Sri Lanka and the world was rocked by the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks which stopped tourism in its tracks leaving many locals suddenly without work and without an income to support their families. On the 13th June 2019, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs announced via the Smart Traveller website, that they had lowered their travel caution advice which was wonderful news for Sri Lanka, their local tourism economy and also for budding travellers keen to continue planning their travels there. At Crooked Compass, we are always mindful of our traveller’s safety and this is paramount when we are putting together our small group tours and private touring journeys. We pride ourselves on supporting the local communities we visit and in the wake of any natural disasters or turbulent times, this becomes paramount more than ever.
The tourism industry is critical to the survival of many Sri Lankan locals, it is the cornerstone of the local economy. To give you an idea Sri Lanka is an island off the mainland of India and is about the same size as Tasmania which is an island off the mainland of Australia. At 65,610 km² it has a population close to 22 million people compared with Tasmania that has a population of around 520,000. So what can we do to help – the simple answer is to visit! Sure the thought of travel will deter some prospective travellers but even when there was a civil war going on (1983- 2009) tourism flourished with travellers keen to visit this small but beautiful and fascinating island.
In this weeks blog post we would like to explore some unique and very authentic Sri Lankan experiences and hope that you will consider this as a wonderful destination for your next journey. Read on to find out more…
Why not visit Anuradhapura at night and get the truly authentic local experience. Late evening the weather is pleasant and cooling without the hoard of tourists. Or why not explore the unexplored side of Anuradhapura with a lively and informative walking tour along with a cup of herbal tea along the way. Or perhaps cycling is your thing, let us organise a bike tour and take in the beautiful sights on two wheels.
Why not meet a monk and experience a meditation session within a private site of the Polonnaruwa archaeological site. Or take in the history and culture with a private walking tour, learn the story of the local area with a local! Maybe cooking is your thing, let’s be honest we all love to cook in an exotic location. Meet a farmer and his family for a cookery demonstration using spices and prepare your favourite curry then sit down to enjoy your hard work in a meal together. Or what about the chance to visit a rice mill and learn about how these paddy fields are processed to feed the rest of the country.
Soulful Serene Sigiriya
Why not join our elephant experience, it is sure to be an afternoon to remember washing these gentle giants and feeding them seasonal fruits. No riding though, it is against the way we do things at Crooked Compass as we support animal welfare and the practice of riding is an area of strong concern for us. Another great experience is the chance to interact with the local children and have some fun – learn how to make “Vesak” Lanterns or kites or what about a game of cricket.
Visit Lunugamvehera National Park
Largely unknown and rarely on the tourist radar this national park offers the chance to see a plethora and variety of wildlife in their natural habitat. 21 fish species, 12 amphibians, 33 reptiles, 184 birds and 43 mammal species have been recorded in the park. The teak plantations which are found within the park boundary are frequented by elephants, whilst other areas are home to domestic feral and wild buffalo and palm squirrel, giant squirrel, porcupine, palm cat, wild boar, mouse deer and spotted deer. Sloth bear and leopard are present but found in low densities so keep your eyes peeled.
Looking for a more Sri Lanka experience or want more info on the above? Make this experience yours, Contact Us today for more travel inspiration!
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.