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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Things to Do in and Around Kalutara, Sri Lanka – Beach Resort of Many Charms
Joanna James Joanna James
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Things to Do in and Around Kalutara, Sri Lanka – Beach Resort of Many Charms

Kalutara is located on the border between the west and south coasts of Sri Lanka; it acts almost as a gateway to the gorgeous golden sandy belt of beach, dominating the south-west coast. Here are the area's best allures.


Explore the Kalutara Bodhiya

Marking the entrance to the city is the Kalutara Bodhiya; occupying both ends of the main Galle Road. The River Kalu flows by the side of the temple. On the side running along the riverbed is a huge bo tree, believed to be one of eight saplings, obtained from a sapling of the very tree the Buddha attained Nirvana under. The stupa, located on the opposite end of the road is one of Asia's few hollow stupas; the inside is full of beautiful artwork and artefacts. The temple is just 8 minutes from Mermaid Hotel & Club, and if you happen to be a guest there on a 'Poya' holiday, do pay the Kalutara Bodhiya a visit, for it is quite magical under the light of the full moon.


Pay a Visit to the Brief Gardens

The Brief Gardens are located in Bentota, just 44 minutes from Kalutara. The gardens are the masterpiece work of Bewis Bawa, brother of Sri Lanka's renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa. The old family estate was turned into a kind of fairyland, by the talented artist, who used the expansive gardens, tapering down to the river as his personal canvas, to create, secret nooks, summer huts, ponds, a Japanese garden, and lawns dotted with cheeky statues. Today the estate is open to the public and maintained by a board of trustees. A visit is well worth the journey from your Kalutara hotel.


Check Out the Dutch Fort in Galle

If you are looking for a good beach hotel in Sri Lanka, Kalutara is a convenient base for such accommodation, especially since it is central to many allures of the south coast. Galle is one such city; one can visit on a day tour when based at a Kalutara resort. Galle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to the Old Dutch Fort; an ancient relic standing the test of time from the 16th century. Built over Galle's natural harbour the fort was established by the Portuguese, fortified by the Dutch and later taken over by the British. An important link to the country's colonial past, the fort is well looked after, retaining much of its ancient splendour.


Discover the Essence of Beruwala

Just 25 kilometres from Kalutara is the town of Beruwala, a sleepy fisher community, the places central attraction is the main fish market. Plan a visit in the early hours of the day, and you can witness a taste of local lifestyles. Get there by 8 am and you can see how a local fish market operates, from shouting traders to eager buyers out to snag the best of the days catch.


Take on a River Safari

The Maduganga River Safari is very popular amongst visitors staying at beach hotels in Kalutara. The tours consist of cruises across mangrove forests, looking out for exotic wildlife and visiting a cinnamon farm. Even fishing expeditions can be arranged, check with your Kalutara hotel tour desk for details.