An Alternative Travel Guide to Sri Lanka

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Photo of An Alternative Travel Guide to Sri Lanka by GiN

90% of travel guides on Sri Lanka and 80% of travel bloggers who have visited the island recommend the same locales over and over again. Sigiriya Rock Fortress, whale watching in Mirissa, surfing in Arugam Bay – the list is almost always predictable. Here’s an alternate guide to some of the most sought-after spots around the island. How many have you already been to?

1. Swap Arugam Bay for Kalkudah

The most famous surfing spot on the island, Arugam Bay has gained popularity and fame over the years for having some of the best waves in the area. Escape the masses of backpackers and surfers and head to the eastern town of Kalkudah. A long stretch of sun-kissed beach and near perfect waves makes Kalkudah a haven for those looking for a quiet getaway. The best time to visit is from May to October. Passikudah is located less than 5 minutes away, giving you plenty of choice for budget or luxury accommodation such as Sunrise by Jetwing.

2. Swap Hikkaduwa for Hiriketiya

Hikkaduwa was a haven for surfers, beach-dwellers and snorkelers alike. However, over the years, the stretch of golden sands became littered with crowds throughout the day. Hiriketiya, is located on the east of Dikwella and is blessed with an untouched beach and swaying coconut trees. Hiriketiya is becoming a popular yoga and surf spot on the island.

3. Swap Bentota for Kalpitiya

Bentota is renowned for water sports such as jet skiing, water skiing, tube rides and boat rides. However, for kite surfing, head over to Kalpitiya, located on the north western side of the island. The months between May to September is the best time for kite surfing as the winds reach an incredible 30 knots. Beginners can try their hand at kitesurfing on the lagoon, while the experts can test the waters of the sea instead. Kalpitiya is also great for dolphin and whale watching.

4. Swap Minneriya National Park for Gal Oya National Park

Minneriya National Park is a haven for elephants, however, dozens of jeeps crowd the park to get a glimpse of these gentle giants. Gal Oya National Park, located on the south east of Sri Lanka is great for watching the island’s beasts graze and gather near the largest reservoir, the Senanayake Samudra. Head here to escape the hordes of other tourists and safari jeeps!

5. Swap Sigiriya for Yapahuwa

The 180-metre-high Sigiriya Rock Fortress has become an icon for the travel industry on the island. Travellers from around the world add it to their Must-Visit list. Although there is much to be experienced as your journey to the summit of this rock, Sigiriya Rock can get quite crowded, especially during peak season. Yapahuwa is a 13th century royal capital perched on a rock that’s around half the height of Sigiriya). On your way to the top, you’ll pass decorated stone structures of goddesses, lions, elephants and dwarfs.

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