Way back in the 1970s and early 1980s, the twin beaches of Passekudah and Kalkudah were the east coast’s most developed tourist destinations, home to a modest cluster of resort hotels and drawing a steady string of European tourists to this far-flung corner of the island. All that ended following the outbreak of war. The hotels were first abandoned, and subsequently blown up by the LTTE to prevent them being used by the Sri Lankan Army – their ghostly skeletons remained, until quite recently, standing sentry over the deserted beaches.

Now the area is on the cusp of a second, and even more dramatic coming, earmarked as a special tourist development zone and already in the throes of enormous development. The formerly deserted arc of PASSEKUDAH BAY is now ringed with the concrete skeletons of no fewer than thirteen new hotels under construction (along with the already completed Maalu Maalu resort) which are likely to transform this sleepy village into the east coast’s answer to Beruwala within just a couple of years. By contrast, neighbouring KALKUDAH BAY remains mercifully unchanged, so far at least, with a superb sweep of powder-fine golden sand – blissfully deserted and unspoilt, although a couple of plots of land have already been fenced off for future development, suggesting that Kalkudah’s days as a sleepy backwater are also numbered. See it while you can.

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