Today I want to share some further experiences I made on my trip and also describe a bit the places I visited.
First of all, before flying there I had several discussions with friends and family if it is safe for a women to travel alone in Sri Lanka. I heard some quite bad stories of women ending up their holidays earlier cause they got robbed and offended. Not the best starting point, but I hoped to get rid of those prejudices and was open to make my own experiences. Already on the airport I talked to another girl who was visiting their sister who already spent two month in Sri Lanka and hadn´t had any bed experience so far. This really was giving me some comfort after all the negative input. Even on the department of foreign affairs, there was a travel warning for women- or even groups of women… This was not the first time I brought myself into situations where most of other people would say: “are you crazy?” but I always get out of everything quite well.
Before anything, I want to say I never was afraid in Sri Lanka, there might have been some weird situations somehow, but nothing that couldn´t have happened somewhere else as well. Of course I tried to have some cultural aspects in mind when talking to people and tried to dress adequately. But for every women who will be travelling there – though I only can speak for the south – don´t bring long trousers and shirts as this will out you as a tourist. 90% of women I saw were wearing skirts till their knees, a t-shirt or a blouse and had their hair tidied up in a chignon.
As for the trip itself I started going directly down south to Galle where I spent a couple of days visiting Galle fort and the turtle sanctuary in Hikkaduwa. From Galle it is only a 10 minutes bus ride to Unawatuna where you have several snorkeling possibilities. I went there early in the morning to find a snorkeling tour but it was impossible – there were just no people. So I ended up sharing a boat with a scuba diver. They first brought me to jungle beach where you have a nice reef directly close to the beach. The reef itself is half dead, not many nice corals left but you can still observe a lot of fishes, crabs and I even saw two moray eels. After an hour I got picked up again. From the boat itself we also saw some turtles and fortunately no reef shark as the next stop was in plain sea, about 10 meters deep and about 10 minutes boat ride away from the coast. They also let me into the water and were going to drop the scuba diver off somewhere further – so after asking them when the boat would come back they told me 5 minutes which are like those Spanish 5 minutes meaning anything between 5 minutes and 1 hour. The sea was moving so I didn´t really manage to see anything but was waiting anxiously for the boat to come back as I didn´t feel quite safe. After about 20 minutes they finally came and I was quite relieved as you might imagine.
My next step was in a small town called Deniyaya. I felt like being the only white person and lived there in a house with some locals. As just those days we had electricity cuts, there wasn´t much to do as sleeping early. From Deniyaya its only a short ride to the Sinharaja National Rainforest park entrance where I went hiking one day. You are only allowed to enter with a guide which was nice as on my past trips I entered the parks always alone so on this occasion I managed to see more animals as the guide knew their favorite places etc. I did a 10 km hike which due to the heat was doable but enough. In the park itself you could spend days walking, you have some waterfalls, a natural “fish spa” and will be able to see monkeys, snakes, spiders and most of all a lot of kangaroo lizards and centipedes which are everywhere.
After this stop I went to the coast to spend some days surfing in Weligama. If you are looking for party, better go to Mirissa but for me Weligama was just perfect. On the beach you had one surf school after another where you can rent boards of all sizes and the waves as so easy going that I even met people learning to surf there in some days just relying on some YouTube videos they watched. The beach is wide, sandy and the waves are small. There is no current so you can just walk into the water and practice. I wouldn´t recommend this beach for anyone professionally surfing but for beginners like me it was great.
Last but not least I went to Matara. Matara as a town itself is noisy but it offers three different beaches being one of them good for surfing and you will be practically alone in the water. Don´t stay on the sand – there are lots of sandflies. Let´s say I payed my part to nature for being in Sri Lanka – I got bitten like 50 times in only 3 days..
In Matara there are also some nice, unknown temples. The same in Dendra, where you can see two elephants being kept there for processions.
There are so many things I couldn´t see but would really like to.. I only had time travelling the south – prioritizing that I also just wanted to stay some days on the beach for surfing but its definitely an island I would go back to.