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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, 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 and wildlife-filled woodlands. 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 fairly unexplored by tourists, except for a hardcore band of kitesurfers who flock to Kalpitiya. Change is happening fastest on the sleepy Kalpitiya peninsula, where new resorts are blossoming and an ambitious project is under way to transform the northern tip of the peninsula into the kind of high-end, exclusive beach tourism that dominates the neighbouring Maldives.

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Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout North of Colombo.


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