Surfing Sri Lanka / Everything You Need to Know

surfing sri lanka mirissa
photo via Soul & Surf

Surf safaris in tuk tuks, delicious curries, and fun waves for every ability of surfer — this is surfing Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country. With friendly people and impressive landscapes, you’ll find yourself in good company with stunning scenery wherever you go.

Sri Lanka has two very different surf hubs operating on opposing surf season schedules, so you can score fun waves in Sri Lanka any time of the year. In this guide on surfing Sri Lanka, we’ll fill you in on the basics, when to go where, surf trip costs, transportation, where to stay, the food situation, and other essential info to help you plan your next surf trip to Sri Lanka.

Surfing Sri Lanka


surfing sri lanka okanda

WEATHER: The weather in Sri Lanka is like you’d expect on a tropical island. Mostly hot and humid with some tropical thunderstorms rolling through here and there to cool things down a bit.

For both the eastern and the southwest provinces, if you’re chasing the best surf your timing will coincide with the hotter and drier season.

This means temperatures will likely be in the 86-104 degrees Fahrenheit range or 30-40 degrees Celsius. And it can often feel hotter than what your average weather app is telling you, so you might want to stick with surfing in the mornings and evenings as often as possible to avoid the brutal sun and heat.

MONEY: The unit of currency in Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan Rupee. As of August 2017, 1 US Dollar = 150 Sri Lankan Rupees, 1 Euro = 179 Sri Lankan Rupees, 1 British Pound = 199 Sri Lankan Rupees, and 1 Australian Dollar = 121 Sri Lankan Rupees.

TIPPING: Tipping in Sri Lanka is not expected but is always appreciated. Some restaurants will add on a 10-12 percent service charge, but you can’t count on that money going to your server. Leaving around 10 percent of the total bill directly with our server is what we typically did.

Usually, there would be no need to tip a tuk-tuk driver, but you can always tip for exceptional service.

STAYING CONNECTED: We picked up a Dialog SIM card at the airport for about 1500 Sri Lankan Rupees or 10 US Dollars. There was only one plan available to us which included 8.5GB of data and 3-4G network coverage. Dialog does not allow you to use your mobile phone as a hotspot which is a bummer. But most hotels and restaurants offer free wifi.

GOOD TO KNOW: If you’re planning to visit either of the surf provinces in their monsoon season, it’s considered to be “off-season” and will be significantly slower with fewer eating and sleeping options available. Many hotels and restaurants completely close up shop.

Although the monsoon season definitely brings more rain and storms, keep in mind that the weather forecasts are not very accurate for the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. The forecasts may likely show thunderstorms all day every day, but the reality could be a quick rain in the early morning or afternoon.

We found the southwest coast to be a welcome relief when we visited in the off-season. It was 10 degrees cooler than up in Arugam Bay and much quieter, which was a nice change of pace.


surfing sri lanka okanda surf

Types of Surf Breaks

Sri Lanka has a variety of surf breaks to choose from and something for everyone. You will find sand bottom points, beach breaks, reef breaks and other interesting little set ups along the way.

For the most part, many of the breaks are fairly user-friendly, making Sri Lanka an excellent option for the beginner to intermediate surfer.

If you’re an advanced surfer seeking a bit more juice or some hollow barrels, you can find that too. However, don’t go expecting Indonesia type consistency, quality, and power.

Level of Difficulty

Once again, Sri Lanka is a great place to learn to surf or to hone your skills and advance into some more serious waves. With a variety of user-friendly waves and some really great surf instructors to help you progress, surfing in Sri Lanka caters to all levels of experience.

Season & Swell Info

There are two main surf hubs in Sri Lanka– on the Southwest Coast around Ahangama and Weligama, and in the Eastern Province around Arugam Bay.

SOUTHWEST COAST // Ahangama, Weligama, Hikkaduwa

On the Southwest Coast, the best conditions and greatest variety of waves are typically on offer from November through April. This is where you’ll find a variety of beach and reef breaks like Rams Right, The Rock, Lazy Lefts, Weligama, Plantations, Mirissa Point and many other quality waves on offer.

The same SW swells that hit Indonesia show up in Sri Lanka. The winds are most likely to be offshore in the mornings and late afternoons. Waves often run in the head high range and can push to double overhead during this time.

In the offseason on the Southwest Coast, many of the premiere breaks like Rams, The Rock, Lazy Lefts, and other main breaks stop working due to less than ideal wind conditions and different swell directions.

However, unlike the Eastern Province during the offseason, there’s still swell in the water and places with wind protection or where it blows cross-offshore where you can score some fun waves year round.


The surf season around Arugam Bay is from May through September. This is when the scattered right-hand sand bottom points of this dry and arid region come to life with the passing southeast/southwest swells. A few of the breaks in this area are Arugam Bay, Pottuvil Point, Whiskey Point, Peanut Farm, Elephant Rock, and Okanda.

During the peak season, Arugam Bay is graced with many offshore mornings and there are several nearby breaks which have headlands that provide some wind protection and keep things fairly clean and ridable throughout the day.

During the offseason in the Eastern Province (October – April), it’s likely to be flat and not worth a visit if you’re looking for waves.

surfing sri lanka surf
photo via Soul & Surf


At the best breaks on both coasts you can certainly count on finding hefty crowds much of the time.

SOUTHWEST COAST // Ahangama / Weligama / Hikkaduwa

On the Southwest Coast, there is such a great variety of waves to choose from in close proximity that you can avoid the worst of it if you’re willing to drive around a bit to check the various breaks for the smallest crowds.

If you’re an advanced surfer you might even find yourself scoring Rams Right barrel with only a handful of others out since there are a lot of beginner and intermediate surfers around who won’t be too keen on surfing a fast hollow shallow reef break.


In the Eastern Province, Arugam Bay is the main attraction and located directly in town. You’ll likely find dozens of surfers out at all times. Eager surfers are up and on it long before first light to beat the crowds and the heat, mostly the crowds.

