As some of you may know, we are lucky enough to currently be undertaking the Tuk Tuk Tournament in Sri Lanka! This is an epic two-week, “Amazing Race”- style adventure across the island. Our chariot is the humble tuk tuk, the wheels of Sri Lanka’s poor and in general underprivileged people. 18 teams are taking part from all over the world. The event begins in Hikkaduwa on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast, with a mid-party in the central mountains, and finishing in the capital of Colombo.
We have been chosen to represent Good Travel Program, a sustainability initiative which aims to connect sustainable businesses across Sri Lanka. Besides trying to win the rally, we also have our main mission which is to promote “good traveling” and introduce the world to many of the folks working hard on sustainable projects and helping the local communities. We will be savage in our efforts to educate the masses on the harms of plastic waste and hope to lead by good example to create a better future for us all.
We have just finished the tournament! Thank you to everyone who supported us along the way! Stay tuned for more videos, the sharing has just begun!
Want to get rent your own tuk tuk and drive it around the island? Go to tuktukrental.com and enter AVENTURA at checkout to receive 5% off your rental!
Want to get into Tuk Tuk Tournament 2019? Sign up before the end of November to get 30% off!MAKE SURE YOU TELL THEM THAT WE SENT YOU OR YOU WON’T GET THE DISCOUNT!!! That’s a great tukin’ deal if you ask us!
Mulkirigala Raja Maha Vihara near Tangalle, in south Sri Lanka is a unique Buddhist temple built ascending a 205 meter (673 foot) natural rock formation. The temple consists of many caves containing reclining Buddhas and painted ceilings, along with a Stupa at the summit. From the top you can hike around the back to a gigantic rock cliff with fantastic views of the lush surrounding area.
We rode a tuk tuk from Hiriketiya for about 40 min to reach the Mulkirigala Raja Maha Vihara rock temple. The entrance fee is 500 rupees for foreigners. There are many monkeys to greet you and encourage you, hooting and hollering at you as you are sweating your way up the long staircases.
The temple was constructed in the 3rd century and contains a tree germinated from the Bodhi tree in which Buddha supposedly gain enlightenment under. We didn’t see the tree, unfortunately, because we only read about it after. So take a picture for us when you go! 😉 We did make a video though. The video shows our journey starting in Hiriketiya and ending at this temple. Check it out!
On the way up to Mulkirigala’s highest stupa there are four or five caves, each containing a reclining Buddha statue and beautifully painted ceilings. Don’t forget to buy some flowers at the bottom to leave as an offering for Buddha in one of the caves!
Along the way there are several guys who will give you a blessing and put a bracelet on you. You can recognize which people go to temple because of the string around their wrists. They give the blessing mostly in Sinhalese but do their best to translate a bit to English. We know it means something like “Buddha and the monks bless you. Have a long and happy life!”
The highlight of Mulkirigala Raja Maha Vihara rock temple for us is the overlook at the top. Sitting on top of a giant rock, it feels like you can see all of Sri Lanka. It’s a great place to meditate for a minute or two.
When in Sri Lanka don’t miss Mulkirigala Rock Temple. It was our favorite temple in Sri Lanka and one of the most unique we’ve been to anywhere.
The south of Sri Lanka is a perfect tourism destination, especially if you like surfing and yoga. Sri Lanka surf and yoga retreats are a great option, especially if you enjoy all-inclusive, no-worries travel. With many different surf and yoga retreat options, it can be hard to decide which retreat to book. Here is our guide comparing the 5 best Sri Lanka surf and yoga retreats!
Offering all-inclusive week-long surf and yoga retreats based in Weligama, these retreats are held at an amazing colonial villa in the jungle near the town. Included are four surf lessons, eight yoga practices, breathwork meditation sessions, two daily meals with private chefs, a cooking class, and charity give-back days. They also take you on a safari through Udawalawe National Park which is packed full of wild elephants and other beautiful creatures. A great value for seeing a lot without needing to plan anything. We also like how everyone starts and finishes the experience together, allowing you to make deep, lasting friendships.
Weeklong packages include six surf sessions, six yoga classes, one massage, and daily breakfast. A bonus is the friendly local owners and delicious Ahimsa Vegan Cafe (extra cost but worth it) located on the property. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, quietly nestled away from the main road. Other packages and longer stays are available on their website. Less all-inclusive but better for more independent travelers.
