Villas in Sri Lanka

There are few islands in the world where the scenery is so diverse, and so quickly varied. Visitors who come to Sri Lanka cannot fail to be moved by this irresistible chameleon-like charm, her warm-hearted people and her rich multi-cultural vibe. And, despite the island’s popularity with visitors, it still feels like an untouched paradise.

Sri Lanka offers something for everyone. There’s the ancient Sinhalese ruins of the Cultural Triangle; the Hill Country’s colonial plantation bungalows, misty peaks and endless tea; Kandy’s revered Temple of the Tooth; national parks where leopards, elephants and bears roam free; and the warm turquoise seas where you can see whales and dolphins, and scuba to coral reefs.

This island’s endless swathes of unspoilt palm-speckled beaches are its biggest draw. The sultry south-west stretch linking the water sports capital of Bentota, the historic 17th century fortified city of Galle and the rustic shoreline of Tangalle is the most developed, accessible and popular, and also where most of the island’s villas – many atmospheric heritage homes - can be found.

Both the island’s geography and its multi-ethnic community are reflected in the national cuisine. Spices, particularly cinnamon, attracted overseas traders many years ago, and they feature strongly in the island’s wonderful curries, which tend to be much hotter (and better!) than their Indian equivalents.

Sri Lanka’s relatively small size means that you can take in the best of the island’s attractions within a few weeks. The south-west coast and hill country are at their climatic best between December and April, which is when the majority of visitors come. The inter-monsoonal northern summer months are not to be avoided either as quick downpours intersperse long sunny days.

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Villas in Sri Lanka by region

Hill Country, North West Coast, South Coast, West Coast
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No. 39 Galle Fort
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
No. 39 Galle Fort
Bedrooms : 2       Sleeps : 4
Rate starts at $600

No 39 Galle Fort is a three-bedroom heritage house located right in the heart of Galle's 17th century Dutch-built fort, close to major landmarks, restaurants and shops. Grand and spacious, yet equipped with every home comfort, this atmospheric heritage home is staffed, and ideal for groups of friends and families.

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No. 39 Galle Fort
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
No. 39 Galle Fort
Bedrooms : 3       Sleeps : 6
Rate starts at $600

No 39 Galle Fort is a three-bedroom heritage house located right in the heart of Galle's 17th century Dutch-built fort, close to major landmarks, restaurants and shops. Grand and spacious, yet equipped with every home comfort, this atmospheric heritage home is staffed, and ideal for groups of friends and families.

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79 Leyn Baan Street
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
79 Leyn Baan Street
Bedrooms : 3       Sleeps : 6
Rate starts at $500 ++

This 2-bedroom (plus kids’ bunk room), self-catering, historic colonial house in Galle Fort, staffed by a daytime maid, is just 30 metres from a swimming beach and the fort’s slender white British-built lighthouse.  An upper-floor master bedroom attached to an ocean-view roof terrace makes the house particularly attractive for couples.

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Ambalama
Talpe, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Ambalama
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 8
Rate starts at TBA

Fabulous Balinese-inspired beach villa in an excellent location on the Galle coast close to shops, bars, attractions and restaurants.  With 4 bedrooms, Ambalama is ideal for families, groups and couples alike. This fully-serviced tropical villa comes with an infinity swimming pool, large grassy garden, cosy lounging areas and superb chef.

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Ambassador's House
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Ambassador's House
Bedrooms : 3       Sleeps : 6
Rate starts at $950

The expansive living and dining areas of this evocative 5-bedroom family-friendly villa in the heart of Galle Fort offer plenty of potential for entertaining. Spread between two expansive buildings fringed by courtyard gardens, this fully staffed villa features a lap pool, expansive roof terrace and plenty of kids’ facilities.

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Ambassador's House
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Ambassador's House
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 10
Rate starts at $950

The expansive living and dining areas of this evocative 5-bedroom family-friendly villa in the heart of Galle Fort offer plenty of potential for entertaining. Spread between two expansive buildings fringed by courtyard gardens, this fully staffed villa features a lap pool, expansive roof terrace and plenty of kids’ facilities.

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Apsara
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Apsara
Bedrooms : 3       Sleeps : 6
Rate starts at TBA

Set on the banks of the shimmering Bentota River, Apsara is a beautifully finished 3-bedroom villa just five-minutes from the beach. An excellent staff team plus top chef attend to all your needs so you can relax by the pool, savour the aquatic views and enjoy the villa’s luxurious facilities.

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Sri Villas - Araliya (Villa Three)
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Sri Villas - Araliya (Villa Three)
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 6-8*
Rate starts at TBA

The largest of Sri Villas’ trio of contemporary beachside holiday homes that share a big, sunset-view swimming pool and tropical garden, 4-bedroomed Araliya is fully-staffed and great for one or two families. If booked in conjunction with its two neighbouring villas it’s also an excellent choice for extended groups.

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Auraliya
Talpe, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Auraliya
Bedrooms : 6       Sleeps : 10-13*
Rate starts at TBA

A superb 6-bedroomed beach villa with extensive lawned gardens, magical fibre-optic-lit swimming pool and spectacular sea views. Perfect for families and group get-togethers, Auraliya features sociable living and dining pavilions, a sunset bar and lounge, a full staff team and direct access onto one of the region’s best swimming beaches.

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The Beach House
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
The Beach House
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 10
Rate starts at TBA

Beautiful Bawa-enhanced former artist-owned beach house set in a tropical garden near to Tangalle, ideal for families, couples or groups. With 5 intimate rooms, a large swimming pool and direct ocean views this chic beach retreat is pleasantly secluded although conveniently enough located to visit Tangalle’s main attractions.

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Blue Heights
Dickwella, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Blue Heights
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 8
Rate starts at $650 ++

Relaxed, family friendly, tropical home with an expansive garden, ocean views and a lovely pool and jacuzzi on a sunny lawn.  Managed by a husband-and-wife team, Blue Heights offers 4-bedrooms and unfussy interiors that open widely to the views; the location is tranquil and the beach is five minutes’ walk away.

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Brockenhurst
Nuwara Eliya, Hill Country, Sri Lanka
Brockenhurst
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 12
Rate starts at TBA

Perched on a hillside overlooking Nuwara Eliya, Brockenhurst is a century-old classified heritage home set in a one-acre garden with two-tiered lawn. Featuring 4 comfortable bedrooms and a cosy lounge with open fireplace, this serviced property is a nostalgic base from which families and groups can explore the hill country.

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Mirissa Hills - The Bungalow
Mirissa, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Mirissa Hills - The Bungalow
Bedrooms : 3       Sleeps : 6
Rate starts at TBA

Peaceful, comfortable and secluded, this charming early twentieth century, fully restored bungalow is set in wooded gardens on the edge of a cinnamon plantation close to the scenic bays of Mirissa and Weligama. The 3-bedroom Bungalow at Mirissa Hills is fully serviced and ideal for families, writers and long stays.

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Claughton House
Dickwella, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Claughton House
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 10
Rate starts at $1,200 ++

One-of-a-kind Geoffrey Bawa-designed 5-bedroom hillside house, dating back to 1984 and set in eight landscaped acres near Dickwella with fantastic panoramas over Kudawella Bay. Each bedroom has a sea view and there are two swimming pools, a dedicated staff team and direct access to a lengthy palm-fringed beach.

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Coconut Grove
Ahangama, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Coconut Grove
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 8
Rate starts at $550 ++

This beautifully renovated cottage set amidst leafy tropical gardens in a tranquil village near Ahangama, is just five minutes’ walk from the beach. With 4 bedrooms, plus living and dining areas, the property is spacious, airy and light and enhanced by a deep blue swimming pool beside an elevated ambalama.

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Craig Appin Bungalow
Hatton, Hill Country, Sri Lanka
Craig Appin Bungalow
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 11
Rate starts at TBA

Escape to a cooler climate and relish the tranquillity of days gone by at 5-bedroom Craig Appin Bungalow near Hatton in the southwest Hill Country. Encircled by a pretty garden, the bungalow is fully staffed and features a living room, a TV Lounge, a dining room and a furnished veranda.

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Anilana Craigbank Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya, Hill Country, Sri Lanka
Anilana Craigbank Nuwara Eliya
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 8
Rate starts at TBA

An evocative 160-year-old bungalow overlooking Nuwara Eliya town surrounded by a well-maintained garden of clipped lawns, preened hedges and scented roses. With 4 comfortable  bedrooms, open fireplaces, cosy lounges, an elegant dining room and plenty of colonial character, this is a gorgeous holiday home in the hills.

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Dick Oya Bungalow
Hatton, Hill Country, Sri Lanka
Dick Oya Bungalow
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 11
Rate starts at TBA

This atmospheric ex-planters abode perched on the summit of a tea-clad hill above Dick Oya features 4 spacious bedrooms, including a family suite, a handful of living rooms and a gorgeous four-acre garden bursting with flowers and vegetables. It’s fully staffed, and makes a perfect base for savouring the great outdoors.

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The Dutch House
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
The Dutch House
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 8
Rate starts at TBA

A striking eighteenth century Dutch colonial mansion that stands in glorious landscaped gardens overlooking, but hidden from, the town of Galle. Offering quiet seclusion close to all major attractions including Galle Fort and the beaches, it features 4 luxurious suites, exquisite art and antiques and a wonderful ‘treetop’ swimming pool.

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Footprints Villa
Talpe, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Footprints Villa
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 8
Rate starts at TBA

Dalawella’s famous swimming beach is just a 100m stroll from this contemporary 4-bedroom seaside villa, eight kilometres from Galle. Ample living space spreads across two floors and the villa also features a TV room, two dining areas and a six-metre swimming pool. Footprints is staffed and completely air-conditioned.

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The Petals
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
The Petals
Bedrooms : 2       Sleeps : 4
Rate starts at TBA

An elevated 2-bedroom house overlooking a lush tropical garden boasting uninterrupted views across tranquil paddy fields. Only five minutes from the beach, The Petalsis a perfectly peaceful base for couples or a small family looking to explore the Galle region; best of all, it comes with an excellent cook.

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Hideaway
Gampaha, North West Coast, Sri Lanka
Hideaway
Bedrooms : 3       Sleeps : 6
Rate starts at TBA

Heavenly Hideaway is an enchanting manor house encircled by lush coconut and pineapple plantations that characterise the beautifully serene landscape of rural Gampaha. There are 3 gorgeous bedrooms, private jacuzzis, a cool bar, a TV with huge DVD selection, a generous swimming pool and a wonderfully pampering seven-strong staff team.

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IF Villa
Talpe, South Coast, Sri Lanka
IF Villa
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 10
Rate starts at TBA

Sited on the most desirable section of beach in Talpe, IF is a gorgeous Dutch-colonial-style villa with verdant garden, spacious sundeck, panoramic ocean views, private swimming pool and spacious dining pavilion. The property comes staffed with a cook and is perfectly set up for families and groups of friends.

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Illuketia
Inland Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Illuketia
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 8
Rate starts at TBA

Surrounded by paddy fields amidst a rural village just 10 minutes from Galle and south coast beaches, fully staffed Illuketia is a magnificent, tranquil 4-bedroom colonial plantation villa with a large garden featuring exotic plants and trees, shaded pathways, a pond house, an organic garden and a beautiful swimming pool.

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Indisch
Ahangama, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Indisch
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 8-10*
Rate starts at TBA

Oceanfront Indisch is superbly located on a picturesque curve of sandy coastline south east of Galle and features a large swimming pool and an expansive lawned garden with kid’s playground. Ideal for families and groups, this hugely spacious villa comes with an exceptional staff team, and is very private and secure.

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Ivory House
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Ivory House
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 10
Rate starts at $575 ++

An elegant country villa overlooking a lowland valley of paddy fields, with 4 bedrooms, generous living spaces, a modern open-plan kitchen and a helpful team of staff.  Enveloped by a lush palm-spiked tropical garden, Ivory House also has a gorgeous lap pool that takes full advantage of the rural vistas.

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Kadju House
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Kadju House
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 10
Rate starts at TBA

Kadju House is a contemporary 4-bedroom villa enhanced by tropical scenery, abundant wildlife and a fabulous location minutes away from beautiful, deserted beaches. With a minimalist design that frames the spectacular sea views, this fully-serviced beach pad with pool and spa offers blissful serenity for couples, groups and nature lovers.

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Khomba House
Kalpitiya, North West Coast, Sri Lanka
Khomba House
Bedrooms : 2       Sleeps : 4
Rate starts at TBA

This idyllic 2-bedroom beach pad on Sri Lanka’s tourist-scarce north-west coast is perfect for couples, families and even groups as daybeds increase capacity to ten. Khomba House is staffed and comes with a huge beachside garden and access to two swimming pools, a water sports centre, restaurants and a spa.

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Kikili Beach
Talpe, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Kikili Beach
Bedrooms : 1       Sleeps : 2
Rate starts at TBA

This fabulous 1-bedroom beach house bursts with colour, energy and soul. It’s perfect for couples who will love its privacy, intimacy and blissful comfort. Enhanced by the services of a housekeeper who’s also an excellent cook, Kikili Beach has a great location within sight of Unawatuna and close to Galle.

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Villa Kumara
Mirissa, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Villa Kumara
Bedrooms : 2       Sleeps : 4-6*
Rate starts at $600 ++

Close to Weligama’s famed surf breaks and Mirissa’s pretty bay, Kumara Villa is home to 3 luxurious bedroom suites with private walled gardens, a spacious living/dining pavilion and a sun-dappled terrace and infinity pool set in acres of tropical landscaping. The villa’s friendly staff team includes a manager and a cook.

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Kurulla Villa
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Kurulla Villa
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 7-8*
Rate starts at TBA

A 4-bedroomed family house just five minutes from Unawatuna Beach and ten from Galle. Featuring high timber ceilings, polished cement floors, antiques and warm furnishings, Kurulla Villa is a spacious fully-staffed property enveloped by large gardens with grassy lawns, palms and fruit trees, and enhanced by a fabulous swimming pool.

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Kurumba House
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Kurumba House
Bedrooms : 1       Sleeps : 2
Rate starts at TBA

Comprising just two bedrooms, a living–dining area and kitchen (complete with great cook); this idyllic beach pad near Tangalle is without pretensions. Revelling in its sensational seaside situation, contemporary Kurumba’s emerald lawn is scattered with comfortable recliners, a hammock and a deeply cushioned ambalama just footsteps from the beach.

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Kurumba House
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Kurumba House
Bedrooms : 2       Sleeps : 4
Rate starts at TBA

Comprising just two bedrooms, a living–dining area and kitchen (complete with great cook); this idyllic beach pad near Tangalle is without pretensions. Revelling in its sensational seaside situation, contemporary Kurumba’s emerald lawn is scattered with comfortable recliners, a hammock and a deeply cushioned ambalama just footsteps from the beach.

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Lansiya
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Lansiya
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 8-12*
Rate starts at $1,050 ++

Breathtaking sea views, 4 stylish bedrooms, tantalising cuisine and incredible privacy – Lansiya has it all. Staffed by an excellent team of four, this piece of paradise near Tangalle features plentiful living space, a stunning infinity swimming pool and glorious garden overlooking a wide sandy bay; it’s the ultimate escape.

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The Lavender House
Pussellawa, Hill Country, Sri Lanka
The Lavender House
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 10
Rate starts at TBA

Glorious nineteenth century tea planter’s bungalow in the Hill Country, exquisitely restored to combine yesteryear’s charms with today’s comforts. Fully staffed and featuring five luxurious bedrooms, inviting living areas, a stone-pillared verandah and a beautiful garden with stunningly situated infinity pool, this superb holiday home has enormous appeal.

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Malgedara
Habaraduwa-Koggala, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Malgedara
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 9
Rate starts at TBA

Charming 4-bedroom colonial villa with pool near Koggala Lake and not far from the beach; highlighted by a spacious tropical garden abundant in plants, trees and wildlife. A nature lover’s paradise and a great family home, Malgedara is serenity in an authentic village setting, ideally located to explore the Galle region.

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Mandalay Lake Villa
Habaraduwa-Koggala, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Mandalay Lake Villa
Bedrooms : 3       Sleeps : 6
Rate starts at $500 ++

Sited on the verdant banks of the picturesque Koggala Lake, just five minutes from the beach, Mandalay is a gorgeous 3-bedroomed staffed property that’s fabulous for families but equally terrific for two. Its large swimming pool is a treat and its glorious lakeside situation is tranquil and sure to inspire.

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Max Wadiya
Ambalangoda, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Max Wadiya
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 10-12*
Rate starts at TBA

Wide access onto an almost deserted sandy beach near Ambalangoda coupled with a large palm-shaded garden are highlights of 5-bedroom Max Wadiya. Relaxing, spacious, comfortable and full of colonial antiques, this villa is ideal for extended families, two individual families or groups of friends. Rates include all meals.

