West Coast of Sri Lanka includes cities from the commercial capital, Colombo towards Galle. In this article there are some cities, activities and destinations especially listed out for you who would like to explore Sri Lanka more than just visiting the tourist attractions of the country. When travelling through these cities, it will be visible that tourism in the area is more developed compared to some areas doing tourism.
Pettah is a web of streets. If you wonder why this is interesting and worthy of your time, it is the vibe of Pettah market. Pettah is the most busy town you will ever find in Sri Lanka. Many people travel to and from Pettah everyday. From Pettah you can travel to many parts of the country by bus very easily.
Pettah Market sells everything from cheap to expensive! These streets that span across several miles are full of small, medium and large-sized shops. If you need to buy something before beginning the journey, come to Pettah because somewhere in between these large and crowded streets you will find it. Better to have a local guide or an experienced traveller in case you get lost or scammed as a tourist. It has become the way it is because for many years Pettah has been the shopping hub for foreign traders.
Bentota, a coastal town in Sri Lanka’s Southwest Coast. Bentota is home for many beach restaurants, bars, resorts and hotels.
The beaches along this area are all nice, golden sand filled and sunny places, where there are palm trees surrounding the shores giving the much needed shade for some people. The waters are clear and the beaches are not too crowded. You can either relax while sunbathing or by the resort while enjoying the warm sea breeze.
Just like the beaches, Bentota river is also known to be a place where travellers can enjoy kayaking and boat safaris. It is also important to note that Bentotta is not so far away from the famous city of Galle!
Street food culture is not a famous element of Sri Lanka tourism but local cuisine is famous for its unique taste profiles. It can be said that street food is underrated in Sri Lanka. However, if you are a food lover and truly enthusiastic about different cultures you will love these foods. We will suggest some great street food you must try while travelling in the Western Coast.
Kottu: When you walk in the streets in the evening, from far away the noise of metal clamouring can be heard. The more you get close to the sound, there will be a pleasant and strong smell of spices. This is to say that there is a Kottu stall nearby. Make sure to take the spiced curry if you need more heat in your Kottu. There is chicken kottu, cheese kottu and just simple kottu.
Prawn wade: Isso wade is the local name of this street food. It is wade with 2-3 prawns on top, fried to perfection!
Soft shell crab wade: The small crab is put on top of the wade and fried together beautifully. A delicious seafood treat by the streets.
Sarawita: Vita is a small mix of ingredients along with betel leaves making a wrap. It is delicious and you will be tempted.
Visiting Buddhist Temples
Sri Lanka is a multi religious country, but our original ancestors are Buddhists and Sinhalese. Later on, due to other reasons we have different religious believers with us today. This fact affects almost everything in Sri Lankan society.
When you visit the West Coast of the country, there are temples with great historical value that would be worth a visit.
Gangaramaya temple, originally built on marshy land but now it has turned into an attractive buddhist temple with the help of dedicated religious followers.
Galapata Raja temple, a 12th century built complex on the south bank of Bentota River.
Seenigama Vihara, an old temple in Hikkaduwa known for miraculous incidents.
Hikkaduwa is one of the hottest tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. No one can resist the temptation of clear blue sea water and the beaches. When in season you can witness sea turtles swimming and this itself is one of the reasons for this coastal town to be very attractive.
If travelers enjoy water sports like surfing, diving and snorkeling this is the place to be. There is always professional assistance by the beachside. Enjoy the nice sun, warm water and the beautiful scenery of the beach with family or friends. There are boat rides with glass in the bottom to watch the coral reefs in the area. Even if you do not enjoy sports, the local cuisine will keep you occupied.from Hikkaduwa travelers can plan their trip to national parks like Udawalawe or Yala National Park.
When visiting the West Coast of Sri Lanka, as much as all the beaches would be the highlight, you cannot miss out on Ambalangoda where traditions are still continued. From historical times even to today from furniture to interior decorations of a house or temples are done in wood. Though it is a luxury to have all wooden nowadays, in the past it was the norm.
Ambalangoda is known for being the house of mask makers. They carve, smooth and paint vividly on these wooden masks. These masks were used in traditional dances like ‘kolam’, ‘sanni’ and now they have made their way into the tourism industry through making souvenirs. If you visit an old temple in the area there will be plenty of evidence as to how great of influence these carvers’ delicate hands have on Sri Lankan heritage.
North of Hikkaduwa, we find the Madu River. It is famous among both local and foreign travellers who come to spend holidays around Hikkaduwa due to the scenic beauty on either side of the river. You can either take a boat safari or go canoeing.
The river is a natural habitat to several special species and a Ramsar wetland that is highly valued by the country. There are mangrove forests along the river bank. The guides will provide you with the opportunity to visit some of the islands that have been inhabited by people. These are very little islands with 3-5 families residing there.