Don’t be surprised if you think you’re the first one to paddle out while it’s still dark only to find a healthy lineup of others with the same idea. That being said, it’s definitely worth a shot and you just might avoid the worst of it.

A hint for surfing the Eastern Province. The further away you get from Arugam Bay, the fewer surfers you’re likely to encounter. There are still places you can surf all alone at least for a period of time before a few others show up.

In both regions, there are still waves out of sight and farther than most people are willing to go searching for waves. So if you’re feeling adventurous, you’ll likely be rewarded if you go searching off-the-beaten-path.

Water Temperature

The water temperature in Sri Lanka ranges from about 80 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit or 27 to 29 degrees Celsius all year long. So be prepared to enjoy all those board shorts and bikini sessions, although you might want to wear a rash guard from time to time for some extra protection from the powerful sun.

green tuk tuk under palm trees in sri lanka
surfer walking on rocky horizon sri lanka surf

Getting to the Surf

Hiring a tuk-tuk driver is the easiest way to get to the surf in most cases and also part of the fun of surfing Sri Lanka. Most hotels and resorts will be more than happy to help you sort it out. Or you can always chat and negotiate prices with local drivers yourself.

If you don’t use tuk-tuks to get around, try to stick with someone who is experienced with driving in Sri Lanka as you will quickly learn that the roads are chaotic, to say the least. Think Mad Max without the explosives. Okay maybe not that bad, but let’s just say everyone from tuk-tuk drivers to bus drivers pull seriously erratic and risky maneuvers… especially those crazy bus drivers.

SOUTHWEST COAST // Ahangama / Weligama / Hikkaduwa

On the Southwest Coast, the surf breaks are closer together and you can see many of them from the main coastal road which makes it easier to navigate.

You can rent a scooter for about $6-$8 USD per day to explore the area at your own leisure or hire a tuk-tuk driver for similar costs as Arugam Bay.


In Arugam Bay, we had an awesome driver by the name of Kannan. He’s a super cool local surfer who is happy to go hunt for waves at a fair price. Leave a comment below if you’re heading to Sri Lanka and would like his contact info.

In most cases any given tuk-tuk driver will start high for their going rate, so always be prepared to negotiate a rate that you feel okay with and never get into a tuk-tuk or taxi until the rate has been agreed on.

To hire a tuk-tuk driver for a 4-5 hour round trip surf expedition from Arugam Bay to Okanda or the Lighthouse (two of the farthest well-known breaks from Arugam Bay; about a 45-minute drive) the going price is about 3000 Sri Lankan Rupees or about $20 USD.

girl with surfboard on oceanview balcony

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The closer breaks to Arugam Bay such as Whiskey Point, Peanut Farm, Pottuvil Point, and Elephant Rock will likely cost around 1000-2500 rupees (around $7 – $17 USD) for a round trip tuk-tuk ride. Tuk-tuks hold two passengers comfortably, but you can squeeze in a third if you need to.

You can rent a scooter for about $6-$8 USD per day, but you might want to take a tuk-tuk to the break your first time and pay close attention to the roads. All of the breaks outside of Arugam Bay require navigating through unmarked dirt roads.

We’ll cover more in our transportation section below, including car/scooter rentals and how to get around on your longer trips.

surfing sri lanka tuk tuk

Good to Know

The off-season on the Southwest Coast of Sri Lanka is from around May through October. A lot of hotels and restaurants fully close up shop during this timeframe due to a lack of tourism. You can still score fun waves at this time, but there are definitely fewer breaks on offer.

The offseason in the Eastern Province is around October through April. While there might be some random swells during the shoulder months, it’s basically flat at Arugam Bay and all the nearby breaks so probably not worth a visit if you’re seeking surf. A ton of hotels and restaurants fully shut down there as well.


surfing sri lanka

From budget accommodation to luxury, you can find it in Sri Lanka. To give you an idea of potential costs, here are a couple of examples of what you might encounter on a daily basis during the peak season. Whatever route you take budget-wise, you will also need to consider the cost of transportation to and from the area you plan to visit (which we’ll cover in the transportation section below).

Low Budget

You can easily find accommodation in the peak season for under $10-$20 USD per night. These places will be very basic and you typically won’t get air conditioning at this price. You can eat street roti at 60-100 rupees or about 50 cents as a common snack and go with to rice and curry dishes at local restaurants for lunch and dinner at around 200-300 rupees or $1.50-$2.00 USD per meal.

If you want to get away from your nearest break to surf other waves a tuk-tuk ride will run you around 900-3000 rupees ($6-$20 USD) round trip for a few hours of surfing. Add in $3-$4 USD for your daily beer budget and you’re golden.

Low budget breakdown. Roughly speaking.

Room: $15 per night
Snacks: $3 per day for rotis and other snacks
Meals: $6 per day ($2 per meal)
Transportation: $12 per day
Beers: $4 per day
Water: $2 per day

Grand total: $42 USD per day (knock off $10 or so if you’re splitting your room and transportation)

Mid-Range Budget

You can find mid-range rooms with air conditioning and breakfast included in the $50-$150 USD per night range. You’ll still want your fix of roti and street food. Meals at nicer restaurants will run 600-1000 rupees or $4-$7 USD per meal. You might take some longer or more frequent tuk-tuk rides and pay a little more for drinks at nicer restaurants.

Room: $80 per night
Snacks: $5 per day
Meals: $21 per day ($7 per meal)
Transportation: $20 per day
Beers and coffee: $10 per day
Water: $2 per day

Grand total: $138 US per day (knock off $40+ if you’re splitting your room and transportation)


Ah, the finer things. Always a nice option if you can swing it. For those of you with a little extra jingle, Sri Lanka has some really incredible hotels and surf retreats on offer.

