Sand, surf and turf

It would be easy to pick a beach resort on the south coast and never leave, but those who do just that may regret it. From surfing to sun lounging, whale-watching to walking, there are too many distractions to ignore – and Galle is the gateway to them all. Lay down roots in this historic port town – which is a smooth 2.5 hour drive from Colombo on the new highway – and do as little or as much as you please. But please do something!

Whale of a time
Begin with an early 5am start to go whale-watching with the eco-conscious Raja and the Whales from the palm-fringed picturesque Mirissa harbour; it’s best to go November to April. Back on shore you can refuel on fresh clay-oven fired pizza at the picturesque Wijaya Beach restaurant. There’s just time for a snorkel in the clear waters before making the 40-minute trip back to Galle. Stop en route to see the stilt fishermen and the sugary white sands of Unawatuna, one of the country’s best beaches.

Surf's up
Begin your second day with a morning stroll in Galle around the fort’s ramparts, before exploring cinnamon warehouses and beautifully restored Dutch villas, then sampling local street food – fresh pineapple, roti and king coconuts. Finally, rest weary feet at Mama’s Galle Fort Roof Cafe. What next? Well, Midigama is the best surfing spot along the south coast, with a couple of reef breaks that are ideal for beginners, and the hollow, shallow and unpredictable Ram’s Right for the pros. The best time to grab the surfboard is November through to April.

Go wild
If you prefer a walk on the wild side, head to the Yala National Park, famous for the elusive leopard, sloth bear and Asian elephant. It’s a four to five-hour drive, or worthy of an overnight stay at the nearby rustic chic wildlife resort, Cinammon Wild, if you have the time.

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