A tropical island with kilometer upon kilometer of sea-kissed sand, wild fragrant forest and endless prairies in between. Surely this land offers countless opportunities for a naturist to find some nude recreation. My mind and spirit reveled in the possibilities Sri Lanka would present. How I was mistaken.
As with any place, Sri Lanka offers up places for outdoor nudity if you look hard enough. But here you need to look really hard. The culture really frowns on nudity in general — public, outdoor or otherwise. Even at beaches, you’ll find the locals swimming in full dress. And those forest areas? Filled with either temples or shrines — making punishment for being caught nude there much more severe, — people or dangerous wild animals such as elephants. Or all of the above. Add to this the high risk of dengue and other mosquito-born illnesses. It doesn’t make one want to expose too much skin.
Nudist hope in Sri Lanka
However, all hope wasn’t lost for me. Nor for any other intrepid naturist. I discovered that despite kilometers-long beaches, the locals tend to congregate in the same spot. Surprisingly, often the area with the least inviting-looking water. Walk a bit and you can find a more peaceful zone. Such was the case for me at Pasikudah beach on the northeast coast. But pay close attention to the surroundings. There are many churches, mosque, temples and other sacred ground fronting or directly on some beaches. And again, Sri Lankans are extremely sensitive in terms of religious sensibilities. Something as seemingly innocuous as going topless — by men! — will get you angry glares in these places. At many of the other coastal areas I visited, such as Trincomalee and Negombo, net- and boat-tending fishermen dot the shore. So stripping down is ill-advised there too.
A Sri Lankan nudist resort in the making
A few kilometers inland from the white-sand Pasikudah and Kalkudah beaches, a pothole-filled warren of muddy roads takes you to a budding naturist resort. I was fortunate to come across Von Fidel Ranch and the Pasikuda Hostel in the midst of vast rice paddies and clumps of forest. While not explicitly nudist or even clothing-optional, the owner and staff there are very welcoming of nudists. The resort is still in its infancy, but a permaculture-designed escape is taking shape quickly. Alfie, the affable host, is creating an eco-friendly, forward-looking Eden for both locals and foreigners. He assured me that within a year, all the young fruit and tropical trees he has planted will create a shaded, secluded garden that will welcome naturists.
Visit Sri Lanka or not?
To be sure, this teardrop-shaped island has many things to recommend it. The yummy, though unvaried cuisine; the cheap and mostly efficient transportation; endless streams of eye candy; the wildlife. (Although I failed to see an elephant save one in a street parade, monkeys, mongooses — mongeese? — giant lizards, peacocks and myriad other fowl, and more soaring, swooping eagles in any given hour than in all my previous years combined were my gracious companions). Still, my sojourn with Sri Lanka’s betel-teeth souls left me wanting. All-in-all, Sri Lanka offers a lot for visitors. Naturism, however, is not high on the list.
Read about other naturist destinations.