We had an awesome stay at an all-inclusive surf and yoga retreat on the Southwest Coast called Soul & Surf Sri Lanka. From yoga lessons to delicious food to transportation, everything is included and taken care of. You can check out Soul & Surf here.

Grand total: around $200 USD per day and up.


surfing sri lanka transportation

Getting around in Sri Lanka is always an adventure. You can see lots of amazing wildlife right off the roads, from peacocks to monkeys, to elephants if you’re lucky.

In certain parts of the country, wild elephants hang out in the middle of the road. Our driver told us that because people feed the elephants along the roadside, the elephants will now stand there just waiting for passing cars to feed them through the window.

While we can’t deny that it was a cool sight, please be respectful and heed the signs: don’t feed any wild animals! One of the most incredible things about Sri Lanka is the wildlife, but elephants begging on the side of the road is a negative effect of human interference with wild animals and the natural environment.

Back to the nitty-gritty. Transportation costs in Sri Lanka are reasonable, especially if you’re traveling with others so you can split the cost.

Both surf hubs are far away from the airport (Arugam Bay is a 7-10 hour drive, and the Southwest coast is a 3-4 hour drive), so you have a couple of basic options for transportation.

Option 1: Travel from the airport to your surf hub by way of a taxi, bus, or train, and then use tuk-tuks or rent a scooter to get around at your destination.

Option 2: Rent a car and drive yourself.

We highly recommend option 1, as renting a car will likely be more expensive at about $40 USD per day for a compact car, and driving in Sri Lanka is a bit sketchy. For the most part, taxi drivers, bus drivers, and tuk-tuk drivers all abide by the same rules: drive fast and pass often (even on blind corners).

If you’re not used to playing chicken with nearly every other vehicle on the road, this may be a bit nerve-racking for you at first. Especially when it’s a large bus moving fast and there’s barely enough space for both of you with pedestrians to the side.

With that said, renting your own vehicle is probably not a great idea if this is your first time to Sri Lanka.

Southwest Coast / Ahangama, Weligama, Mirissa

  • PRIVATE TAXI: A mid-sized six-seater taxi van from the airport in Colombo to Ahangama (about a three-hour drive) should cost you about 10,000-12,000 rupees or $65-$80 USD.
  • TRAIN + TUK TUK: A train from Colombo to Weligama (about a 2.5-4 hour train ride) is $2-$4 USD, and then a local tuk-tuk to get to your hotel will likely be less than $5 USD.
  • BUS + TAXI: A bus from Colombo to Galle is about $2 USD. And a taxi from Galle to Weligama should cost around $10-$15 USD, or there is a train from Galle to Weligama for $1 USD.

While it’s not 100% accurate and doesn’t show every bus and train route out there, Rome2Rio is a great trip planning tool when it comes to learning about transportation options.

Eastern Province / Arugam Bay

  • PRIVATE TAXI: A mid-sized six-seater taxi van from the airport to Arugam Bay which is about an eight-hour drive should cost you about 18,000-19,000 rupees or $120-$126 USD. You can potentially get a better price if you go directly to a driver and shop around.
  • BUSES: There are several options to take a bus from Columbo to Arugam Bay. You can take a local bus from the Colombo Main Bus Terminal just about every hour for around $4-$5 USD.
    • There is a direct bus, number 98, which departs twice a day at 5 am and 8 pm from Colombo to Pottuvil. A ticket should cost you less than $5 USD.
    • A luxury air-conditioned bus will cost around $10-$15 USD. For more information about bus schedules, routes, and fares, click here.

There aren’t any direct trains to Arugam Bay from Columbo, so if you’re set on taking the train it would be best to catch the train from Colombo to Badulla. And then a bus or taxi from Badulla to Arugam Bay. The train from Colombo to Badulla should cost less than $4 USD. The bus from Badulla to Pottuvil will be around $4 USD, and then another $6-$8 USD for a tuk-tuk or taxi from Pottuvil to Arugam Bay.

surfing sri lanka van hire

There are plenty of options for getting around in Sri Lanka. We decided not to hassle with the trains and buses since we were lugging around our bulky surfboard bags, but we heard that the scenery on the train routes is absolutely gorgeous and that you can sit can dangle your legs off the side of the train which sounds pretty rad.

If you want to go on the train or a bus with surfboard bags it might pose some challenges. You might have to wait around for a bus or train with extra cargo space and pay a few extra bucks. So plan accordingly.


surfing sri lanka surf resort
Soul & Surf Sri Lanka, an all-inclusive surf and yoga retreat

As with the waves in Sri Lanka, so goes with places to stay– there’s something for everyone.

In the lower budget range (less than $75 USD per night) you can find some decent guesthouses and hostels. You can even find a place to lay your head for less than $10 per night if that’s what you’re looking for.

In the mid-range ($75-$150 per night) there are a lot of great options (many with air conditioning and breakfast included), with new hotels sprouting up regularly. From surf camps to private villas, there are some nice places if you book in advance for the peak season.

In the luxury realm (over $150 per night) you’ll be in for a treat. There are some fantastic luxury hotels and surf villas, as well as all-inclusive surf retreats. Many luxury options will include extras like breakfast, unlimited filtered water, coffee, snacks and so on. Or if you’re staying at an all-inclusive retreat, most everything will be included in your stay.

Here are a handful of our top recommendations.

MIDRANGE • $75 – $150 per night

surfing sri lanka dreamsea
Dreamsea Surf Camp, Ahangama / private double rooms from $120 per night w/ breakfast included

LUXURY • $150+ per night

surfing sri lanka soul and surf
Soul & Surf Sri Lanka, Ahangama / All-inclusive surf and yoga retreats starting at ~$1,070 per person, per week
nirbana surf retreat
Nirbana Surf & Yoga Retreat / All-inclusive 7-night retreats starting at $1,090 per person, per week


sri lanka food roti and coconut sambal
Sri Lankan roti and coconut sambol / photo by Nilantha Sanjeewa

For food options in Sri Lanka, you’ll find curries, roti, a mix of international western options, and more curries. Sri Lankan food is similar to Indian food with plenty of rich spices and flavors — and absolutely delicious!

