1 The Pettah

Colombo’s absorbing bazaar district, stuffed full of every conceivable type of merchandise, from mobile phones to Ayurvedic herbs.

2 Gangaramaya and Seema Malaka

Step out of the urban melee of Colombo into the serene enclosures of these two contrasting Buddhist temples.

3 Wilpattu National Park

Huge and very peaceful national park, home to significant populations of leopards, elephants and sloth bears.

4 Kalpitiya peninsula

Superb dolphin-watching, intriguing colonial remains, a beautiful lagoon and the island’s most alluring cluster of boutique eco-resorts on idyllic Alankuda Beach.

5 Bentota

With an idyllic sandy beach and a string of elegant small-scale hotels, the southern end of Bentota offers an oasis of style and tranquillity among the brash west coast package resorts.

6 Hikkaduwa

Popular backpacker hangout, with good surfing, snorkelling and diving, and one of the liveliest beach scenes anywhere on the coast.

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