A town that’s filled with tons of historic Sri Lankan culture and a dash of colonial charm, not to mention palm fringed beaches – this upcoming resort town is brimming with sights to see and things to do.
Sri Lanka is a country that’s got a lot to offer when it comes to the perfect tropical holiday – and one of the popular destinations that’s slowly gaining recognition is the town of Waskaduwa. It is located an hour and 27 minutes away from the restless city of Colombo – a short distance so it’s very easy to orchestrate a quick getaway in the heat of a moment. Kalutara is just 7 km away from Waskaduwa.
There isn’t anyone who doesn’t love to unwind on a sunny, sandy beach sipping an ice cold drink with nothing on their minds except being in a daze for the rest of their days – and Wadduwa is exactly that. Coastal towns include some of the best resorts and hotels that cater according to how you want to spend your holiday on this exotic island, and they make sure that you’re very well taken care of.
In terms of places to visit and interesting experiences both Waskaduwa and Kalutara are the towns to be in as there’s a lot of history and culture that’s fascinating to learn about and to see as well. From Buddhist temples to grand castles – you’ll never be bored.
Get ready to embark on an eventful adventure that’s going to be full of excitement, with stories you can’t wait to share once you get back home.
Kalutara is connected to Buddhism on a deeper level comparatively, especially since there’s an abundance of temples and tons of historical value behind them. It was one of the main areas where coconut plantations and rubber plantations were cultivated and exported worldwide. It was an important spice-trading centre controlled at various times by the Portuguese, the Dutch & the British. Fortunately the British developed the town and it has definitely come a long way since then attracting a lot of tourists to the area for the string of luxury hotels that have come up over the last couple of years. Today, the bustling town is known for its coconut palm gardens & for coconut-fibre mats, ropes & baskets.
On average, the temperatures are relatively high throughout the year as it is tropical weather. Due to the south west monsoon there will be a lot of rain, the warmest and driest month is January, with May being the wettest month so it’s best to avoid visiting during that time as you will not be able to have a good time then. The best time to go would be from November to April.
Food and Drink
The south coast is loaded with a variety of fresh seafood that’s caught daily by the local fishermen, and there are some scrumptious traditional dishes that are worth trying. The Sri Lankan cuisine is very simple and authentic, yet very flavorful and tasty. There are a couple of places that are absolutely great.
Green Lobster Waskaduwa Seafood Restaurant – This is the place you must go to for a real taste of the Indian Ocean this is the place to be satisfied with as they’ll serve you up with the best seafood in town; from everything that’s shellfish to crustacean delights that are absolutely bursting with flavor – it’s even called a ‘hidden gem’ so that definitely says a lot about the place in general. The portions are very generous, so it’s always better to share what you order. It’s right next to Citrus Waskaduwa which is very convenient. The food is reasonably priced and is worth every penny you spend, so you’ll find yourself coming back for more each time you’re in the country.
Oasis – Another restaurant that must be visited is the Oasis restaurant, located in Waskaduwa. It is a Sri Lankan seafood specialist. They offer a variety of tempting dishes which include local cuisines such as curries, local fishes, lobster and prawn. They are very generous with their portion sizes, and the quality of the food is excellent and of standard. It is more lively and buzzing during the night as they have live entertainment and music, which is great and very enjoyable.
Fresh Lobster Restaurant – Authenticity is very sought out after these days in restaurants – especially when it comes to the food and the restaurant in general, but this restaurant checks all the boxes. Ambience, atmosphere and obviously the food are all superb. The portions are huge and worth the value for money you would pay, and the best part is that everything is fresh from the sea that’s right next door. The owners are very humble and very welcoming to anyone that steps foot into the restaurant which is very nice to see comparative to other large restaurant chains.
Richmond Castle – Situated near Kalutara, this castle is an Edwardian mansion that has been around since the early 1900’s, was built between 1900 and 1910. It used to be the country seat of Mudaliyar Don Arthur De Silva and was constructed by him, but it currently owned by the public trustee and open to the public daily. It is certainly a majestic site and one of the defining structures of architecture in the 19th century. Stretching upon 42 acres of land with an astounding 99 doors and 38 windows, it’s quite impressive. Arthur incorporated a blend of east and west with the architecture of the castle, and overall it has a classy look.