A lot of the restaurants in the tourist hubs of Sri Lanka try to be everything to everyone. Many menus offer everything from local dishes to burgers, noodles, and more. Personally, I prefer not to eat at restaurants that try to offer everything, but when options were slim, we ate our fair share of meals at places like this and even they were quite good, although we always ordered the local dishes.

Sri Lankan curries are super tasty! And roti are tasty easy snacks you can find at street vendors all over the country.

  • An inexpensive local restaurant will cost about 200 – 300 rupees for rice and curry ($1.50 – $2 USD).
  • A mid-range restaurant will cost around 600 – 1000 rupees for a meal ($4 – $7 USD).
  • A high-end restaurant will cost you 1500 – 3000 rupees for a meal ($10 – $20 USD).


While we’d all rather not think about getting injured, there are too many cases of people who didn’t think about insurance and get nailed with crazy medical bills after the matter.

That being the case, many hotels and surf properties actually require that you have approved travel insurance in case of a serious inquiry or trip cancellation, especially in the wake of COVID.

You know the deal—better safe than sorry. We recommend battleface or World Nomads Insurance. Both companies offer very comprehensive travel insurance and cover heaps of activities, including surfing and ocean sports. You can easily check them out and get a fast quote below.

Get a battleface Insurance Quote >>

Get a World Nomads Insurance Quote >>

Questions, comments, or recommendations?

Please let us know in the comments below!

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Leave a Comment

99 thoughts on “Surfing Sri Lanka / Everything You Need to Know”

  1. Kannan information, we are family of 4, 3 intermediated to advance surfers, hopefully:)

    Cannot wait to see all that Sri Lanka has to offer from sites to surfing!

    John & Fam

  2. Hey Eric!

    My partner and I are travelling over to East Coast Sri Lanka for a little surf trip for our honeymoon in September. We would love to get the contact info for Kannan if that’s allgood?


  3. Hi there,
    Would love to know what board rental is like in Sri Lanka? Or am I better off booking a surf camp if I didn’t want to bring my own boards across?

    • Hi! Ceylon sliders in Weligama offers surf board rentals. They have both longboards, fish boards and a few shortboards I think.

  4. Hello,

    Flying out to Sri Lanka late April and wondering whether it is worth exploring the south coast for waves or to go straight over to the east.

    Thanks Gabriel

  5. Hi there

    Not sure maybe somebody already commented earlier but does the current economic / political situation has any impact on surfers coming to Sri Lanka nowadays?

    Planning a trip in winter, I notice governmental websites advise against only if its highly necessary.

    Any thoughts let me know

    • Hi Daan, it certainly isn’t perfect and there may be some hiccups when traveling there but things are improving and businesses in surf tourism are welcoming surf travelers from all over the world with open arms. Sri Lanka has been through a lot over the years, and the country could use the support of tourism now more than ever. Hope you are able to get out there and have an amazing trip! Cheers

  6. Hey dude, planning a surf trip for me and my gf, both pretty damn beginner. Was thinking of Sri Lanka and read your article. Super useful! I’m looking at dates 23 Sep – 2 Oct as it coincides with my birthday but can’t decide which location is a safer bet, as it’s kind of in between on and off season for both of those you’ve shared. Any info would be great. Thanks man.

    • Hi Adam, sorry we didn’t get to this in time! Hard to say as your timing is right between both seasons, that said, the southewest region gets waves year round, the winds are just more favorable for more consistently clean conditions in the prime surf season. So the southwest region is would prob be safer bet although you can potentially score in either area. Cheers

  7. This site has provided me with great information. I am thinking of planning a trip early December to the south west coast. Any helpful information that you can provide? I surf Mexcio a lot. This will be my first far away surf trip and plan to start doing more. Any advice you can think of is greatly appreciated.

    • Thanks Eric. I have been researching a lot. Would it be best to perhaps stay around Weligama or Hikkaduwa? Would that be a good area to branch out from to surf various areas?

      Thanks Again

      • You’re welcome, Don. Yeah, Weligama is a great hub for exploring the southwest coast. There is a good concentration of breaks within striking distance from there.

    • Hey, depends where you go, but you should be able to find fun surf somewhere! I’d say the southwest is your best bet.

  8. Hey guys,

    first of all: thanks for the great info. By far the best and comprehensive guide to surfing in Sri Lanka I’ve found so far. I want to do a 2 months trip in July/August, mainly to surf. I’m looking for budget-friendly a destination with warm weather and consistent surf. Waves don’t have to be world class since I’m only an intermediate surfer. As of now I’m looking into Bali and Sri Lanka. I’ve already been to Bali but I’ve never been to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka definitely looks beautiful and because of the season we would obviously go to the East/Arugam area. The only thing I’m concerned about are the crowds. Especially compared to Bali I was expecting fewer crowds in Sri Lanka and I hoped for somewhat remote surf. However, after looking at a couple of edits from Arugam area, it looks as crowded – if not more crowded – than Bali. I was kind of surprised to see that honestly.

    So finally my question(s): How bad are the crowds? Is there a lot of localism? Can you easily escape the crowds by looking for other spots outside Arugam? And are there other good spots?

    Thanks a lot in advance!

