Waikkal by the water
The coastline is cupped either side by breakwaters that protect the inland Waikkal village. When it comes to hotels in Waikkal, Sri Lanka almost seems to be showing off. Hotels have ushered up to the fringes of the beach without spoiling the view however, with sweeping sandy stretches curving around the coast and offering a quiet, sun-drenched retreat from the bustle of the world.
You'll find beach days here quiet, with families playing and couples cosying up. While boats sometimes take to the waves, they're far more readily seen, and easily enjoyed yourself, in the waterways and lagoons surrounding Waikkal. It's here you get to see the lush vegetation and rich, vibrant wildlife at its best, all while weaving through canals brought to the island by British and Dutch visitors of a bygone age.
Take to the town
Your Waikkal holiday is best taken at your own pace, and the same goes for your time in town. Shops here are a mix of the odd high street classic and some homegrown artisan talent. You can also pick up any snacks or groceries you might need to keep yourself topped up on tour. Try hoppers if you get the chance, the Sri Lankan street food sensation that's like a pancake with savoury flavours.
You'll find options to tour the nearby woodlands and road routes with local experts, and art lovers can also visit Don Reluka's Art Gallery to admire the brushwork and use of colour committed to canvas by a homegrown hero.
Colonial touches are dotted here and there for keen eyes to find, but for a real tribute to that time you can ride the Waikkal railway. The trains here let you see the country up close and personal – they show Sri Lanka's reinvigorated interest in rail transport in recent years. It's a great way to see new towns and cities during your stay, as well as be whisked through the wilderness among tea plantations and stunning valleys.
Food and drink in Waikkal
Sri Lankan food mixes spices and tropical style to make for some fantastic flavours, and you'll be able to enjoy plenty of them during your holiday in Waikkal. If waterfront dining is your dream, you're spoilt for choice. The beachfront hotels, as well as several snack shacks and coastal diners, offer plenty of provender to hungry travellers. You might also like to retreat a little inland to dine at the riverside restaurants with balconies by the canal, which make Waikkal such a characterful place to be.
The Canal Garden Restaurant is a superb example. Seafood is served in intricately arranged yet generous portions, while spicy curries and local delights also promise to entice you. Sunny Restaurant is another venue where you can expect a great mix of fish dishes and Sri Lankan delicacies, although it's also a winner for its fantastic vegan range. If your tastebuds are more international, you'll find Greek food, pizzas and other international treats dotted across Waikkal.
For the most part you'll find life after dark in Waikkal superbly relaxed and downtempo. Come nightfall, many of the locals turn their attention to pints and wines, and there are a fair few locales to try. More active nightlife can be had if you head to nearby Negombo. There, venues like the Bacco Wine Bar and the Rodeo Pub each do a grand job of making nights out to remember, sometimes featuring local bands as part of their entertainment.