As great western travelers of yesteryear were drawn eastward, enticed by promise of adventure, exotic cultures and religions, and spectacular wildlife, so are the modern adventurers in Sri Lanka drawn to its east coast. Once known purely for its surfing, the east has, in recent years, begun to open its secretive doors to explorers and the mysteries that await discovery are aplenty!
Located in the world-famous surfing destination of Pottuvil is the luxurious holiday retreat Kottukal Beach House by Jetwing. A boutique villa which is the perfect holiday getaway, Kottukal Beach House offers stylish modern comfort in an idyllic setting.
Featuring wide, open verandas and high ceilings, the interiors and furniture are tastefully decorated and designed to match the aesthetic plan of the bungalow. The two bedrooms and the two chalets are luxuriously furnished and equipped with every convenience you require, as well as the added features of an attached bathroom and a private balcony or terrace.
All the rooms are fully equipped with air conditioning, a luxurious bathroom with hot / cold water, and a rain shower, and the many other modern conveniences that will ensure your total comfort.
Facilities include electric power (220v to 240v), private balcony or terrace, safety deposit box, iron and ironing board (on request), cot (on request), hair dryer (on request), postal facilities, TV / game room, DVD player and DVD library, lost and found service (24 hours), and credit cards and travelers’ cheques accepted. Massages, yoga, and Ayurveda treatments can be arranged on request.
Jetwing Surf will utilize a unique style of architecture; one which will set new benchmarks in eco-tourism. Construction is designed to be carried out with minimum carbon footprint, with the structures made using wood, woven coconut palm leaves, and reeds from lakes called illuk, all of which are naturally found in Sri Lanka.
All this and more combined creates a 20 cabana resort that is truly environmentally responsible and sustainable, and in a location that is only five minutes away from one of the world’s finest surfing destinations, Arugam Bay.
Widely considered one of the best-surfing destinations in Asia, if not the world, life in Arugam Bay is built around the exhilarating sport. During the surfing season - from May to September - streets swell with the cheerful, eager surfing crowd. From experienced surfers to those just getting their feet wet, all are welcome and the area has several surfing points to cater to everybody. From the gentle swells of Pottuvil Point to the rushing white horses of Peanut Farm you are sure to find your perfect wave here. And when the sun has set and you’ve squeezed the salt out of your hair you can check out the nightlife in Arugam Bay or simply kick back with a scrumptious freshly caught seafood dinner at Jetwing Surf and relax to the sound of the night wind in the coconuts trees.
But in case your holiday date falls during October to April period and you find the swells not enough to surf, Jetwing Surf Pottuvil Point has other amazing activities you can choose from. There are boat safaris, bird watching, temple or monastery visits and nature tripping in their national parks.
This three days surf package includes six hours of surf lessons with surf Instructor and surfboard. You can have two lessons of three hours each per day. The surfboard is available for use anytime of the day you want.
The surf camp will take place in Pottuvil, Sri Lanka.
As great western travelers of yesteryear were drawn eastward, enticed by the promise of adventure, exotic cultures and religions, and spectacular wildlife, so are the modern adventurers in Sri Lanka drawn to its east coast. Once known purely for its surfing, the east has, in recent years, begun to open its secretive doors to explorers and the mysteries that await discovery are aplenty.
From archaeological sites forgotten in dense jungles to rolling plains where elephants and people share a common existence to immaculate beaches you can have all to yourself, Pottuvil is a traveler’s dream destination.
The price of the package includes full-board meals.
Pottuvil lagoon is a large, shallow lagoon within walking distance of Jetwing Surf whose waters are inhabited by a bewildering array of birds. Flocks of little grebes skim excitedly across its surface while little and whiskered terns wheel overheard, plunging into the water after the silvery glimmer of fish.
In stark contrast, the herons and storks stand motionless, almost as if lost in deep meditation, willing the fish to swim closer. Overhead, silhouetted against the brilliant sky, grey headed fish eagles and brahminy hawks soar on thermal currents.