Kalutara Bodiya – This is a dome shaped temple that is centered around a bodhi tree (sacred fig) that is said to be sprouted from a sacred sapling. The sapling was planted during the 1042 AD. It is believed to be one of the 32 saplings of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura. It was developed into a religious place in 1931 by the Kalutara Buddhist Society. The temple is one of the most historical sites to this day. It is one of the most venerated religious places in the country, with hundreds Buddhists visiting the temple on a daily basis.
Asokaramaya Buddhist Temple – It is a Buddhist temple located in Kalutara, and was built during the 1870’s for the main purpose of shelter for disciples who had come to listen to the monk’s sermons. In 1873, Buddhist monk Aluthgama Sangharatne came to the village of Etanamadala in northern Kalutara District. Aluthgama Sangharatne gained a lot of attention from the local villagers, who gathered at the hermitage to hear his sermons. Elliyas Fernando, a wealthy resident of northern Kalutara, was impressed by Aluthgama Sangharatne’s sermons and become the monk’s primary supporter. He eventually contributed to the reconstruction and expansion of the temple later on.
Basket Making = Kalutara is famous for its colorful, soft basketry. At the Basket Centre is in the middle of the village, the local weavers tame the unyielding palm fronds, turning them into purses, coasters, hats & other items. Then again unyielding & stubborn thorny Watekaiya palm leaves are skillfully transformed into patterned mats, purses, lampshades & linen baskets. There are others being woven from coconut fiber too. Most of these people make a living out of selling what they make. Having witnessed the skill of the weavers, rest assured, you will appreciate the hard work and effort they put into what they create, which is a lesson for us all to learn.
Dombagaskanda Forest Reserve – Dombagaskanda Forest Reserve is considered to be one of the most magical places in the island – a natural habitat for some of the most exotic bird species including Hill Myna’s, it is definitely a must visit. It is the only closest forest reserve that can be reached from the city of Colombo, which leads to the fact that it is highly protected from the modern world outside. Besides bird’s, there are a whole lot of other different animals that can be found here – there’s an endangered butterfly called Sri Lankan Bushbrown or ‘Mycalesis rama’ that’s very hard to spot.The Kalu River flows by this reserve, hence there are a lot of wild flowers, herbal plants and natural water sources in the area. At the heart of the forest is a hermitage that’s been there since 1950 and there are still some monks who meditate in the nearby caves.
Fa Hsien Cave (Pahiyangala Caves) – Located in Yatagampitiya which is a remote village in the Kalutara district, these caves are 400 feet above sea level. This cave is known to be the largest natural rock in Asia as well as the most ancient prehistoric human settlement in Asia. At entrance level the cave is 175 feet high and 200 feet long. The name ‘Fa Hsien’ was taken from the Chinese Mahayana Buddhist priest ‘Fa- Hsien’ who had visited the country in the 5th century. Excavation of the cave has proven that 37,000 years ago the cave was inhabited by prehistoric cave men.
Thudugalla Ella Falls – This waterfall can be found in the Thudugalla village in the Kalutara district. It is a very popular bathing area for the locals, and there is a natural pool that’s surrounded by ferns that has gradually spread over a large space of land.
Water Sports in Kalutara – There are a wide variety of water sport activities in Kalutara
– Jet skiing
Tantra Art Gallery – This art gallery contains some of the finest examples of traditional Sri Lankan art work, including some intricate sculptures which are very popular within the island. They are made out of different materials that range from ceramic to clay. Wood is another major material used, since it is in abundant supply all over the country it’s converted into many things – from little souvenirs carved from planks of wood to detailed frames that show Sri Lankan life can all be found here in this simple and vibrant gallery.
Bodhinagala Forest Hermitage
Found on the banks of the Kalu River, it is shielded away from the rest of the outside world which makes it a hidden oasis. The forest used to span over 407 hectares but sadly over time it has reduced to a mere 262 hectares. The hermitage is located in the heart of the forest and it’s been there since the early 1950’s. There is a rich and diverse biodiversity that surrounds the forest that blends with the species that inhabit the forest – Tickles Blue Flycatchers, Rose Ringed Parakeets and Breasted Munias.
Nachchimale Stream & Forest – One of the many natural bathing places found in the country, this is the Nachchimale stream located in the town of Ingiriya. It is a quaint area and is known for the tiny stream which runs from the waterfall and into natural pools below. The stream is the ideal place for relaxing as it is very cool and refreshing, especially after a trek or hike in the forest.