I love Sri Lanka. It is no secret. In fact, every time I go there, I consider up and moving (again). Sri Lanka is quite possibly the most palm tree perfect destination I have ever been to, but it is more than just the palm trees that make me love the place so much. Sri Lanka is so more than perfect beaches, forgiving surf and soul-satisfying curries, Sri Lanka is full of ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples, amazing Ayurvedic doctors, absolutely wild rainforests and jungles teeming with wildlife and even a slowly developing tourist cafes scene.
During my last trip to Sri Lanka I decided to take a few extra weeks to check out a few new spots I have been dying to see first hand. And they all were more mind blowing than I ever imagined. So, that is what this blog is all about, the latest and the greatest.
If you are like me and you prefer staying in one spot for a little while when you travel, then this blog is perfect for you. While traveling I love having a healthy balance of sightseeing, eating out, surfing, stretching and relaxing. When you are moving too much, you get to do very little of those things. This “Stay, Surf, Stretch and Eat” itinerary for Sri Lanka’s Southern coast is based on a three-stop itinerary.
Stay and Eat
Ceylon Sliders is not only a hotel, it is a coffee cafe, a surf shop and a sunset bar too. Located across from the stunning Trapobane Island in Weligama, you have everything you need right at your fingertips. While you are pretty well sorted for board rentals, amazing food, thoughtful accomodation, art, shopping, and even surf guiding right here at Ceylon Slider. In Weligama, there are plenty beginner waves (ie soft and sandy beachbreaks), yoga classes, temples, restaurants and nearby beach towns just a short tuk tuk ride away.
Reward yourself with lunch at Tri Lanka, a sustainable luxury hotel and yoga shala on Koggala Lake. Koggala lake is home to a wide variety of birds, making it a nature lovers paradise. As a hotel, Tri is pricey, I am not going to lie to you, but it is an option. Since it is an adult only atmosphere (and we have a toddler in tow), we decided to have lunch poolside. And that pool is absolutely amazing, you feel like you are a billionaire actually. It is certainly worth the trip there. I am not exactly sure how easy it would be, but I think you could organize a boat to take you there from the shores of Koggala lake, which would make a lovely day excursion (I will try that next time and let you know, or if you do this let me know!)
So besides the obvious sunset drink on the rooftop at Ceylon Sliders, a few of my favorite spots are : Nomad Cafe in Weligama (this one is for you Vegans), South Coast Tacos in Mirissa, Coffee Point in Madiha and of course, dont miss a Saturday night at the The Doctor’s House with pizza, beer, an artesian market and live music!
If you need a surf lesson, go find my dearest friend, Ama, right in the middle of all the surf schools on Weligama Beach. He is the best. You cant miss his big sign that says Ama’s Surf School.
Hikkaduwa & Galle Area
Stay and Eat
Write this one down. No, just book it in right now. My favorite room I have ever stayed in while traveling is Room 8 at Arabella on Boosa. This hotel and restaurant is located just between Galle and Hikkaduwa. This makes it an easy landing or leaving place as it is only about two hours from the airport. In a country full of horns and wandering cows, room number 8 is one of the most inspiring, beautiful, spacious retreats away from the chaos. We were so lucky to spend three days at this quaint little boutique hotel sleeping, eating, stretching and exploring. The location is a tiny bit out of the way from everything, but close enough to explore a little of bit of everything at the same time. In other words, while staying here you should get in the tuktuk and head to Hikkaduwa (20 minutes), Galle (15 minutes) , Unawatuna (30 minutes) and Thalpe (35 minutes).
Some of the best restaurants on the Island are in the area such as The Hideout in Unawatuna (for dinner), Poonies in Galle (for healthy breakfast and lunch), Salty Swamis in Hikkaduwa and old-timers favorite Wijaya in Thalpe. Tried and tested, these are some of the best food options around, hands down.
Did I mention Salty Swamis? I did. And I am going to mention it again because it is seriously that good! It has been 5 years since I returned to Hikkaduwa because it lacked inspiration before. There was no where exciting to eat (if ya know what I mean), but everything has since changed. I am going to make a bold statement here … Salty Swamis has the best food in Sri Lanka. It is truly amazing. I love the vibes and the long meandering pathway of tables to the beach.
And Hikkadua is a gorgeous beach perfect for all surfing levels. I think I will stop and hang in Hikkaduwa a lot more in the future.We went and checked out our friends cafe and not only had the best meal we have ever had after 15 trips to Sri Lanka, but we saw some very inspiring waves breaking while we munched down on our food too! Hello Hikkaduwa, I see you in my future!
Hiriketiya & Dickwella Area
Stay and Eat
And the best vibes of the trip go to …. (drum roll) … The Verse Collective in Dickwella. What a fun, inspiring, perfect little spot to sleep, eat, work and surf! The fun-loving South African owners have taken an old marriage hall and turned it into the epicenter of awesome. There are four lovely rooms upstairs with amazing views over the palm grove next door and downstairs there are about 8-10 small open-aired one bedroom rooms for those of us who need internet and tend to work while on holiday. In other words, this is THE co-working space of Sri Lanka at the moment, but everything about it is lovely. The beach, the food, the skate ramp, the nearby waves, the cold beers, the yoga nearby, the internet, the everything is just perfect.
Ok, I don’t have a lot of recommendations in this area from this trip, because I didnt want to leave Verse, not even once during our three days visiting. The beach is absolutely stunning. One night there was even lovely live music. The food is phenomenal. And the internet is fastest you will find, so we finally got all those emails out that had been sitting in our “draft” file.
From previous trips, I know there is daily yoga, accomodation and thoughtful food at Salt House and Dots Bay House in Hiriketiya. If you want to know more, just go to Verse, talk to the community and find out more. Like I said before, it has the best vibes, you will know everything you need to know and have a hundred friends to boot while nailing your internet to do list! Love Love Love!