You don’t have to be on Sri Lanka’s west coast for long to realize that the coastline has something of a multiple personality. North of the capital is Negombo, a cheerful beach town crowned with church spires that is, thanks to its proximity to the airport, a staple of almost every visitor’s Sri Lankan journey. Head further north, though, and you enter a wild and little-visited region that seems to consist of nothing but coconut plantations and lagoons, sparkling in the sun and filled with dolphins.
South of Colombo’s chaos is a world that oscillates between traditional Sri Lankan culture in Ambalangoda, the chic boutique hotels and uncluttered golden sands of Bentota and the slightly scrappy but ever-popular backpacker party town of Hikkaduwa.
Whichever part of the west coast you choose, a beach stay here makes for the perfect beginning or end to your Sri Lankan adventure.