Whale watching in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka dominates the must-visit destination list due to many reasons. The sunny tropical climate, glamorous beaches, rich biodiversity, and hospitality are inevitable to leave out. But there is more. Among the enormous sea lives in the country, whales lead the way. Compared to other sectors, whale watching in Sri Lanka is still growing. But the increasing tourist attention is far from underestimated.

whale watching sri lanka
humpback whale

Why choose Sri Lanka for whale watching?

The Sri Lankan coast provides a clear window to watch about ten species of whales. The fin, Bryde’s, minke, humpback, sperm, and dolphins are some of them. If you are wondering whether the whales and dolphins are the same, here is your answer. All the dolphins are whales, but not all whales are dolphins. The order Cetacea; whale order divides into several families. Dolphins belong to one of those subfamilies. Sri Lanka is one of the top three places to watch whales. Especially the blue giants, the biggest animals that have ever lived on earth.

Popular whale watching locations


Southern Sri Lanka is the ultimate dream of worldwide tourists, and the southern coastal area is exceptional. Yala national park is a fingertip away and awaits the most pleasing wildlife experience. The surfing, snorkeling, and diving enthusiast should never miss Weligama beach. At the same time, Mirissa is perfect for whale watching.

It is a picture-perfect location and has an ideal geographical position. The continental shelf is at its narrowest at Mirissa. There are tour operators to help you with the ride. Available boat capacity can range from about eighty to fifty people. There is a reliable operator who helps an eco-friendly and safe trip. You can see blue, sperm, and humpback whales. The time duration in between December to April is the most suitable time of year. 


The western coastal region is somewhat different from the remaining parts of the country. Colombo is the economic powerhouse of Sri Lanka, and there is massive tourist attention. Colombo is less known to the public as a whale-watching place. 

Kalpitiya peninsula is blessed with sunny beaches, lagoons, and historical elements. With such beauty, it is a favored traveling destination for domestic and foreign tourists. The blooming hotel industry and heartwarming service are a significant reason for that. 

What makes you luckier are sperm whales and the navies. 

Suppose you are interested in whale watching around Kalpitiya!

The sunrise marks the start of the journey. Outside, the monsoon from November to March is best, and the sea is crystal clear and calm.


Eastern Beaches of the country are celebrated for their sandy beaches and world-class surfing spots. The untouched and rural beauty is the unique charm of the area. Trincomalee is famous for blue whales. There are fantastic snorkeling and surfing spots like Nilaweli and Arugambay in the area.

How to travel to those locations?

whales sri lanka

How to travel to Mirissa beach?

Mirissa is located on the southern coast and Matara District. 


Buses run regularly from Colombo and Tangalle to Mirissa. Some busses start from Colombo and run to Matara. From there, you can get into a tuk-tuk to arrive at Mirissa. Although an inexpensive method, the bus ride can be somewhat tiring with a heavy backpack. You have to wait a while to catch a bus with available seats that help you with the backpack.


The coastal train ride is exciting, and the trains start from Colombo fort station to Weligama. Mirissa is less than 10 minutes away from Weligama. From there, grabbing a cab or a tuk-tuk can be handy. You can book the train ticket ahead for a comfortable journey which is super cost-effective. 

Private transfer

Taxis are available between the destinations, but this is an expensive way. If you are good with your negotiation skills, you have a good chance. The budget also depends on the distance. Mirissa town is relatively small, so a healthy walk will take you to most of the places. 


The most expensive way. Koggala Airport is the closest to Mirissa. You can take a flight from Katunayake Bandaranaike international airport to Koggala. Then you have to travel from Koggala to Mirissa.

How to travel to Kalpitiya?

Kalpitiya is 165 km away from Colombo. Busses are available from Colombo to Puttalam, which takes about a 3.5-hour ride. The same goes for the car drive. Once you get off Puttalam, you can take a regular bus to Kalpitiya, and it is not expensive at all. You can call a cab or a van with a driver from the airport. But it will cost about 8000 to 13000 LKR. The best method to get around Kalpitiya is by tuk-tuk for a negotiable price.

How to travel to Trincomalee?

Trincomalee is on the eastern side of the country. The city is about 147 km away from Colombo.


Katunayake bus station is just 16 minutes away from the airport by foot. You can take a bus to Colombo Bastian Mawatha from Katunayake. There are hourly busses from Colombo to Trincomalee that take about 6 hours and 50 minutes ride.

Private transfer

Driving down a cab or renting a car between Katunayake Airport and Trincomalee will take nearly 4 hours. This is somewhat expensive.


Trains start from Colombo Fort Station and go to Trincomalee. This takes roughly 3.5 hours and is an inexpensive and excellent way to travel. 


Traveling from the air can be tricky. First, take a flight from Katunayake Airport to Sigiriya, which is the closest airport to Trincomalee. Then you need to hire a taxi from Sigiriya to Habarana, which is about 15 km away. From Habarana, there is a train for Trincomalee, and it takes about 2 hours and 24 minutes.

The Bottom Line

Whale watching in Sri Lanka has high growth potential and keeps growing into a better shape. The respective authorities of the country regulate whale watching activities. It is essential to adhere to those rules and regulations for a safe journey and ensure whales’ safety. Visit our homepage : sri-lankan.net

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