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The West

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.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout The West.