    • Hey David, to jump right into your questions. Like most places it varies from break to break, based on time of day, etc, etc. Of course, Arugam Bay is one of the most well-known and crowded waves in that area, but you should still should be able to manage getting some fun ones there. Also, if you hire a good guide to show you around, you can go find/explore less crowded breaks. Re localism, I wouldn’t be too concerned about that, unlike more hardcore surf destinations, Sri Lanka has lots of beginner and intermediate level surfers. Not to say there aren’t advanced surfers as well, but it’s pretty mellow in general in my experience. Yes, you can venture away from Arugam Bay to find waves, I will leave the other good spots question a mystery, as you’ve got to leave some adventure and exploration. But, in most cases/surf destinations, there is just about ALWAYS other good spots. 😉

    • Hi Craig — Thanks for your feedback! We’re not aware of a great surf and yoga retreat on the east coast, but we’ll keep on the lookout! If you’re open to other areas of Sri Lanka, a fantastic surf and yoga retreat on the southwest coast is Soul & Surf. We highly recommend the retreat and this coastline is a beautiful lush area! Cheers

      • yeh cheers Tara… i saw that & i guess it’s just the right season to stay there.
        I will be travelling alone so was just after your thoughts as i’ve never been to Sri Lanka

    • Hey, thanks! Either options works, it’s pretty easy to get TukTuks and I would recommend you start with that option to get the lay of land and driving conditions. Cheers

  9. Hey hey Thank for the info super good to know and loads of info .Heading down there in First week of March. Wife is sunning away while I’m surfing so looking for good swell or just fun ripable waves as never been to this area. We staying in Abode Ahangama so looks central. Looks like its early rise and check the charts or sports . Fun time ahead I hope ewwwwwww

    • Hey Simon — Thanks for your feedback! We’re stoked you found the guide helpful. Hope you score and have an amazing trip! 🙂

  10. Hey legends! Extremely grateful for everything you are doing, have so much epic info!
    I’m looking at travelling with my partner end of January/February for 3 weeks & trying to figure out the best options for the surf and which route to take (spot’s/area’s to check out) to get a real good experience of Sri Lanka surf for the time we are there.

    Looking forward to hearing back from you


    • Hey James, thanks for the kind words! Jan/Feb is primetime for the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, so you’ll want to spend the majority (if not all) of your time in that area if your primary focus is surfing. Fly into Colombo, and head south to check out some of the main surf spots/hubs on the southwest coast; Hikkaduwa, Galle, Unawatuna, The Rock, Weligama, Mirissa and beyond! Hire a driver for the quickest route, or hop the train for more scenery and adventure. Happy travels!

      • Hi Eric, we are thinking of traveling in April from the US. Where are you traveling from? Are you worried about the closures and difficulties in getting there due to covid? Ive been reading. lot and it seems risky to travel to Sri Lanka right now? Which is heart breaking because we are dying to go! Thoughts??

        PS. Thank you for this blog its very helpful!!!!

        • Hi Leah, awesome! It’s hard to say what it will be like in April 2022 as things are changing every week. But as of the time I’m writing this comment, we have been in contact with and helping plenty of travelers from different areas of the globe (US, UK, Europe, India, and beyond) with trips to Sri Lanka. I hope that travel will get easier with time as the world adapts to the new norms, but only time will tell. Glad you found our site to be helpful! Let us know if we can further help with booking your trip. Cheers

  11. This info is disappointing in some ways. I have reason to be in South India May-June 2022. I was thinking of taking a flight over to Sri Lanka for some surf. You make it sound impossibly crowded with the line-up packed before sunrise?! Why travel halfway around the world to find another Malibu? I often pay just to get to difficult to reach, uncrowded waves, whatever it costs. So I guess that’s what I’m looking for? Any suggestions for that part of the world?

    • Hey Jonathan – Like most places, crowd levels depend on where you’re going and of course the time of year. At the most well-known spots (like Arugam Bay and Weligama) there can be plenty of people out at peak season. That said, if you travel a bit farther to surf breaks away from the most well-known spots (you can hire a tuk tuk), you can find line-ups with fewer people. We surfed some breaks in Sri Lanka with a handful of people out and it was awesome — it was just a solid 40-minute drive away from a popular surf hub.

      Since you’re looking for difficult-to-reach uncrowded waves in that part of the world and are happy to pay a premium, it sounds like a perfect fit for you could be the Maldives. The Maldives come with a luxury tropical paradise, plus fewer surfers out than Sri Lanka. Again, the more remote resorts/boat routes will get you fewer surfers out. For the ultimate surf splurge, you can even charter a seaplane for surf excursions. Check out this Guide to Surfing the Maldives.

      Niyama Private Islands Maldives has a 25% discount right now on advance bookings. Niyama is a luxury resort with its own surf break off the island and many other breaks nearby accessible by boat.

      Hope you have an amazing trip! Cheers

  12. Hi Eric,

    I am thinking about going to Weligama in August (the third week). I am from India. This trip will be mainly to introduce my two kids to surfing. Is August a good month? I am flexible about other locations too to try out (within Srilanka).

    By the way, a very new post.

    • Hi Bharathi, yeah, while August is not a part of the peak prime surf season, there will be still be waves that are plenty suitable for kids just learning to surf, so no worries on that front. If you are looking for better quality waves, then the east coast and Arugum Bay area would be a better bet as that as August is during the prime season on that side. But really, if this is your kids first time surfing I think that you would find conditions in the southwest to be fine for learning too. Enjoy your trip!

  13. Hiii,
    Thank you so much for this extremely detailed article! I’m a local living in the island itself and honestly I can’t say I’ve found any other plc with so much info.
    Trying to get my friends interested in surfing, I really really wanna try it 😀
    Best wishes with all your future trips.

    • Thanks, Gee! So happy you found it helpful. We love Sri Lanka — you live in a beautiful place! Surfing is so much fun, I hope you’re able to try it soon 🙂 Cheers

  14. Hey, thank you so much for detailed post. I am heading to Sri Lanka in April so it’s just in the middle of the two seasons. Having a hard time deciding if we should spend a few days in Arugam Bay before making our way to Ahangama/Weligama area. What are you thoughts on the surf conditions mid April in A-Bay?
    Thank you so much!

