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Water & Land Sports

For advice on the best surf in Sri Lankain the different seasons, call our Travel Consultants. Combine the morning surf with beach guesthouses or luxury beach villas for the perfect surfing holiday. We have reviewed all the watersports centres around Sri Lanka’s coastline to advise you on the best hotel or region for your beach holiday. If your interest is waterskiing, diving, windsurfing, fishing or building sand-castles with the family, we can help arrange your perfect watersports holiday to Sri Lanka.

Overview

The warm waters - 27°C/80°F – around Sri Lanka’s coast encourage wonderful surfing, diving and snorkelling. The calmer inland waters offer windsurfing, water skiing, dinghy sailing and jetskis.



Where and When

  • East Coast April to September
  • South & West Coast November to April

Surfing

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Arugam Bay on the East Coast was home to 2004 National Championships. This area has been redeveloped since Tsunami with the Surfer and adventurous traveller in mind.  It still has a casual/hippy atmosphere but a few boutique hotels are emerging which are beautifully secluded. 

Kitesurfing is the up and coming extreme sport and Arugam Bay and the Upper West Coast  are home to coaching and German kite-sellers.

Hikkaduwa, Midigama and Polhenna Beaches in the south and west are good surfing beaches to explore.

Boards and gear are available for hire locally.

Do take local advice regarding strong currents and undertow in some areas. 

Diving & Snorkelling

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On-shore reefs and coastal wrecks afford ideal diving sites to explore a colourful underwater world. Trincomalee and Arugam Bay have greatest visibility from May to September, when the seas are calmer. Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna and Mirissa on South and South West from November to April have numerous excellent dive sites with visibility up to 20m.

The Coral Sanctuary at Hikkaduwa is close inshore. Dive, swim and snorkel with the parrot fish, barracuda and green turtles.

Polhenna beach has a reef that you can reach on foot from the shore.

Snorkelling

Available at all the above sites. Pigeon Island off Nilaveli on the East Coast, Unawatuna Bay and the on-shore reefs of SW resorts are particularly recommended but do check the strength of the undercurrent with local beach operators on a daily basis as many lives are lost through ignorance . 

Dives and Courses

There are many water sports centres around Sri Lanka, and many P.A.D.I. recognised operators. Sri Lanka has a number of wreck dives around Galle, Bentota and Trincomelee.

Rafting & Canoeing

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The myriad of waterways in Sri Lanka offer a wide range of experiences from gentle guided canoe trips through the lowlands to thrilling white-knuckle rafting on the turbulent rivers.

Canoeing

One and two-man canoes – for solo or guided trips. Discover the backwaters, riverside villages and forests with a silent approach.

For further details, give us a call.

White Water Rafting

Rivers are carefully graded from 2-6 to accommodate families, beginners and experienced rafters. Children over 6 years are welcomed.

Best time to go is May-December when waters are highest and fastest.


Where to Raft

Grades 2/3 are Popular Excursions for beginners

Kelani River, SW of Kandy : Organised (1½ hrs) trip from Kitulgala. Avoid Sundays when dam controlling water flow is closed.

Any very experienced rafters seeking big rapids should let us know and we will put you directly in touch with the best operators who will have up to the minute rapid conditions.

Kayaking

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Hanwella is a tropical paradise amongst rivers, mountains, forests and a rich ancient past, just an hour’s drive from Colombo. 300 meters of the River Kelani frontage is lined with a pebbled sandy beach. Kayaking (1 or 2 person) trips can be joined for the day and a beach lunch is included. Paddle, swim for a while and absorb the river wildlife en route. Guests are returned to camp in Hanwella.

Windsurfing & Water-Skiing

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Where: Bentota River is favoured for the keen water babes and sunbathers but Colombo Sailing Club on Bologoda Lake is also an ideal break for the business/ holiday maker.

For the experienced wind surfers, head just off the West Coast in December/March, but the strong breezes are very challenging.

West Coast is home to Holger Brummer’s ski camp and wake boarding training courses for the beginner to the advanced competitor.

When: December to March is ideal but July - September and November and April are often fine if the winds and undercurrent are suitable.

