Kalutara, Sri Lanka: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
Kalutara is a large town located in Kalutara District, Western Province of Sri Lanka. It is located approximately 40 km south of the capital Colombo. The city is known for its beaches and historical and cultural importance. The city was once one of Sri Lanka’s main export harbours for spices with Arab traders visiting regularly from across the Arabian Sea in ancient times. The city’s location is highly convenient that it is close to the commercial capital Colombo and it is the gateway to the gem mining city of Ratnapura and the Sinharaja Rain Forest. Many travellers come there every year for its beautiful beach resort. The North Beach of the city is more scenic and visited by higher number of people when it is compared to the South Beach. The city is also a famous spot for being the source of the island’s finest mangos teens.
The closest airport to the city is in Colombo which is Bandaranaike International Airport. The journey from the aiport to Kalutara by car or taxi usually takes about an hour. The city is also on Colombo-Matara line which express trains stop at Kalutara South. However, they do not stop at Kalutara North Slow trains take about more than one hour from Colombo Fort and express trains usually take one hour. In addition, there are also several air conditioned and non air conditioned buses and taxies available to and from Colombo.
Places to Visit
The stupa was built in 1960s to the south of the Kalutara Bridge. It is Kalutara’s most dominant landmark. It is said that this white dagoba is the only Buddha Stupa in the world that is entirely hollow. The stupa has a smaller dagoba inside. The interior is decorated with the paintings of the Jataka tales about the life of Buddha.
The Castle was built in 1896 at Palataota in a little inland. Richmond Castle is a 42-acre fruit garden estate. It was originally built for a wealthy regional governor. The two storied building has 15 rooms with a mix of British and Indian styles copied from the plans of an Indian Maharaja’s palace designed by a London architect. The house and grounds are open to the public. Currently, the castle is used as a school for underprivileged children and also a spot for theatrical productions.
Kalutara is famous for its long and sandy beaches which are easily accessible from Colombo Airport. The beach is ideal for tourists looking for a peaceful and quiet retreat to enjoy a day among the coconut palm trees. Kalutara South beaches are recognized as the finest in Sri Lanka. The golden beach is excellent for swimming.
Wadduwa Beach is located only 8 km from Kalutara. The beach is a beautiful palm-lined beach. It is usually less crowded and less frequented by tourists. Wadduwa is supposed to be famous for the production of vinegar.
Kalutara is famous for its colourful and soft basket ware. Basket Centre is located in the middle of Kalutara where the local weavers tame the unyielding palm leaves and turning them into purses, coasters, hats and many other items.
Kalutara is famous for its mango teens. Mango teens are a speciality of Kalutara. It is a dark purple shiny fruit that was introduced to Ceylon from Malaya in the early 19th century. Mango teens are said to be at its best from June to September.
Where to Stay
AVANI Kalutara Resort
The resort is located by the Kalu Ganga River. It features an outdoor pool, a luxurious spa and free Wi-Fi access. Rooms come with air conditioning and views of the sea, river or garden. Each room is equipped with a minibar and a TV with satellite channels. Guests can rent water sports facilities or exercise at the fitness centre. Buffet breakfast is served at the hotel. Drinks can be enjoyed at the resort’s two bars. Address: St Sebastian’s Road, Katukurunda, Kalutara, Sri Lanka.
Lohas Beach Resort Villa
This guest house features free Wi-Fi and air conditioning. Free private parking is available on site. The accommodation has a seating area. There is a private bathroom with a shower in every unit. Bed linen is provided. Address: No 80, Sri Sumanagala North Road, Kalutara, Sri Lanka.
This bed and breakfast features a children’s playground and sun terrace. Free Wi-Fi is features throughout the property. Free private parking is available on site. Rooms come with a flat screen TV with satellite channels. Some rooms have views of the sea or river. Free use of bicycles is available at this property. The bed and breakfast also offers bike hire. No 160/1 A St Sebastian Rd, Kalutara, Sri Lanka.
Karl Holiday Bungalow
This guest house is set within few steps from the beach, it features green gardens and free parking on site. Free Wi-Fi access is available throughout the property. Rooms come with air conditioning, tiled flooring, a wardrobe, clothes rack, mosquito net and seating area. Guests have access to a shared toiled and shared bathroom. Guests can relax at the common lounge area or rooftop terrace while enjoying views of the sea. Car rental is available and airport transfers can be arranged at a surcharge. Address: Sea Beach Road, Kalutara, Sri Lanka.
Anantara Kalutara Resort
This resort features free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool and a barbecue. The resort has a spa centre and sauna. Guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant. Free private parking is available on site. Rooms come with a flat screen TV. Certain rooms come with a seating area. Rooms have a private bathroom. There is a 24 hour front desk, a shared lounge, hairdresser’s and gift shop at the property. The resort also has water sports facilities and free use of bicycles and car hire are available. Address: St Sebastian’s Road, Kalutara, Sri Lanka.
This bed and breakfast features an on-site restaurant. Free Wi-Fi is provided and free private parking is available on site. Rooms come with views of the pool or garden. Rooms come with a private bathroom. Bike hire and car hire are available at this bed and breakfast. Address: 16 Riverside Road, Kalutara, Sri Lanka.
Sagala Bungalow has a barbecue and views of the garden. Guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant. Free private parking is available on site. Rooms come with a flat screen TV and a coffee machine. Some rooms come with a seating area. Free Wi-Fi access is available throughout the property. There is a shared kitchen at this guest house. Address: 386/1, Galle Road, Kalutara, Sri Lanka.
Mermaid Hotel and Club
This hotel features two outdoor pools, a health spa and free parking. Rooms are simply furnished and they come with private balconies or terraces. Each room has a CD player and a satellite TV. Sahana Spa features relaxing massage treatments. Guests can play a game of water polo at the swimming pool. The restaurant at the hotel served fresh seafood dishes. Drinks and cocktails can be enjoyed at any one of the four hotel bars. Address: Galle Road, Kalutara, Sri Lanka.