The north-west coast begins from Chilaw and it is 57 km from the International Airport. The North western coastal belt length up to Mannar total up to approx. 160 km of beach. Most of it borders the Wilpattu National park. Go up further north from Chilaw to Kalpitiya for whale and dolphin spotting, further north is the Wilpattu National park famous for its leopards and sloth Bear. The remote coastal towns to the far north, Kalpitiya and Mannar, remain untouched by mass tourism. With the sparkling blue surf of the Indian Ocean and scenic tropical lagoons, the province has a long stretch of wide, sun drenched golden beach.
In chilaw another attraction is the Munneswaran Hindu Kovil which has been in existence at least since 1000 AD. Some of the province’s best beach resorts are Marawila, Talawila, and Kalpitiya. These beaches are often borders lagoon or a river front and make excellent bases for long beach holidays. Many fishing villages are seen in the coastal areas. Drive approx. 20 km north from Chilaw to Anawilanduwa wetlands which is one of the best places bird watching.
Drive 132 KM North to Wilpattu which is one of Sri Lanka’s most scenic national parks where the leopard and the bear roam. The Sea off the coast of Kalpitiya is home to dolphins and whales. It is now developing as an attractive tourist destination and yet an region not effected by mass tourism.
Locations Featured Under North West Coast
Chilaw, Kalpitiya, Puttalama and Mannar
Kalpitiya located in the Puttalama district takes the prime spot when it comes to the beaches in the North western province, Kalpitiya is known for its serene beauty. It consists of 14 islands. It has a total area of 16.73 km2. The people of Kalpitiya are mostly fishermen. It is now developing as an attractive tourist destination.
Attractions not to miss
- Whales and Dolphin spotting off the coast of Kalpitiya (November to December and March to April is the best periods)
- Flocks of pink flamingos in Mannar during the birding season from October to March
- Safari in Wilpattu national park where the leopards and sloth bears roam. See under National parks for details
- Anawilanduwa wetlands for Bird watching. See under National parks for more details
Special events and specialties of the Region
In August each year a colorful procession, including fire walking, takes place in Chilaw, organised by the Munneswaram Kovil.
Kalpitiya is home to dolphins, whales, stingrays and several species of Marine turtles. Watersports are also available here. Sperm Whales are most common (the second largest species of the whale), other Whales you could see include the blue (largest whale and mammal in the world), Minke, Melon-Headed and Dwarf Sperm whales. November to December and March to April showcases the whales. Sperm Whales are the most common. The Blue Whale (largest mammal in the world), Minke, Melon-Headed and Dwarf Sperm whales are also spotted. Recently even Orcas have been photographed on the waters just outside Kandakuliya!
Wilpattu National Park
North east of Puttalama is the beautiful Wilpattu National Park, with a chance to see leopards, elephants, sloth bear, water buffalo, deer and many birds including several kinds of Eagles . Wilpattu Covers an area of 131,000 hectares from the Northwestern coast to the north-central province, Wilpattu is one of Sri Lanka’s oldest wildlife park Situated away from the common tourist routs, Wilpattu is not as crowded like the other National parks and can be enjoyed at leisurely free from commotion. Ideally you need to do a full day safari considering the expanse of the park.
Best Period to Travel
South part of the North western region follows the weather patterns of Colombo, has its best weather between December and April, also being affected by the south-west monsoon which brings rain from May to July. However the northern end of the north western region closer to Mannar, dry weather prevails for much of the year with the bulk of the rain falling from October to December similar to the weather of the north-east monsoon.