From popular beaches, to hidden coves to waves ideal for surfing, the beachside is buzzing with life. Away from the laidback ambience of the beaches, culture, traditions and history weave a perfect backdrop for a vacation packed with adventure.
Visit the many national parks including Kumana and Bundala to witness a host of birds. During this season, migratory birds flock to Sri Lanka, attracted by the tropical temperate climate.
The surfing season in the South begins in October and goes on until April. The weather conditions are ideal with perfect waves. Popular surfing locations such as Mirissa, Hikkaduwa, and Weligama as well as lesser-known surf points such as Hiriketiya invite beginners, intermediates, enthusiasts and professionals to surf the day away.
Originally a small fort, made with mud and palm trees by the Portuguese. The Dutch later seized control of Galle in 1640 and improved upon the fort. A rampart that encircled and isolated the area from the mainland was constructed. Houses with ornately gabled low roofs, wide doorways, long colonnaded verandas and courtyards bordered the narrow but straight streets. The British later added a new gateway tunnelled through a rampart. Today, the Fort has been renovated and given a fresh life, featuring chic cafés, boutique restaurants and high-end shops. Explore its streets and witness Dutch architecture and a wealth of history.
The southern town of Ambalangoda is famous for its intricately colourful traditional masks. Divided into three categories, namely, ‘kolam’, ‘sanni’ and ‘raksha’, the vibrant masks portray the exotic culture of Sri Lanka. These masks are created for certain dance rituals that have existed in the country for several generations. ‘Sanni’ are devil-dancing masks used in the ‘Daha Ata Sanniya’ (18 ailments). The ‘raksha’ or devil masks are still used during festivals as well as processions, while ‘kolam’ are satires that commented on the way of life during the colonial era. While in Ambalangoda, watch as master artisans carve these masks out of blocks of woods and take away a souvenir. The craft of making masks is truly intricate and has been passed down over several generations.
Boats leave Mirissa in the early morning, taking visitors to see the aquatic life that is attracted by the warmer waters off the southern coast. From a distance, watch these gentle creatures glide through the waters and occasionally breach the water, displaying their grace. From the largest mammal in the world – the blue whale – to several different species of whales including sperm whales and killer wales, sea turtles and dolphins can be seen during the excursion.
Sea turtle hatchery
In the southern province, several institu- tions conduct conservation projects where the eggs laid by female turtles are safeguard- ed. The ideal spots for turtle watching in the south-west are Kosgoda, Rekava, Induruwa, Kahandamodara and Mavela, while along the south-eastern coastline it would be Bundala, Ussangoda and Ambalantota and up to Yala. Take care to maintain while observing because the slightest sound will disturb them.
Plan your holiday
In the upcoming weeks, the island becomes more and more festive and the opportunities to travel and explore the island increase. Plan ahead in advance so that you can get the best out of your holiday with friends and family. (See Galle and South).