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Sailing Tour of the Sri Lankan Southern Coast

If you’ve been considering a holiday in Sri Lanka, you’ve probably imagined chilled beach holidays, immersive cultural experiences, or tours through ancient ruins. But have you ever considered a sailing tour along the Sri Lankan coasts? Because you definitely should!

Sailing shouldn’t just be reserved for holidays to the Mediterranean. As an island surrounded by balmy waters and dazzling views, Sri Lanka offers plenty for sailing enthusiasts. This is especially true for the country’s southern coast, where you can enjoy stunning beaches, encounter amazing marine life, and visit several major tourist attractions along the way. You don’t even need to have had any prior sailing experience – there are a number of operators who will handle the technicalities, while you relax and enjoy the island’s tropical coast. You can book a tour that lasts one night or one that extends to a week-long sailing holiday. If your interest is piqued, here’s a guide to sailing along Sri Lanka’s Southern Coast!

What to Pack

After you’ve booked your cruise, check your sailing itinerary for any specific items you might need to bring (hiking shoes if there’s a hike planned at one of your stops, for instance). Here’s an easy list of essentials to pack before you board:

  1. Sunscreen. Pack more than you think you’ll need. You’ll be spending almost all day under the sun, and the last thing you want is to be forced to stay in your cabin because you skimped on sun protection.
  2. Swimwear. This one is obvious, but remember to bring more than one swimsuit. You will also be barefoot for the most part, but you should bring a pair of sandals or flip-flops that you can wear if need be.
  3. Soft-shelled luggage and a dry bag. Try to avoid packing your things into a hard-shelled bag, since space on board can be limited and you might want something more malleable. You will also want a small dry bag that can carry essentials like your phone and wallet when you decide to swim to shore from the boat.

Stops Along the Coast

You will not be staying on the boat for your entire trip – you will be disembarking to relax on sandy beaches, and to visit local attractions. A sailing tour of Sri Lanka’s south coast will take you to stunning beaches such as Weligama Bay, Jungle Beach at Unawatuna, Tallala Beach, the untouched beaches of Kudawella, and Mirissa Beach, to name a few. You will also get to disembark and visit key attractions such as the Galle Dutch Fort, the Dondra Head Lighthouse, local marketplaces, fishing villages, important local temples and plenty more.

Depending on the itinerary you choose and the length of your stay, your boat may also take you toward the best dolphin and whale-watching spots along the coast. You might even be able to spot a blue whale – the biggest mammal in the world, that visits the warm waters of Sri Lanka’s southern coasts between November and April. Instead of needing to wake up early to crowd onto a whale-watching tour boat, you will have the advantage of being able to sleep in while the crew prepares your breakfast as you set sail for the whales, with lunch also being served during the cruise.

Life On Board

A sailing tour along Sri Lanka’s coast is probably one of the most relaxed holiday experiences. When you are not diving off your boat’s deck for a quick swim or snorkelling through warm blue waters, you can relax in your private cabin or chat with the small group that makes up your fellow sailors. Some other fun activities that you can look forward to include kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) and line fishing.

Many operators have a chef on board for all your meals, which range from traditional Sri Lankan cuisine to international fare. Having dinner on the deck, under the stars, accompanied by the sound of lapping waves, is definitely an experience you would not want to miss. You may also get to enjoy beach barbecues featuring some of the freshest seafood on the island.