The Sri Lanka Travel Specialists
Adventurous Sri Lanka is a much-loved sports and activity holiday. Water-sport options such as kite-surfing, surfing, snorkelling and sailing are central to a holiday that spends much of its time on the coast but many other pleasures await. In this action-packed trip you can trek, cycle, camp, climb and raft – because life is more than a beach. Trek through some of Sri Lanka’s finest mountain landscapes; raft down the white-water rapids of the Kelani River, and take a hot-air balloon trip in the Cultural Triangle. This itinerary is bursting with energy and is ideal for active young travellers or families with older children. As always, Red Dot is happy to tinker with this tour to suit your needs.
Kalpitiya lays claim to being the kite-surfing centre of the world. This narrow sandbar on Sri Lanka’s north-east coast has consistently breezy conditions for the bulk of the year, just perfect for a downwinder or two. Discover a laid-back spot bursting with soul. Beginners or novices can kite-surf on Puttalam Lagoon or on the ocean, guided by experts. We have a lot to cram into this activity holiday so we propose a three-hour journey to Kalpitiya after your arrival at the airport, but we can slow down your itinerary on request.
Head inland to the Cultural Triangle, home to many of the island’s most spectacular ancient ruins. Spend the afternoon relaxing at your hotel before heading out in the cooler evening air to climb the majestic Sigiriya Rock Fortress, one of the most dramatic, inspiring and beautiful historical locations in the world. The following day, work off that excess energy with an exploration of Ritigala ancient monastery, or a game drive in search of elephants at Minneriya.
Rise in the early hours and begin the day with a breathtaking hot air balloon ride at dawn. As the sun begins to stain the sky red and gold, soar above the arid plains and jungle landscape and gaze in wonder at the ruins which still jut proudly up from the earth. Upon landing enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne. The rest of the morning is spent transferring to a remote village in the Knuckles Mountain Range So named because of its resemblance to a set of knuckles on a clenched fist, the Knuckles Conservation Range consists of five mountain peaks and several other smaller peaks, with the highest point about 6,000 ft above sea level.
The next two days will be spent trekking in the Knuckles alongside terraced paddy fields and tea plantations, rivers and waterfalls, through dense forests and small rural village communities – all of which boast beautiful animal and plant life. The backdrop to this remote wilderness could not be more picturesque: panoramic views of misty mountains and spectacular valleys, ancient rock formations, lush forests and gurgling streams. Knuckles is an unmissable, unique blend of nature, culture and adventure.
A journey to the hill country – and its liveliest and youngest town – Ella. From here you can enjoy an evening trek to Little Adams Peak to enjoy a beautiful sunset. Hike up to Nine Arches Bridge or to Ella Rock, a two-hour mildly strenuous climb with panoramic views at the summit. Go on a mountain bike trip to Ella Waterfall and ride through rural lanes and tea plantations. Tread in the footsteps of Sir Thomas Lipton, an early developer of Sri Lanka’s tea industry with a walk up to his favourite viewpoint at Lipton’s Seat.
A satisfying morning winding westwards through wonderful hill country scenery ends by lunchtime at Kitulgala, the centre of Sri Lanka’s river sports. Kitulgala Forest Reserve owes its popularity to the Kelani River, which offers exciting Grade 3 rapids for rafting – as well as rapids suitable for beginners. Rise early to the sound of bird call and the gushing river before indulging in some of the exhilarating activities on offer here, which include kayaking, rafting, canyoning, mountain biking, abseiling and hiking. We propose camping here, but a selection of the best eco-retreats is also available.
We finish how we started – with some blissful beach days. Sri Lanka’s south coast offers plenty of water-based activities. Learn to surf at Weligama, or take a boat into the deep seas in search of whales and dolphins. Mirissa Water Sports offers water-sports activities including river cruising, sailing, fishing, sea kayaking and snorkelling. All-day catamaran cruises are also available from our reputable suppliers.
Khomba House is a beautifully-designed two-bedroom beach villa situated within the Bar Reef Resort in Alankuda on the North West coast. The house is furnished with Dutch-period antiques, colourful soft furnishings, and opens on to the secluded sandy beaches. Dolphin spotting off the coast of Alankuda is utterly rewarding during the season from December to April.
Aliya Resort and Spa is a modern, eco-friendly resort which offers a range of good accommodation, including luxury tents. It is perfectly situated for excursions in the Cultural Triangle and has a variety of facilities, including a spa and an infinity pool with stunning views.
Sir John’s bungalow is a century-old planter’s bungalow that was opened for guests in May 2011 following a complete refurbishment by caring Sri Lankan owners. Nestled into the north face of the Knuckles, the bungalow is surrounded by picturesque mountains and the Knuckles wilderness
The 98 Acres Resort is a 12 room eco-friendly, boutique hotel in Ella set amidst tea covered hills with magnificent views of the southern plains, Ella rock and Little Adam’s Peak. Accommodation is in individual stone chalets and the lounge and restaurant pavilion has breathtaking views.
Borderlands camping is based in Kitulgala, a riverside village that offers Sri Lanka’s best white-water rafting experience. Accommodation is in tents and wooden cabins on stilts and built right over the river.
Villa Oceane is a charming five-bedroom property hidden away by the Madiha surf point, between Matara and Mirissa on Sri Lanka’s South Coast. This is a convivial, well-run place with the extra attraction of possessing a secluded spot a short distance away from the coastal road.
Red Dot selects only the best accommodation in Sri Lanka, in its particular price range. Please suggest which of the three categories might most appeal to you. (You can tick more than one box).
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