Several elephants are also known to frequent the area around the lagoon and can sometimes be seen placidly feeding on the fringing vegetation. Cycle or walk to the lagoon through the crisscrossing lanes of Pottuvil, admiring the unique culture of the area and the distinctly tropical architecture before stepping onto the rafts that will ferry you around
the lagoon, expertly piloted by local fisher-folk.
Tranquil and utterly peaceful, your only port of call will be at Pottuvil Point, where you will go ashore for a snack and a chance to watch budding surfers find their sea legs before heading south to tackle the bigger waves.
Meandering down to the Pottuvil lagoon, the Urani River is flanked on both sides by copses of mangroves and other riparian vegetation. Important as nurseries for a large number of fish and crustaceans, the mangrove forest’s tangled network of air-breathing roots host a vital yet delicate ecosystem.
From the herons and storks that made their nests among the mangroves’ evergreen branches to the monitor lizards that drag themselves through the sodden roots, mangroves are full of secrets waiting to be observed.
No spluttering diesel engines here. You will be ferried up and down the river on wooden rafts, enabling you to peer into the riverine world without any disturbance to the wildlife and in perfect serenity with your surroundings. Just make sure you don’t forget your camera and binoculars.
Once seen as a niche activity pursued by those with a passion for all things avian and rough skin to weather the great outdoors, bird watching has, in recent years, begun making its way into the mainstream.
Birding’s inherent juxtaposition of peaceful relaxation and spontaneous excitement when a new species is spotted is appealing to all age groups and modern equipment brings us closer to nature than we have ever been before. If done correctly and in an educated manner, more birdwatchers can only be a good thing.
Sri Lanka’s south-east corner is a birdwatcher’s Eden, a wild landscape of dry mixed vegetation interspersed with large lakes where birds thrive in their thousands. While a number of resident species are commonly seen all year round, the region truly comes into its own in the migrant season, starting around October and continuing into late March.
A well timed visit could result in once-in- a-lifetime photographs. Apart from the birds, the lakes’ water attracts elephants and deer during the drier months and they assemble on the grassy riverbanks in ten to twenty-strong herds, a spectacular sight in the setting sun.
Please note that these lakes are seasonal and birds may move from one lake to another depending on the time of the year and the level of water in each. The resident naturalist will be delighted to instruct you on which lake to visit during your stay.
According to legend, a great disaster befell the Kingdom of Maya in the second century BC and the seas swept onto the land, submerging and destroying all coastal villages. Fearing that the actions of the king had angered the gods and the seas washing ashore was divine retribution, the king’s advisers bade him to sacrifice his daughter, Princess Devi, to the waves to appease the gods.
She was subsequently set upon a gilded boat and cast into the sea. Washing ashore in Arugam Bay, she was chosen by King Kavan Tissa, King of Ruhuna to be his main
consort. Adopting the name of Viharamaha Devi, she wedded the king, a union which would result in the birth of Sri Lanka’s greatest king, Dutugemunu. The site of her historic landing was immortalized with a temple, whose ruins still stand today.
Sastrawela Viharaya, a small temple on a rocky outcrop just off the Panama-Pottuvil road is, at first glance, unremarkable. Save for a stone inscription that dates the temple back to the first century AD, it appears to be fairly unassuming. Beneath that facade, however, it hides a fascinating secret.
The inscription states that the temple complex was built by brother of King Devampiya Tissa, King Mahanaga who is believed to be the first king of Ruhuna, and gifted to the monks. Sastrawela is believed to have hosted monks and scholars from various disciplines. Just behind the temple, in a cave accessed via a footpath through the bush, are remnants of cave paintings bearing resemblance to the frescoes of Sigiriya.
While it is popularly believed that Anuradhapura, in the north-central dry lands of Sri Lanka, was the epicenter of arts and crafts and industry, Sastrawela suggests that development was not limited to it but instead existed in pockets throughout the country, adherent to some form of local or central authority. The route to the Viharaya will pass shallow lakes which, during the rainy season, will be inhabited by wading birds and herons and offer excellent bird watching opportunities.
