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Palagama Beach

About 3 hours north of Colombo Airport, on Kapitiya spit

If keen to escape the more trodden beach routes south of Colombo, Then Palagama Beach offers the perfect alternative. It’s wonderfully removed, in every sense, from the more manicured offerings of Galle and the like, boasting a very different kind of soft yet wild charm.

It sits on Kalpitiya spit, north of Colombo on Sri Lanka’s western coast and reflects a traditional village- cabanas and cottages nestled at the end of sandy path, shaded by vast palms.

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The Rooms

Palagama has three room styles, all reflecting a local aesthetic. Whilst all rooms are slightly different, almost all offer queen-sized beds, high ceilings and large bathrooms. Many have indoor and outdoor showers.

The three villas, each with two bedrooms, give a nod to a Dutch and Portuguese influence but are lit up with contemporary colours and furnishing.

Walawwa is the largest and grandest of the villas. Two well sized bedrooms with four-poster beds and other antique touches sit either side of a spacious communal area. White floors throughout give a light feel. Neat bathrooms open to outdoor showers.

Begonia has two large bedrooms, each with ensuite bathrooms and additional outdoor shower areas. Of the three villas it has the most contemporary feel.

Araliya is the ideal family villa with two small but comfortable adjoining rooms and a private kitchen, sitting and dining area.

One-bedroomed cottages sit back from the sea in a lovely tropical garden. The cottages are simply built with wood-panelled walls with thatched roofs. They match the village cottages you’ll see up and down this coastal stretch. Polished cement floors and bright colours inside give a more contemporary feel. Bathrooms run from indoor to out.

The four beach cabanas offer prime sea views and are nestled amongst the palms up close to the beach. High thatched roofs and locally sourced material show off a genuine barefoot style. Big bathrooms that open to outdoor showers and private little decks to sit and watch the sunset provide ample private space. Perfect honeymoon setups.

What’s to do

Between November and April something remarkable happens – hundreds of dolphins come to live and feed in the Indian Ocean. Most hotels in Sri Lanka can’t offer you this dolphin watching experience. But Palagama can. It’s nature at its purest.

Many sperm whales also roam the depths. And if lucky, you could even spot a blue whale. Their size, majesty and quiet wisdom stay in the mind long after your return to shore.

Go inland, and you’ll hit Wilpattu, Sri Lanka’s largest, and arguably most beautiful, national park. The park is known for its leopard and sloth bear populations but, equally well-spotted are elephants, mugger crocodiles, wild boar and buffalo.

Beyond the wildlife attractions you may fancy Anaradhapura, the most ancient city of the Cultural Triangle, an easy two hours by car.

Bike rides can be arranged and are an ideal way to see the much untouched fishing communities around Palagama.

Between May and October kite-surfing lessons can also be organised a short drive (40 minutes) up the Kalpitya spit.

Location

Palagama isn’t a vast distance north of Colombo, but a drive from the airport will take around 2.5-3 hours. The seasons of the west coast match pretty much those of down south. The early months of the year offer the calmest seas (and best opportunity to see whales) but temperatures are warm right throughout the year. Sea-swimming is difficult in May and June.

Out for the evening

This is rural Sri Lanka so a night out in town isn’t really an option but instead you will be treated to spectacular sunsets from your backyard. Crack open a cold one and enjoy.

Kalpitiya, about 40 minutes drive away, does have more to offer when it comes to dining options. Should you happen to finish a kite surfing lesson and be in the area for dinner, Rascals is a good spot for a bite to eat.

Food & Drink

The restaurant, of course, leans towards fish and seafood – battered calamari and seafood salads for lunch, spicy crab curries and seafood platters on the evening menu.

More familiar Western dishes are also available, and Sri Lankan offerings aren’t exclusively fish or seafood based.

A restaurant that looks one way to the sea and the other to an open kitchen makes for an entertaining dining experience.

Pool

The long infinity pool is as good as the photos, if not better. Ocean breezes and stunning sunset views will make for hours of fun.

Families

Palagama is family friendly in every way. The two bed-roomed villas are ideal for families and the staff will be happy to organise a movie night to keep the little ones entertained.

To and From

Properties to head to before or after your stay
at Palagama Beach…

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