For a more luxury option, enjoy Soul & Surf’s new and modern rooms and beautiful swimming pool. Included in a one-week stay are three meals per day, seven yoga sessions, ten surf outings, two meditation sessions, a guided SUP adventure and more. Great if you want to spend your time relaxing in one place; the downside is that it’s a little off the main drag. Oh, and the swimming pool is a nice bonus.
Weeklong price: ~ $1,500 USD for a shared room – $2,500 for a luxury private room. Check their website for options and availability. Prices lower in off season (May-November).
Made for the more serious surfer crowd, Sunshine Stories retreats include many different types of training to take your surf to another level. Included in their packages are seven breakfasts, five lunches and dinners, ten yoga sessions, five surf lessons, a variety of surf classes and video feedback, a temple visit, and your own surf video.
Weeklong package price: $899 USD for a shared room in their villa.
Located in Ahangama, Camp Poe is a boutique oasis which offers luxury safari tents or bungalows for accommodation. They also have a swimming pool and honestly some of the best yoga teachers on the island. Their packages include seven breakfasts, five dinners, five surf lessons, surf theory, five yoga classes, and included tea and unlimited water.
Weeklong package price: from $699 USD for private tent. Cheaper shared tents also available. More action-packed deals are also available with twice the surfing, more yoga, and included photo & videos. Check their website for other price options.
All of the best Sri Lanka surf and yoga retreats include transport to the surf spots and surfboard rentals. Check their website for more exact itineraries and lists of optional add-ons. Keep in mind that the weather is best in the south of Sri Lanka between November and April, and prices are higher during this season. If you are looking for the best budget Sri Lanka surf and yoga retreats, consider coming in the off season to save and enjoy less crowds.
If you know us, you know we love dogs! Sri Lanka, like many developing nations, is covered in street dogs. While spending the last three months in Sri Lanka, we kept looking for ways to help the street dogs. Those little mutts were always nice to us, following along on hikes and keeping us safe late at night. After being in Sri Lanka for a while, we kind of became immune to the site of the mangy friends. Then, while researching charities for our September Sri Lanka Surf & Yoga Retreat we stumbled across WECare Worldwide. WECare provides veterinary care for less fortunate animals across Sri Lanka, providing free care for street dogs, and inexpensive care for household pets.
We visited WECare’s facility outside of Talalla, Sri Lanka to find out more about the amazing things they are up to! WECare’s main focus is on reducing the number of street dogs in Sri Lanka, by neutering and spaying as many as possible. This way, with veterinary medicines limited, more care can be given to the already enormous numbers of dogs that exist on the island.
Another of the main goals of WECare Worldwide is educating the local people about street dogs and how to better love them. WECare goes into school and shows young children that street dogs are cute and loving creatures, breaking the stereotypes that many Sri Lankans have against dogs.
One other stereotype that WECare likes to break is that of the veterinarian. Traditionally in Sri Lanka, vets are people who have not succeeded in medical school. Not wanting to be seen in a career connoting “failure” discourages Sri Lankan youth from pursuing schooling in veterinary medicine. But WECare’s super-smart and passionate veterinarians are changing the image of the veterinary career in Sri Lanka. It’s also awesome that many of the vets in WECare are women, providing a great example of female education and empowerment!
Recently WECare was featured on the BBC which helped them to secure a lot of new funding. Check out their segment by clicking here!
We cannot wait to raise money for WECare Worldwide though our 10% Giveback Program on our Bigger Life Adventures yoga and surf retreat! Every dollar helps, and even if you don’t make it to our Sri Lanka Surf & Yoga Retreat, please consider donating a small amount to their cause. Not only are the helping the street dogs, but they are employing many local people and educating young children on the proper way to interact with animals. Please check out their website www.WECareWorldwide.org.uk for more information about the organization and details on how to donate to the cause!
What happened to Mirissa, Sri Lanka? The party is over. After the infamous assault of Dutch tourists on Mirissa Beach in April, 13 locals were arrested and parties and party places were closed across the south coast of Sri Lanka. Several bars tried to organize events but were shut down by the police. However, travelers were still coming and expected something to do, being surprised at the lack of party scene and moving on quickly once they realized it was not what they had read about. Soon the situation escalated even more, as most of the Mirissa beach bars have been destroyed by government bulldozers.
