South West Coast & Galle
Sri Lanka is blessed with over a thousand miles of golden palm caressed beaches that twists and curves into bays, lagoons and coves along the shoreline making the destination a paradise for sun, sea, sand and surf lovers. World class resorts and boutique hotels that open up to the azure Indian Ocean dot the south western coast all the way from Negombo to Hambantota in the Deep South ranking Sri Lanka an ideal getaway for beach holidays.
Starting from Mount Lavinia just south of Colombo, popular beach destinations include Wadduwa, Kalutara, Beruwala, Bentota, Induruwa, Kosgoda, Ahungalla, Hikkaduwa, Galle, Unwatuna, Koggala, Weligama, Tangalle and finally Hambatota. These destinations offer star class hotels, excellent bathing spots, long beaches and a hype of activity including snorkeling, surfing, diving and whale watching. Most resorts arrange half day tours to nearby destinations like Unawatuna, a great spot for diving and snorkeling and Ambalantota, a traditional wood mask making village. Koggala, minutes away from Galle has a romantic setting with the lagoon on one side and fishermen on stilts on the other against the sunset.
The port city of Galle attracts thousands of visitors every day for its historical heritage. The iconic Galle Fort, first built by the Portuguese and then fortified by the Dutch is recognized by UNESCO for its legacy and the fusion of European architecture and native traditions. Though Galle has no pristine beaches to charm you, a late evening stroll through the gates of the Fort can take you back in time to the Dutch colonial era where soldiers would have patrolled the long ramparts on the lookout for invaders.Today you may see children playing cricket behind these historic defenses. Narrow roads within the old fortress will lead you to a bustling community that operate galleries, museums, antique shops, high end cafes, boutique hotels and gem shops. Galle Fort is a must for every traveler.
Negombo, located by the shores of a lagoon along the western coast of the Island was once a key trading port for the Portuguese and the Dutch. It is also home to sprawling and pristine beaches. Attractions in the city include the Old Dutch Fort built in 1672, the Dutch Canal that was then used as a supply route to the Dutch administration, old churches and sleepy fishing villages. The hotels that dot the coastal belt of Negombo takes guests on city tours and boat rides.
Negombo’s most stunning and undisturbed golden beaches offer a relaxing atmosphere for sun seekers. It’s the ideal sun, sea and sand destination for a perfect beach getaway. Only a 15 minute drive from the Bandaranaike International Airport, Negombo allows guests to reach their ultimate beach destination directly from the airport. It’s a perfect spot to unwind under soothing coconut palms listening to the azure waves of the Indian Ocean gently lapping against the shore. The sandy beaches are mostly unexplored and less crowded compared to the Island’s south west coast. The beach is mostly yours!. The radiant colours of a romantic sunset, the mild breeze of the Indian Ocean and the aroma of sizzling seafood with a bottle of wine will be the perfect concoction for a laidback evening.
One of the unique features of Negombo is the old world outrigger canoes and catamarans. Catamarans frequently seen along the beach against the backdrop of the sunset make picture perfect postcard images iconic of Negombo. If you are an early bird, you can watch the catamarans and the canoes return to the shore with seer, herring, mullet, prawns and lobsters caught in the lagoon. The average catamaran could comfortably seat about four guests. Do you fancy a barbeque on-board an old fashioned catamaran?
Pasikudah or Pasikuda, Tamil translation Green-Algae-Bay) is a coastal resort town located about 35 kilometers northwest of Batticaloa, Batticaloa District, Sri Lanka. It used to be a popular tourist destination, however due to 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and Sri Lankan Civil War tourist numbers have declined. Pasikudah and Kalkudah are located few km apart.
Pasikudah is easily accessible from Trincomalee and Batticaloa, both of which cities have star class accommodation. Pasikudah is fast becoming an investors hub as foreign and local investors have shown interest in developing tourism along the beach. The Sri Lankan government’s strict environmental policies have prevented certain plans for mass development, however at the same time the government’s strong economic policies have promoted development to a certain extent.
Passikudah is renowned for its clean golden bay and clear shallow waters. It is said that Passikudah has one of the longest stretches of shallow coastline in the world. Water current is relatively weak when compared to rest of the coasts around Sri Lanka.
Situated at the East Coast of Sri Lanka, approximately 320 km from Colombo, the commercial capital. Hailed as one of the best surfing destinations in the world, many events are held each year under the patronage of Sri Lanka Tourism Authority to promote this beach, the ones to watch are regional championships held each year in May – June. In 2010 first international surf contest was hosted in Arugam bay. Since Arugam bay is best known as the hotspot for surfing, it is called the “ surfer’s paradise “. Beyond surfing, there are other interesting activities for visitors. Lagoon tour, bird watching, elephant watching, visits to archaeological sites…just to name a few. Visitors could see a large fleet of fishing boats operating from the bay.
Further inland rising out of the line of trees in the distance one spots the lonely rock, standing above the rest called Kudumbigala. A stone inscription located here states that the monastery was built and gifted by Nandimithra, one of the ten generals (referred as giants) of King Duttugemunu in the pre-Christian era, Panama is an economical beach vacationers paradise for those with a constricted budget.