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!