Southwest Coast holiday highlights

Sri Lanka’s scenic southwest coast is dotted with luxurious Kuoni resorts where you can unwind on sandy palm-fringed beaches, such as sun-drenched Bentota. While away the days trying thrilling watersports, diving in azure waters and sampling delicious cuisine.

Bentota is one of the southwest coast’s most established beach resorts and has a great range of accommodation to suit all styles and budgets along its great expanses of golden sand. Nestled between the beautiful Bentota River and the glittering Indian Ocean, it offers the best of both worlds, with romantic river cruises, soft sand, a myriad of great dive sites as well as parasailing, jet-skiing and more. This is also a great location to experience an Ayurvedic treatment, as the area is known for its experienced and dedicated therapists who will ensure you leave with a feeling of relaxation and reinvigoration.

Somewhat smaller is the fishing village of Beruwala, where a more relaxed vibe can be felt. Here you’ll find colourful fishing boats, charming people and bustling markets offering a plethora of homemade crafts and other souvenirs. Away from the busy centre of town, the atmosphere is tranquil and laid back, the perfect place to get away from it all. The villages of Wadduwa and Ahungalla also benefit from this serene pace of life, picturesque beaches and charming people.

For something a little bigger, Kalutara in the third biggest city in the western province after Colombo and Negombo but is based around some of the south coast’s most scenic resorts. Here, alongside beaches, diving and bustling markets you’ll find the Kalutara Bridge and some beautiful examples of Buddhist temples including the Kalutara Vihara and the Asokatramaya temple.

For those with a love of surfing, Hikkaduwa is the best known resort in Sri Lanka. The water is great for beginners and regulars alike and also highly popular with snorkelers. As a resort Hikkaduwa has more of a nightlife scene than some of its neighbours and is also home to an array of tailors who will whip you up an outfit in no time at all.

Southwest Coast key facts

Time difference

GMT +6 hours

Currency

Sri Lankan rupee

Flying time to destination

10¾ hours

Language

Sinhalese. Tamil and English are also widely spoken, and newspapers are printed in all three languages.

Southwest Coast good to know

Sports

Diving
Many of our resorts have PADI centres. Sri Lanka’s waters are home to historic sunken shipwrecks and vibrant coral reef teeming with tropical fish.

Watersports
Hit the azure ocean and try scuba diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, waterskiing, jetskiing, banana boating, catamaran sailing and kayaking.

Spa and wellness

Most of our Sri Lanka beach resorts boast their own spas - book a blissful treatment and leave feeling rejuvenated.

Shopping in Southwest Coast

•   In Bentota, browse the colourful bazaar and pick up souvenirs, batik and brassware.
•   Negombo is home to jewellers and gift shops selling local handicrafts.
•   In Colombo you can barter at Pettah Bazaar, buy an exquisite sari and famous Ceylon tea, and admire local artists’ work. You’ll also find gem-studded jewellery (only buy from shops licensed by the National Gem & Jewellery Authority).
•   Galle is famous for its antique shops selling colonial furniture and ornaments, porcelain and pottery.
•   A short drive up from Galle is Ambalangoda, selling antiques and intricately carved ‘devil masks’ traditionally worn to banish demons.
•   Further south in Koggala, purchase delicious cinnamon from the local plantation.

Food & drink

Food
•   You’ll find delicious fish and seafood, traditional Sri Lankan curries and international fare. In Kalutara, try the resort’s famous mangosteen – a juicy purple fruit. 

Water
•   Try the local brew, arrack.
•   Don’t drink the tap water. Most hotels offer boiled and bottled water, so stick to this instead