    • Hi Laura, yeah, I’d say it’s worth checking out before making your way down to Ahangama/Weligama area. Do know where you’re going to stay in Ahangama/Weligama area? We work with a bunch of awesome surf camps, boutique hotels, and villas in the area and would love to help you book somewhere great to stay! You can submit an inquiry here:
      And here’s a list of reasons to book through Lush Palm:

  15. Hey man! Heading to Sri Lanka at the start of April, Intermediate/advanced surfer looking for some info on some mellow spots you could suggest that may still pick up swell during the off season and fairly consistent?

    • Hey Andre! If you’re looking to head to Aragum Bay, you might want to contact Kannan. He’s an awesome local surf guide we recommend and his local number is +94 779 780 088. You can find him on FB here: If you’re heading to Southwest Sri Lanka that’s still a great month to get waves. I’ll shoot you an email to discuss this.

  16. Hey man,
    Im looking at doing 15 ish days in Sri Lanka in June this year. I read a lot saying that the East coast is the place to be from May to Sept. aside from the main breaks all over the internet, is there much for less popular breaks (especially lefts :P) ? I plan on going alone, so im hoping theres enough swell in June to keep me busy

    • Hey Brent, yeah, you’ll likely have plenty of swell to stay busy. We surfed rights in the Aragam Bay area. Get in touch with Kannan and he’ll take you to the best less popular spots.

  17. Hi,
    I am coming to ahangama on 22 of feb. foe a week. i am an intermediate surfer and would like to spend 3-4 days with a very good instructor (including video etc.) do you have any leed for me ?

  18. Hi Eric,
    Your article has been so helpful. My Fiance and I are headed to Male in July. We want to stay in Sri Lanka a week before to get over jet lab. After your article, I am looking into Argum Bay. I friended Kannan on FB. Do you have any recommendations to stay. We like the boutique hotel.

    Thank you!

  19. Hey! Great article thanks for the tips! Heading to Sri Lanka for a month next week, starting in Arugam Bay and traveling the coast all the way to Hikkaduwa looking for waves and was wondering if I could get Kannans info for Arugam? Thanks!

  20. Hello! could you please advice surfing spots in late September and early October? we are total beginners and would like some time to practice by ourselves as well as lessons

    • Hello! Thanks for reaching out. We’ll be happy to help! I just sent you an email with some questions. I look forward to connecting.

  21. Hi, thanks for a great survey!
    Given that I arrive on mid-september, would it be better to skip arugam for lack of waves (I’m beginner’s beginner) would love your input. thanks!

    • Hi, you’re welcome!
      You could probably still score some fun waves in September in Arugam.
      I emailed you some questions to get more information about your trip.
      Happy to help!

  22. Do I understand you correctly if I think it’s still possible to surf on the southwest
    coast in July even if it’s not high season? If so, where on the southwest coast would be best? I’m a beginner and would like to avoid fighting with the crowds in the East coast over every wave 🙂

    • Hi Jennifer, Yes, you are correct in your understanding. You can still get fun surf that is way less crowded on the SW coast of Sri Lanka in July which is considered to be the off-season. I’d recommend staying in the Ahangama/Weligama area. Let us know if you want help finding the perfect place. Cheers!

  23. Great guide!
    Couple questions — do you know where to find the luxury aircon buses that run from Colombo to Arugam Bay? I read on some other forums that those don’t run anymore because cab drivers protested them. Not sure if that’s true — do you have any input/ advice? Trying to find the least painful way to get from the airpot to A bay.

    And what’s the swell size like in Arugam Bay in July? Ive read 3-8 feet, but am also finding mixed reports!

    Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Val- Happy you found it helpful! If the info/posts you read on the forums is recent then I would believe it. Unfortunately, there is a real lack of transportation information for Sri Lanka, especially for the buses! Did you check out this website? And do you know where you are staying in Arugam Bay? I would ask them for a recommendation, as they help travelers all the time and have the most recent information.

      Re: swell size in Arugam Bay, obviously it depends on the swell, but the range of 3 – 8 feet sounds about right. It will more likely be smaller than bigger, and I don’t know what size you prefer, but if you’re looking for smaller waves, if it’s big at Arugam Bay you can most likely find smaller waves at other nearby breaks.

      Have an awesome trip!

  24. Yeww.
    May come in August. Have done A-Bay and areas before and had fun but we might hit the SW coast this time. Can you confirm that there will still be a few surfable spots nearby, sheltered from nasty winds??

    • Hey Ben- In August you’re more likely to score in the Arugam Bay area, as this is typically the offseason for the SW coast (and on-season for A-Bay). We tried our luck on the SW coast in August (after hitting A-Bay) and we did get a couple of fun days at a reef break and some surfable beach break days, but it was definitely slim pickings. As we mentioned in the guide, you can find surf in the offseason, but it typically won’t have the consistency or quality of the better months (November through April). You could hit the SW coast, but there’s no guarantee you’ll get decent surf (especially if you’re there for a smaller window). The SW coast in August is a roll of the dice!

      Hope you have an awesome trip! Yeeew!

  25. Hey dudes,

    Sweeeeeeet info!
    Should i bring a board over?
    ill be travelling for a few months(hopefully),
    Is it worth buying a motorbike?

    • Hey Gabriel! Happy you’re digging the guide! There are a few surf shops, but limited board options so I’d recommend bringing a board to make sure you have what you want on hand. And not so sure about buying a motorbike. If you’re staying mostly in one area, many people take tuk-tuks for transportation, or you can also just rent a motorbike. If you’re staying mostly in the same area, renting is probably the way to go. Also, just FYI, driving in Sri Lanka is preeeetty crazy 🙂

      Have an awesome trip! Cheers

  26. Hey bro, cool tips, just to double check that I got it right, no point going East chasing waves if im going to be in Sri Lanka the whole of April right? better stay west? Cheers!

