Want to see the biggest animals on the planet? Find out where and how you can see the whales of Sri Lanka – the easiest place in the world to whale watch.
The best place to see whales in Sri Lanka has to be Mirissa on the South Coast.
What company to use
There are many different companies you can go with, all ranging from top spec to low cost budget boats. However the cheaper boats tend not to have life jackets so avoid these completely.
We decided to go with ‘Raja and the Whales’ due to the very high level of reviews they have received. We were not disappointed with our choice. It cost us 6000LKR/£32/$40 per person – that price halves for children between the age of 6 and 12. Honestly they are more expensive than other trips however here are a few reasons why that did not bother us:
- The staff were numerous and polite.
- The food was fresh and ok.
- Life jackets are worn at all times.
- The main guide was very knowledgeable
- They provide free online photos of your trip.
However the biggest point of all:
- They DO NOT speed towards a whale sighting with all the other boats.
Our crew were very conscientious about the whales and refused to move from a spot just to get another 1 second viewing. Also they did not get ridiculously close to the whales. Furthermore we still saw 7 close Blue Whales and a Bryde’s Whale. There are other companies that have the same skills as Raja so don’t feel compelled to pay the extra without shopping around.
After you have chosen a company to go with you should get picked up from your hotel in Mirissa at around 6am. Then they will take you to the harbour where you either pay or, if you have paid already, get on the boat.
The majority of the boats set off at 6.45am in a convoy out of the harbour. The whale companies send spotters in the morning so you go full speed to where they have located them. Your trip could last up to 6 hours depending on where they are. However we got back to the harbour after 3.5 hours.
You are basically guaranteed to see blue whales as this is the easiest place in the world to see them all year round. If you don’t see one then most companies offer some sort of a refund or voucher for another trip.
- Buy sea sickness tablets! You can easily buy them in Mirissa in any pharmacy and they are ridiculously cheap. They work and the Indian Ocean is not calm, as you can see from my video. Raja and the Whales recommends Avomine – we used it and it works wonders but do be aware that you might become very drowsy a few hours after taking it.
- Do not eat breakfast before. The company should provide a breakfast which has been specifically chosen to minimise sea sickness, such as ginger biscuits and fruit. However even if they don’t, don’t risk it. You’ll almost certainly be back in the harbour earlier than you would normally wake up anyway.
- Don’t get on a boat without life jackets. Accidents happen so don’t be that unfortunate person.
Have you used another tour company to see whales in Mirissa? Were they reputable or not? Please let people know in the comments below to give more options and advice on who to use and who to avoid.
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