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Maya
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Maya
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 10
Rate starts at TBA

This contemporary-styled but century-old manor house inland from Tangalle is the perfect tonic for anyone needing R&R. With 5 bedrooms, a 20m pool, an excellent chef and a two-acre garden that spills onto the facing rice fields, fully staffed Maya is a serene and beautiful place to relax and unwind.

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32 Middle Street
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
32 Middle Street
Bedrooms : 3       Sleeps : 6
Rate starts at TBA

One of the oldest homes in historic Galle Fort, 32 Middle Street is a highly secluded house where careful renovations have exposed original timber ceilings and provided for three spacious bedrooms, a contemporary open plan living/dining area filled with art and antiques and a pretty courtyard garden with swimming pool.

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Mihiri Beach House
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Mihiri Beach House
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 8
Rate starts at TBA

This vibrant 4-bedroom beach house is just around the corner from Dalawella’s tranquil beach and restaurants, near historic Galle. Expansive living areas spill onto a convivial pool terrace and tropical garden, a staff of four includes a chef, and 10% of Mihiri House rental rates go to a local charity.

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Mirissa Hills - Mount Cinnamon
Mirissa, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Mirissa Hills - Mount Cinnamon
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 8
Rate starts at TBA

Set on a 50-acre cinnamon plantation, this spectacular 4-bedroom villa offers a breathtaking 360-degree panorama over the ocean and hills. Fully staffed and immaculately presented, this art-filled property with its spacious rooms, cooling verandas, swimming pool and fabulous ocean-facing lawn, is ideal for weddings, groups of friends and intimate celebrations.

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Sri Villas - Nisala (Villa Two)
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Sri Villas - Nisala (Villa Two)
Bedrooms : 2       Sleeps : 4
Rate starts at TBA

Nisala shares a big pool and beachfront garden plus spectacular sunset views with its sister Sri Villa properties. Fully-staffed, it has expansive living and dining space plus two serene sea-view suites. A great family holiday home or, if all three villas are booked together, an excellent choice for extended groups.

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Ocean’s Edge
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Ocean’s Edge
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 8-9*
Rate starts at $658

This grand 4-bedroom fully staffed villa sits in extensive gardens and offers true escapism beside a blissfully isolated beach visited by turtles.  Ideal for families, groups and nature lovers, the house is spacious and has a big, fenced T-shaped pool.  There are plenty of exciting national parks to visit nearby.

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Olanda Beach House
Talpe, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Olanda Beach House
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 10
Rate starts at TBA

Lush palm-shaded lawns topped with loungers soaking up the serenity of sun and sea stretch generously in front of this five-bedroom beach pad that feels spacious even when full. There’s a swimming pool and loads of living space whilst Olanda’s staff of four graciously tend to your needs.

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The Old Lady at the Sea
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
The Old Lady at the Sea
Bedrooms : 8       Sleeps : 16
Rate starts at TBA

The Old Lady at the Sea is a great value, fully staffed property set in lawned gardens, and is ideal for extended families and big groups. Nine ensuite bedrooms, equipped with TVs and DVD players, sit either side of the sea-view swimming pool at this renovated 300-year-old Dutch house.

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Old Palm House
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Old Palm House
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 7
Rate starts at TBA

Pitched on a leafy hill in tranquil Heenatigala, this fully staffed 4-bedroom villa with secluded swimming pool and private chef is within an easy drive of Talpe’s picturesque south coast beaches and Galle. Prettily wrapped by a lush garden with superb valley views, this recently renovated house is particularly family-friendly.

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Wetakeiya House
Dickwella, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Wetakeiya House
Bedrooms : 3       Sleeps : 6
Rate starts at $500 ++

From the long front veranda of this charming 3-bedroom hillside house near Dickwella, views unfold across a tumbling garden, home to a swimming pool and sunset pavilion, towards the Indian Ocean beyond. Ideal for groups, Wetakeiya is staffed and well-endowed with lounges, including a TV snug.

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Lassana Kanda
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Lassana Kanda
Bedrooms : 7       Sleeps : 14
Rate starts at TBA

An exceptionally spacious 7-bedroom hillside villa, a short drive from Galle’s beaches.  Rooms are spread across three buildings amidst meticulously landscaped tropical gardens, and standout features include a gorgeous 18-metre infinity pool with valley views, a gym, an entertainment room and full complement of staff including an excellent chef.

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Siri Wedamedura
Mirissa, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Siri Wedamedura
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 8
Rate starts at TBA

A chicly renovated historic manor house set in five acres of grounds a few minutes’ walk from Mirissa harbour (for seasonal whale- and dolphin-watching cruises) and a popular palm-fringed beach. Fully staffed, 4-bedroomed Siri Wedamadura has a fabulous swimming pool, alfresco living and dining areas and a well-equipped kitchen.

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Pointe Sud
Mirissa, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Pointe Sud
Bedrooms : 3       Sleeps : 6
Rate starts at $700 ++

This exclusive, elegant and exceptionally located cliff-top villa boasts the most panoramic ocean vistas of any in Sri Lanka. Fully-staffed, 5-bedroomed Pointe Sud bursts with character whilst the tropical 5-acre garden, set above a deserted stretch of beach, features a stunning infinity pool, sunset-view pavilions, lookouts and manicured lawns.

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Pointe Sud
Mirissa, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Pointe Sud
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 8
Rate starts at $1,000 ++

This exclusive, elegant and exceptionally located cliff-top villa boasts the most panoramic ocean vistas of any in Sri Lanka. Fully-staffed, 5-bedroomed Pointe Sud bursts with character whilst the tropical 5-acre garden, set above a deserted stretch of beach, features a stunning infinity pool, sunset-view pavilions, lookouts and manicured lawns.

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Pointe Sud
Mirissa, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Pointe Sud
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 10
Rate starts at $1,500 ++

This exclusive, elegant and exceptionally located cliff-top villa boasts the most panoramic ocean vistas of any in Sri Lanka. Fully-staffed, 5-bedroomed Pointe Sud bursts with character whilst the tropical 5-acre garden, set above a deserted stretch of beach, features a stunning infinity pool, sunset-view pavilions, lookouts and manicured lawns.

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Galle Henna Estate
Inland Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Galle Henna Estate
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 7-9*
Rate starts at TBA

 Ideal for family holidays, Galle Henna Estate is a beautifully renovated 5-bedroomed manor house set within spacious grounds overlooking acres of vivid green paddy fields, five minutes from the beach. There’s a swimming pool in the wildlife-filled garden and the elegant interior design of the house makes it feel like home.

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Villa Pooja Kanda
Habaraduwa-Koggala, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Villa Pooja Kanda
Bedrooms : 3       Sleeps : 6
Rate starts at $417

This 5-bedroomed colonial-style hilltop villa near Koggala is enveloped by an expansive tropical garden and is a paradise for exotic wildlife and birds. The villa, which has a blissful 10m swimming pool, is fully staffed and incredibly private, and beaches are only a ten-minute drive away.

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Villa Pooja Kanda
Habaraduwa-Koggala, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Villa Pooja Kanda
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 10
Rate starts at $595

This 5-bedroomed colonial-style hilltop villa near Koggala is enveloped by an expansive tropical garden and is a paradise for exotic wildlife and birds. The villa, which has a blissful 10m swimming pool, is fully staffed and incredibly private, and beaches are only a ten-minute drive away.

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Rangala House
Kandy Region, Hill Country, Sri Lanka
Rangala House
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 12
Rate starts at TBA

A charming homely 4-bedroomed converted planter’s bungalow with stunning views overlooking the wooded hills and tea plantations above Kandy complete with private swimming pool and a full complement of staff. Perfect for those who enjoy walking, nature, the great outdoors or simply relaxing.

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Sri Villas - Sagara (Villa One)
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Sri Villas - Sagara (Villa One)
Bedrooms : 3       Sleeps : 6
Rate starts at TBA

Out of Sri Villas’ trio of contemporary beachside holiday homes that share a large pool, tropical garden and spectacular sunset views, fully-staffed Sagara is the most suitable for couples and friends. If booked in conjunction with the other two villas it is also an excellent choice for larger groups.

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Villa Saldana
Habaraduwa-Koggala, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Villa Saldana
Bedrooms : 3       Sleeps : 6
Rate starts at $550 ++

Set on the fringe of Habaraduwa facing a sultry stretch of sand, Saldana is a tropical, 3-bedroomed, staffed villa with swimming pool that’s perfect for a family or a small group of friends. There’s a spacious central living room with TV lounge and a great kitchen that’s well-equipped for cooks.

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Satin Doll
Talpe, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Satin Doll
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 8
Rate starts at TBA

An elegant 4-bedroom beach villa, with a near-symmetrical design, which works well for two families holidaying together. The ocean views are shared from every room, living and dining space abounds – both inside the house and out in the garden – and there’s a pool, TV snug and enthusiastic staff team.

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Satori
Inland Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Satori
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 8
Rate starts at TBA

Beautifully serene hillside manor house with spectacular jungle views just a five minute drive inland from Unawatuna. With 4 bedrooms, glorious swimming pool, massage and yoga pavilions, a luxe of living space and terraced rambling gardens Satori is a heavenly escape from the stresses and strains of everyday life.

Key Amenities :
Sisindu C
Habaraduwa-Koggala, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Sisindu C
Bedrooms : 2       Sleeps : 4
Rate starts at TBA

This idyllic 2-bedroom beach pad near Galle sits before an impressively wide strip of south coast sand. Featuring a huge ground floor living space bedecked with loungers, which spills onto a deep dining veranda and beyond, to an azure pool, there’s also a west-facing pavilion topping the lush green lawn.

Key Amenities :
Six Degrees North
Ambalangoda, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Six Degrees North
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 8
Rate starts at TBA

Boasting absolute beachfront on a delicious slice of sand south of Ambalangoda, Six Degrees North is a chilled tropical retreat for a family or group of friends. Homely, relaxed and fully staffed, this 5-bedroom property with palm-peppered garden, pool and garden pavilion also offers a variety of Ayurvedic treatments.

Key Amenities :
Six Degrees North
Ambalangoda, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Six Degrees North
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 10
Rate starts at TBA

Boasting absolute beachfront on a delicious slice of sand south of Ambalangoda, Six Degrees North is a chilled tropical retreat for a family or group of friends. Homely, relaxed and fully staffed, this 5-bedroom property with palm-peppered garden, pool and garden pavilion also offers a variety of Ayurvedic treatments.

Key Amenities :
Skye House
Habaraduwa-Koggala, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Skye House
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 10
Rate starts at $1,100 ++

Standing on an idyllic sandy swathe of beachfront near Galle, the fabulous 4-bedroom Skye House is blessed with a lovely pool, tropical gardens and a full complement of staff.  An additional kids’ bunk room (sleeping 6), plus a dedicated playground and plentiful toys make this house exceptional for families.

Key Amenities :
South Point Villa
Habaraduwa-Koggala, South Coast, Sri Lanka
South Point Villa
Bedrooms : 3       Sleeps : 6-8*
Rate starts at TBA

Elegant, fully staffed 3-bedroom seaside villa on small private headland in Kathaluwa, footsteps from a gorgeous reef-protected swimming beach. With a selection of living and dining areas both inside and out, plus swimming pool amidst a grassy garden, South Point Villa works well for families and groups as well as couples.

Key Amenities :
Sri Villas
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Sri Villas
Bedrooms : 9       Sleeps : 16-18*
Rate starts at TBA

Sri Villas, a fully-staffed trio of boutique seaside properties, share a tropical garden, a large swimming pool and direct beach access. Sleeping 18 in total, these villas are perfect for large groups and for entertaining. Each is fully self-contained with its own living areas, dining space and kitchen.

Key Amenities :
Strathdon Bungalow
Hatton, Hill Country, Sri Lanka
Strathdon Bungalow
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 10
Rate starts at TBA

From its private hilltop perch in the southwest Hill Country, 100-year-old Strathdon Bungalow gazes through stands of giant bamboo across spectacular tea-clad mountains and verdant valleys. Home to 4 bedrooms and a lovely ‘breakfast terrace’, this family house comes with a small staff team including cook and non-resident manager.

Key Amenities :
Talaramba Reef Villas - Villa Sulanga
Mirissa, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Talaramba Reef Villas - Villa Sulanga
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 8-12*
Rate starts at TBA

Villa Sulanga is one of two Talaramba Reef Villas on the beachfront near sultry Mirissa Bay. The 4 bedrooms are equally sized and sea-view verandas are furnished for living and dining. The villa is fully staffed and has a huge pool, spacious living room and enormous (but shared) garden.

Key Amenities :
Villa Suriyawatta
Weligama, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Villa Suriyawatta
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 6-10*
Rate starts at $1,100 ++

Set on a pretty stretch of coastline near Weligama, Villa Suriyawatta is a convivial 5-bedroom oasis with graceful living areas, sweeping sea views and a gorgeous garden and pool.   It’s well equipped for kids, has a Sonos sound system wired to the pool area and an excellent staff team. 

Key Amenities :
Taprobane Island
Weligama, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Taprobane Island
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 10
Rate starts at TBA

An enchanting private island escape set just 150m off the coast of Weligama, 30 minutes from Galle. Hopelessly romantic and wonderfully private, this five bedroom 1920s mansion is set amidst two and a half acres of lush tropical gardens with infinity pool and breathtaking spots to appreciate the panoramic views.

Key Amenities :
The Teak House
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
The Teak House
Bedrooms : 2       Sleeps : 4
Rate starts at TBA

A charming 2-bedroom wooden house set on a hillside overlooking the ocean, only two minutes’ walk from the beach.  With a 12m swimming pool and a large palm grove garden full of tropical flowers and birds, Teak House is an enchanting retreat for families, couples, artists and nature lovers.

Key Amenities :
Villa Republic Bentota
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Villa Republic Bentota
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 10
Rate starts at TBA

This 5-bedroom riverside villa in the west coast water sports resort of Bentota celebrates cultural revolutionaries in both name and décor. Furnished with striking oriental pieces set within elegant open-plan living areas, this staffed family friendly villa with swimming pool, garden and private jetty is five minutes from the beach.

Key Amenities :
Villa Tusk
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Villa Tusk
Bedrooms : 3       Sleeps : 6
Rate starts at TBA

Just south of Galle, Villa Tusk is a private getaway offering simple beachside living. Blending serenity with the convenience of having lots to see and do nearby, Villa Tusk is fully staffed and features four bedrooms and a palm-shaded ocean-facing lawn, plus plenty of relaxing spots both inside and out.

Key Amenities :
Talaramba Reef Villas - Villa Vatura
Mirissa, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Talaramba Reef Villas - Villa Vatura
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 8-12*
Rate starts at TBA

Villa Vatura is one of two Talaramba Reef Villas on the beachfront near sultry Mirissa Bay. The 4 bedrooms are equally sized and sea-view verandas are furnished for living and dining. The villa is fully staffed and has a huge private pool, spacious living room and an enormous (but shared) garden.

Key Amenities :
Victoria
Talpe, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Victoria
Bedrooms : 5       Sleeps : 10
Rate starts at $850 ++

Gorgeous 5-bedroom private beach villa with spacious palm-shaded garden, inviting swimming pool and sweeping sea views that’s only eight kilometres from Galle. Victoria’s restful character, experienced staff team and useful location close to many attractions and facilities make it an excellent holiday home for families, groups and couples alike.

Key Amenities :
Walatta House
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Walatta House
Bedrooms : 3       Sleeps : 6-8*
Rate starts at $600 ++

The 3-bedroomed Walatta House is a fabulous choice for groups.  Perched on a palm-studded hillside with 180-degree sea views, this engaging eco-chic property has an air-con TV snug, an open-plan living/dining area, an inviting 20-metre lap pool and extensive gardens that tumble down the hillside to a secluded beach.

Key Amenities :
The Weir House
Kandy Region, Hill Country, Sri Lanka
The Weir House
Bedrooms : 4       Sleeps : 10
Rate starts at TBA

The blissful natural setting of this hillside holiday home is the leading ingredient in its authentic recipe for rest and relaxation. Generously blended with comfortable rooms, home-cooked meals, a mountainside plunge pool and six-acres of nature-filled garden to explore, the eco-friendly Weir House is a beautiful retreat from the world.

Key Amenities :
White House at Bird Lake No. 2
Hikkaduwa, West Coast, Sri Lanka
White House at Bird Lake No. 2
Bedrooms : 3       Sleeps : 6
Rate starts at TBA

A modern, 3-bedroom holiday home in a picturesque lakeside setting yet close to lively Hikkaduwa. With a simple – though striking – design, The White House at Bird Lake has cosy living and dining areas, a large swimming pool, modern conveniences and a fully equipped kitchen ideal for self-catering families, groups and couples.

Key Amenities :
Why House
Talpe, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Why House
Bedrooms : 8       Sleeps : 16
Rate starts at TBA

If you’re looking for a big house for an extended family getaway or group occasion then eight-bedroom Why House is perfect. Set in two acres of tropical gardens with a stunning swimming pool, Why boasts a full staff team and a beautifully tranquil inland location just five minutes from Galle’s beaches.