    • Hey Al – Yes, that’s correct! Swells in the east don’t really pick up until May, so for April, it would be best to stay west for your trip. Arugam Bay is a cool area, but during the offseason, there isn’t much potential for surf. Have an awesome trip! Cheers

  27. HI Eric,

    I’m definitely keen to hear if there are any local guides in the Southwest. My partner and I are heading to Dikwella next week and are also hoping to find someone with local knowledge who would be available to show us around. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


    • Hi Dan, wish I could help you out. I’d did some quick research but didn’t find anything. We stayed near Weligama at a place called Soul & Surf which had non-local surf guide staff, and Weligama is about an hour west of Dikwella area. The waves are a lot more accessible in the south so I think it would be easier for you to get around and explore if you do a little surf break research. That being said, I’m sure you can meet someone pretty easily once you’re who would be happy to show you around. Good luck and hope you score! Cheers

  28. Hi… Eric?

    I’m in my late 20’s & my partner is in his early 30’s, I have read Galle in Sri Lanka is more family surf holiday.

    I am looking for a point break to ride a mal or mini-mal, something to the likes of the pass at byron, rainbow bay on the gold coast & noosa on the sunshine coast of Australia,

    which beaches out of Unawatuna/Galle, Weligama & Mirissa are the closest to a point break/long consistent ride(avoiding shallow reefs)?

    I am not a beginner but i’m not catching every single wave & riding the nose.

    Thanks in advance!


    • Hi Nicole, those are some fine breaks you mention. I’d say Mirissa could be a fun spot for you guys. The reef there is pretty mellow but can get shallow on a low tide, just be mindful of urchins. Also, Lazy Rights in Midigama is a mellow reef with deeper water and a channel. The rides won’t be as long as the breaks you mention but I’m sure you’ll have fun. Beyond that, I’d say you should get in touch some folks who live down there to pick their brains as I’m sure there are others in the area that I’m not familiar with.

      Good luck and hope you guys have a blast!


  29. Hey Eric,

    Great blog. Just starting my research into a surf trip that will be coming off the back of a few weeks doing humanitarian work in India (will be in sir lanka mid December).

    Im an intermediate level surfer, been surfing for years but im nothing special, could you recommend a back packing route heading south of Colombo? Im a natural so the more lefts the better!

    And help is greatly appreciated. Cheers!

    • Hey Mason, thanks man! Sounds like an awesome trip you’re planning. I’m not familiar with anything between Colombo and Hikkaduwa, which is about 2 hours drive. But I’d just say head south from Colombo, surf Hikkaduwa, then make your way down along the coast through Galle, Unawatuna, Midigama, Weligama, Mirissa and beyond if you’re seeking waves! Those are some of the major surf towns where you’ll find plenty of lefts and rights. I’d suggest looking into catching a train for part of the way which we didn’t fit in but heard is really incredible. That might be a cool thing to do from Colombo to Hikkaduwa although I don’t know the exact routes.

      Enjoy the journey!


  30. Can I please get contact details for Kannan your driver / surf guide on the east coast?

    Also, would you still recommend surfing the south west coast in mid-late July for an intermediate surfer or are there just way too few breaks at that time?


    • Hi Lucy, yes, of course. Kannan’s local number is +94 779 780 088. You can find him on FB here: I’m sure he’d be stoked to show you and you guys around. Say hello for us!

      As for surfing the southwest coast during that time, it just depends on what you’re looking for in the trip. If it’s about scoring the absolute best surf, then probably not. But if you want to check out a completely different part of the country don’t mind surfing mediocre waves, then yeah, it’ll be worth it. There should still be some alright waves to be found. We surfed there in Aug and had some fun sessions.


  31. Hello!

    Another question if you don’t mind…

    I was planning to stay at surf and soul but we are little late in booking. Can you please suggest another stay along the likes of Surf & Sole? We are looking for a stay with a nice pool area & amongst some green or not.. Basically a boutique (or not) luxury escape.

    Thank you for your time!


    • Hi Nicole! In the same area, Sunshine Stories and Ceylon Sliders are both very cool spots, but they don’t have pools at their properties. Cape Weligama is a beautiful luxury property, and Eraeliya Villas and Gardens is also a nice one. Have a wonderful trip! Cheers

  32. Hi Karine! Our pleasure! Good stuff, hope you have an awesome trip, I’m sure you will, Sri Lanka is a beautiful place with great people. When we were in Welligama it was considered to be off season so the place was pretty quiet as a lot of people close up shop for the season. However, you should be good in mid-October with the start of the season right around the corner. Look up Dylan’s Surf Company, they have a surf shop in the Weligama area and you might also want to check out Ceylon Sliders! Have fun and get some good ones for us! Cheers

  33. Hey Eric! great infos thanks! We are heading to Welligama area mid-October for a month of Sup surfing. Is there a few options of shops that sells women’s surf swimwear, booties etc…? We’re super stoked!! cheers!

  34. Hi Eric
    Thanks for a very comprehensive article on SL.
    Im heading there in January. Are there lots of wave spots in the Mirissa area?

    • Hi Michael, that’s a great time to go. And yes, there are plenty of breaks in the 10 min drive stretch from Mirissa to Weligama and beyond in both directions!

  35. Hi Eric, my family and I want to travel to Sri Lanka for the first time, we want to head to the south west coast, I like the idea of Marissa Bay or similar. What would be the best accommodation options for a surfing family of 7(youngest being 3yrs old).

    • Hey Ryan, first of all, that’s amazing and thanks for the future family surf travel inspiration! I suppose the best accommodations very much boil down to your personal preference. We often go the boutique hotel route but if I had a family of 7 I’d probably go the family-friendly resort route with a pool or rent a private villa. You might want to check out Number One Mirissa for a boutique hotel at Mirissa Bay or Paradise Beach Club for more of the beachfront resort style offering. Hope you get some fun waves while you’re there! Cheers

  36. Hey! Was wondering what spots might work best on the southwest coast during the off season. I’ll be out there beginning of July, I know you said certain breaks that have wind protection or are side shore could still be fun. Appreciate any recommendations, thanks!