According to folklore, this temple complex was where King Kavan Tissa married Viharamaha Devi after she came ashore in the Kingdom of Ruhuna. Archaeological sources dispute this view, however, stating that the complex was more likely a monastery. Whichever the truth may be, the complex itself is well worth a visit.
Remnants of monastic buildings; image houses, chapter houses, etc. are visible, alongside a ruined stupa and the surprisingly intact border wall. Magul Maha Viharaya boasts of a unique moonstone where a rider is carved on to the back of the elephant, the likes of which is seen nowhere else on the island Giant trees that flank the entire complex provide not only shade but also excellent bird watching opportunities.
Lost to the jungle until the 1950s and poorly explored as a result of the civil war that raged in the area, Kudumbigala monastery is believed to have been built in the second century AD as an abode for Arahat monks. In its heyday during the reign of King Dutugemunu, the monastery is said to have housed over 12,000 monks in several hundred caves.
The summit is reached via a footpath that snakes its way between the trees and rocks and, in some areas, a bit tricky to follow but the view from the top is more than worth the effort. Ruins of the old monastery such as pagodas and inscriptions can be found along the way.
A note of interest is that the Kudumbigala Mountain, from a specific vantage point, resembles an enormous reclining Buddha statue with a well defined head, shoulders, and arm resting on a body lying on its side.
Please bear in mind that the bare rock is rather difficult to navigate in the midday sun and an early morning or late afternoon visit is recommended. As Kudumbigala is just outside Kumana National Park, pairing them for an exciting day outing is also possible.
Just across the road from the historic Magul Maha Viharaya, is the Lahugala National Park, one of the smaller parks in Sri Lanka but a must-visit for elephant spotting. The three large tanks within the park Kitulana, Maha, and Sengamuwa, attract herds of grazing pachyderms and they congregate in little herds on the banks of the tanks when the sun starts to set.
The lakes are also home to crocodiles and water birds while herds of deer and sambar are a common sight as well. If you are lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the elusive sloth bear feeding on palu, its favorite fruit.
Due to their proximity, Lahugala National Park can be paired with Magul Maha Viharaya to cover both archaeology and wildlife in one outing. Please note that during the rainy season the dirt tracks within the park may become tricky to navigate. The resident naturalist will be delighted to assist in any inquiries.
Also known as Okanda or Yala East National Park, Kumana is famed island-wide for its influx of migrant species during the northern hemisphere winter. Over 20 lakes, lagoons, and salt marshes dot the park making for ideal wintering grounds for water fowl and wading birds and their flocks can number in the thousands. Raptors such as brahminy kites, fish eagles, and serpents eagles are common a sight throughout the year.
Since it is nearly contiguous with Yala National Park, separated only by the Kumbukkan Oya, most of the fauna species seen at Yala are recorded at Kumana as well. Elephants step out of the cover of their jungle homes with the setting of the sun and large herds of deer and sambar are frequently spotted along the banks of the lakes.
Sloth bears are very active during the fruiting season of the palu tree and with a bit of luck and patience, you may even be able to catch a glimpse of the island’s apex land predator, the Sri Lankan leopard.
For those with a taste for archaeology, Bowaththa Cave featuring rock inscriptions and cave art, and the Buddhist ruins at Bambaragasthalawa should not be missed.
What is better than viewing elephants in their natural habitat atop a jeep? Viewing them from a boat. Gal Oya National Park, spreading outwards from Senanayake Samudraya, one of the largest inland lakes in the island, is home to herds of elephants, deer, buffalo, and wild boar as well as hundreds of species of birds; all attracted by the lush ecosystem sustained by the lake.
As the heat of the day wears off, most of these animals come out of hiding and onto the shores of the lake in a great drama of life. Offering the only boat safari within a National Park in the island, a three hour tour around Senanayake Samudraya will treat you to a spectacle you will be hard pressed to find anywhere in the world.
An off-road vehicle will take you to your boat which will then take you out onto the placid waters to observe bathing elephants, prancing deer, and thousands of waterfowl against the backdrop of the majestic national park.
Please book your flight to arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) in Colombo, Sri Lanka. You can contact Jetwing Surf Pottuvil Point for transfer options and detailed directions.