Key Amenities :
Aluthgama Wood Carving Centre
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 25/3 River Side Ave, Aluthgama   Tel No. : +94 34 4936501
Wood carving shop with lots of fishermen statues, sculpted elephants and masks. There is an attached workshop where you can see the wood craftsmen in action.

Amaan Spa
Kalutara, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Kani Lanka Resort and Spa, St Sebastian’s Rd, Katuturunda, Kalutara   Tel No. : +94 34 4280801
Take your pick from ayurvedic treatments, body wraps, body scrubs, body polishes, beauty treatments, facials, slimming treatments and honeymoon packages at this boutique resort hotel.

Amangalla
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 10 Church St, Galle Fort.    Tel No. : +94 91 2233388
European dishes and an excellent curry service are on the menu here served up in exquisite colonial surroundings. High tea on the veranda is perfect for people-watching.

Amanwella
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Bodhi Mawatha, Wella Mawatha, Godellawela, Tangalle   Tel No. : +94 47 2241333
Choose from their main dining room overlooking the swimming pool and beach where a delicious though pricey variety of dishes are served; or, during daytime hours, lunch in the informal Beach Club right beside the sandy surf. Bookings are essential.

Amanwella Spa
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Amanwella, Bodhi Mawatha, Wella Mawatha, Godellawela, Tangalle   Tel No. : +94 47 2241333
Enjoy a selective spa menu listing facials, massages and body treatments including soaks in baths. Treatments use organic Aman products and take place in the spa suite or in selected garden locations. Bookings are essential.

Amaya Hills (Hotel Spa)
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Heerassagala Rd, Kandy   Tel No. : +94 81 2233521
This hilltop hotel has a great ayurveda centre in a quiet and relaxed setting. You can enjoy body oil massages, steam baths, facials and wraps.

Ambalangoda Beach
Ambalangoda, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Ambalangoda (south).
To the south of town, stretching for a couple of kilometres are Ambalangoda’s best beaches. Here you can stroll for a few kilometres and swim with care from October to April.

Ariyapala and Sons Mask Museum
Ambalangoda, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 426 Main St, Ambalangoda   Tel No. : +94 91 2258373
This huge museum, the larger of two in town, documents the history of kolam (folk) dances and sunni yakuma (healing) dances through interesting, well-laid out displays showing the evolution of each mask and their unique style. There’s a shop here too and you can see mask makers in action.

Azmaara Spa
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Bentota Beach Hotel, Bentota   Tel No. : +94 34 2275178 (ext. 457)
This spa with branches in hotels in Colombo, Bentota and the Maldives offers a number of rejuvenating therapies from massages, wraps and scrubs to beauty treatments including facials, manicures and pedicures.

Bahiravakanda Buddha
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Bahiravakanda Hill, Kandy
From its privileged hilltop perch, Bahiravakanda’s white Buddha gazes protectively over the town. Wander up to this elevated position you can share in the city views.

Bandarawela Hotel
Bandarawela, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 14 Welimada Rd, Bandarawela   Tel No. : +94 57 2222501
This old planters clubhouse dates back to 1893 and is easily the best and most atmospheric place in town to eat.

Barefoot
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 41 Pedlar St, Galle Fort   Tel No. : +94 91 226299
Very popular shop selling hand-woven fabrics by the metre, cushions, brightly coloured sarongs and clothing, children’s soft toys, artwork, souvenirs and a good selection of books plus flip flops and bikinis from Arugam Bay Beachwear.

Bawana Spa
Weligama, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Weligama Bay Resort, Weligama   Tel No. : +94 41 2253920
The spa at this Czech-run hotel in Weligama offers a range of massage and beauty treatments in peaceful surroundings.

Bentota Lagoon Fishing
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Malu Banna, 15/3 River Ave, Aluthgama   Tel No. : +94 777117400
This alternative to deep sea fishing, especially during May to October when the rough seas are off limits, also offers glimpses of riverine scenery. Boats are fully equipped, and fish to be caught include mangrove jack, snapper, cat fish and mullet.

Bentota River Safari
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Malu Banna, 15/3 River Ave, Aluthgama   Tel No. : +94 777117400
Head off down the Bentota River to see crocodiles, monitor lizards, bird of prey, kingfishers and giant fruit bats. Trips include a journey through a beautiful mangrove swamp.

Bentota Village Bicycle Tour
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Malu Banna, 15/3 River Ave, Aluthgama.    Tel No. : +94 777117400
Head into Bentota village to explore this rural inland hinterland. You can visit a Buddhist temple and also stop off at Lunuganga for tea. Guided tours are organised through Malu Banna, but they also provide bicycles for hire should you like to explore on your own.

Boardwise
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Yaddehimulla Rd, Unawatuna
This little shop run by young local surfers sells some surfing equipment including wax and clothing. They also rent out boards and offer tuition and tours.

Buckingham Place
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Rekawa, Netolpitiya, Tangalle   Tel No. : +94 47 3489447
Situated a few kilometres from the location of the nightly turtle watch (TCP), this handily-situated open-air boutique hotel restaurant serves a menu of international fusion cuisine.

Bundala National Park
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Bundala
A little more than an hour from Tangalle is Bundala National Park, an important Ramsar wetlands, significant for the crocodiles, monkeys and migratory birdlife (including greater flamingos) attracted to the salty lewayas and mud flats found here.

Cargils
Bandarawela, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Welimada Rd, Bandarawela
A fairly well-stocked supermarket with pharmacy that’s handy for self-caterers; they also sell Mlesna Tea and display a limited selection of liquor, beer and wine.

Cargils
Ambalangoda, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Galle Rd, Ambalangoda
Ambalangoda’s best-stocked one-stop-shop for grocery items. There’s also a pharmacy here and a small selection of liquor, beer and wine.

Cargils
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Main St, Tangalle
Tangalle’s best-stocked one-stop-shop for grocery items. There’s also a pharmacy here and a small selection of liquor, beer and wine.

Central Market
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Off New Bazaar St, Nuwara Eliya.
This covered alleyway offers an insight (and a chance to buy) into the range of produce grown in the hill country – both familiar and unfamiliar. There’s also a whiffy fish and butchery section.

Citrus
Hikkaduwa, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Galle Rd, Hikkaduwa   Tel No. : +94 91 4383244
Large resort-style hotel on the beach with an international a la carte menu and frequent buffet and BBQ nights.

Clothes Market
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Off New Bazaar St, Nuwara Eliya
Search out branded skiwear, leisurewear (Colombia, Helly Hanson, Quiksilver), fleeces, jackets and jumpers at this collection of stalls. Bargain hard; stalls fiercely compete for custom.

Coastal Cruises / Snorkelling Safaris / Weligama Bay Cruises
Mirissa, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Mirissa Water Sports, Mirissa Harbour, Mirissa   Tel No. : +94 773597731
(November - April) Cruise along this unspoilt stretch of Mirissa and / or Weligama coastline stopping off in places for snorkelling, swimming, picnics and sightseeing. Minimum hire time is 2 hours. Weligama Bay Cruises use traditional Maldivian sailing dhonis.

Coastal Snorkelling Cruise
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Malu Banna, 15/3 River Ave, Aluthgama   Tel No. : +94 777117400
Head to Induruwa Reef and Handharian Gala (rock) accompanied by a trained scuba diving instructor. All equipment is provided and the boat trip affords for stunning coastal views.

Coco Spa (Hotel Spa)
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : The Tea Factory, Kandapola, Nuwara Eliya   Tel No. : +94522229526
Set in amongst this glorious converted tea factory is Sri Lanka’s highest spa. The setting is stunning and the treatments – carried out by Balinese experts – are wide-ranging and very good.

De Silva Food Centre
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : New Bazaar St, Nuwara Eliya
The best dining spot in this local establishment is upstairs via an enticing bakery with cakes and savoury pastries (great for a snack). There’s an a la carte menu though it’s mainly limited to Sri Lankan and Chinese style cuisine. The lunchtime rice and curry is good.

Deep Sea Fishing
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Malu Banna, 15/3 River Ave, Aluthgama   Tel No. : 94 777117400
Catch your own fish for dinner; the sea teems with jackfish, barracuda, tuna, red snappers, wahoo, kingfish and sailfish! Head out deep sea fishing on a fully-equipped boat with GPS, life jackets and a toilet. Trips run for four hours and depart at either 6am or 2pm.

Deep Sea Fishing
Mirissa, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Mirissa Water Sports, Mirissa Harbour, Mirissa   Tel No. : +94 773597731
(November – April) The continental shelf drops off lies less than 8 miles off the coast of Mirissa, and here big game fish can be found. The 54ft converted Indonesian fishing trawler used for fishing trips is equipped with modern satellite navigation, fish finding equipment, rods and a toilet.

Devon Restaurant
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 11 Dalada Vidiya, Kandy
Local restaurant serving up short eats – meat and vegetable-filled rolls, savoury pastries and cakes – on the ground floor, and Sri Lankan cuisine (with North Indian and Chinese options) on the floor above. Service is quick (it gets busy) and food is relatively cheap.

Dickwella Beach
Dickwella, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Dickwella
This beach is wide and long, with a section of it quite near the main road. The best stretch of sand is close to the Dickwella Resort headland, and the water to the west of this headland is best for swimming.

Dickwella Beach Resort
Dickwella, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Dickwella   Tel No. : +94 41 2255271
This sprawling hotel has a great location set on a promontory that protrudes from Dickwella Bay. The restaurant (and open-air bar) sits atop this rocky headland and boasts fab views; the menu lists mainly fish, seafood and pasta.

Dickwella Lace Centre
Dickwella, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 198 Galle Rd, Batheegama, Dickwella (west).    Tel No. : +94 41 2255896
This little lace centre employs a large number of local women who are trained to revive the dying craft of beeralu (bobbin) lace. This centre houses a museum, gives lace making demonstrations and also has a shop where the local women can sell their work.

Diya Sisila
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Elpitiya Road, Bentota   Tel No. : +94 777 402138
Cute little terrace restaurant with over water dining huts beside the Dedduwa Lake, 3km from Bentota and on the road to Lunuganga. Orders are taken the day before as all seafood is bought and cooked fresh. Rice and curry is also on the menu though they don’t sell alcohol so you must bring your own

Dutch Wall Arcade
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 55 Rampart St, Galle Fort   Tel No. : +94 91 2227046
This little shop set in an old Dutch warehouse opposite the ramparts houses a collection of colonial era-antiques ranging from crockery to cigarette cases, typewriters and ashtrays.

Earl’s Regency
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Tennekumbara, Kandy   Tel No. : +94 81 2422122
Situated 4km to the east of Kandy, this grand hotel within sight of the Mahaweli River has a well-run restaurant with both a la carte and buffet options, depending upon the guest capacity of the hotel.

Earl’s Regency Spa (Hotel Spa)
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Tennekumbara, Kandy   Tel No. : +94 81 2422122
This five star hotel has a great spa where you can succumb to a number of treatments ranging from massages and body polishing to herbal baths and a steam room.

ERA Beach
Talpe, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 834 Galle Rd, Talpe   Tel No. : +94 91 2282302
This smart boutique hotel's Mediterranean-inspired cuisine serves up particularly good steaks and seafood just footsteps from the rolling surf. There’s a smart, though somewhat quiet, bar here too

Escoffier
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 359, Galle Rd, Warahena, Bentota   Tel No. : +94 34 5625425
Next to Silk Route, this restaurant beside the Galle Road 3km south of Bentota has air-conditioned seating inside and on the terrace, fan-cooled tables. The menu has an international theme with a focus on grilled meats, fish and seafood.

Exotic Roots
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 32 Church St, Galle Fort   Tel No. : +94 91 246815
Artwork by French owner Catherine is on sale here, along with other art-related items including acrylic on cotton paintings, hand-crafted ceramics, painted trays and decorative tiles plus bold jewellery and cotton clothing.

Fishing
Weligama, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Weligama Beach
Charter a boat from Weligama Beach to go out fishing. Approach one of the fishermen yourself, or ask your villa staff to make arrangements on your behalf (recommended).

Fishing Boat Charter
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Unawatuna Beach, Unawatuna
Charter a fishing boat to take you to secluded Jungle Beach. Ask the fishermen on the beach yourselves or enlist the staff in your villa to organise a trip for you.

Flower Garden
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Yaddehimulla Rd, Unawatuna   Tel No. : +94 91 2225286
Come here for reasonably priced steaks. All main meals – including fish, seafood, pasta and poultry - come with a starter and pud.

Foot Rub
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Unawatuna Beach Resort, Unawatuna   Tel No. : +94 91 4384545
A branch of the island-wide Foot Rub in this Unawatuna hotel has a range of reasonably priced reflexology and massage treatments as well as beauty treatments such as manicures and pedicures.

Galle fish, fruit and vegetable markets 2
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Galle Main Street
Visit the vibrant fruit, vegetable and fish markets in town to savour the selection of produce and purchase for cooking back at the villa; open daily from early morning to evening (except full moon poya holidays).

Galle Fort Hotel
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 28 Church St, Galle Fort.    Tel No. : +94 91 2232870
Delicious Chinese Straits cuisine served in atmospheric surroundings. Three-course gourmet dinners must be booked in advance.

Galle Fort Walk
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Serendipity Arts Café, Leyn Baan St, Galle Fort   Tel No. : +94 779525602
Choose from a number of different focuses (architecture, the people, the wildlife, the Dutch in Ceylon etc) and be accompanied by a local on this two hour Galle Fort tour. Otherwise, head off around the fort yourselves.

Gangatilaka Vihara
Kalutara, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Galle Rd, Kalutara North
This very popular Buddhist roadside temple sits on the site of a former Portuguese Fort beside the Kalu Ganga river. The dagoba was built in the 1960’s and is the only one in the world that’s hollow.

Ginigalla Temple
Habaraduwa-Koggala, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Koggala
This Buddhist temple beside the lake is a peaceful spot. Have a wander around the temple grounds and inside the buildings where you’ll see a Buddha statue and some murals.

Grand Ella Motel
Ella, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Ella   Tel No. : +94 57 2228655
The food here isn’t anything special – you’re best off picking rice and curry – but the setting is stunning. Come in the daytime for lunch or for tea to appreciate the best view of ‘Ella Gap’.

Grand Indian Restaurant
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Grand Hotel Rd, Nuwara Eliya   Tel No. : +94 52 2222881
Dine on North and South Indian cuisine at this eatery that’s part of The Grand Hotel, a Nuwara Eliya institution. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner; at other times an attached pastry shop soothes simple hunger cravings.

Gunatilaka Batiks
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 173A Rajapahilla Mawatha, Kandy
Come here to browse a decent range of locally produced batiks.

Hakgala Botanical Gardens
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Badulla Rd, Hakgala (10km southeast of town)
Panoramic views down over the velveteen Uva District are a highlight of Peradeniya’s wilder sister where roses, ferns, lilies, camphor, pines, eucalyptus and Monterey cypresses thrive. Bird species adore this natural wonderland and you also might catch a glimpse of elusive bear monkeys.

Handicrafts Bazaar
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : National Holiday Resorts Complex (behind the Golden Grill), Bentota
This little market has a few shops selling a range of souvenirs including wood carvings, sarongs, beach clothing, postcards, spices and other touristy souvenirs.

Hikkaduwa Beach
Hikkaduwa, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Hikkaduwa
The length of sand that stretches from north to south of town is lined with guesthouses, hotels, restaurants, bars and dive operators, and as such is very lively for much of the year. Offshore is a Coral Sanctuary which is popular for snorkelers though much of the colourful coral has died off in recent years. You can charter a glass bottom boat to explore the reefs if you don’t wish to get wet.

Hikkaduwa Farm Shop
Hikkaduwa, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 282 Galle Rd, Hikkaduwa (opposite the bus station).
This is the best place in town to buy fresh chicken and pork (both reared from their nearby farm) as well as beef and some mutton. If you’re after a particular cut – make sure you ask.

Hill Club
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Grand Hotel Rd, Nuwara Eliya   Tel No. : +94 52 2222653
The Hill Club offers the best insight into the colonial lifestyle of yesteryear; formal dress is mandatory – men can borrow a jacket from the club’s wardrobe – and you must pay a temporary membership of Rs. 100. White-clothed waiters serve up set lunches, five-course dinners and a selection of a la carte international dishes in atmospheric surroundings. There are also a couple of bars here too.

Hiriketiya Beach
Dickwella, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Situated 5km east of Dickwella.
This tiny beach just 5km from Dickwella is perfect for snorkelling as this enclosed bay has calm water and is very picturesque.

History
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 27A Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha, Kandy   Tel No. : +94 81 2202109
This is one of Sri Lanka’s most unique eating experiences: dine on international cuisine in an air-conditioned setting where colonial-era prints and photographs hug walls and a slide show of even more pictures is projected onto the wall. They serve wine here too.

Hoomaniya Blowhole
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Nilwella, Tangalle
The spray of this blowhole can reach 25m when the seas are at their most tumultuous (typically from May to July). The 1km pathway leading to the blowhole is lined with little refreshments stalls.

