aalanka tours

West Coast

Sri Lanka’s west coast has two personalities, split figuratively and literally by the behemoth that is Colombo. In the north, the old beach town of Negombo still welcomes travellers looking for a sandy respite near the airport. Head further north, however, and you enter a sparsely populated land of coconut plantations and fishing villages. Past the old market town of Puttalam is Wilpattu National Park, a remarkable place of elephants and leopards that is re-emerging as an important destination after years of war.Going south from Colombo, the capital seems to drag on forever. But after about 40km the traffic thins enough to create a sense of open road, and you begin to see stretches of the beautiful coast, lined with rocks, sand or both. Simple guesthouses intermingle with resorts. Some visitors cleanse their bodies at Ayurvedic spas, while others use their beachside idyll to cleanse their soul.The tsunami hit hard here, especially in the low-lying areas beyond Ambalangoda, but the region is working hard on its long-term recovery and travellers are welcomed. Hikkaduwa was the country’s original laid-back backpacker town, and it continues to exude a mellow vibe. Its long beaches inspire relaxation, while those looking for more activity can enjoy snorkelling and diving amid coral – or try riding some of the often-excellent waves.

Whether it’s exploring the outer regions to the north or joining the sun seekers in the south, the west coast has much to offer travellers. If you’re pushing on to the South, you may find your plans delayed by your discoveries here.

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