North of Chilaw (and about 8km before reaching the town of Puttalam), a side road branches off west, threading its way across the beautiful, windswept Kalpitiya peninsula, fringed with unspoilt beaches and bounded on opposite sides by sea and lagoon. The peninsula’s considerable tourist potential (especially given its relative proximity to the international airport) remains largely unexploited as yet, and government plans to establish a $4 billion tourist zone near Kalpitiya town, complete with luxury resort, golf course and airstrip, have thankfully so far come to naught. For the time being, tourism remains low-key, centred on the marvellous cluster of eco-resorts at beautiful Alankuda Beach.

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