Horse Riding
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Nuwara Eliya Racecourse
Tired-looking ponies can be seen at the entrance to the racecourse or even around Lake Gregory. If you think the animal looks healthy (some do, some don’t), then hop on board (children) or talk your way into the racecourse itself where you can pay to ride on proper steeds.

Horton Plains National Park
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : B339 to Ohiya.
High altitude grassland (2,100m) featuring large patches of bird and wildlife-filled cloud forest, rushing waterfalls and rivers that are the perfect setting for hiking; trails extend up to 22km. Here you’ll also find World’s End, a sheer escarpment that falls steeply for almost 1km to the plains below; a magnificent sight. Try to get there early to beat the cloud and mists.

Humbugs
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Badulla Rd, Hakgala (close to the Hakgala Botanical Gardens   Tel No. : +94 52 2222709
This rustic roadside café, 10km southeast of Nuwara Eliya, is famous for one thing: strawberries! From their little cafe these growers sell strawberries in jam, in punnets, in milkshakes and most deliciously, in pancakes with whippings of cream.

Il Camino
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Suriya Gardens, Nakulugamuwa, Tangalle   Tel No. : +94 47 2242286
Although this restaurant has erratic opening times (best to call before coming) and is closed over northern summer months, the Italian owner serves up some great homemade Italian cuisine in a simple, rustic setting.

Indika Art Gallery
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Medilla, Tangalle   Tel No. : +94 777903253
This diminutive art gallery to the east of Tangalle showcases the paintings of Indika Pathmananda, an award-winning artist whose work covers wildlife, landscapes, portrait, line drawings, modern art and abstract styles. He undertakes commissions and runs short courses in painting and art work on request.

Indisch
Ahangama, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 248 Ahangama Kanda, Matara Rd, Ahangama   Tel No. : +94 91 2283541
This five-bedroom classically-styled colonial seaside mansion is an intimate place for daytime dining. The chef creates an innovative menu of Sri Lankan and western fusion cuisine. Best to book in advance.

Induruwa Beach
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Induruwa – 3km south of Bentota
South of Bentota, Induruwa Beach is wide and very pretty, and thanks to an offshore reef swimming is safer here than many other west coast spots between October and April.

Japanese Peace Pagoda
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Rumassala Road, Unawatuna
Situated above the sea on the Rumassala headland enroute to Jungle Beach, this tranquil Buddhist dagoba features beautiful gold statues and stunning views towards Galle – it’s a great sunset spot.

Jetwing Hunas Falls
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Elkaduwa, Kandy   Tel No. : +94 81 2470041
Although this beautifully sited hotel is 27km from Kandy, it’s useful for properties tucked to the north of the city and for visits to The Knuckles Mountains. The food is as delightful as the scenic hilly outlook.

Jetwing Lighthouse
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Dadella, Galle.    Tel No. : +94 91 2223744
This Geoffrey-Bawa designed hotel has two restaurants; the fine dining Cinnamon Room and the informal Cardamom Café with adjoining drinks lounge. The Saturday night buffets in the Cardamom Café featuring barbecued meats, seafood and fish are legendary.

Jetwing St Andrews
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 10 St Andrews Drive, Nuwara Eliya   Tel No. : +94 52 2222445
The fine dining Old Course Restaurant, in the town’s best hotel beside the golf course, is an oak-panelled beauty where local and international dishes are served from an open-plan kitchen. There’s a wine cellar here (and an atmospheric bar), and the sommeliers give good advice.

Jungle Beach
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Rumassala Road, Unawatuna
The pair of bays that make up secluded Jungle Beach can be reached on foot over the Rumassala Headland, by tuk tuk (plus a short walk) or via fishing boat. The sand here is best from November to April and although lots of dead coral is being washed ashore, there is some snorkelling to be done here.

Kalametiya
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Kalametiya
This wetland bird sanctuary to the east of Tangalle features a vast mangrove swamp. Between November and March you can witness an incredible variety of visiting migratory and resident birdlife.

Kalutara / Wadduwa beaches
Kalutara, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Kalutara (north) to Wadduwa
This stretch of beach – 8km – is pleasant from October until April and is backed by a number of resort hotels. Great for long strolls, the beaches here are relatively unspoilt.

Kandy City Centre
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 5 Dalada Veediya, Kandy
Modern city mall with a variety of shops including Mlesna Tea, a couple of bookshops, Stone N String (contemporary jewellers, www.stone-n-string.com) and a branch of the well-stocked Keells supermarket. There are also a number of banks with ATMs here.

Kandy Lake Boat Ride
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Kandyan Arts Association, Kandy
Although this cultural show is undeniably touristy, it offers the best glimpse into the dances, the costumes, the music and the traditions of Kandy. Shows feature consistent drumming and end with a daring feat of fire walking.

Kandyan Arts and Crafts Association
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 22 Sangaraja Mawatha, Kandy
This is perhaps the best place to pick up local arts and crafts; you can also watch local artisans at work.

Kani Lanka Resort and Spa
Kalutara, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : St. Sebastian’s Rd, Katuturunda, Kalutara   Tel No. : +94 34 4280801
The restaurant within this boutique hotel set on a narrow spit of land between the sea and the lagoon to the north of Kalutara is a lovely spot for lunch or dinner. Best to book in advance.

Keells
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Galle Rd, Galle
The best supermarket in town with fish and meat counters, fresh fruits and vegetables, a great bakery, a selection of cheeses, and a number of imported chocolates. Galle’s one-stop-shop for self-caterers.

King Prawn
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Hotel Glendower, 5 Grand Hotel Rd, Nuwara Eliya   Tel No. : +94 52 2222501
This good Chinese restaurant boasts a generous menu of tasty chicken, meat, pork, fish, seafood and vegetarian Cantonese-style dishes. The pub-style bar here with lounge is one of Nuwara Eliya’s best; perfect for after dinner drinks.

Kingfisher
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Yaddehimulla Rd, Unawatuna   Tel No. : +94 773408405
Seafood, pasta and wraps are served in a rustic restaurant with family-friendly lounge whilst a bar blends chilled tunes with cool drinks under the stars. Delivery / take-away to local villas possible

KK
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 36 Church St, Galle Fort   Tel No. : +94 91 7212391
A fabulous collection of fabrics, clothing, gifts and interior design pieces as well as towels, linen, toiletries and fabrics by the metre; perfect for feather nesting any home.

Koggala Beach
Habaraduwa-Koggala, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Habaraduwa / Koggala
The beach running from Habaraduwa to Koggala is wide and perfect for long strolls as it is a rare length of sand that extends for a few kilometres uninterrupted. The sea is a bit rough here, though in places – such as in front of the Fortress Hotel where there are a few stilt fishermen – you can swim with care.

Koggala Lake
Habaraduwa-Koggala, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Koggala. Various launch points
Board a boat to visit the spice gardens and bird-filled islands during the early morning or late afternoon as you meander this waterway and soak in the unique lakeside lifestyle. Ask your villa staff to arrange a charter for you.

Labookelie Tea Estate
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Kandy Road, Labookelie, Nuwara Eliya
Standing at an elevation of 2,000m around 20km north of Nuwara Eliya is this tea estate where you can tour the factory, wander the tea gardens and sample a brew from their little café. There’s a shop here too.

Lake Gregory
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Boat Yard, Lake Gregory
Take a pedalo out on the lake for an alternative glimpse at the emerald green tea fields and misty mountains that envelope the town.

Laksala
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 5 Sangaraja Mawatha, Kandy   Tel No. : +94 81 2222087
Government handicrafts emporium that sells a range of tourist related souvenirs; wood carvings, masks, lacquerware and basketry.

Laksala
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Udupusselawa Rd, Nuwara Eliya   Tel No. : +94522222575
Government handicrafts emporium that sells a range of tourist related souvenirs; wood carvings, masks, lacquerware and basketry.

Laksala
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Galle Rd, Galle   Tel No. : +94 91 2222783
Government handicrafts emporium opposite the post office. Sells a huge range of tourist souvenirs including wood carvings, painted masks, fabrics, artwork and spices.

Laksana
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 30 Hospital St, Galle Fort   Tel No. : +94 777900170
Gem shop where you can design your own pieces of jewellery and select from a number of precious and semi-precious stones. Also sells silver items, coins and watches.

Little Adam’s Peak
Ella, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : The pathway starts from beside a Garden Centre 1km along the Passara Road from Ella
Wander up Adam’s Peak’s smaller brother for the most spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, and views down the famed Ella Gap to the lowland plains in the distance. The walk takes around 45 minutes each way. Ask at your villa for a guide.

Lollapalooza
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Pedlar St Galle Fort
Mainly children’s toys are found here, but you can also buy handmade gift cards, decorative pieces and browse a petit selection of Mimimango beachwear.

Lucky Tuna
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Yaddehimulla Rd, Unawatuna   Tel No. : +94 91 4380346
Seafood, fish, fried rice and devilled dishes right on the beach in Unawatuna. Big screens sometimes show premier league footie or international cricket games.

Lunuganga
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Dedduwa Lake, Bentota   Tel No. : +94 773655865
This, legendary architect Geoffrey Bawa’s spectacular estate inland from Bentota, provides the most stunning setting for lunch or high tea, both of which must be pre-arranged. Enjoy rice and curry spreads or pick from a selective menu of a la carte meals.

Lunuganga
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Dedduwa Lake, Bentota (6km inland from Bentota via Dedduwa Junction).    Tel No. : +94 773655865
This magnificent 23-hectare estate was the residence of the late architect Geoffrey Bawa. Comprising a beautifully renovated old house, a number of gorgeously-positioned buildings and intertwining terraces designed to overlook the gardens and frame the views; this garden is a true inspiration. Tours are best culminated with a delicious rice and curry lunch or high tea.

Mahaweli Reach Hotel
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 35 P.B.A. Weerakoon Mawatha, Kandy   Tel No. : +94 81 4472727
This five-star hotel (4km from the Kandy), has a wide ranging menu of western fusion cuisine with frequent buffets. The style is a little bit dated but the food’s good and the river outlook is very serene.

Malli’s Seafood Restaurant
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Pitaramba, Bentota   Tel No. : +94 7785 14894
Little first floor restaurant beside the railway track and opposite The Surf Hotel serving excellent seafood in simplistic though sophisticated surroundings. Downstairs are a number of little shops selling souvenirs, crafts and sarongs.

Mamas Rooftop Cafe
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 76 Leyn Baan St, Galle Fort.    Tel No. : +94 91 2226415
From the plant pot-dotted rooftop of this restored colonial house in the fort, dine on Sri Lankan and western food plus tea and snacks whilst drinking in the fort views.

Mandara Resort
Weligama, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Matara Rd, Weligama   Tel No. : +94 41 2253993
The nicely situated restaurant at this hotel serves up a range of international dishes within sight and sound of the sea, or, atop the sand if you wish to admire the night lights of Weligama Bay.

Mangrove Garden
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Kapuhenwella, Marakolliya, Tangalle   Tel No. : +94 777906018
If you’re heading out turtle watching, stop here enroute for dinner where there’s a reasonably priced menu set in rustic surrounds. It’s an equally delightful setting in the daytime as the restaurant’s set beside a lengthy beach perfect for long strolls.

Marakolliya Beach
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Situated approximately 4km east of Tangalle
With wide endless shell-scattered sands, this stretch of beach is one of Tangalle’s widest and finest. There are a couple of basic restaurants situated along here and it is perfect for strolls. The sea is a bit too rough for swimming in through.

Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum
Habaraduwa-Koggala, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Koggala, Habaraduwa   Tel No. : +94 91 2283427
This historic house set in spacious gardens was the ancestral home of celebrated Sri Lankan author Martin Wickramasinghe; the museum showcases a fascinating collection of local artefacts and agricultural tools from days gone by.

Maya House
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Old House, Aranwella, Beliatta, Tangalle   Tel No. : +94 47 5679025 / 6
The best food in Tangalle, although it’s tucked in 8km inland. Lunch and dinner are typically three-course affairs making best use of whatever fish and seafood is fresh that day. Bookings are essential.

Midigama Beach
Ahangama, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 2km to the east of Weligama
Midigama Beach offers some of Sri Lanka’s best surfing although the village itself is tiny and very laid back. There are a few guesthouses beside the beach here where surfing equipment and instruction are both provided. Otherwise, ask in Unawatuna.

Mimimango
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 40 Leyn Baan St, Galle Fort
Glamorous ladies beachwear, cocktail dresses and kaftans from Bali, India and Sri Lanka including a selection of jewellery and belts. Men’s beach shirts are also for sale here.

Mirissa Beach
Mirissa, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Mirissa
This gorgeous curve of sand shaded by hundreds of leaning palms is one of the south coast’s most picturesque and unspoilt stretches of sand. It is also peaceful and not overly developed. Rustic restaurants scatter the beach here and there are places to rent surf equipment. The sea is rough to the west of the bay, but to the east (near Pigeon Island) the sea is calmer and snorkelling is possible.

Mirissa Whale Watching
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Malu Banna, 15/3 River Ave, Aluthgama   Tel No. : +94 777117400
Malu Banna offer whale watching trips with transport included from Bentota, with pickups available at villas south down the coast to Ambalangoda, or further up north towards Beruwala (max 5km). The transfers take 2 hours each way, and the whale watching boats depart at 7am and 2pm daily.

Mlesna Tea Centre
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Dalada Vidiya, Kandy
Situated across from The Pub, here you can buy any number of teas – flavoured or plain – and pick from a range of tea-related memorabilia.

Mulkirigala Temple
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Mulkirigala, Tangalle
This awesome rock temple stands more than 200m above the surrounding scenery like a little Sigirya. There are four chambers on the way up with ancient murals and Buddha statues, and from the top you can enjoy stunning 360 degree panoramas.

Nautilus Restaurant
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Yaddehimulla Rd, Unawatuna   Tel No. : +94 779110090
Amazing rice and curry (though it’s best to order a little in advance), as well as seafood, pizzas and pasta served up in a neat little roadside restaurant.

New Chinese Hotel
Bandarawela, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Esplanade Rd, Bandarawela   Tel No. : 94 57 2231767
As its name suggests, this local Chinese eatery serves up a fair range of Cantonese staples from its ground floor restaurant, and is situated opposite a children’s park.

New Curd and Honey Shop
Ella, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Passara Junction, Ella
This dingy looking local establishment beside the main road is not the best looking or the best situated eatery in town, but it serves up great curries along with a number of sweet and savoury snacks (curd and honey) that you can enjoy throughout the day. The owners are very friendly too.

New Hikkaduwa Wine Stores
Hikkaduwa, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Galle Rd, Hikkaduwa (opposite Commercial Bank).
Browse a selection of local spirits (vodka, rum, gin and arrack) as well as a few international brands, notably Smirnoff Vodka, though these are few and far between. Also sells local Lion and Carlsberg beer, as well as a limited selection of wine.

Nico’s Bistro and Bar
Talpe, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 1042 Matara Rd, Talpe   Tel No. : +94 728920027
Asian-infused cuisine influenced by the Med is what you'll find at this gorgeous Balinese-style beachside restaurant with pool. It’s a particularly pretty spot for sunset cocktails

No. 1 Roti Restaurant
Hikkaduwa, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Galle Rd, Wewala, Hikkaduwa (opposite Citrus Hotel
The best rotis in town, in fact in all of Sri Lanka. All sorts of traditional and completely untraditional fillings are on the extensive menu here, sweet or savoury or make your own.

Nuwara Eliya Golf Course
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Nuwara Eliya Town   Tel No. : +94 52 2222835
Winding right through the town and adding a lot to its charm is this colonial golf course, which is scenically landscaped with pines, eucalyptus and cypresses. Rounds include green fees, club hire, caddy and balls, and cost from US$65 on weekdays and $70 at weekends.

Olanda Antiques
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Leyn Baan St, Galle Fort   Tel No. : +94 91 234398
Huge warehouse of colonial-era furnishings and fittings ranging from the portable - door handles, lamps and baskets – to the less bag-worthy four-poster beds, wardrobes and chairs; great for a look.

One Stop
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Galle Rd, Unawatuna
Handy minimart in Unawatuna that sells essentials such as milk, rice, spices, dhal, eggs, packet bread, ice cubes, frozen bacon, ham and sausages plus confectionery and a few imported cheeses.

Paradise Beach Club
Mirissa, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Mirissa   Tel No. : +94 773476288
Mirissa’s plushest dining venue is not the most imaginative in terms of cuisine – they tend to have lots of uninspiring buffets - but has a lovely location right beside the beach. Try to order a la carte, if you can.

Paradise Road
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : The Villa, Mohotti Walauwa, 138/8 – 138/22 Galle Road, Bentota   Tel No. : +94 34 2275311
Tiny outlet of a beloved Colombo institution where you can pick up decorative design pieces, scented candles, leather-bound diaries and deliciously fragranced ayurvedic toiletries.