  37. Planning a surf trip for two months, Oct-Nov. Based on previous articles I’ve read, it seemed that the waves would still work in October, if not on the South-West, then on the East coast, however you have both areas as ‘off-season’ for October.
    Our dates are inflexible… would you recommend I look elsewhere for October or should we get some surf?

    • Hi Sadie, thanks for reaching out. I think in the Arugam Bay area that while Oct is considered by many to be the start of their “off-season” there could still be some residual late season swells that roll through so you could probably find some waves at that time, the closer to Sept the better. And then the actual surf season on the southwest coast starts in November so you should be good there. So if you spent Oct around Arugam Bay, and November on the Southwest coast, you could potentially get the best of both worlds! Just depends on what Mother Nature has in store for you 🙂

  38. Eric…

    Rad blog bro, great info… Am heading to Sri Lanka & A Bay for da first time in August, I’ll definitely look up Kannan, he soundz like the exact dude I want to help me out when there, but my question is two fold, changing foreign currency into local coin, where best??? And getting from Colombo to A Bay, least hassle way, taxi??? Cheerz bro

    • Hey Ryan, thanks for the feedback man, much appreciated. As for changing currency, we always used ATMs because we set up bank accounts with banks that don’t charge any foreign exchange transaction or withdrawal fees. But if you aren’t in that same boat, I’d just recommend doing it at the airport so you don’t have to hassle with finding a place. As for getting from Colombo to A Bay, I’d say arranging a private taxi in advance if you can is the least hassle way to go about it. If you’re staying in Colombo for a night, your host could probably help you find a driver. If you’re traveling alone, you might want to look out for other surfers on your flight to see if they want to split the cost. Cheers and good luck brother!

  39. Tnx for the extensive blog, great read. I am looking for a local surf guide to show me around and find the best spot in any given condition. Not looking for the usual surf camp experience but just somebody with great local knowledge. Any experience? Tnx already

    • Hey David, thanks for reaching out, glad liked the article and found it helpful! What area are you looking for a local surf guide in? If it’s Arugam Bay, I highly recommended getting in touch with Kannan. He is an awesome local guide and just a really cool guy, you can find his contact info is in the other comments. If you’re looking for someone in southwest Sri Lanka, let me know and I could probably help you get connected with someone in that area as well.

  40. Hi Eric, my family are heading to AB at the endow June. Kannan sounds perfect for us! Could I get his details?


  41. Hi. Are you seeing many kitesurfers in Arugam yet? If so when is the Windiest time of year?

    • Hi John, not sure, we didn’t see any when we were in the area but try checking in with the crew over at Upali Beach Surf Resort & Cafe. You can find them on Facebook with @upalibeach. They’d probably be able to provide some local insight on the matter.

  42. We are going in April – starting in Arugam Bay and working down to Weligama/Galle area.

    We wanted to get a transfer to AB – then try and see if we could rent a car for the rest of our trip – would you recommend this? We quite want some flexibility about where to go after spending 3 days in AB.

    What were your top surf sports towards the south, ideally not too touristy and busy!

    • Hi Lucy, I’m not 100% sure about renting a car in Arugam Bay. Doing a quick search on Expedia shows there is nothing available, I’m not sure if that’s because it’s all booked out or there are just no car rental companies. I’d think you could sort it out, but I can’t tell you for sure one way or another. You might want to try emailing a place like Spice Trail to ask a local resident. I know you can rent a Tuk-Tuk in Arugam Bay if you want to go explore the area. And while surrounding areas of Arugam Bay are pretty remote and rural, Sri Lanka, in general, is a pretty crazy place to drive so be careful if you’re planning to drive around. As for top surf spots to the south, we were there in the off-season so only a couple breaks we’re working. But if we were to go back during the peak season, I’d definitely want to go see what’s up the coast to the east beyond Mirissa. Hope you score your ideal waves!

  43. Hey Eric,

    Thinking about heading to Weligama at the end of February for a while, on a big SE asia trip. Sadly, I had to sell my boards in Indo, are there places in weligama or colombo where I can buy a used shortie? If so any idea the cost?

    Also, are there scooters w/ surf racks?

    Thanks for the post man,

    super helpful.

    • Hey Rob,

      Yeah, since you’ll be there during the prime surf season I don’t think you’ll have any trouble finding a used shortboard to buy. And Weligama is a busy enough surf hub so I think you’ll be able to sort it out pretty easily there. I wish I could tell you exactly where to look and how much it might cost but when we were there it was the offseason and so a lot of shops were not open for us to check it out.

      As for scooters, there will definitely be scooters with surf racks available for rent.

      Thanks and glad you like the post and found it helpful!

      Have an awesome time!


    • Hey Rob there are no scooters with surf racks in Arugam Bay as they are trying to protect the local over-priced transport rates.

  44. Hey we’re going in March, we land in Colombo at 04.00am. With a surfboard and 2 decent bags.. Will there be taxis at the airport willing to take us to hikkaduwa so early? Or would you recommend trying to organise it beforehand? Thanks

    • Hi, I’d think there will be taxis at the airport that early in the morning. But it might be less competitive which would mean fewer options and possibly higher prices. Like many places, it’s definitely a hustle in Sri Lanka. Negotiating is a part of their culture, so if you don’t organize a taxi in advance, have your wits about you and be prepared to negotiate. That being said, if it were me, I’d arrange a taxi in advance as I prefer to have the sure thing sorted out, especially after a long and exhausting day of travel. Good luck and enjoy!

  45. Srilanka is renowned for surfing and additionally the shorelines however a few times the waves are so quick than it is hard to surf so in that circumstance dependably attempt to take direction from the surf instructors they gives the best surfing counsel.

    • Thanks for the comment, I suppose it all really depends on your surfing ability. There are definitely fun waves for all abilities in Sri Lanka, and yes, if you are a beginner it would be helpful to get some proper surf instruction. Cheers!