Exploring The Beautiful Kalpitiya
Sri Lanka is an island in Asia ringed with palm-fringed beaches. I was there around March of 2012 to visit a childhood friend who left America after graduating from college to work there as an Academic Consultant for the Sri Lankan government. He hails from Kalpitiya. It is one of the beaches that circle around this shining land. He has been inviting me to visit and spend a week in his home and meet his family and he will tour me around his hometown. I have not seen him for more than twenty years and honestly, I was a bit apprehensive about going there but he assured me all the bad news I hear was just a gross exaggeration by the media. After much prodding and convincing, I gave in to his request.
After being granted a visa at the Sri Lankan Electronic Travel Authorization System, I prepared all the necessary things I will need for my two week stay with my best friend. With assurance of my safety and security I was confident when I boarded the twenty hour Malaysian Airlines flight from Chicago to Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka. I was so happy to see him at the airport he was equally excited to see me too. From here we drove for four hours to reach Kalpitiya, an unexplored tropical beach haven. All my apprehensions diminished when sights of beaches and scenic traditional life welcome me on my way to their home. I was welcomed in his household with a festive meal of Sri Lankan cuisine like rice, curry, and spicy dishes. It was satisfying and I admire the hospitable gesture of his family.
After lunch we drove to a small fortress we passed earlier on the Dutch Fort of Kalpitiya. I saw a remnant of the war general’s command headquarters, armory, barracks, a dark prison, and dungeon. The walls within these ruins were made of coral. He made prior arrangements for my tourist pass, it is always asked by police authorities from foreigners who visit every attraction in Sri Lanka. Upon showing the pass I was given access to tour The Navy Base within the fort. It has secret entrance ways that culminated to its walled ramparts. I took pictures of The Old Dutch Church but it no longer functions a church. Inside I saw an unnamed crypt, while its belfry still stands intact.
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After a restful first night in Kalpitiya, the next day together with his wife and kids we visited the Ruwala Nature and Adventure Park. I love the tranquility and calm inside this park where we stayed for ten days. It is a great place to relax and de-stress. The fun part was when we rented a kayak and head out to the lagoon where we saw dolphins aiming for a fast take off at its famous Dolphin Bay. I was totally wowed by a school of dolphins rushing along the side of our boat. There were lots of cute bottlenose dolphins and spinners splashing as we head out further to the sea. Being dubbed as the family resort I find the place to be small, nevertheless I still enjoyed playing at the pool with his kids. The restaurant inside the resort offers an endless choice of food to indulge myself in. We stayed overnight at one of the big rooms in Ruwala, it was pleasant and we spent the rest of the day catching up on each other’s lives while we drink beer and watch the sun go down.
The next day we availed of the Kitesurfing Lanka in one of the hotels near the resort to make the most of our stay. We rode a boat that took us to the remote islands along the bay and the surrounding unexplored lagoons. The resort was not crowded and we practically had the island just for us. The wind blew hard as I held on tight while I enjoy my first kite surfing adventure on its flat waters. The kind staff provided the best kite surfing experience ever! The resort also serves as an academy for kiting professionals as they offer various courses and levels for every aspiring kite surfer pro. It made my summer vacation in Kalpitiya a memorable one. We enjoyed the hammock viewing area for sunset watching, as well as the great landscapes and its superb sand dunes. The atmosphere around was very homely and clean with great food served on its thatched huts dining areas. It is surprising that this part remains undiscovered and secluded. At night the cold breeze was simply amazing!
We also checked out within our week long stay the nearby Palagama Beach Resort. It offers boat rides for whale spotting and dolphin watching too. The place has a more serene atmosphere with its private cabanas facing the flat wave shore. The infinity pool was very relaxing and comfortable with a great view of the ocean. Food service was excellent and the outdoor bathroom was divine, it was a perfect beach retreat. Staying overnight was fairly inexpensive as we manage to get the best room, the owner was very accommodating as well, and we got well taken cared by their staff and resident chef. The lovely clean pool was well maintained during our stay there. The rooms were very basic and rustic with a ceiling fan as the only option for comfort (no air con, TV, WiFi, and phone), but it was spacious and pleasant all throughout. At night we chill out on its well stocked bar. Every morning I watch as fishermen haul their nets to the shore. I took pictures of a typical early morning routine scenes around the beach. The beach was a nice and suitable place for someone who wants to go “out of this world” with a cost that is standard and affordable. It was cute and nice but not too expensive. I felt blessed being there.
The next day was a visit to the Bar Reef Resort. It is a sublime beach cove with an unspoiled coast and large pools of sea water. I admire their beautiful tourist bungalows made of natural materials like coconut wood, shells and stone. Even the outdoor showers were disguised under a coconut tree from a hole on one of the coconuts where tap water flows. What an ingenious creativity! The beds on their lovely cabanas were super comfortable; the resort staff was very attentive to our needs. I keep requesting on the chef to make the food a bit less spicy and I was glad he heeded my request. The cove was widely covered with palm leaf trees and lush mangroves. Lined with beautiful open villas and cabanas, even its dining area was in an open pavilion where we dine Ala carte with other guests.
At night we grilled fresh fish we bought from Sri Lankan fishermen who goes around offering their latest fresh catch. The kids enjoyed our stay here because of the shallow kiddie pools inside the resort. Every afternoon we pamper ourselves with a good massage while the rest of the family enjoys their swim. The atmosphere inside the resort was very informal and casual especially at the beach lounge area where other guests enjoy reading, chilling, and socializing. It is an authentic place with great design ideas and nice people. It is a perfect getaway place for family and kids with a good view of the Indian Ocean.
The last place we checked onto before heading back home was the Diyamba Beach Resort. It is an idyllic beach place with unspoiled beautiful surroundings. I was amused to find mosquito nets and bamboo mats in their cabanas but no hot showers (oh how I miss that!). We had a choice of bungalows with open windows or rooms with no doors or windows, we chose the first one. The staff was politely helpful and the food was very delicious.
The day I left, I hugged my friend really tight and thanked him for the relaxing summer vacation he made me experience on Kalpitiya. Will I go back? Definitely yes!