News ≫ Sri Lanka: where to eat, drink and stay

Sri Lanka: where to eat, drink and stay

May 26, 2016
Facebook Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Email

Beachside bars, exotic wildlife and a super-chic eco retreat. There’s a lot to love about Sri Lanka, says Katie Law

Where to stay

Tri is a new breed of posh, sustainable resort that has sprung up since Sri Lanka’s civil war ended in 2009. Designed by English ex-pat Rob Drummond with architects A00, it’s a post-modern paradise where cool concrete meets sweltering tropical jungle. At Tri’s centre is a 40ft-high water tower next to an ancient banyan tree. Clad in driftwood cinnamon branches, the three-bedroom tower looks out across the lake and down at eight more villas along the shore.

Where to eat


Pedlar Street in Galle town centre has everything from salad thalis and thirst-quenching fresh lemonade at Poonie’s Kitchen to old-fashioned gelato at Pedlar’s Inn Café. For the best burgers try Rocket Burger.

What to read


Immerse yourself in This Divided Island, Samanth Subramanian’s lucid account of the island’s recent history.

Where to day trip

If it’s animals you want to see, add Yala National Park to your itinerary. Drive 120 miles south-east from Koggala to Yala in the hope of seeing leopards. Fewer than 40 remain in the 620sq-mile protected park — and be warned, they are elusive.

What to do


If Tri is the chilled escape, Galle Fort, 40 minutes away by car, is for sightseeing and fun. While a selection of tourist shops have opened, its sleepy, narrow streets retain all their old-world charm. Begin outside the Dutch colonial-style Amangalla hotel and wander around. Don’t miss the reformed church, the library, the lighthouse and the old square with its magistrate’s court.

What to buy


Gems, gems and more gems, Laksana Gems on Hospital Street is the place to buy them. From brilliant, budget-buy semi-precious stones to whopping white diamonds, you’re spoilt for choice. Don’t be shy to ask for their ‘best price’.

Where to relax

If you’re staying in Tri, don’t miss the bar next to a long, green granite-tiled pool. With its minimal stone and cement surfaces warmed by recycled wood walls, the bar is the perfect spot to cool down with a cold beer and a plate of ‘hoppers’— a local pancake made of rice batter.

Where to drink


Wijaya Beach on the coast at Unawatuna, midway between Tri and Galle, is the perfect stopover for a beer or glass of chilled wine and a pizza from a wood-fired oven. Take a dip into what can be a pretty frisky sea. It’s the Indian Ocean, after all.

What to see

Take a boat to Cinnamon Island on Lake Koggala to see Sarat, whose family has lived here for generations, skilfully peel cinnamon bark, while his wife serves up cups of aromatic amber-coloured tea. Buy a packet to take home.

Latest News