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Updated by Hiru Piumwardena on Mar 06, 2020
Headline for Tips for planning an unforgettable family trip to Kalutara
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Tips for planning an unforgettable family trip to Kalutara

Whether you’re a Sri Lankan trying to explore each part of the island in depth, or a visitor to the island wanting to explore a part of Sri Lanka that is cut off from the tourist traffic, Kalutara is one of the best places for you to start. Family friendly beaches, waterfalls, historical and religious spots…Kalutara has it all. Here are some of the spots that we feel is a “shouldn’t miss” in your stay at Kalutara.

1

Richmond Castle

Richmond Castle

If you’re a fan of visiting old mansions and castles, then a trip to Richmond Castle will surely interest you! Located just 3 kilometers from the Kalutara town, this castle was built between 1900 and 1910, by a wealthy local named Mudaliyar Don Arthur de Silva Wijesinghe Siriwardena. This Edwardian mansion is opened to the public, and the entrance fee also covers a guided tour. As this is a popular spot to visit in the area, if you’d like to avoid the crowds, we suggest visiting it right as the castle is open for viewing; which is at 09.00am. The architectural and historical facts, along with the splendid gardens will surely entertain you.

2

The Kalutara Bodhiya

The Kalutara Bodhiya

If you’re thinking of getting in a little spiritual experience during your visit to Kalutara, a visit to the famed Kalutara Bodhiya will be perfect for you. If you’re staying at a Wadduwa hotel close to Kalutara, this trip may take you a little time, as the temple is located south of the city. This serene place with its historical and religious values attracts thousands of visitors each year. Remember that this is a sacred religious spot for the locals, so be sure to dress (shoulders and knees covered) and behave appropriately. Also note that you’ll have to remove your footwear to enter the Bodhiya, which may be a little difficult for those with tender feet.

3

Thudugala Ella waterfall

Thudugala Ella waterfall

Certainly not the largest or tallest waterfall in the island, but this waterfall is almost a hidden gem. Apart from the locals, not many people have heard of this waterfall, so if you avoid the weekends (when it’s most popular with the locals) and visit it during the early hours of the day, you’re sure to be able the waterfall in private. Note that it’s possible to travel by bus only up to a certain distance, after which you’ll have to take a tuk. To get to the waterfall, you’ll have to walk across a field, but the walk is not too long, and will be suitable even for kids. To truly enjoy the waterfall, be sure to find the path that leads to the top of the fall, where you’d find a shallow pool hidden from view that’s perfect to swim in!

4

Kosgoda sea turtle conservation

Kosgoda sea turtle conservation

If your little ones love animals, then a chance to interact with adorable baby sea turtles will certainly thrill them! The conservation tries to protect the hatchlings during their most vulnerable period, and release them into the ocean when their old enough. As it only takes a few days for baby turtles to be deemed “old enough”, if you’d visit the hatchery around sunset, you’ll surely get to witness at least a few of them being released to the wild. As the hatchery also houses and nurses older injured turtles, you’ll also be able to see them in tanks. If you’re interested, you can also offer to volunteer; a great activity to do if you plan on being in the area for a few days!

5

Pahiyangala Cave

Pahiyangala Cave

If you’re up for more adventure, a trip to the Pahiyangala cave will certainly interest you! Located in the remote village of Yatagampitiya, this cave is not only the largest cave in the island, but is also among the largest rock formations found in Asia. The cave has a mythical and historical value; from tales of the legendary Chinese Buddhist monk Fa-Hsien using this cave as a rest stop (giving the cave its name), to discoveries of proof for ancient humans using the cave! This natural cave also houses a 40feet long reclining Buddha, and attracts visitors all year long. Apart from that, it also has its own natural spring, and many small wild animals can be spotted if you’re vigilant. However, it’s important to note that the path to the cave is a little adventurous, so it may not be suitable for very young kids.

So pack up your bags, make your reservations and find your way to Kalutara, where a world of discoveries awaits you…