTORY & HERITAGE
With a history of over 3000 years, Sri Lanka has some of world’s ancient cities including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Digamadulla; once glorious townships, palaces, temples, monasteries, hospitals and theaters intricately carved and modeled out of stone lay and abandoned and forgotten with time amidst the soaring jungles.
Anuradhapura is the most famous and exquisite of all. Sri Lanka’s third and the longest serving capital and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world is also one of the most sacred cities of World Buddhists. It was the capital of Sri Lanka from the Fourth Century BC up to the turn of the eleventh Century and was one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia.
Sigiriya, a fifth century AD fortress and a water garden displays some of the most futuristic elements of landscaping and some of the oldest murals recorded in the country.
Polonnaruwa, the second most ancient kingdom of the country with sophisticated irrigation systems that are far superior and they still provide irrigation water to the farmers in and around Polonnaruwa. Digamadulla, the Eastern kingdom of Sri Lanka was the agricultural and spiritual capital of the country during the Anuradhapura kingdom.
Sri Lanka’s last kingdom the Kingdom of Kandy is a testament to the Sri Lankan’s ability to pick up and rise from ashes. After being burned and ravaged more than thrice by the invading Portuguese the Kandyan Kingdom still holds beautifully carved and built houses, palaces and temple preserved for nearly 500 years.
We can also arrange volunteering work in the villages nearby and various projects related to wildlife and conservation. All this to add to the authentic Sri Lankan flavor.
Book or Personalize
Its interesting, isn’t it?
Its now time to go out there and experience.
Hope you liked it. Do you want to request some changes and personalize the Experience – in terms of date of travel, exclusive group, additional facilities and any other? If yes, then