The Emerald Isle is undoubtedly a playground for both the bold as well as the laidback. From enjoying the sights and sounds of the southern coast of the island to joining the locals as they herald in the period of Vesak, Treasure Lanka Travels is your guide to discovering and learning of all that is truly Sri Lankan.
Whale and Dolphin spotting in southern coast and North West coast commence in January and ends in April. Large pods of Dolphins can be spotted few miles off shore. In the oceans around North west (Kalpitiya) Sperm Whales, Blue Whales and Pilot Whales gather in large pods of fifty to hundred members, with large concentration gathering around Dutch Reef. Meanwhile Bue Whales, Sperm Whales, Fin Whales, Bottle Nose Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins, common Dolphins could be spotted from Weligama to Mirissa in the southern coast within just eight to ten nautical miles from Mirissa harbor.
January becomes a month of celebration with the ancient Kelaniya Buddhist temple holding their annual perahera – a dazzling cultural and a religious procession. Elephants dressed in their finery, traditional dancers and many more reflecting Sri Lankan art, dance, music and fashion are the vital parts of this parade.
Sri Lanka celebrates the gaining of her independence from the colonial rule on the island’s National Day. As a sign of paying tribute to forefathers of the land for their glorious feat, National flag is hoisted, National anthem is sung and the processions begin with the meticulously coordinated military parades and various religious and cultural performances.
The pilgrim season to Adams peak begins with the “Unduwap” fullmoon day in December and ends on the “Vesak” fullmoon day in May. During this season, pilgrims in many religions as well as the travelers ascend this peak in good faith. This mountain is sacred to all four religious groups in Sri Lanka – the Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and the Christians. The climb to the peak is one of the moving experiences in Sri Lanka.
During the month of April Sinhalese and Tamil communities in Sri Lanka celebrate the dawning of the New Year. During this ceremony families get together and conduct traditional rituals, religious ceremonies and wish peace and prosperity for all for the coming new year. These traditional rituals are best seen in the rural areas.
Patience is the key to witnessing the nesting & hatching of the world’s most sought after sea turtles in Rekawa. The Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery and the Rekawa Turtle Sanctuary are amongst the sites one can enjoy some turtle watching and get to know more about their conservation too. The peak period for Turtle nesting is considered to be from March to July.
Nestled in the Eastern Coast of Sri Lanka, Arugam Bay is ranked among the top surfing destinations in the world. The sun kissed beaches of this hidden gem attract a variety of enthusiastic surfers both professional and amateur alike from all over the globe.
Vesak a cultural and religious festival is celebrated during the month of May on the day of the full moon. This day has religious significance, as Buddhists all over the world celebrate the three most important events in the life of Siddhartha Gautama the “Buddha” or "Enlightened One". The festivities commemorate his birth, enlightenment, and his passing away. You will witness beautiful Pandals depicting the life events of the Buddha and Vesak lanterns decorating homes and streets around the country.
In June Sri Lankans celebrate the Poson full-moon day signifying the arrival of Buddhism to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BCE. This historical event occurred in the North Central city of Mihintale, where Arahant Mahinda of India converted the then king of Sri Lanka to Buddhism. Be part of the exciting celebrations of free meals and religious observances undertaken by Buddhists to commemorate the event.
The sloth bear season in Yala and Wasgamuwa runs during the months of June and July. The sloth bear (Melursus Ursinus) which is indigenous to the South Asian region can be found only in Sri Lanka and in The Indian sub-continent. Palu berries (Manilkara Hexanda) are the bear’s favorite fruit and as the palu season falls in the months of June and July there is a good chance of spotting one during this period.
The North-East of the island is a world renowned hot spot for the majestic Blue Whale as well as diving and snorkeling that serve as some of the more enjoyable things to do in Sri Lanka. The best time to hit the seas is during the months of June to September. Come witness the turquoise waters and coral sand beaches and be enthralled by the largest mammals in the world.
For those looking for an exotic beach destination to kite surf, then Kalpitiya is definitely the ideal location. Situated in the North West Coast of Sri Lanka the waters of the Kalpitiya lagoon offer an idyllic spot for both beginners as well as free styles which make Kalpitiya a kite surfing haven.
Arugam Bay which is ranked among the top surf points in the world will host the international surfing competition this year. Surfers taking part in the competition are guaranteed to find the ideal waves for surfing at the bay. If you are visiting Sri Lanka during the months of June and July don't miss this exciting event.
The Kataragama Perahera or "Procession" lasts up to 14 days during the months of July and August and comes across as one of the more enjoyable things to do in Sri Lanka during this time. The procession comprises of fire dances, fire walkers, various dance troupes, talented traditional drummers and whip crackers in commemoration of the God of Kataragama. Come witness this exciting event in the Southern region of the island.
Be part of a memorable cultural event in the old Kingdom of Kandy, in what is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. The Esala Perahera, a procession in the month of August, is a symbol of Sri Lankan culture and beliefs. The festival is undertaken in a grand scale in Kandy at the Dalada Maligawa or Temple of the Tooth Relic and pays respect to the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha. The Perahera comprises of exciting dances and elephants garlanded with extravagant apparel.
The elephant gathering is considered to be the largest assembly of Asian elephants at one time. During the dry season which is at its peak in September over 150 to 200 elephants gather each evening near the banks of the Minneriya tank to drink water and graze on the surrounding foliage. Come witness a true wild life event on the banks of the Minneriya reservoir.