Pedlar’s Inn Café
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 92 Pedlar St, Galle Fort.
The perfect coffee stop where you can people watch and feast on delicious chocolate brownies from a street side Dutch-style veranda. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner but doesn’t serve alcohol

Peradeniya Botanical Gardens
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Peradeniya Rd, Peradeniya   Tel No. : +94 81 2388088
This little restaurant situated in the heart of these famous botanical gardens offers the most serene setting in Kandy for relaxed daytime dining. The garden lawns are a great spot for picnicking too.

Peradeniya Botanical Gardens
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Peradeniya Rd, Peradeniya.    Tel No. : +94 81 2388088
Sri Lanka’s finest gardens cover 150 acres and are filled with an enormous variety of local and foreign tree and plant species. Top sights include the Royal Palm Avenue, the Orchid House, the Memorial Trees and the Bamboo Garden as well as the Java Fig that sprawls its boughs over a perfect-for-picnicking lawn. Guides tout their services at the garden entrance.

Poseidon Diving Station
Hikkaduwa, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Seenigama, 2km north of Hikkaduwa
This little island temple just north of Hikkaduwa is dedicated to Dewol, a malevolent deity who is approached by those seeking revenge; as such, it’s a little unusual.

Rainforest Rescue International
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 169 Matara Rd, Galle   Tel No. : +94 91 2232585
Explore Sri Lanka’s rainforests with scheduled trips to Kottawa, Kanneliya and Hiyare (where you can head off by boat to explore the reservoir), and bespoke explorations into Sinharaja Rainforest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ramboda Falls
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Nuwara Eliya Rd, Ramboda
Almost mid-way between Kandy and Nuwara Eliya (and just a few kilometres south of Pussellawa) are twin 100m waterfalls that plunge over jungle-clad cliffs. The Ramboda Falls Hotel, situated within view of the falls, has a restaurant that sells soft drinks, Sri Lankan food and some western dishes.

Ranjamina Crafts
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 173 Rajapahilla Mawatha, Kandy
This little shop sells a big variety of kolam (folk) masks as well as some fine Buddha and elephant carvings in sandalwood, teak and mahogany.

Ravana Ella Falls
Ella, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Ella – Wellawaya Rd (6km from Ella)
These 90m falls are one of Sri Lanka’s widest, and they cascade down the mountain and under the road bridge to continue its descent down. There are a few little shacks selling boiled corn and soft drinks.

Rekawa Turtle Sanctuary (night watch)
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Rekawa, Netolpitiya, Tangalle   Tel No. : +94 777810508
(peak nesting season is February to July) Rekawa is Sri Lanka’s only marine turtle national park as five endangered species of marine turtle come to lay their eggs here. Nightly turtle watches conducted by the Turtle Conservation Project start at 8pm at the TCP Beach Hut on Rekawa Beach; take a picnic and wait for them to emerge.

Richmond Castle
Kalutara, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Palatota, Kalutara
This end of nineteenth century house blends Indian and British architectural styles. Originally built by wealthy spice owner, it is now an educational centre for underprivileged kids. Wander the grand building, admire the Burmese teak in the main hall and stroll the 42-acre estate.

River and Mangrove Trips
Mirissa, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Mirissa Water Sports, Mirissa Harbour, Mirissa   Tel No. : +94 773597731
Head up the Polwatta Ganga river famed for its wildlife and unspoilt mangrove swamps. Look out for sea eagles, leaf monkeys, monitor lizards and crocodiles. Dawn and dusk are the best times to go.

Saffron Robes
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Yaddehimulla Rd, Unawatuna
Find in here brightly coloured paintings of monks, ships, elephants and other Sri Lankan scenes all crafted by local artists.

Sahana Spa
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Saman Villas, Aturuwella, Bentota   Tel No. : +94342275435
A beautifully laid out luxury spa; treatments are carried out in private suites with sauna, steam shower, jacuzzi, flower bath, treatment room, dining pavilion and relaxing pavilion, and range from skin treats, facials, scrubs and wraps to ayurvedic treatments, hot stone massages and reflexology.

Saman Villas
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Aturuwella, Bentota   Tel No. : +94 34 2275435
Beautifully positioned restaurant and bar on a rocky promontory with spectacular views of the northern and southern coastline as well as the sea. The food is some of the most expensive in Bentota, but it’s good and there’s lots to pick from on the menu.

Sea Fair
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Matara Road, Devata.
Situated between Unawatuna and Galle, this supermarket is handy for self-caterers situated to the east of Galle. Fresh produce – including a variety of salad leaves and fresh herbs – comes in the form of fruit, veg, poultry and beef (no fish or pork) plus imported items such as cheese, olive oil and cereals.

Sea Kayaking
Mirissa, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Mirissa Water Sports, Mirissa Harbour, Mirissa   Tel No. : +94 773597732
(November – April) Mirissa Water Sports hire out sea kayaks so you can explore the coastline at your own pace.

Sea Turtle Conservation Project
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Galle Rd, Bentota South (250m south of Escoffier restaurant).
Identify Sri Lanka’s five species of endangered marine turtle in tanks, along with hatchlings and buried mounds of eggs that are safely protected until the babies are ready to emerge.

Seenimodera / Mawella Beaches
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Situated 6km to the west of Tangalle
This pair of adjoining beaches is very picturesque and the gentle waves here are popular for body boarders. The sea is best from November to April, though outside of these months swimming can be done in places with care. The beaches stretch for a couple of kilometres and are lined with fishing boats

Serendipity Arts Café
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Leyn Baan St, Galle Fort   Tel No. : +94 779525602
Dishes range from Sri Lankan curries to western soups, salads and sandwiches, served either indoors or outside in a street-side garden. They arrange fort walking tours from here too.

Silk Route
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 357, Galle Rd, Warahena, Bentota    Tel No. : +94 34 4947947
Roadside restaurant 3km south of Bentota (next to Escoffier) serving dishes from each country on the Silk Route ranging from Moroccan couscous and Turkish kebabs to Thai curries and Indonesian mee goreng

Singharaja
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Galle Rd, Aluthgama
Sri Lankan short eats – filled bread snacks, savoury pastries and sweet snacks – are found on the ground floor whilst upstairs Sri Lankan buffets are put on for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Very reasonably priced and perfect for a quick bite to eat.

Sita Aman Temple
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Badulla Rd, Nuwara Eliya
Just before you reach Hakgala on the Badulla Road to the southeast of town, you find this brightly coloured statue-laden Hindu temple dedicated to Sita. Watch out for the red macaque monkeys.

South Ceylon
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Yaddehimulla Rd, Unawatuna   Tel No. : +94 776986492
Veggies should head to this teensy top floor eatery in Unawatuna for its strictly vegetarian menu that includes Indian dosas, Mexican tacos and simple pasta meals. Grab a veranda table for people-peeking.

Spunky Monkey Wakeboard Camp
Hikkaduwa, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Hikkaduwa Lagoon, 3km inland
Operating out of the Kallabongo Lake Resort, Spunky Monkey offers windsurfing, wake skating, waterskiing and banana boating atop the lake, as well as courses in wakeboarding between the months of October and May. You can also rent canoes to explore the lake for yourself.

Sri Lankan Cooking Course
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Nautilus Restaurant, Yaddehimulla Rd, Unawatuna   Tel No. : +94 779110090
Enrol in a half-day Sri Lankan cooking course where you learn a little about local flavours and make a selection of curries and sambols, which can then be enjoyed for lunch.

Sri Ram
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 87 Bennet Soysa Vidiya, Kandy
For inexpensive authentic South Indian cuisine (without alcohol), this very local restaurant prettified by batik wall hangings is the go-to place. The lip-smacking menu includes thalis, dosas and idlis along with a selection of tasty meat and vegetable curries.

Submarine Diving School
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Wella Devale Rd, Unawatuna (near the temple headland).    Tel No. : +94 777196753
Shirley, the proprietor, is Unawatuna’s only qualified PADI Dive Master. Dive sites include wrecks, rocks and caves, and you can also do a course; specialities include deep diver, night diver, underwater navigation, wreck diver, underwater photographer and master scuba diver.

TALPE
Talpe, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Eastern end of Talpe, close to IF and Auraylia villas
The beach here is very pretty since offshore rocks make the sea here like a lagoon where swimming is possible year-round. When the sand narrows, rocks appear, though you can head a little to the west (in front of Nico’s Restaurant) where there’s another good stretch of sand.

The Baths at Amangalla
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 10 Church St, Galle Fort   Tel No. : +94 91 2233388
Stunning spa which specialises in authentic ayurveda treatments and also offers body and beauty treatments, yoga and meditation. There are also saunas, steam rooms and hydrotherapy pools for use.

The Blue Water
Kalutara, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Thalpitiya, Wadduwa, Kalutara   Tel No. : +94 38 2235067
This boutique hotel’s main ground floor resort-style restaurant offers either air-conditioned dining inside, or fan cooled seating on the veranda. There are frequent buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner although you can also order a la carte. Alternatively, on the first floor there’s a much better fine dining restaurant.

The Devales
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Dalada Vidiya, Kandy
Four Hindu gods traditionally protect Kandy, and each one of these is honoured with a shrine in the city. Three of these shrines - belonging to Pattini, Natha and Vishnu – are situated in front of the Temple of the Tooth, whilst the fourth – Kataragama – is found in the city centre itself.

The Devales
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Kotugoda Vidiya, Kandy
Four Hindu gods traditionally protect Kandy, and each one of these is honoured with a shrine in the city. Three of these shrines - belonging to Pattini, Natha and Vishnu – are situated in front of the Temple of the Tooth, whilst the fourth – Kataragama – is found in the city centre itself.

The Dream House
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Yaddehimulla Rd, Unawatuna   Tel No. : +94 91 4381541.
Authentic Italian cuisine cooked by Sicilian owners in intimate setting. Best to book a table in advance as this tiny garden restaurant often gets busy

The Fort Printers
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 39 Pedlar St, Galle Fort   Tel No. : +94 91 2247977
Set beside an intimate walled garden within a beautifully converted colonial mansion, here you can dine on a Mediterranean-inspired menu of tapas, salads, fish and seafood.

The Fortress Boutique
Habaraduwa-Koggala, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : The Fortress Hotel, Matara Rd, Koggala   Tel No. : +94 91 4389400
Small though pricey selection of Sri Lankan handicrafts, clothing and artwork are on sale here along with postcards and essential toiletries.

The Fortress Hotel
Habaraduwa-Koggala, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Matara Rd, Koggala    Tel No. : +94 91 4389400
The Fortress Hotel has a handful of restaurants where you can enjoy great food but at much higher prices than elsewhere. There’s an extensive wine selection though and the setting’s stunning.

The Grand Hotel
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Grand Hotel Rd, Nuwara Eliya   Tel No. : +94522222881
Overlooking the hotel’s gardens on the ground floor, this big restaurant serves up both eastern and western cuisine, although British style dishes are most typical. The hotel also has a traditional bar and a billiards room.

The International Cricket Stadium
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Galle
The stadium hosts infrequent test matches in the shadow of the fort; the atmosphere is typically vibrant and tickets are inexpensive. At other times, club and village matches may be taking place.

The Knuckles Range
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Mahiyangana Rd, Hunasgiriya (27km east of Kandy).
The rugged peaks of the wildlife-filled Knuckles are the hill country’s last great unspoilt wilderness; perfect for hiking and wildlife spotting. Guides are essential; ask the staff at your villa to arrange. Alternatively, drive up through Looloowatte village to Corbet’s Gap for stunning range panoramas.

The Lighthouse Hotel Spa
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Dadella, Galle   Tel No. : +94 91 2223744
Set within sight and sound of the sea, this seductive little spa offers a range of divine treatments to soothe body and mind.

The Pub
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 36 Dalada Vidiya, Kandy   Tel No. : 94 81 2234868
This Kandy institution boasts a first floor balcony that’s easily the best place to sit and watch the world go by. Afterwards, dine on pub-style international food indoors in air-conditioned coolness where premier league football and cricket matches are often shown on a big screen. Great if you’re feeling homesick.

The Sanctuary Spa
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Yaddehimulla Rd, Unawatuna   Tel No. : +94 7773078583
Very reasonably priced massage treatments in gorgeous garden sanctuary close to the beach in Unawatuna. There’s a steam bath here too.

The Sun House
Galle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 18 Upper Dickson Rd, Galle   Tel No. : +94 91 4380275
The intimate garden veranda of this iconic boutique hotel is a romantic setting for three-course set dinners (bookings essential). British-style bites are served from the fully-stocked lounge-style ‘Dick’s Bar’.

The Tea Factory
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Kandapola, Nuwara Eliya   Tel No. : +94 52 2229600
Created out of the old Hethersett Estate Tea Factory, this five-star hotel - situated 14km east of Nuwara Eliya – serves up an international menu in the main dining room or more uniquely, in restored railway carriages (call ahead to book).

The Temple of the Tooth
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Dalada Vidiya, Kandy (beside the lake)
Sri Lanka’s most revered Buddhist shrine houses the legendary Buddha’s tooth over which is laid a pristine golden roof; a symbol of its importance. Guides hang around the entrance, and the best (though busiest) times to visit are for the pujas (ceremonial worship) held at 6am, 9am and 6.30pm where the doors to the room housing the tooth relic are opened briefly for public peeking. Other significant buildings part of the temple complex (once part of a sprawling Royal Palace) are the Sri Dalada Museum, the Audience Hall, the Raja Tusker Museum, the Archaeological Museum and the Kandy Garrison Cemetery.

The Villa Cafe
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Mohotti Walauwa, 138/8 – 138/22 Galle Rd, Bentota.    Tel No. : +94 34 2275311
This restaurant within a beautiful boutique hotel serves up an exciting International menu of dishes sourced from their famed Gallery Café restaurant in Colombo. Seafood is a speciality (for platters order 24 hours before), there’s a wood-fired pizza oven and desserts are numerous.

Tone Spa
Habaraduwa-Koggala, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Matara Rd, Koggala   Tel No. : +94 91 4389400
Soothing massage, relaxing facial or ayurvedic consultations can all be enjoyed at this five-star spa. There is also a jacuzzi, a steam room and a sauna available for spa guests’ use.

Turtle Hatchery
Habaraduwa-Koggala, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Matara Rd, Habaraduwa   Tel No. : +94 777836115
See five different species of marine turtle in tanks including newly hatched babies. For a little extra, you can release hatchlings into the sea.

Uda Walawe National Park
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Uda Walawe
This national park is also a couple of hours drive from Tangalle but can easily be visited during the day for either early morning or late afternoon safaris. This park is famed for the great numbers of elephants found here, and there’s also an Elephant Transit Centre where you can see babies being fed.

Udawattakele Sanctuary
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Wewelpitiya Rd, Kandy
To the north east of town, this former royal reserve sprawls over a densely forest hillside. Pathways through the tree-filled sanctuary offer potential viewing of birdlife, monkeys, porcupines and wild pigs.

Unawatuna Beach
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Off Yaddehimulla / Wella Devale Rd
Unawatuna’s narrow swathe of sand lines a pretty bay marked by a temple-topped headland to the west that you can climb up – great at sunset. The beach has lots of rustic restaurants and bars along it, as well as a couple of dive operators. It’s a fairly lively place, the sea is safe for swimming year-round and you can also snorkel along the offshore rocks.

Unawatuna Diving School
Unawatuna, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Matara Rd, Peellagoda, Unawatuna   Tel No. : +94 91 2244693
Situated on Unawatuna’s silky sands, this dive centre offers a range of PADI courses and fun dives along with snorkelling trips; all equipment is provided. The dive season runs from November until April.

Victoria Golf Club
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Rajawella, Kandy   Tel No. : +94 712743003
Sri Lanka’s best situated golf course is set beside the Victoria Reservoir and in the shadow of the Knuckles Mountain Range. A little more than 20km to the east of Kandy, green fees start at US$35 a day. Here you can also horse ride too.

Victoria Park
Nuwara Eliya, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Nuwara Eliya
Despite being located in the middle of town, peaceful Victoria Park is an ornithological hotspot with the potential for spotting many endemic species of birds.

Vijitha Yapa Bookshop
Kandy Region, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : 5 Kottugodellie Vidiya, Kandy   Tel No. : +94 81 4474600
Search out English novels amongst a number of Sri Lankan books at this city centre bookshop. Also sells local magazines (mainly), stationery and maps. There’s a branch also in the Kandy City Centre (mall).

Water Sports
Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Sunshine Water Sports Centre, River Ave, Aluthgama
Go windsurfing (VDWS courses available with ex-Sri Lankan champion), surfing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, body boarding, banana boating, tube riding, jet-skiing and deep sea fishing with one of the most established water sports operators in Bentota.

WB
Talpe, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Uyana Bandarawatta, Matara Rd, Talpe   Tel No. : +94 776980000
Italian-owned restaurant whose intimate homely setting comes with a dining room and sun terrace with loungers right beside the sea. Enjoy proper Italian coffee, delicious homemade dishes, and pick from a selection of predominantly Italian wines.

