West cost of Sri Lanka is the most developed and most tourists oriented as well as westernised from all, lined by a string of fine beaches along with tourist amenities of every conceivable standard and style. The west coast stretches from the capital Colombo towards the charming colonial town Galle in the south.
The beautiful West Coast is full of hotels and guest houses with different standards. The west coast is more frequented by holidaymakers due to its closer proximity to the island’s capital, which is Colombo and the main airport, and offers tropical beaches and mangrove lined lagoons. The sandy beaches are major attractions in small towns for example Kalutara, Hikkaduwa, Beruwala and Bentota etc. The West Coast also shares a vibrant cultural heritage which includes folklore, music and dance as well as architectural influence from the Dutch period.
Also, famous temples, kovils, churches as well as mosques are located along the West Coast. Cottage industries such as antique restoration, mask carving and basket weaving provide for interesting shopping. All of these make the West Coast a fascinating region waiting to be explored. There are plenty of things to do and see on the West Coast as well. These include,
- Negombo as it is an old but a modest beach town located close to the Bandaranaike International airport. Due to this reason Negombo is popular among the tourists.
- Colombo as it is the capital city and is the gateway to Sri Lanka for most travellers and you simply cannot pass through this diverse and interesting city without exploring.
- Exploring Mt. Lavinia. As you go further south of Colombo along the Galle road you will come to the Mt. Lavinia town which is almost a suburb of Colombo and has popular beaches. However the main highlight is the Mt. Lavinia hotel as it is a famous 5 star hotel.
- Gangatilaka Vihara in Kalutara located just pass the Kalurata Bridge and this Buddhist temple was built in the 1960s and has a long history.
- Beruwala which is located about 60km away from Colombo and is popular for wide beautiful beaches packed with tourists. Also the area is filled with all ranges of resorts and hotels, which offers luxury and excellent facility to the tourists.
- Bentota has major beach resorts in the West Coast. Bentota also offers different types of accommodations ranging from delightful boutique hotels to villas etc. Bentota is the home of water sports in Sri Lanka with everything from diving to kite boarding to jet-skiing, available here.
- Water skiing in Bentota as well as surfing and deep sea fishing.
- Lunuganga is a major attraction and is located on the edge of Lake Dedduwa. Lunuganga offers guests a rare opportunity to step inside the private life of the man dubbed “the father of Asian architecture.”
- Exploring the brief gardens which is 10km inland from the Bentota beach is the rural retreat of Bevis Bawa, the older brother of architect Geoffrey Bawa. The house is even more appealing, a beautiful colonial villa stuffed full of miscellaneous artefacts and artworks as well as assorted mementos of Bevis Bawa’s life and times and all these makes it a major tourist attraction.
- Canoe trip on the Kalu Ganga as well as Madu Ganga.
- Ambalangoda is the mask making centre of the island and an interesting visit. Also traditional masks and masks dancing in Ambalangoda is famous among the tourists as the traditional masks are very much a part of Sri Lanka’s culture and folklore.
- A visit to the mask museum in Ambalangoda. This museum exhibits traditional Kolam and Thovil masks which are rare and date back centuries.
- Dancing the night away in Hikkaduwa also exploring world famous colour coral reefs.
- Boat ride down the mangrove-filled rivers.
- Visiting ancient temples and churches.
- Balapitiya is further down the south and is popular for Madu river boat safaris where you will be able to evident beautiful wildlife, for example,different species of birds of the tiny island of Madu river.
- Kosgoda’s marine turtles.
- Visiting Batik workshops where you can purchase the Batiks as the prices are slightly lower than the tourist shops.
Overall, whichever part of the West Coast you choose, you can be sure that you will end up spending longer here than planned.