Lessons and equipment are easily available

Jetski

Strangely, still the latest “Look at me” sport on at Bentota River. Life jackets and full instructions are part of the safety package. Speeds of up to 50 mph are permitted.

Fishing

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As with any island people, fishing has always been part of Sri Lankan life. You may try fly fishing for trout, cast in the surf or lagoons, challenge the big game fish or, in Boutique Sri Lanka’s case, dangle your rod in the river at night with a fine bottle of “Old Arrack”.

When to fish at sea

  • On West and South West Coasts - from October to March.
  • East Coast - from May to July
  • Inland – any time

Where to go

Trout river fishing – Nuwara Eliya in the Highlands. Traditional fly fishing, a legacy from the early European settlers. You will probably need a licence, and good equipment and clothing is not available locally.

Coastal lakes and lagoons offer good catches. The breakwater of Colombo Harbour is a popular spot.

Night fishing on the rivers, Game and sport fish and Deep sea fishing are plentiful, as they follow their prey inshore in the warm currents.

In particular, Negombo on the West Coast - Bentota and Weligama in the South West and Trincomalee on the East Coast.

Your catch may include:

 

  • Marlin
  • swordfish
  • queenfish
  • tuna, barracuda.

Boutique Sri Lanka can arrange fishing trips for yourself and friends, or you can negotiate a trip with local fishermen. Don’t expect Caribbean style luxury or costs, but a bottle of Arrack will be well received.

Golf

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An early settler on Sri Lanka, which offers three quality courses and others are under development.

 

Club Cost Comments  
Royal Colombo Golf Club

         

 

 

 

           

  • Founded 1879, has an elegant clubhouse, coconut palm lined fairways and immaculate links.
  • Caddies are compulsory at all courses, but fees are so reasonable you will welcome the service.
  • Availability: Pre-booking is appreciated
  • Dress code: Usual club rules, shirts with collars, dress walking shorts or trousers; “decent” attire for ladies.
  • Equipment: Clubs and shoes can be hired.
 
Nuwara Eliya Club  
  • Founded 1889 by the Scottish teaplanters. Cooler temperatures up here in the hills may be more comfortable.
  • Dress code and equipment hire as Colombo.
 
Victoria Golf Club  
  • The newest club just 30 minutes’ drive east of Kandy. A wonderful setting at the foot of the Kunckles Range, where the views make up for any lack of expertise on the course.
 

Cycling

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Sri Lanka offers challenging terrain for the experienced cyclist .

Where: almost anywhere, except on the major roads – tourists’ wellbeing is not often a priority in the average driver’s mind!

       National cycling trail – part open – from Wadduwa to Koggala – 240km, easily tackled in bite-sized pieces, 20-30km.

       Ancient Cities of Polonnaruwa & Anuradhapura

       Mountain range trail from Kandy – tough- quality mountain bikes needed

       Ella – sleepy village in the Hill country with spectacular views of waterfalls, Tea, spice and rubber plantations

       Hanwella – Mountain biking in the hilly countryside of the Western Province

When: Cycling days are best begun early before the heat of the day.

Hotels and equipment: 

Bicycles of varying standards are easily available, and many hotels offer complimentary/reasonably priced cycles and guides.

Pre-planning is advised for those needing more sophisticated mountain bikes.

Price Guide for Bike Hire

Basic bicycle : From LKR 100/hour to 3000/day .

Mountain Bike Excursions

Day excursions can be joined at an Adventure camp approx. one hour North east of Colombo. Ride amidst tough terrain and alongside the River Kelani. Stop for a dip and lunch on the pebble beach.

Cricket

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For many people Sri Lanka is synonymous with cricket; a national sport and impossible to avoid, as TV screens and radios reveal the commentaries from every corner of the street, office or bus.

For visiting devotees, tickets can be bought from the office of the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka for International Test Matches or one-day matches. For club matches the choice is unlimited – check local newspapers.

The most important stadia are found in Dambulla, Galle, Colombo and Kandy – all destinations of interest in themselves. More informal games may be found on any open patch of land where a few budding hopefuls gather with their schoolfellows.