***Don’t forget to read to the bottom for a more recent update***
The newest development happened quickly. On May 11th, 2018 government bulldozers rolled into Mirissa town, along with more than 100 police officers, heavily armed soldiers, and a water cannon to fight back riots. The government proceeded to knock down 21 structures deemed “illegal”. This included nearly all the bars and restaurants leaving a big mess of mental, concrete, and other industrial waste along the beach. Check out this article to read more from a local news report.
This might be another case of a story which goes a little deeper. Only a few bars in Mirissa actually had a license to sell alcohol. These places are still standing after the bulldozing. Most beach bars in Sri Lanka choose to operate illegally, paying bribes over the obnoxiously priced and hard to get liquor licenses. These licenses have a price tag of near one million Sri Lankan Rupees and take years of dedication through the proper channels to obtain.
There is also the factor that several large hotel chains have recently been “banging on the doors” of Mirissa. It will be interesting to see if these large corporate companies are awarded the licensing that the local people were so long denied.
The government’s official reasons for the deconstruction was that A) the structures are illegal, and B) they are causing an environmental impact along the coast. After the buildings were knocked down, there was no plan in place to clean up the destroyed structures. These are still lining the beach, slowly getting picked though by the locals, hazardous asbestos roofing sheets thrown about in the sand. Was this really the most environmentally safe solution, or did the authorities start a plan without a real finish in mind?
With the beach party scene being the reason most people came to Mirissa, Sri Lanka, we suspect it will take years for the town to recover. Many honest and hardworking locals will be without work, not to mention the tremendous economic loss to the hundreds of local hotels and tourism businesses.
We still recommend people go to Mirissa for the surf and awesome beachfront. And don’t forget the sunsets! Whatever ends up happening with all of this, hopefully in a few years Mirissa Beach will be in a better place because of the changes, however drastic that they were. What do you think? Did the government make the right decision? Will you help us to have a clean up day, making the beach beautiful again? Comment below!
Check out our archives for other guides and helpful advice for travelers all over the world! And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our Youtube Channel!
UPDATE October 2018:
We recently went to Mirissa to see if anything has changed. The season is starting and tourists are beginning to flood to the area. The beach is still a mess, lots of the debris has never been cleaned up. Also, several of the bars/restaurants have reopened in the structures that were not eliminated. All the rubble just makes the beach not seem as nice as it used to be. The parties are apparently up and running again and we are curious to see if any of this destruction will change anything in the long run.
Bigger Life Adventures is our new yoga and adventure retreat company featuring us, Zach and Carrie, leading you on adventures in incredible countries around the world! This is our newest video, showing you a little more about what a trip with Bigger Life Adventures looks like!
A few of the things we want to share with Bigger Life Adventures are yoga, meditation, clean living, amazing destinations, vegan food, and giving back to the local communities. 10% of all participation fees are donated directly to charities working in countries where our retreats are located. This year we will be hosting retreats in Southern California, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania. Check out the dates and maybe we’ll see you there?
We discovered the amazing Surf & Yoga Mirissa during our second visit to Sri Lanka when we were looking for a place on the south coast to chill, get some work done, and live close to nature. Surf & Yoga Mirissa’s property is right in the jungle just 1km down the road from Mirissa’s main beach. The retreat features clean spacious rooms with super-comfy beds, hammocks to lounge around in all over the property, a surf shop and yoga studio, all the activities you could possibly want to do in south Sri Lanka, and the amazing Ahimsa Vegan Cafe!
There’s also breakfast and dinner available (vegan and non-vegan options) for guests, three yoga classes per day, and surf lessons available for all levels with awesome, experienced instructors.
The yoga instruction is also top-notch, with a variety of styles being taught and teachers who can cater to all levels! Honestly, it’s the perfect place to jump headfirst into the yoga+surf life!
Ahimsa Vegan Cafe, the super-cool shipping container restaurant on site, has amazing healthy plant-based offerings! It’s open every day except Sunday from 11-3:30! Be sure to try the signature Ahimsa Bowl – a mix of roasted veggies, salad, veggie protein, and delicious homemade peanut sauce!
Mirissa Surf & Yoga also strives to be as eco-friendly as possible, with composting, recycling, and regular “karma yoga” beach cleanups! The owner, Priyal, and staff of Surf & Yoga Mirissa can guide you to all the best sites and activities in the area! They’re a super-friendly crew of surfers who will be sure to make you feel at home in Sri Lanka! There’s also no less than FOUR cute, friendly doggies who call this place home. So there are lots of furry friends for those of you who miss your pets so much, like us!
Check out their awesome video for more of a taste of this amazing place!