Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

5 years ago I took one of the best trips of my life, my wife and I went to Sri Lanka for our honeymoon. Maybe it was because I have a life long obsession with curries, but I could not get enough of Sri Lanka, and here I want to share what the kiting was like. One word of warning: our trip preceeded the more recent geo-political events that are happening, so I can’t speak to the complexities of visiting today.

Why you should go.

The kiting is Sri Lanka was great, so definitely go for that. But what really got me was the country, the people, and most importantly the food.

On so many kite trips, I feel like I have to choose between the travel and the kiting. If I really want the best kiting, it’s in places that don’t have a ton of things to do around them (OBX, Cabarete, the Grenadines). That makes it a harder sell for my wife, or for bringing our 3 year old along.

Sri Lanka hits this balance where the kiting is really good, but the options outside of the kiting are incredible.

Travel and Season

The wind season is June to September, or at least the strong wind season. There’s a second wind season December to March, which is when I went. Obviously my visit isn’t statistically relevant, but I got 3 days of wind 2 days of no wind, so keep that in mind if you’re going in that second season period.

Getting there is definitely a barrier. It’s a 19+ hour flight to Colombo, and the time zone is 12.5 hours ahead of NYC at the time of writing this. We were on our honeymoon moon, and we had saved up points for a first class ticket so we could lay flat and sleep. We flew on Kuwait airlines because it was almost half the cost of the alternatives, but I botched the romance because we couldn’t get champagne onboard since they were a dry airline. We had a layover in Kuwait, and then a 5 and half hour flight to Colombo, and then we arrived at 2am.

Needless to say it was super tiring, and we got great advice, because we booked two days in Colombo to get on the time zone and explore all the street food options

Colombo and then an 3.5 hour car ride to Kalpitiya.

Where to stay

We stayed at a place called Kite Lanka, mostly based on the really positive reviews. The place was very moderately priced, super clean, basic, and beautiful, it check all the boxes we were looking for on the first part of our trip. The people were great, the family style dinners were fun, and the property was tropical and relaxing.

We liked the way that the trips to the lagoon broke up the day, but some people may prefer to stay right on the lagoon so they can kite at will. The only real downside to Kite Lanka was the kite brand they carried was a local brand I’d never heard of, and the gear wasn’t super new… so I ended up snapping some lines after a couple days.

The Kiting

The first thing that jumps out to me is the setting. It’s beautiful, and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The giant wind turbines, the fishing boats, the Tuk-tuks,

There are two main lagoons I saw people riding, the Kalpitya lagoon, and the small one right next to Kite Lanka. The main lagoon is huge, and never felt crowded no matter how busy it was. Out in the middle it can get a little choppy, but if you hugged the shore there were smoother flatter spots. My wife took lessons, and it was pretty ideal. This was only made better by the excellent instruction she got.

The second lagoon was much smaller, much flatter, and filled with more advanced Kiters. This one was right outside Kite Lanka, so it was really accessible, but intimidating.

The third option was ocean riding, and you could do down winders from the big lagoon back to Kite Lanka. I tried it once, but got rolled by the waves… and gave up because my skill at the time wasn’t quite there. There are also a ton more spots accessible by boat and by driving further.

Other things to do

Kalpitya itself isn’t really a tourist attraction, so the options are a little less plentiful. The main activities to do locally where obviously kiting, and kite safaris, but I saw a lot of suggestions to go whale / dolphin watching, or to go to Wilpattu national park for a real safari.

We ended up making the trek inland to Anuradhapura and Dumbulla to see historical sites. From there we worked our way to Kandy, Haragama, Hatton, Dick Oya, and then eventually Tangalle. While there was way too much to cover in this post, the real stand-outs where the train ride, the tea region, and the beaches in the south. We were there 3 weeks in total, but I could have easily stayed a month or two.