Weligama Bay Resort
Weligama, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Matara Rd, Pelena, Weligama   Tel No. : +94 41 2253920
The Cutty Sark Restaurant at this Czech-run hotel offers dining outside on the terrace or inside in air-conditioned comfort. The international menu includes Sri Lankan cuisine.

Weligama Beach
Weligama, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Weligama
This beach is calm to the west (great for swimming) and to the east the gentle waves are popular for surfing. There are a few guesthouses here that rent out board equipment and offer surfing tuition. The middle of the bay is lined with fishing catamarans and is a little close to the road.

Whale and Dolphin Watching
Mirissa, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Mirissa Water Sports, Mirissa Harbour, Mirissa   Tel No. : +94 773597733
(November – April) Head out either at 7am or 2pm for approximately four hours in search of whales; operating between November and April, you can see blue whales, sperm whales and lots of spinner dolphins.

Yala National Park
Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka
Address : Yala.
Although this national park is a couple of hours drive from Tangalle, it is possible to visit during the day for either an early morning or a late afternoon safari. This is Sri Lanka’s most popular park where leopards, elephants, bears, deer, wild boar, crocodiles and a great variety of birdlife can be spotted.

Attractions and things to do
Ahangama

Midigama Beach Midigama Beach offers some of Sri Lanka’s best surfing although the village itself is tiny and very laid back. There are a few guesthouses beside the beach here where surfing equipment and instruction are both provided. Otherwise, ask in Unawatuna.

Stilt Fishermen Sri Lanka’s famed stilt fishermen can be seen in various places along the beaches to either side of town. Perched impossibly atop stilts, the fishermen fish in the shallows of the sea; catch them early morning and again at sunset. Your villa staff can assist.

Dickwella

Dickwella Beach This beach is wide and long, with a section of it quite near the main road. The best stretch of sand is close to the Dickwella Resort headland, and the water to the west of this headland is best for swimming.

Dickwella Lace Centre This little lace centre employs a large number of local women who are trained to revive the dying craft of beeralu (bobbin) lace. This centre houses a museum, gives lace making demonstrations and also has a shop where the local women can sell their work.

Hiriketiya Beach This tiny beach just 5km from Dickwella is perfect for snorkelling as this enclosed bay has calm water and is very picturesque.

Galle

Galle Fort Walk Choose from a number of different focuses (architecture, the people, the wildlife, the Dutch in Ceylon etc) and be accompanied by a local on this two hour Galle Fort tour. Otherwise, head off around the fort yourselves.

Maritime Museum Showcasing a number of fishing tools and apparatus from days gone by, stuffed sea creatures and birds plus marine memorabilia including the wheel of Sri Lanka’s first warship.

Rainforest Rescue International Explore Sri Lanka’s rainforests with scheduled trips to Kottawa, Kanneliya and Hiyare (where you can head off by boat to explore the reservoir), and bespoke explorations into Sinharaja Rainforest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Baths at Amangalla Stunning spa which specialises in authentic ayurveda treatments and also offers body and beauty treatments, yoga and meditation. There are also saunas, steam rooms and hydrotherapy pools for use.

The International Cricket Stadium The stadium hosts infrequent test matches in the shadow of the fort; the atmosphere is typically vibrant and tickets are inexpensive. At other times, club and village matches may be taking place.

The Lighthouse Hotel Spa Set within sight and sound of the sea, this seductive little spa offers a range of divine treatments to soothe body and mind.

Habaraduwa-Koggala

Ginigalla Temple This Buddhist temple beside the lake is a peaceful spot. Have a wander around the temple grounds and inside the buildings where you’ll see a Buddha statue and some murals.

Handunugoda Tea Factory Take a tour of the tea factory and a guided wander of the plantations to watch experienced pluckers at work. This factory produces white tea – a rare and expensive variety – and all tours include a tea tasting session and lots of delicious cake!

Koggala Beach The beach running from Habaraduwa to Koggala is wide and perfect for long strolls as it is a rare length of sand that extends for a few kilometres uninterrupted. The sea is a bit rough here, though in places – such as in front of the Fortress Hotel where there are a few stilt fishermen – you can swim with care.

Koggala Lake Board a boat to visit the spice gardens and bird-filled islands during the early morning or late afternoon as you meander this waterway and soak in the unique lakeside lifestyle. Ask your villa staff to arrange a charter for you.

Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum This historic house set in spacious gardens was the ancestral home of celebrated Sri Lankan author Martin Wickramasinghe; the museum showcases a fascinating collection of local artefacts and agricultural tools from days gone by.

Tone Spa Soothing massage, relaxing facial or ayurvedic consultations can all be enjoyed at this five-star spa. There is also a jacuzzi, a steam room and a sauna available for spa guests’ use.

Turtle Hatchery See five different species of marine turtle in tanks including newly hatched babies. For a little extra, you can release hatchlings into the sea.

Mirissa

Coastal Cruises / Snorkelling Safaris / Weligama Bay Cruises (November - April) Cruise along this unspoilt stretch of Mirissa and / or Weligama coastline stopping off in places for snorkelling, swimming, picnics and sightseeing. Minimum hire time is 2 hours. Weligama Bay Cruises use traditional Maldivian sailing dhonis.

Deep Sea Fishing (November – April) The continental shelf drops off lies less than 8 miles off the coast of Mirissa, and here big game fish can be found. The 54ft converted Indonesian fishing trawler used for fishing trips is equipped with modern satellite navigation, fish finding equipment, rods and a toilet.

Mirissa Beach This gorgeous curve of sand shaded by hundreds of leaning palms is one of the south coast’s most picturesque and unspoilt stretches of sand. It is also peaceful and not overly developed. Rustic restaurants scatter the beach here and there are places to rent surf equipment. The sea is rough to the west of the bay, but to the east (near Pigeon Island) the sea is calmer and snorkelling is possible.

River and Mangrove Trips Head up the Polwatta Ganga river famed for its wildlife and unspoilt mangrove swamps. Look out for sea eagles, leaf monkeys, monitor lizards and crocodiles. Dawn and dusk are the best times to go.

Sea Kayaking (November – April) Mirissa Water Sports hire out sea kayaks so you can explore the coastline at your own pace.

Whale and Dolphin Watching (November – April) Head out either at 7am or 2pm for approximately four hours in search of whales; operating between November and April, you can see blue whales, sperm whales and lots of spinner dolphins.

Talpe

TALPE The beach here is very pretty since offshore rocks make the sea here like a lagoon where swimming is possible year-round. When the sand narrows, rocks appear, though you can head a little to the west (in front of Nico’s Restaurant) where there’s another good stretch of sand.

Tangalle

Amanwella Spa Enjoy a selective spa menu listing facials, massages and body treatments including soaks in baths. Treatments use organic Aman products and take place in the spa suite or in selected garden locations. Bookings are essential.

Angulgama Brass Making Village This little village enroute to Mulkirigala is home to a clan of brass craftsmen who have been practising their trade here since ancient times. Come here to watch them at work, and buy from their display shop.

Bundala National Park A little more than an hour from Tangalle is Bundala National Park, an important Ramsar wetlands, significant for the crocodiles, monkeys and migratory birdlife (including greater flamingos) attracted to the salty lewayas and mud flats found here.

Hoomaniya Blowhole The spray of this blowhole can reach 25m when the seas are at their most tumultuous (typically from May to July). The 1km pathway leading to the blowhole is lined with little refreshments stalls.

Kalametiya This wetland bird sanctuary to the east of Tangalle features a vast mangrove swamp. Between November and March you can witness an incredible variety of visiting migratory and resident birdlife.

Marakolliya Beach With wide endless shell-scattered sands, this stretch of beach is one of Tangalle’s widest and finest. There are a couple of basic restaurants situated along here and it is perfect for strolls. The sea is a bit too rough for swimming in through.

Mulkirigala Temple This awesome rock temple stands more than 200m above the surrounding scenery like a little Sigirya. There are four chambers on the way up with ancient murals and Buddha statues, and from the top you can enjoy stunning 360 degree panoramas.

Rekawa Turtle Sanctuary (night watch) (peak nesting season is February to July) Rekawa is Sri Lanka’s only marine turtle national park as five endangered species of marine turtle come to lay their eggs here. Nightly turtle watches conducted by the Turtle Conservation Project start at 8pm at the TCP Beach Hut on Rekawa Beach; take a picnic and wait for them to emerge.

Seenimodera / Mawella Beaches This pair of adjoining beaches is very picturesque and the gentle waves here are popular for body boarders. The sea is best from November to April, though outside of these months swimming can be done in places with care. The beaches stretch for a couple of kilometres and are lined with fishing boats

Uda Walawe National Park This national park is also a couple of hours drive from Tangalle but can easily be visited during the day for either early morning or late afternoon safaris. This park is famed for the great numbers of elephants found here, and there’s also an Elephant Transit Centre where you can see babies being fed.

Yala National Park Although this national park is a couple of hours drive from Tangalle, it is possible to visit during the day for either an early morning or a late afternoon safari. This is Sri Lanka’s most popular park where leopards, elephants, bears, deer, wild boar, crocodiles and a great variety of birdlife can be spotted.

Unawatuna

Fishing Boat Charter Charter a fishing boat to take you to secluded Jungle Beach. Ask the fishermen on the beach yourselves or enlist the staff in your villa to organise a trip for you.

Foot Rub A branch of the island-wide Foot Rub in this Unawatuna hotel has a range of reasonably priced reflexology and massage treatments as well as beauty treatments such as manicures and pedicures.

Japanese Peace Pagoda Situated above the sea on the Rumassala headland enroute to Jungle Beach, this tranquil Buddhist dagoba features beautiful gold statues and stunning views towards Galle – it’s a great sunset spot.

Jungle Beach The pair of bays that make up secluded Jungle Beach can be reached on foot over the Rumassala Headland, by tuk tuk (plus a short walk) or via fishing boat. The sand here is best from November to April and although lots of dead coral is being washed ashore, there is some snorkelling to be done here.

Sri Lankan Cooking Course Enrol in a half-day Sri Lankan cooking course where you learn a little about local flavours and make a selection of curries and sambols, which can then be enjoyed for lunch.

Submarine Diving School Shirley, the proprietor, is Unawatuna’s only qualified PADI Dive Master. Dive sites include wrecks, rocks and caves, and you can also do a course; specialities include deep diver, night diver, underwater navigation, wreck diver, underwater photographer and master scuba diver.

The Sanctuary Spa Very reasonably priced massage treatments in gorgeous garden sanctuary close to the beach in Unawatuna. There’s a steam bath here too.

Unawatuna Beach Unawatuna’s narrow swathe of sand lines a pretty bay marked by a temple-topped headland to the west that you can climb up – great at sunset. The beach has lots of rustic restaurants and bars along it, as well as a couple of dive operators. It’s a fairly lively place, the sea is safe for swimming year-round and you can also snorkel along the offshore rocks.

Unawatuna Diving School Situated on Unawatuna’s silky sands, this dive centre offers a range of PADI courses and fun dives along with snorkelling trips; all equipment is provided. The dive season runs from November until April.

Yatagala Temple This 300-year-old temple, peacefully located amidst paddy fields, receives an avalanche of white-clothed devotees on full moon days when they come to pray; a must visit.

Weligama

Bawana Spa The spa at this Czech-run hotel in Weligama offers a range of massage and beauty treatments in peaceful surroundings.

Diving and snorkelling This German-run dive outfitter runs dive trips and courses with trained PADI instructors from November to April when the seas are calm. They also offer underwater photography, snorkelling trips, boat rides and a few other activities.

Fishing Charter a boat from Weligama Beach to go out fishing. Approach one of the fishermen yourself, or ask your villa staff to make arrangements on your behalf (recommended).

Weligama Beach This beach is calm to the west (great for swimming) and to the east the gentle waves are popular for surfing. There are a few guesthouses here that rent out board equipment and offer surfing tuition. The middle of the bay is lined with fishing catamarans and is a little close to the road.

Ambalangoda

Ambalangoda Beach To the south of town, stretching for a couple of kilometres are Ambalangoda’s best beaches. Here you can stroll for a few kilometres and swim with care from October to April.

Ariyapala and Sons Mask Museum This huge museum, the larger of two in town, documents the history of kolam (folk) dances and sunni yakuma (healing) dances through interesting, well-laid out displays showing the evolution of each mask and their unique style. There’s a shop here too and you can see mask makers in action.

Galagoda Sailathlaramaya Temple Home to Sri Lanka’s longest reclining Buddha, this 35m long, 200-year-old statue is housed to the rear of the temple complex. Situated on a hillock, panoramic views extend over the eastern countryside.

Moonstone Mine Have a look at a working moonstone mine just inland from Ambalangoda. You can see the miners in action and also watch a demonstration of how the stones are sifted from the mud. There’s a big shop here too with many other gems on display.

Bandarawela

Hiking Bandarawela has a wonderfully climate that’s perfect for walking and the scenery to match. If you want to get out and explore, ask your villa staff for maps or request a guide to show you the best bits.

Bentota

Bentota Beach Bentota’s fine stretch of sand is great for swimming from October to April, and with care and in places at other times of year. The stretch between the Taj hotel and Club Bentota hotel has lifeguards so look out for flags. The stretch to the south is prettier and quieter though swimming is best in front of the Taj.

Bentota Lagoon Fishing This alternative to deep sea fishing, especially during May to October when the rough seas are off limits, also offers glimpses of riverine scenery. Boats are fully equipped, and fish to be caught include mangrove jack, snapper, cat fish and mullet.

Bentota River Safari Head off down the Bentota River to see crocodiles, monitor lizards, bird of prey, kingfishers and giant fruit bats. Trips include a journey through a beautiful mangrove swamp.

Bentota Village Bicycle Tour Head into Bentota village to explore this rural inland hinterland. You can visit a Buddhist temple and also stop off at Lunuganga for tea. Guided tours are organised through Malu Banna, but they also provide bicycles for hire should you like to explore on your own.

Brief Garden The estate of Bevis Bawa, brother of architect Geoffrey, boasts terraces, manicured lawns, borders of tropical blooms and hidden garden courtyards whilst the low-slung house is filled with interesting artwork, sculptures and personal photographs of Bevis posing with Hollywood movie stars.

Coastal Snorkelling Cruise Head to Induruwa Reef and Handharian Gala (rock) accompanied by a trained scuba diving instructor. All equipment is provided and the boat trip affords for stunning coastal views.

Deep Sea Fishing Catch your own fish for dinner; the sea teems with jackfish, barracuda, tuna, red snappers, wahoo, kingfish and sailfish! Head out deep sea fishing on a fully-equipped boat with GPS, life jackets and a toilet. Trips run for four hours and depart at either 6am or 2pm.

Diving PADI courses and fun dives are available with this operator in Aluthgama from November to April, plus snorkelling trips. Full equipment is provided.

Induruwa Beach South of Bentota, Induruwa Beach is wide and very pretty, and thanks to an offshore reef swimming is safer here than many other west coast spots between October and April.

Lunuganga This magnificent 23-hectare estate was the residence of the late architect Geoffrey Bawa. Comprising a beautifully renovated old house, a number of gorgeously-positioned buildings and intertwining terraces designed to overlook the gardens and frame the views; this garden is a true inspiration. Tours are best culminated with a delicious rice and curry lunch or high tea.

Mirissa Whale Watching Malu Banna offer whale watching trips with transport included from Bentota, with pickups available at villas south down the coast to Ambalangoda, or further up north towards Beruwala (max 5km). The transfers take 2 hours each way, and the whale watching boats depart at 7am and 2pm daily.

Sea Turtle Conservation Project Identify Sri Lanka’s five species of endangered marine turtle in tanks, along with hatchlings and buried mounds of eggs that are safely protected until the babies are ready to emerge.

Water Sports Go windsurfing (VDWS courses available with ex-Sri Lankan champion), surfing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, body boarding, banana boating, tube riding, jet-skiing and deep sea fishing with one of the most established water sports operators in Bentota.

Ella

Ella Rock Hike up Ella Rock to feel on top of the world, and enjoy the most striking panoramic views. The hike takes in Little Ella Falls and is tough; it takes around four hours in total. It is best to go with a guide or a very good map – ask at your villa.

Little Adam’s Peak Wander up Adam’s Peak’s smaller brother for the most spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, and views down the famed Ella Gap to the lowland plains in the distance. The walk takes around 45 minutes each way. Ask at your villa for a guide.

Ravana Ella Falls These 90m falls are one of Sri Lanka’s widest, and they cascade down the mountain and under the road bridge to continue its descent down. There are a few little shacks selling boiled corn and soft drinks.

Hikkaduwa

Blue Deep Dive Centre Another good dive operator in Hikkaduwa that has been operating for a number of years (November to April only). Snorkelling trips are also arranged.

Hikkaduwa Beach The length of sand that stretches from north to south of town is lined with guesthouses, hotels, restaurants, bars and dive operators, and as such is very lively for much of the year. Offshore is a Coral Sanctuary which is popular for snorkelers though much of the colourful coral has died off in recent years. You can charter a glass bottom boat to explore the reefs if you don’t wish to get wet.

