The advantages of high-season travel are widely known. Less so when it comes to the lower season for most destinations. You’ll have to browse the most popular travel guides out there, but you’ll quickly realize that even the best of them hardly provide substantial insider tips on off-season holidaying. It takes continuous presence and exploration of a destination to develop in-depth understanding of its climate cycles, its geographic advantages and shortcomings, and all the behavioral traits of the locals in connection with the seasons. Charming in its own way, the low-season travel, or as the locals prefer to call it “slow season”, hides unmined gems for both experienced and novice adventure travelers. We couldn’t agree more, “slow season” travel is not only healthier for the planet, but holds infinite rewards for the patient traveler.
Year-round travel for endless exploration
There is no such thing as off-season in Sri Lanka. The island is a pearl-shaped volcanic formation sitting slightly north of the equator in the sapphire-blue waters of the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka has two distinct seasons with two mini-monsoons, the drier seasons befalling the months of December through April. But, if you’re counting on the peak-season being without a raindrop, you’d be hard-pressed to find it. Sri Lanka is a tropical island, which means that at any given moment it is drizzling somewhere in the country. In fact, the rain is an essential part of the daily climate cycles that move gracefully across the island’s topography in the course of a day.
The “slower” seasons pick up from May to July, and then again from September through November. There is a mini peak-season in August, when the island comes alive in a festive celebration of the annual Esala Perahera, a feast of colors, fireworks and relics being paraded by elaborately decorated performers and elephants. But, the more important aspect of the changing seasons is that the swimmable coastline shifts from the South-Western shores to the North-Eastern one, bringing top-rated waves and giant whales to the Eastern shores of Trincomalee, Passikuda and Arugam Bay. So if you’re looking for a perfect Summer break, look no further, Sri Lanka has the best summer adventure ready for your annual vacation.
If you’re after flexibility and increased comfort on your vacation, the “slow” season presents its unparalleled advantages in hotel availability & last-minute changes on your reservations. Hey, you might even get the occasional bump-up in room category for the price of a “sweet” deal on standard offerings. Low season presents a much wider range of choice with sought-after hotels that may be overbooked 3 to 6 months in advance during the higher-seasons.
Another advantage is the courteous service which tends to come with way more attention during the slower months. The hotel staff is by far less-stressed and greatly appreciates the continued patronage from the low-season guests toward their offerings. The same goes for your local guides, who will take their time to show & tell their hidden spots, as opposed to rushing through the itinerary in order to get to their next reservation. But, keep in mind that “slower” season also means a prime time for hotel renovations & reduced amenities such as pool & restaurant services. You’ll want to work with a seasoned (no pun intended) travel advisor to determine the best choice of hotels and reconfirm their ongoing services.
increased hotel availability
sweet deals on accommodation
patient & friendly staff
prime time for renovations
reduced restaurant services
The monsoon beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Imagine yourself standing in awe of a majestic world heritage site and being the only person there to take it all in. Many incredible tourist attractions are practically deserted during the rainy seasons. The ticket lines are non-existent, the mass-tourist crowds are all but vanished, and the wait to see the “Mona Lisa”, in this case the Lion Rock, is over. In truth, when it comes to weather, it practically never rains the entire day. So, you’re sure to find plenty of time to do the Sigiriya climb, to hike the tea trail, or to safari in the national park (btw, surrounded by way less other jeeps, and way more actual wildlife).
But wait, there’s more. The lush emerald-green environment comes alive with every rain drop, the birds chirp more happily and the gentle giants migrate to select spots where you can witness them in large gatherings. If you’re lucky enough to be traveling in Sri Lanka during the monsoon season, you are sure to witness a rare beauty of an island revived. Keeping in mind that you’ll definitely need to carry a raincoat everywhere you go for that sudden burst of torrential downpour, you’ll be in good hands with some proper advice on best locales for all your activities and visits.
As travel advisors, we’d like to be able to rely on the promise of non-monsoon hassle-free travel advertised in so many travel guides. Unfortunately, with today’s challenging climate changes we all find ourselves in an unprecedented global predicament. The role of a destination expert has never been more essential in helping you plan an itinerary that avoids the pitfalls of monsoon challenges by selecting a seamless route that makes for best all-season travel.
non-existent ticket lines
vanished mass-tourist crowds
climate change global challenges
Over-tourism is real, slow it down!
If climate change isn’t enough, over-tourism has been adding its impact on over-tired “exotic” destinations that receive innumerable visitors over the peak-season months. The picture-perfect “Tropicana” advert leaves out a gruesome reality of over-crowded beaches, over-piled waste that has no recycling alternatives on an island, and over-saturated attractions that are otherwise meant to inspire respect toward a centuries-old cultural legacy. It also drives the local population to hype up its sensationalized identity of the cultural “other,” instead of cultivating the authentic side of local life that is often far from being “glamorous”.
Responsible travel stands for sustainable practices that encourage the locals to reinvest in their authentic identities. It encourages the locals to see the foreign visitors as interested parties in a bridged cultural exchange and to strengthen inter-cultural bonds that are rooted in a shared human experience. It brings humanity back into the picture, a picture that looks a lot more like real life. Slower travel also allows for everyone to tap into the deeper aspects of local culture, so it can be appreciated in all its beauty and significance. If you pride yourself on being a responsible traveler then you cannot avoid the fact that low-season travel is a better way to redistribute tourism all over the world.
reduced pressure on the locals
authentic cross-cultural exchanges
there are no contraindications for responsible tourism !
