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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Kalutara

Kalutara Holidays

Due in part to its location just 40 kilometres from Sri Lanka's capital of Colombo, Kalutara is a vibrant, bustling town with plenty of heart. Highlights include unspoiled beaches, intricately decorated temples and the opportunity to spot rare endemic wildlife.

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A rich culinary history

Once a popular spice-trading town, Kalutara is the culinary gem of Sri Lanka's western province. The island's capital, Colombo, is just an hour's drive northwards along the coast, giving visitors here plenty of opportunity to enjoy both local delights and exotic international cuisine.

These days the town is best known for its production of mongosteens – a sweet, purple fruit that is particularly popular in Sri Lankan cooking. Other common ingredients include the coconut, which plays a key role in many of the sweet and savoury dishes served here. Main dishes also typically comprise of fresh seafood that's caught locally in the area.

Quick Tips

  • Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu and Christian
  • Sri Lankan Rupee
  • Sinhala and tamil
  • GMT +5.5

Temples, monuments and shrines

Temples are held in particularly high regard in Sri Lanka, and Kalutara town is home to a wealth of historically rich, intricately decorated shrines and monuments that serve as a nod to the region's strong ties with Buddhism. Among the most striking is Kalutara Bodhiya, which is easily recognisable by its colossal white domed roof. Inside is a haven of peace, where locals and tourists can come to worship or simply find solace away from the bustle of the town outside.

Also worth a visit is Richmond Castle, an eclectic two-storey landmark which takes its cues from both Indian and British architecture. Stroll through the surrounding fruit gardens or book a historical tour to discover more about Sri Lanka's fascinating past.

It’s just cricket

Just an hour's drive north of Kalutara you'll find R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium, home of the Sri Lankan cricket team. Locals flock here on match days to watch the national squad in action, as the buzzing atmosphere rings out around the stadium. After the game, head to a local watering hole to sample some of the laid-back nightlife this island has to offer.

A truly stunning coastline

The area of Kalutara Sri Lanka is highly renowned for its beaches, and the namesake Kalutara Beach is considered to be one of the most picturesque in the region. Take a seat along the water's edge to watch traditional wooden fishing boats bobbing along the shoreline, or enjoy a romantic stroll across the golden sand.

The water here is warm, but has a tendency to be rough, so taking caution when paddling or swimming is advised. If you decide to stay on shore you're unlikely to be alone, as tiny crabs and other fascinating sea creatures are common sights here. For drinks and light bites just take a wander to the selection of rugged beach shacks that line the sand.

A Water lover's delight

Water lovers will feel right at home in Kalutara. There's plenty to do here near to the water, whether reclining beside the sea on one of the region's famous beaches, or enjoying a safari boat ride along the picturesque Kalutara River.

Step on board a guided boat tour and be transported along this peaceful river, passing through Bentota's lush greenery. Fruit bats, monitor lizards and even baby crocodiles are just some of the extraordinary creatures you can hope to spot as you take in Sri Lanka's vast range of native wildlife in all its glory.

Also worth visiting is the Thudugala Ella waterfall, which allows visitors the chance to take a dip at the foot of the falls. Bathe in the warm, tranquil water or gaze up and watch monkeys frolicking in the trees above.

Explore vibrant Colombo

Kalutara offers plenty to see and do but remains relatively untouched by mass tourism. If you do fancy heading out into the hustle and bustle of Sri Lanka's capital however, just a short train journey is all that's required to reach Colombo.

The city's highlights include a wide selection of art galleries and museums, which provide a fascinating window into the culture and traditions that exist here. Perhaps the most famous landmark is the Gangaramaya Temple, which has striking modern architecture, and is considered to be of significant cultural importance.