|Linn Lundgren of Sunshine Stories in Sri Lanka.|
Read on to find out Linn's favorite places to surf, sleep, eat and shop on the Elephant Island to plan your next trip!
|Sri Lanka is an island off the southern tip of India.|
By Linn Lundgren | Sunshine Stories
Ceylon, Serendib, the Elephant Island, Sri Lanka—the teardrop-shaped island in the Indian Ocean has many names. After years of civil war and a tsunami in 2004, the country is starting to blossom and rise once again. Come visit this paradise island before everyone else does!
|The glassy waters of the island.|
Bring from home: Tampons can still be hard to find everywhere. Hair ties are IMPOSSIBLE to find and the sea seems to eat them for breakfast so bring many. Bring your own surfboard because it’s hard to find good rental boards except for NSP’s missing one or two fins.
Don’t leave the island without: Tea, this is the island of teas, Barefoot’s notebooks, textiles, “Samahan” an Ayurvedic medicine for a cold/flu.
|Taking a stroll through town.|
Where to rest your head
Sun-Beach-Surf in Hikkaduwa: Right in front of the reef/beach break. I love their breakfasts. Rooms are clean and minimalistic.
Ebb & Flow Jungalows in Midigama: Two villas suited for two couples or a family. Your own little paradise with kitchen, pool, views over the surf and your own stuff.
Palm Villa in Mirissa: Best location in Mirissa that overlooks a cute island and has the best staff and food in town.
Cheaper alternatives: The ones I listed above are in the higher price range. On Sri Lanka you can find super cheap accommodations but they’re quite hard to book from home and tend to vary in standard/cleanliness so its best to walk around when you get there and check it out it in person.
|Palm trees line Hikkaduwa beach.|
Waves break all along the coast. You can find your own little peak and chances are it doesn't even have a name yet. Jump in the water early before the wind and the other people wake up.
Hikkaduwa: The A-frame can hold up in big swell and there’s also a mellower reef/beach break.
Midigama: This long, slow, lazy left is perfect for longboards. Ram’s is a tubing wave more suitable for short boards.
Weligama: This is the mellowest beach break around and perfect for beginners.
Mirissa: A long right made for noseriding, plus in a beautiful setting.
|Linn has fun on her Bing surfboard.|
Where to Eat
Local: Typical Sri Lankan food like rice and curry, roti, short eats, string hoppers and dhaals taste best in the street. At the local vendors you can eat a dinner for $1 to $2 dollars.
Wijayja Beach restaurant in Thalpe: When rice and curry is coming from your ears and you’re in the mood for grilled lobsters, champagne and pizza, Wijaya is the place.
|Traditional dhaal foods and fresh fruits abound.|
In the small tourist towns of Hikkaduwa and Mirissa you’ll find the typical batik and leather goods. For more exclusive and unique shopping check out Galle. Your first stop should be The Old Railway just behind the bus station in Galle. Hand-tailored clothes, bags and pouches from Catherine and also a café with the best mango lassi I know. In Galle Fort you’ll find plenty of nice small boutiques. Don’t miss Barefoot founded by Italian Barbara Sansoni to give the local women an occupation making fantastic handwoven fabrics, notebooks, beach wraps in silk/cotton mix and traditional sarongs.
|Local shopping for souvenirs.|
|Linn meets a local in Midigama.|
See & Do between surf sessions
Go to UdaWalawe National Park and you’ll find out why it’s called Elephant Island. If you’re lucky on the safari to Yala, you might spot leopard. There’s whale watching from Mirissa Harbour or jump in and swim with mega turtles in Hikkaduwa. Climb Adam’s Peak to watch the sunrise. It's so worth the 5000+ steps up. Take the magnificent train ride from/to Ella up in the hill countries. Drink tea, visit temples and then go back to the coast to surf lady waves.
|That's why its called Elephant Island!|
To read more, check out Linn's blog Sunshine Stories.