Slow season is the only season for “deeper” travel
If you’re one of those travelers who enjoys taking time to experience a destination in-depth, then you’ll be one of the lucky recipients of its true cultural riches. The “slow season” presents exceptional opportunities for a deeper dive into the hidden aspects of a people’s safe-guarded treasure. In Sri Lanka, the millenia-strong practice of authentic Buddhist meditation has produced a culture that is deeply steeped in mindful coexistence with nature. At its core, the “middle-path” philosophy has shaped a community that shares inclusive principles of loving kindness and compassionate giving.
Pilgrimage to hallowed sites is still a wide practice among the locals who regularly undergo sacred initiations into the depths of spiritual cultivation. All of this coupled with a slower-paced discovery makes it for an ideal environment to embark on a spiritually-charged retreat in Sri Lanka. Our 12-day Buddhist pilgrimage & meditation retreat does exactly that by bringing you into a deep encounter with the island’s long-bestowed illuminating treasure. This southern gem of the Indian Ocean remains the stronghold bastion for humanity’s ultimate enlightenment.
meditation alters your perceptions and transforms challenges into opportunities for growth and self-realization
So, if you are seeking a quality travel experience you’ll be wise to consider a “slower”-paced itinerary during the lower seasons. The savvy travelers know that “off-season” presents a great deal of advantages over the over-crowded high-seasons. It takes a bit of practice and some well-pointed advice to get it right, but once you’ve tasted the sweet deal of “slow season” travel, you’ll be hooked for the rest of your traveling life!
Responsible travel in on the rise, but what does it really mean to visit a destination with the aim of leaving a positive impact? From environmental projects to eco-tourism to local "green" sustainability, there are many ways in which an intrepid traveler can engage meaningfully with the community on-site. Sri Lanka offers an authentic blend of hospitality and sustainability drawing from centuries of traditional holistic living.
Sustainable holidays in the heart of Sri Lanka's countryside
If you are a traveler looking for sustainable holidays, Sri Lanka has the perfect combination of traditional lifestyle customs that draw their wisdom directly from nature. In many rural areas, the homes are still constructed with mud clay and ventilation is sustained through upper openings in the walls. Of course, the tropical climate is a big help for easy living. But, the monsoon season often presents its challenges and demands annual renovation with eco-friendly materials, such as thatched roofs and clay tiles. Choosing homestays or eco-lodges as a mode of accommodation during your travels supports the community directly as they are often owned by the locals themselves. This also means that you'll be staying with a community focused host, who more so than any hotel will be conscientious about excess uses of water, electricity and plastics, as they impact the owner's immediate living environment.
No water waste here
Living on an island surrounded by the salty sea means that the only way to get drinkable water is through an intelligent design of rainwater reservoirs. The ancient kings of Ceylon knew all-too-well that the survival of their people and their kingdoms depended greatly on complex systems of irrigation. Their glory and mark in the chronicles of history are often recounted in the number of reservoirs that they were able to produce during their reign. Today, the hydro-power dams are the primary source of electric energy supplied throughout the island. Water remains a key conservation initiative in Sri Lanka and throughout your travels you will encounter a proud population who to this day remembers its leaders for their water sustainability contributions.
Volunteer with a nature conservation project
For many people holidays are synonymous with doing less, eating more and getting away from the daily routine back at home. But, often times the best way to reset your mind is to get involved with a completely different set of objectives. Volunteering for a nature conservation project is not only beneficial to the society or environment in question, it is the most immersive travel experience that one can imagine. Working side-by-side the local people, being motivated through common goals and interacting with the nature on a much deeper level -- creates unparalleled opportunities for long-lasting friendships and overall health benefits. Your body remains active, your mind experiences full immersion and your heart rejoices in making meaningful connections. For a quality "voluntourism" project, ask Sriseeker for advise on the best qualified volunteer programs that will make your travel experience much more memorable!
Choose the right local guide
We all know that so much of our travel experience depends on the quality and personal disposition of the local guide accompanying us on tour. We seek out knowledgeable, friendly and caring guides to accompany our Sriseekers. Sri Lanka is still in its budding stages of establishing a reliable travel industry and this can often present its challenges. But, with the right approach to guest satisfaction and clear objectives in creating magical travel experiences, we aim to strike the right balance of matching up our intrepid travelers with the suitable local guide. The right guide often means getting insider access to "hidden gems" and authentic places, as well as a surpassing of expectations beyond an ordinary travel experience. Whether you are on a solo adventure or looking for a family group trip, It is often the case that our local guide is the best representative of the local culture and its people.
Find a responsible approach to your travel experiences
Activity-packed itineraries are part and parcel of experiential tourism, or travel rooted in authentic experiences that drive at the heart of local culture. Stepping into a local baker's home for an immersion into the daily operations of a small-scale bakery; spending an afternoon learning traditional dance and drummingtechniques from a practicing local teacher; or dropping in on a cricket game practice with talented players for an active bonding experience with the local youth -- these are the type of experiences that elevate a regular tourist attraction to the level of immersive travel. They also contribute to community development and intercultural exchanges that are only possible through informal curation of local cultural treasures.
Beyond ordinary tourism
Taking positive initiative on a holiday means that spending time away from home is another opportunity to render life more meaningful. Leaving a destination knowing that our interactions have contributed to a mutual expansion, a kindred feeling of shared humanity and a positive impact on everyone involved -- makes for a satisfying journey filled with acts and memories that have touched many hearts. Finding ways to expand beyond the mold of conventional tourism is a creative way to encounter new cultures and ultimately to encounter yourself.