21 Nov 2023

Getting High In Sri Lanka

The champagne-like air of a Sri Lankan from December to April can be truly addictive. The sea, the sky, and the land beckon with many delights. Transforming your fancies into actual reality lends wings to new dreams. From learning how to scuba with other novices on the southern beaches to whale watching from the air. From riding a train to the spice island’s legendary tea country vistas to canoeing through mangrove-fringed waterways. There’s no wish you can’t fulfill here in these balmy days.

For first-timers to the island the monsoon patterns can be confusing—and might even end up dampening your enthusiasm if you got it wrong. Yes, Sri Lanka does have two monsoons, like some states in South India. Same belt! There’s the Maha Monsoon, (October to January) and the Yala Monsoon (May to August). The lighter Maha monsoon doesn’t impact the south and west Sri Lanka as it does the north and east. October to November is the “inter-monsoon period" when the island gets fewer visitors and the tourist spots are not as crowded. Remember December to April is the best time to visit the south and west of the country.

With that out of the way, it’s time to fly!

With the sea at its calmest in these months off the southern coast, it’s a good time to go on a whale-watching adventure. Special charter flights also offer mind-blowing aerial viewings of these magnificent creatures. You can spot both blue and sperm whales as it is the annual migration time for them between the Bay of the Bengal and the Arabian Sea, via coastal Sri Lanka. The place to be for this thrilling sport is Dondra Point, accessible from Galle, Hikkaduwa, and Mirissa. Did you know that the blue whale is the biggest animal on our planet? It is 30m in length and weighs over 200 tonnes. It's larger than even the biggest dinosaur; its tongue alone weighs as much as an elephant and its heart is the size of a car, as noted by biologist and natural historian Sir David Attenborough. There are ample opportunities to also do a dolphin- and whale-watching tour from Weligama Bay.

Amongst the beaches that offer a great vibe, you couldn’t do better than lose yourself in the charms of Hikkaduwa. It also hosts a 3-day beach festival. This beach town never sleeps at night, because everyone loves to party if the DJs don’t stop. In the daytime take advantage of the waters and learn how to scuba, surf, and snorkel to explore the secrets of the sea. You can even try kite surfing which is really popular. The. The historic town of Galle lies close to the serene beach hub of Midigama, renowned for its surfing adventures.

The lush splendour of Sri Lank’s tea country is a special gift from the monsoons. It's time you should be on that train climbing its way up through the highlands, with the swathes of tea plantations and scenic vistas unfolding gently along the way like a vast illustrated coffee table book. The journey from Kandy to the glorious expanses of Ella is punctuated with unmissable spots to marvel over such as the Nine Arch Bridge, Ellas Rock, and Little Adam’s Peak. Trekking enthusiasts rarely like to let go the opportunity of exploring one of Sri Lanka’s most exciting trekking areas. You can actually take off on a trail from the Kithal Ella railway itself, which is in easy proximity to the famous rock. How’s that for convenience? A round trip should take you no more than four hours.

If you head south of Kandy, you can enjoy a thrilling waterway adventure. Kitugala town is the jump-off point for adrenalin-pumping jousts with the Kelaniya Gangas rapids. Later there are jungle trails to follow for birding and waterfall spotting.

The charms of Sri Lanka’s high season are numerous— and unfading. All you need is plenty of time to dive deep into this glorious land for some of the most unforgettable holiday memories. No wonder people want to return time and again to soak in the idyllic splendours of this island of the marigold sun.

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