Introducing North of Colombo
Leaving Colombo most eyes look south, but for those with time on their hands and a sense of curiosity, or for those on the slow road towards Anuradhapura, then the northbound A3 heads out of Colombo, skirts some charming old Dutch canals, slides past some sandy beaches and gets utterly lost among a matted tangle of coconut groves. It all adds up to a wonderful sense of discovery. For the moment, aside from workaday Negombo, which sits close to Bandaranaike International Airport, much of this area remains completely unexplored by tourists and the chances of finding an untarnished beach is high, but things are on the cusp of change. The government, inspired by the kind of high-end, exclusive beach tourism of the neighbouring Maldives, has embarked on an ambitious tourism project around the town of Kalpitiya at the end of the long peninsula that separates Dutch Bay from the ocean.
We start our coverage in the far north and work southwards.