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  • Writer's pictureSara Strachan

Solo Sri Lanka Surf Trip

Sri Lanka is known for its stunning surf beaches, friendly locals and delicious curries. The country was all set to have its record number of visitors in 2019 when the terrorist attacks hit the shores of Sri Lanka and again this country was hit hard in the tourist industry. I had been wanting to go for a while and decided not to let the attacks stop me from going, I wouldn’t think twice about going to London a few months following an attack so why in Sri Lanka ? 

I set off with the plan of surfing as much as possible, doing a photo shoot or two, eating curries and chilling out! 

I set off on my own, slightly nervous about solo travelling but a friend was set to join me for the middle part of my trip.  I’ve traveled on my own a few times to various places; Sulawesi, Samoa and Morocco but you can’t help getting butterflies about the idea each time! 

From the airport I decided to make my way to the train station as I thought that this was the best way to get down to the south coast. I imagined hanging out of the train, wind in my hair whilst watching the palm trees and cows whizz by. For an extra 70p I decided to travel in first class, not realising I this meant air conditioning and so no open doors to hang out of!

I spent my three week trip meandering between Unawatuna, Weligama, Hiriketiya, Midigama and Hikkaduwa. Surfing most days, sipping from countless coconuts and even hiring our own tuk tuk to get around in.

First surf had, was in Weligama, the surf was small but being a beach break everyone was nicely spread so it was ideal for the first time back in the ocean after a while. I rented a beautiful 9ft longboard that literally caught every little ripple going, I was having the best time and even attempted some un-elegant goes at cross stepping.

Whilst in Weligama we hired a tuk tuk and went on a mini road trip to Ahangama where I met up with a model and photographer to shoot my jewellery on location in tropical paradise.

Another pit stop we took from Weligama was a visit to Mirissa beach with it's instagram perfect, palm tree back drop to thee local surf spot.

We decided to take the rare opportunity of seeing blue whales on a whale watching boat trip. Blue whales are the largest animal to have ever lived and Sri Lanka is one of the few places in the world to go blue whale watching. We were not disappointed with multiple sightings of these mega beings - so long you could only ever see small portion of them at any one time.

Weligama beach was nice although the town was a bit too built up for what I was searching. It was great to see the hustle and bustle of Sri Lankan life but I wanted the sound of monkey calls over tuk tuk horns.

Although just before leaving I did come face to face with a naughty monkey stealing a papaya!

So it was decided that the next stop would be Hiriketiya and the plan was to go by local bus. It was so unbelievably cheap - only 34p for a one hour bus ride to Matara and another 34p onto Dikwella. The ride was cramped, and hot even though all of the windows were open and the bus driver seemed to be driving at 100mph to work the natural air-conditioning!

On the first bus I was squished next to an older gentleman who seemed to think it was ok to practically sit on me, whilst staring at me, even though there was plenty of room on our bench seat!

My favourite place was definitely Hiriketiya; a small horseshoe shaped bay with busy palms bustling for a prime ocean view. Being there at the beginning of November it is still considered the shoulder season and there weren't too many other travellers, although the line up was already heaving with party waves galore.

Here I did a photo shoot with a digital nomad called Indra where we pranced around with smoothie bowls and palm leaves.

One beautiful surf shop renting premium longboards, called Left 4 Days asked to stock my jewellery and now there's a little selection of my sea jewels in Sri Lanka.

After testing all of the beach bars and surfing ourselves out on the breaks of Hiriketiya (or Hiriwotsit as we decided to rename it) we decided to head for Hikkaduwa.

Hikkaduwa is a longer established surf town on the South coast of Sri Lanka. I had actually stayed

in Hikkaduwa 10 years previous and was shocked to see the development that had happened there.

Despite the massive development on the beach front and the influx of Russian tourists we still managed to find a more chilled and less touristy part of the beach that had a lovely surf spot to spend our last days surfing before heading home.

I had a few days at the end of my trip on my on again and managed to live my hanging out of a train cliché on the way back to the airport whilst narrowly missing my flight home!

All in all, Sri Lanka is one of my favourite destinations. The people are friendly with endearing head wobbles, local curries and egg hoppers are delicious along with trendy cafes selling avocado on toast and iced lattes, countless stunning, coconut laden beaches complement great hiking and wildlife territory inland.

Travelling on my own at the beginning and end of the trip was empowering but essentially I am someone who prefers to travel in company.

Feeling very grateful to have taken the plunge to travel to Sri Lanka following the terrorist attacks, now that travel has become a distant memory.

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