Climate: The south-western part of Sri Lanka is the wet tropical zone. It is warm and humid all year round. Sea breezes make the coast a little cooler. The sunny, dry season is between November and March with average temperatures at around 26C. The south-west monsoon brings intermittent torrential rain, winds and rough seas, normally in May, June and July, with temperatures of up to 32C.There is also changeable weather during September and October. Humidity fluctuates between 70% in the day and 90% at night, which can be oppressive in built up areas.
In the small towns and villages that straddle the main trunk road and railway line, Buddhist temples sit alongside churches and mosques whilst livelihoods are gained through a mix of tourism, trading and fishing, farming and skilled crafts. It is fascinating to stroll along the beach and watch the fishermen preparing to launch their brightly-painted boats, later seeing them return with their catch. A venture into the hinterland reveals a world of lush plantations, tropical forests and lagoons. The rural villages are often known for a particular skill such as furniture or mask-making and weaving using dyed reed. Wadduwa, Bentota, Beruwela and the stretch of coast between Bentota and Galle all offer golden sand beaches, small fishing communities and watersports. Further inland, the Sinharaja rainforest is the only large undisturbed rainforest left in Sri Lanka where over 800 of the island’s endemic species of flora and fauna can be found.
In addition to relaxing on the beach, there are plenty of other things to see and do in this region. In and around Wadduwa: Fishing life along the coast; Long beach walks; Kalutara – famous for its historic Bo tree, grown from a sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura, and Gangatilaka Vihara Temple - the only Buddhist shrine in the world which is hollow; Kalu Ganga (river) and Bolgoda lake; Richmond Castle – a 19th century spice plantation mansion, built for a regional Governor resembling an Indian Maharaja’s palace design, now open to the public. In and around Bentota/Beruwela: Watersports at Bentota/Beruwela on the Bentota river (there is a well-equipped centre offering a range of motorised and non-motorised water sports, including diving); Bentota river boat trip (mangroves); Long beach walks; Brief Garden – home and landscaped gardens created by Bevis Bawa, the artist brother of Geoffrey Bawa. Behind a bamboo hedge lie walled gardens, bowers, lawns, sculptures and a Japanese garden; Lunuganga Estate – the home of celebrated Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa; Aluthgama – shops and market; Galapita Vihara Buddhist Temple - 12th century, 5 km upriver. Inland: Singharaja Rainforest; Plantations, farming and craft villages. Between Bentota and Galle: Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery; Buddhist Temples – e.g. Kumarakanda Vihara; Balapitiya –boat trips on Madu Ganga river and lagoon – birdlife, water monitors, islands; Mask carving and painting in Ambalangoda; Moonstone quarry in Meetyagoda; Beach walks; Hikkaduwa - tourist shops and restaurants, lower budget; Fishing trips, Snorkelling and scuba diving, waterskiing, kayaking, windsurfing and sailing – at Hikkaduwa (12 km from Galle). Wherever you stay on the south-west coast, day excursions can be made to historic Galle, Buddhist temples, Sinharaja Rainforest, Ambalangoda mask factory, the Kosgoda turtle hatchery. The water sports facilities at Bentota/Beruwela (or Hikkaduwa) are within an hour’s drive from any of the hotels.
Driving Distances: Colombo International Airport to Wadduwa – 1.5 to 2 hours (56 km), Colombo International Airport to Bentota – 2 ½ to 3 hours (90 km), Colombo International Airport to Galle – 3 hours (150 km), Wadduwa to Kandy – 4 hours, Bentota to Kandy – 4.5 hours (180 km), Colombo to Wadduwa – 45 mins to 1 hour (30 km).
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Find out more about Sri Lanka
CapitalSri Jayawardenapura-Kotte, with Colombo the commercial capital AirportBandaranaike International Airport is 1 hour from downtown Colombo CurrencySri Lankan Rupee (£1 = 208 Sri Lankan Rupees) Size268 miles long and 139 miles wide Population21 million Average temperatureThe climate varies dramatically between coast and interior year-round, and between the south-west and north-east according to time of year. Average coastal temperatures in areas we feature is 30 degrees whereas the temperature is much cooler in the hills, with hot water bottles needed (and provided) at most hotels. Rainy season in the south-west is September to October, and April to May in the north-east.
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