Mambo’s Surf Tours Hikkaduwa’s surf is legendary, and Mambo’s surf tours are the most established wave operator. They offer good instruction, as well as tours to local beaches; two-day surf and safari trips to Yala; and longer trips to Arugam Bay on the east coast.

Poseidon Diving Station This little island temple just north of Hikkaduwa is dedicated to Dewol, a malevolent deity who is approached by those seeking revenge; as such, it’s a little unusual.

Spunky Monkey Wakeboard Camp Operating out of the Kallabongo Lake Resort, Spunky Monkey offers windsurfing, wake skating, waterskiing and banana boating atop the lake, as well as courses in wakeboarding between the months of October and May. You can also rent canoes to explore the lake for yourself.

Kalutara

Gangatilaka Vihara This very popular Buddhist roadside temple sits on the site of a former Portuguese Fort beside the Kalu Ganga river. The dagoba was built in the 1960’s and is the only one in the world that’s hollow.

Kalutara / Wadduwa beaches This stretch of beach – 8km – is pleasant from October until April and is backed by a number of resort hotels. Great for long strolls, the beaches here are relatively unspoilt.

Richmond Castle This end of nineteenth century house blends Indian and British architectural styles. Originally built by wealthy spice owner, it is now an educational centre for underprivileged kids. Wander the grand building, admire the Burmese teak in the main hall and stroll the 42-acre estate.

Kandy Region

Amaya Hills (Hotel Spa) This hilltop hotel has a great ayurveda centre in a quiet and relaxed setting. You can enjoy body oil massages, steam baths, facials and wraps.

Bahiravakanda Buddha From its privileged hilltop perch, Bahiravakanda’s white Buddha gazes protectively over the town. Wander up to this elevated position you can share in the city views.

Earl’s Regency Spa (Hotel Spa) This five star hotel has a great spa where you can succumb to a number of treatments ranging from massages and body polishing to herbal baths and a steam room.

Esala Perahera Sri Lanka’s most spectacular festival takes place during late July and early August (according to the full moon) and boasts ten days of carefully orchestrated nightly processions featuring hundreds of costumed elephants (including one atop which the tooth relic casket is displayed), dancers and drummers. It’s a dazzling visual feast that attracts huge crowds; reserve seats through your villa well in advance.

Hantana Tea Museum Housed in a converted tea factory 4km south of town, this hillside tea museum showcases colonial-era machinery over four floors, interesting tea-related memorabilia and displays on two of the island’s tea pioneers James Taylor and Thomas Lipton.

Kandy City Tour Wander the city at will; stroll around the Kandy Lake, visit the Temple of the Tooth and Royal Palace Complex, have a gander at the olde worlde style architecture of the Queen’s Hotel and wander down Dalada Vidiya into the heart of town. Your villa may be able to organise a guide.

Kandy Lake Boat Ride Although this cultural show is undeniably touristy, it offers the best glimpse into the dances, the costumes, the music and the traditions of Kandy. Shows feature consistent drumming and end with a daring feat of fire walking.

Millennium Elephant Foundation This elephant retirement home close to Pinnewala is home to seven gentle giants. Here you can learn about their care, give them a scrub in the river, or sit astride one of them for an ‘elephant shower’ or a short trek into the jungle. There’s a museum here and a shop selling elephant poo paper.

Peradeniya Botanical Gardens Sri Lanka’s finest gardens cover 150 acres and are filled with an enormous variety of local and foreign tree and plant species. Top sights include the Royal Palm Avenue, the Orchid House, the Memorial Trees and the Bamboo Garden as well as the Java Fig that sprawls its boughs over a perfect-for-picnicking lawn. Guides tout their services at the garden entrance.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage Sri Lanka’s most popular attraction 40km west of Kandy is home to the world’s largest collection of captive elephants. Time your arrival either for the thrice-daily feeding sessions (9.15am, 1.15pm and 5pm) or for when the elephants are taken to the Ma Oya river for a bath (10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm).

Ramboda Falls Almost mid-way between Kandy and Nuwara Eliya (and just a few kilometres south of Pussellawa) are twin 100m waterfalls that plunge over jungle-clad cliffs. The Ramboda Falls Hotel, situated within view of the falls, has a restaurant that sells soft drinks, Sri Lankan food and some western dishes.

The Devales Four Hindu gods traditionally protect Kandy, and each one of these is honoured with a shrine in the city. Three of these shrines - belonging to Pattini, Natha and Vishnu – are situated in front of the Temple of the Tooth, whilst the fourth – Kataragama – is found in the city centre itself.

The Knuckles Range The rugged peaks of the wildlife-filled Knuckles are the hill country’s last great unspoilt wilderness; perfect for hiking and wildlife spotting. Guides are essential; ask the staff at your villa to arrange. Alternatively, drive up through Looloowatte village to Corbet’s Gap for stunning range panoramas.

The Temple of the Tooth Sri Lanka’s most revered Buddhist shrine houses the legendary Buddha’s tooth over which is laid a pristine golden roof; a symbol of its importance. Guides hang around the entrance, and the best (though busiest) times to visit are for the pujas (ceremonial worship) held at 6am, 9am and 6.30pm where the doors to the room housing the tooth relic are opened briefly for public peeking. Other significant buildings part of the temple complex (once part of a sprawling Royal Palace) are the Sri Dalada Museum, the Audience Hall, the Raja Tusker Museum, the Archaeological Museum and the Kandy Garrison Cemetery.

Udawattakele Sanctuary To the north east of town, this former royal reserve sprawls over a densely forest hillside. Pathways through the tree-filled sanctuary offer potential viewing of birdlife, monkeys, porcupines and wild pigs.

Victoria Golf Club Sri Lanka’s best situated golf course is set beside the Victoria Reservoir and in the shadow of the Knuckles Mountain Range. A little more than 20km to the east of Kandy, green fees start at US$35 a day. Here you can also horse ride too.

Wedamedura Ayurveda Centre (Ayurveda Spa) This specialised Ayurveda centre offers massages, reflexology, pedicures, aromatherapy and full panchakarma treatments (a resident Ayurveda doctor can tailor-make treatment plans).

Nuwara Eliya

Ambewela Farm The kids will love this dairy farm where you can watch milking taking place (12.30pm), have a peep into a cheese factory and browse barns filled with goats, bullocks, calves and even rabbits. The journey to get here – through mist-shrouded Scottish-like scenery is part of the adventure.

Coco Spa (Hotel Spa) Set in amongst this glorious converted tea factory is Sri Lanka’s highest spa. The setting is stunning and the treatments – carried out by Balinese experts – are wide-ranging and very good.

Hakgala Botanical Gardens Panoramic views down over the velveteen Uva District are a highlight of Peradeniya’s wilder sister where roses, ferns, lilies, camphor, pines, eucalyptus and Monterey cypresses thrive. Bird species adore this natural wonderland and you also might catch a glimpse of elusive bear monkeys.

Hiking Take advantage of the cooler climes and hike around town or wander up Single Tree Hill to get a panoramic vista of Nuwara Eliya and surrounding mountains. Ask at your villa for a guide or ask at the St Andrews Hotel if you can join in with one of their excellent guided cloud forest nature walks.

Horse Riding Tired-looking ponies can be seen at the entrance to the racecourse or even around Lake Gregory. If you think the animal looks healthy (some do, some don’t), then hop on board (children) or talk your way into the racecourse itself where you can pay to ride on proper steeds.

Horton Plains National Park High altitude grassland (2,100m) featuring large patches of bird and wildlife-filled cloud forest, rushing waterfalls and rivers that are the perfect setting for hiking; trails extend up to 22km. Here you’ll also find World’s End, a sheer escarpment that falls steeply for almost 1km to the plains below; a magnificent sight. Try to get there early to beat the cloud and mists.

Labookelie Tea Estate Standing at an elevation of 2,000m around 20km north of Nuwara Eliya is this tea estate where you can tour the factory, wander the tea gardens and sample a brew from their little café. There’s a shop here too.

Lake Gregory Take a pedalo out on the lake for an alternative glimpse at the emerald green tea fields and misty mountains that envelope the town.

Nuwara Eliya Golf Course Winding right through the town and adding a lot to its charm is this colonial golf course, which is scenically landscaped with pines, eucalyptus and cypresses. Rounds include green fees, club hire, caddy and balls, and cost from US$65 on weekdays and $70 at weekends.

Pedro Tea Estate Just 3km from Nuwara Eliya city centre is this tea factory that offers tours of the factory and wanderings into the neighbouring tea fields. Convenient for town, but not as picturesque as Labookelie.

Sita Aman Temple Just before you reach Hakgala on the Badulla Road to the southeast of town, you find this brightly coloured statue-laden Hindu temple dedicated to Sita. Watch out for the red macaque monkeys.

Victoria Park Despite being located in the middle of town, peaceful Victoria Park is an ornithological hotspot with the potential for spotting many endemic species of birds.

Pampering
Bentota

Azmaara Spa This spa with branches in hotels in Colombo, Bentota and the Maldives offers a number of rejuvenating therapies from massages, wraps and scrubs to beauty treatments including facials, manicures and pedicures.

Sahana Spa A beautifully laid out luxury spa; treatments are carried out in private suites with sauna, steam shower, jacuzzi, flower bath, treatment room, dining pavilion and relaxing pavilion, and range from skin treats, facials, scrubs and wraps to ayurvedic treatments, hot stone massages and reflexology.

Kalutara

Amaan Spa Take your pick from ayurvedic treatments, body wraps, body scrubs, body polishes, beauty treatments, facials, slimming treatments and honeymoon packages at this boutique resort hotel.

Restaurant
Ahangama

Indisch This five-bedroom classically-styled colonial seaside mansion is an intimate place for daytime dining. The chef creates an innovative menu of Sri Lankan and western fusion cuisine. Best to book in advance.

Dickwella

Dickwella Beach Resort This sprawling hotel has a great location set on a promontory that protrudes from Dickwella Bay. The restaurant (and open-air bar) sits atop this rocky headland and boasts fab views; the menu lists mainly fish, seafood and pasta.

Galle

Amangalla European dishes and an excellent curry service are on the menu here served up in exquisite colonial surroundings. High tea on the veranda is perfect for people-watching.

Galle Fort Hotel Delicious Chinese Straits cuisine served in atmospheric surroundings. Three-course gourmet dinners must be booked in advance.

Jetwing Lighthouse This Geoffrey-Bawa designed hotel has two restaurants; the fine dining Cinnamon Room and the informal Cardamom Café with adjoining drinks lounge. The Saturday night buffets in the Cardamom Café featuring barbecued meats, seafood and fish are legendary.

Mamas Rooftop Cafe From the plant pot-dotted rooftop of this restored colonial house in the fort, dine on Sri Lankan and western food plus tea and snacks whilst drinking in the fort views.

Pedlar’s Inn Café The perfect coffee stop where you can people watch and feast on delicious chocolate brownies from a street side Dutch-style veranda. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner but doesn’t serve alcohol

Serendipity Arts Café Dishes range from Sri Lankan curries to western soups, salads and sandwiches, served either indoors or outside in a street-side garden. They arrange fort walking tours from here too.

The Fort Printers Set beside an intimate walled garden within a beautifully converted colonial mansion, here you can dine on a Mediterranean-inspired menu of tapas, salads, fish and seafood.

The Sun House The intimate garden veranda of this iconic boutique hotel is a romantic setting for three-course set dinners (bookings essential). British-style bites are served from the fully-stocked lounge-style ‘Dick’s Bar’.

Habaraduwa-Koggala

The Fortress Hotel The Fortress Hotel has a handful of restaurants where you can enjoy great food but at much higher prices than elsewhere. There’s an extensive wine selection though and the setting’s stunning.

Mirissa

Mirissa Hills Within a small Cinnamon Museum, you can dine in the evenings; the setting is relaxed and rustic though bookings are essential. Another option is to request lunch in Mount Cinnamon (if no guests are staying), a hilltop villa with magnificent views. Food is very good here though best to book the day before

Paradise Beach Club Mirissa’s plushest dining venue is not the most imaginative in terms of cuisine – they tend to have lots of uninspiring buffets - but has a lovely location right beside the beach. Try to order a la carte, if you can.

Talpe

Cantaloupe Aqua Thai-inspired fusion cuisine set in a minimal boutique hotel right beside the surf. There’s also a bar here and they hold twice-monthly club nights; Envy

ERA Beach This smart boutique hotel's Mediterranean-inspired cuisine serves up particularly good steaks and seafood just footsteps from the rolling surf. There’s a smart, though somewhat quiet, bar here too

Nico’s Bistro and Bar Asian-infused cuisine influenced by the Med is what you'll find at this gorgeous Balinese-style beachside restaurant with pool. It’s a particularly pretty spot for sunset cocktails

WB Italian-owned restaurant whose intimate homely setting comes with a dining room and sun terrace with loungers right beside the sea. Enjoy proper Italian coffee, delicious homemade dishes, and pick from a selection of predominantly Italian wines.

Tangalle

Amanwella Choose from their main dining room overlooking the swimming pool and beach where a delicious though pricey variety of dishes are served; or, during daytime hours, lunch in the informal Beach Club right beside the sandy surf. Bookings are essential.

Buckingham Place Situated a few kilometres from the location of the nightly turtle watch (TCP), this handily-situated open-air boutique hotel restaurant serves a menu of international fusion cuisine.

Il Camino Although this restaurant has erratic opening times (best to call before coming) and is closed over northern summer months, the Italian owner serves up some great homemade Italian cuisine in a simple, rustic setting.

Last House If no guests are in residence this idyllically situated seaside property is perfect for private dining; the chef cooks up excellent cuisine; crab curry is a speciality. Bookings are essential, and best made 24 hours in advance.

Mangrove Garden If you’re heading out turtle watching, stop here enroute for dinner where there’s a reasonably priced menu set in rustic surrounds. It’s an equally delightful setting in the daytime as the restaurant’s set beside a lengthy beach perfect for long strolls.

Maya House The best food in Tangalle, although it’s tucked in 8km inland. Lunch and dinner are typically three-course affairs making best use of whatever fish and seafood is fresh that day. Bookings are essential.

Unawatuna

Flower Garden Come here for reasonably priced steaks. All main meals – including fish, seafood, pasta and poultry - come with a starter and pud.

Kingfisher Seafood, pasta and wraps are served in a rustic restaurant with family-friendly lounge whilst a bar blends chilled tunes with cool drinks under the stars. Delivery / take-away to local villas possible

Lucky Tuna Seafood, fish, fried rice and devilled dishes right on the beach in Unawatuna. Big screens sometimes show premier league footie or international cricket games.

Nautilus Restaurant Amazing rice and curry (though it’s best to order a little in advance), as well as seafood, pizzas and pasta served up in a neat little roadside restaurant.

South Ceylon Veggies should head to this teensy top floor eatery in Unawatuna for its strictly vegetarian menu that includes Indian dosas, Mexican tacos and simple pasta meals. Grab a veranda table for people-peeking.

The Dream House Authentic Italian cuisine cooked by Sicilian owners in intimate setting. Best to book a table in advance as this tiny garden restaurant often gets busy

Weligama

Mandara Resort The nicely situated restaurant at this hotel serves up a range of international dishes within sight and sound of the sea, or, atop the sand if you wish to admire the night lights of Weligama Bay.

Weligama Bay Resort The Cutty Sark Restaurant at this Czech-run hotel offers dining outside on the terrace or inside in air-conditioned comfort. The international menu includes Sri Lankan cuisine.

Ambalangoda

Sanekvin This Chinese – Sri Lankan eatery is the only real restaurant in town; the menu lists curries, devilled dishes and fried rice whilst buffets are available as well. Take away and delivery are possible to Ambalangoda villas (ask villa staff to arrange).

Bandarawela

Bandarawela Hotel This old planters clubhouse dates back to 1893 and is easily the best and most atmospheric place in town to eat.

New Chinese Hotel As its name suggests, this local Chinese eatery serves up a fair range of Cantonese staples from its ground floor restaurant, and is situated opposite a children’s park.

Bentota

Club Villa Lovely relaxed setting with tables placed either in the open-sided restaurant or in a lush green tree-shaded garden. The cuisine on offer is International fusion with three course meals typically on the menu for dinner (order before lunch); their rice and curry spreads are renowned.

Diya Sisila Cute little terrace restaurant with over water dining huts beside the Dedduwa Lake, 3km from Bentota and on the road to Lunuganga. Orders are taken the day before as all seafood is bought and cooked fresh. Rice and curry is also on the menu though they don’t sell alcohol so you must bring your own

Escoffier Next to Silk Route, this restaurant beside the Galle Road 3km south of Bentota has air-conditioned seating inside and on the terrace, fan-cooled tables. The menu has an international theme with a focus on grilled meats, fish and seafood.

Lunuganga This, legendary architect Geoffrey Bawa’s spectacular estate inland from Bentota, provides the most stunning setting for lunch or high tea, both of which must be pre-arranged. Enjoy rice and curry spreads or pick from a selective menu of a la carte meals.

Malli’s Seafood Restaurant Little first floor restaurant beside the railway track and opposite The Surf Hotel serving excellent seafood in simplistic though sophisticated surroundings. Downstairs are a number of little shops selling souvenirs, crafts and sarongs.

Saman Villas Beautifully positioned restaurant and bar on a rocky promontory with spectacular views of the northern and southern coastline as well as the sea. The food is some of the most expensive in Bentota, but it’s good and there’s lots to pick from on the menu.

Silk Route Roadside restaurant 3km south of Bentota (next to Escoffier) serving dishes from each country on the Silk Route ranging from Moroccan couscous and Turkish kebabs to Thai curries and Indonesian mee goreng

Singharaja Sri Lankan short eats – filled bread snacks, savoury pastries and sweet snacks – are found on the ground floor whilst upstairs Sri Lankan buffets are put on for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Very reasonably priced and perfect for a quick bite to eat.

The Villa Cafe This restaurant within a beautiful boutique hotel serves up an exciting International menu of dishes sourced from their famed Gallery Café restaurant in Colombo. Seafood is a speciality (for platters order 24 hours before), there’s a wood-fired pizza oven and desserts are numerous.

Ella

Grand Ella Motel The food here isn’t anything special – you’re best off picking rice and curry – but the setting is stunning. Come in the daytime for lunch or for tea to appreciate the best view of ‘Ella Gap’.

New Curd and Honey Shop This dingy looking local establishment beside the main road is not the best looking or the best situated eatery in town, but it serves up great curries along with a number of sweet and savoury snacks (curd and honey) that you can enjoy throughout the day. The owners are very friendly too.

Hikkaduwa

Asian Jewel This British-run boutique beauty 3km from town serves up hearty British grub including fish and chips, cottage pie, full English breakfasts and sometimes, Sunday roasts. Call ahead to make a booking.

Chill Space Surf Café (Mambo’s) Seafood, pizzas, juices and milkshakes in a rasta-ready restaurant right on the beach with late night beach bar. This is the town’s top surfer spot where you can get surf instruction, surf tours and equipment hire. Holds frequent parties with DJ’s on Saturday nights during the season (November until April).

Citrus Large resort-style hotel on the beach with an international a la carte menu and frequent buffet and BBQ nights.

Cool Spot Basic cheapie that’s been around for years. Serves up wonderfully authentic Sri Lankan food, juices and milkshakes in rustic surroundings right beside the main road.

Moon Beam Restaurant This rustic beach restaurant with central bar serves up a big menu of generously sized dishes that includes Sri Lankan cuisine and fresh seafood. Lovely beachside setting.

No. 1 Roti Restaurant The best rotis in town, in fact in all of Sri Lanka. All sorts of traditional and completely untraditional fillings are on the extensive menu here, sweet or savoury or make your own.

Refresh Bible like menu offering an exhaustible range of dishes (550 varieties, in fact) ranging from Sri Lankan staples to International cuisine; the best tables are beachside.

Spaghetti & Co. Italian-owned restaurant set in an old colonial house and garden where you can dine on excellent pizzas and pastas accompanied by carafes of house wine. Only open for dinner.

Vibration Roadside restaurant, with basement bar to the back where there are pool tables, table tennis and Friday night parties in season (November to April) with visiting DJ’s, drummers and percussion bands.

Kalutara

Cinnamon Tree Restaurant This road-side restaurant set in an attractive wooden building serves up mainly Sri Lankan cuisine along with some western dishes. There’s a rice and curry buffet most lunchtimes and it’s a handy stop en-route to Colombo

Kani Lanka Resort and Spa The restaurant within this boutique hotel set on a narrow spit of land between the sea and the lagoon to the north of Kalutara is a lovely spot for lunch or dinner. Best to book in advance.

The Blue Water This boutique hotel’s main ground floor resort-style restaurant offers either air-conditioned dining inside, or fan cooled seating on the veranda. There are frequent buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner although you can also order a la carte. Alternatively, on the first floor there’s a much better fine dining restaurant.

Kandy Region

Devon Restaurant Local restaurant serving up short eats – meat and vegetable-filled rolls, savoury pastries and cakes – on the ground floor, and Sri Lankan cuisine (with North Indian and Chinese options) on the floor above. Service is quick (it gets busy) and food is relatively cheap.

Earl’s Regency Situated 4km to the east of Kandy, this grand hotel within sight of the Mahaweli River has a well-run restaurant with both a la carte and buffet options, depending upon the guest capacity of the hotel.

History This is one of Sri Lanka’s most unique eating experiences: dine on international cuisine in an air-conditioned setting where colonial-era prints and photographs hug walls and a slide show of even more pictures is projected onto the wall. They serve wine here too.

Jetwing Hunas Falls Although this beautifully sited hotel is 27km from Kandy, it’s useful for properties tucked to the north of the city and for visits to The Knuckles Mountains. The food is as delightful as the scenic hilly outlook.

Mahaweli Reach Hotel This five-star hotel (4km from the Kandy), has a wide ranging menu of western fusion cuisine with frequent buffets. The style is a little bit dated but the food’s good and the river outlook is very serene.

Peradeniya Botanical Gardens This little restaurant situated in the heart of these famous botanical gardens offers the most serene setting in Kandy for relaxed daytime dining. The garden lawns are a great spot for picnicking too.

Sri Ram For inexpensive authentic South Indian cuisine (without alcohol), this very local restaurant prettified by batik wall hangings is the go-to place. The lip-smacking menu includes thalis, dosas and idlis along with a selection of tasty meat and vegetable curries.

The Pub This Kandy institution boasts a first floor balcony that’s easily the best place to sit and watch the world go by. Afterwards, dine on pub-style international food indoors in air-conditioned coolness where premier league football and cricket matches are often shown on a big screen. Great if you’re feeling homesick.

Theva Residency Easily the most gourmet food in town served up in a boutique hotel setting on the Hantana hillside with spectacular views across town.

Nuwara Eliya

De Silva Food Centre The best dining spot in this local establishment is upstairs via an enticing bakery with cakes and savoury pastries (great for a snack). There’s an a la carte menu though it’s mainly limited to Sri Lankan and Chinese style cuisine. The lunchtime rice and curry is good.

Grand Indian Restaurant Dine on North and South Indian cuisine at this eatery that’s part of The Grand Hotel, a Nuwara Eliya institution. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner; at other times an attached pastry shop soothes simple hunger cravings.

Hill Club The Hill Club offers the best insight into the colonial lifestyle of yesteryear; formal dress is mandatory – men can borrow a jacket from the club’s wardrobe – and you must pay a temporary membership of Rs. 100. White-clothed waiters serve up set lunches, five-course dinners and a selection of a la carte international dishes in atmospheric surroundings. There are also a couple of bars here too.

Humbugs This rustic roadside café, 10km southeast of Nuwara Eliya, is famous for one thing: strawberries! From their little cafe these growers sell strawberries in jam, in punnets, in milkshakes and most deliciously, in pancakes with whippings of cream.

Jetwing St Andrews The fine dining Old Course Restaurant, in the town’s best hotel beside the golf course, is an oak-panelled beauty where local and international dishes are served from an open-plan kitchen. There’s a wine cellar here (and an atmospheric bar), and the sommeliers give good advice.

King Prawn This good Chinese restaurant boasts a generous menu of tasty chicken, meat, pork, fish, seafood and vegetarian Cantonese-style dishes. The pub-style bar here with lounge is one of Nuwara Eliya’s best; perfect for after dinner drinks.

The Grand Hotel Overlooking the hotel’s gardens on the ground floor, this big restaurant serves up both eastern and western cuisine, although British style dishes are most typical. The hotel also has a traditional bar and a billiards room.

The Tea Factory Created out of the old Hethersett Estate Tea Factory, this five-star hotel - situated 14km east of Nuwara Eliya – serves up an international menu in the main dining room or more uniquely, in restored railway carriages (call ahead to book).

Shopping
Galle

Barefoot Very popular shop selling hand-woven fabrics by the metre, cushions, brightly coloured sarongs and clothing, children’s soft toys, artwork, souvenirs and a good selection of books plus flip flops and bikinis from Arugam Bay Beachwear.

Dutch Wall Arcade This little shop set in an old Dutch warehouse opposite the ramparts houses a collection of colonial era-antiques ranging from crockery to cigarette cases, typewriters and ashtrays.

Exotic Roots Artwork by French owner Catherine is on sale here, along with other art-related items including acrylic on cotton paintings, hand-crafted ceramics, painted trays and decorative tiles plus bold jewellery and cotton clothing.

Galle fish, fruit and vegetable markets 1 Visit the vibrant fruit, vegetable and fish markets in town to savour the selection of produce and purchase for cooking back at the villa; open daily from early morning to evening (except full moon poya holidays).

Galle fish, fruit and vegetable markets 2 Visit the vibrant fruit, vegetable and fish markets in town to savour the selection of produce and purchase for cooking back at the villa; open daily from early morning to evening (except full moon poya holidays).

Keells The best supermarket in town with fish and meat counters, fresh fruits and vegetables, a great bakery, a selection of cheeses, and a number of imported chocolates. Galle’s one-stop-shop for self-caterers.

KK A fabulous collection of fabrics, clothing, gifts and interior design pieces as well as towels, linen, toiletries and fabrics by the metre; perfect for feather nesting any home.

Laksala Government handicrafts emporium opposite the post office. Sells a huge range of tourist souvenirs including wood carvings, painted masks, fabrics, artwork and spices.

Laksana Gem shop where you can design your own pieces of jewellery and select from a number of precious and semi-precious stones. Also sells silver items, coins and watches.

Lollapalooza Mainly children’s toys are found here, but you can also buy handmade gift cards, decorative pieces and browse a petit selection of Mimimango beachwear.

Mimimango Glamorous ladies beachwear, cocktail dresses and kaftans from Bali, India and Sri Lanka including a selection of jewellery and belts. Men’s beach shirts are also for sale here.

Olanda Antiques Huge warehouse of colonial-era furnishings and fittings ranging from the portable - door handles, lamps and baskets – to the less bag-worthy four-poster beds, wardrobes and chairs; great for a look.

Sea Fair Situated between Unawatuna and Galle, this supermarket is handy for self-caterers situated to the east of Galle. Fresh produce – including a variety of salad leaves and fresh herbs – comes in the form of fruit, veg, poultry and beef (no fish or pork) plus imported items such as cheese, olive oil and cereals.

Suthuvili Here you can find a selection of eclectic local handicrafts, batiks, paintings and antiques including simple displays of elaborate and beautiful masks.

Habaraduwa-Koggala

The Fortress Boutique Small though pricey selection of Sri Lankan handicrafts, clothing and artwork are on sale here along with postcards and essential toiletries.

Tangalle

Cargils Tangalle’s best-stocked one-stop-shop for grocery items. There’s also a pharmacy here and a small selection of liquor, beer and wine.

Indika Art Gallery This diminutive art gallery to the east of Tangalle showcases the paintings of Indika Pathmananda, an award-winning artist whose work covers wildlife, landscapes, portrait, line drawings, modern art and abstract styles. He undertakes commissions and runs short courses in painting and art work on request.

Unawatuna

Boardwise This little shop run by young local surfers sells some surfing equipment including wax and clothing. They also rent out boards and offer tuition and tours.

One Stop Handy minimart in Unawatuna that sells essentials such as milk, rice, spices, dhal, eggs, packet bread, ice cubes, frozen bacon, ham and sausages plus confectionery and a few imported cheeses.

Saffron Robes Find in here brightly coloured paintings of monks, ships, elephants and other Sri Lankan scenes all crafted by local artists.

Souvenir shops From the main road to the beach, this street is lined with little tourist souvenir shops selling anything from sarongs and clothing, to wood carvings, jewellery and leather goods.

Weligama

Lace shops Weligama was once a place of lace and there are still a few tiny stalls along the Matara Road where lace is made and sold.

Ambalangoda

Antique shops To the north and south of Ambalangoda are a number of antiques shops where in amongst the faded window and door frames, peeling pillars and colonial columns can be found some interesting knick knacks including brassware, basketry, timber statues, carved masks and other decorative pieces.

Cargils Ambalangoda’s best-stocked one-stop-shop for grocery items. There’s also a pharmacy here and a small selection of liquor, beer and wine.

Dudley Silva Batiks Just a short distance from the main Galle Road, this little shop has a variety of batiks that have been crafted by a local artist.

Southland Masks Choose from a surprising number of intricately crafted masks, whose designs were originally used for traditional kolam (folk) dances and sunni yakuma (healing) dances.

Bandarawela

Cargils A fairly well-stocked supermarket with pharmacy that’s handy for self-caterers; they also sell Mlesna Tea and display a limited selection of liquor, beer and wine.

Bentota

AIDA Gems & Jewellery This established jewellers has a set up where you can first look at a gem museum, then visit their little factory where you can see gem cutters and designers at work, and finally visit their shop where there are a range of colourful designs on show. If you have a few days, you can design your own piece.

Aluthgama Wood Carving Centre Wood carving shop with lots of fishermen statues, sculpted elephants and masks. There is an attached workshop where you can see the wood craftsmen in action.

Cargils The best-stocked one-stop-shop for grocery items. There’s also a pharmacy here and a small selection of liquor, beer and wine.

Handicrafts Bazaar This little market has a few shops selling a range of souvenirs including wood carvings, sarongs, beach clothing, postcards, spices and other touristy souvenirs.

Paradise Road Tiny outlet of a beloved Colombo institution where you can pick up decorative design pieces, scented candles, leather-bound diaries and deliciously fragranced ayurvedic toiletries.

Hikkaduwa

A-Frame Surf Shop Mambo’s rent and sells the widest variety of equipment and carry out board repairs.

Fish, Fruit and Vegetable markets Situated to the north of the bus station between the Galle Road and the sea, these markets sell a colourful range of fresh produce that provide inspiration to self-caters. Bargaining is expected.

Hikkaduwa Farm Shop This is the best place in town to buy fresh chicken and pork (both reared from their nearby farm) as well as beef and some mutton. If you’re after a particular cut – make sure you ask.

New Hikkaduwa Wine Stores Browse a selection of local spirits (vodka, rum, gin and arrack) as well as a few international brands, notably Smirnoff Vodka, though these are few and far between. Also sells local Lion and Carlsberg beer, as well as a limited selection of wine.

Souvenir Shops Hikkaduwa’s souvenir shops are spread out along the Galle Road; wander at will stalls selling painted masks, wood carvings and spices, and have a look at the colourful local artwork on display. There are also a few clothing outlets and a couple of shops – notably Mambo’s A-Frame Surf Shop – selling surfing essentials: boards, wax and branded clothing.

Kandy Region

Gunatilaka Batiks Come here to browse a decent range of locally produced batiks.

Kandy City Centre Modern city mall with a variety of shops including Mlesna Tea, a couple of bookshops, Stone N String (contemporary jewellers, www.stone-n-string.com) and a branch of the well-stocked Keells supermarket. There are also a number of banks with ATMs here.

Kandy Souvenirs Jewellery, wood carvings, metalwork, leather items and kolam (folk) masks can all be browsed at this tourist-touting shop to the southeast of town.

Kandyan Arts and Crafts Association This is perhaps the best place to pick up local arts and crafts; you can also watch local artisans at work.

Laksala Government handicrafts emporium that sells a range of tourist related souvenirs; wood carvings, masks, lacquerware and basketry.

Mlesna Tea Centre Situated across from The Pub, here you can buy any number of teas – flavoured or plain – and pick from a range of tea-related memorabilia.

Ranjamina Crafts This little shop sells a big variety of kolam (folk) masks as well as some fine Buddha and elephant carvings in sandalwood, teak and mahogany.

Vijitha Yapa Bookshop Search out English novels amongst a number of Sri Lankan books at this city centre bookshop. Also sells local magazines (mainly), stationery and maps. There’s a branch also in the Kandy City Centre (mall).

Nuwara Eliya

Cargils A fairly well-stocked supermarket with pharmacy that’s handy for self-caterers; they also sell Mlesna Tea and display a limited selection of liquor, beer and wine.

Central Market This covered alleyway offers an insight (and a chance to buy) into the range of produce grown in the hill country – both familiar and unfamiliar. There’s also a whiffy fish and butchery section.

Clothes Market Search out branded skiwear, leisurewear (Colombia, Helly Hanson, Quiksilver), fleeces, jackets and jumpers at this collection of stalls. Bargain hard; stalls fiercely compete for custom.

Laksala Government handicrafts emporium that sells a range of tourist related souvenirs; wood carvings, masks, lacquerware and basketry.

Waruna Antiques Antiques den with a huge variety of offerings ranging from early sixteenth century masks, hand painted textiles and jewellery to and Buddhist, Hindu and Christian statues.

* Additional charges may apply for maximum occupancy
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No thanks, holidays are not for me