Sri Lanka, Pearl of the Indian Ocean

My recent visit to the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’, Sri Lanka, was an eye opener indeed! This was my first time travelling to this beautiful destination, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect other than what I’d read:

an island boasting an interior of dense tropical jungles framed by sandy golden beaches.

I flew on Emirates Airlines via Dubai, an easy and seamless transit point. Stepping off the plane in Sri Lanka, the first thing that hits you is the humidity – it literally takes your breath away! Immediately you’re met by the wide smiles and welcoming nature of the locals; Sri Lankans are naturally hospitable people who’ll go out of their way to please their visitors.

The drive from the airport to the resort is rather long, just over 2 hours. Most of the journey takes you along a relatively new highway with very little traffic. Be prepared, though, that this comes to an end when you exit the highway and pass through the crowded, dusty and bustling chaos of the numerous small towns and villages.

Driving in Sri Lanka
Driving in Sri Lanka: open highways and chaotic streets.

Driving in Sri Lanka is definitely not for the fainthearted! Mopeds, motorbikes, taxis and tuk tuks all vie for prime position in the traffic. You quickly get accustomed to the fact that driving on the opposite side of the road – INTO ONCOMING TRAFFIC – is the norm here! (Note to self: do not sit in the front passenger seat if you want to keep your stress levels from rising dramatically … multiple times!)

Eventually entering the calm, serene grounds of the resort is a welcome relief!

Cape Weligama Resort is an absolute paradise with 12 manicured acres set high on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean.

This tropical retreat offers so much to its VIP guests, along with the biggest rooms of any resort in Sri Lanka. Each of the 39 villas and suites enjoys a large terrace with dining and spa facilities, spacious walk-in wardrobes, wireless audio with a large music library (or play your own music if you prefer), a complimentary library of movies on demand on the large screen, custom developed Ophir toiletries, a steam room, large bathrooms with twin vanities and a stone bathtub.

Cape Weligama Resort swimming pool
A 60-metre crescent-shaped infinity pool overlooks the Indian Ocean.
The beautiful villas at Cape Weligama Resort
An Ocean Villa and en-suite bathroom with its beautiful stone bathtub.

The Resort is owned by the Dilmah Tea family, who are not only passionate about ethical tea production but also take genuine pride in sharing their country with their international guests. With plenty of activities to choose from – snorkeling, diving, surfing, mountain biking, river safaris, Sri Lankan cooking classes – you really are spoilt for choice! And for even more rest and relaxation there’s sunset yoga and, of course, pampering treatments at the Sanctuary Spa.

Dining at the resort is simply spectacular!

A gourmet paradise, Cape Weligama pays homage to its location with the day’s freshest catch selected by you at Pola (the Sinhalese word for ‘market’) and cooked to order at the Ocean Terrace restaurant. Or savour mouth-watering fare at the Ocean Grill, Steakhouse & Grill, dramatically poised at the cliff edge with nothing but azure expanse as far as the eye can fathom. Then there’s high tea, served daily in the Cape Club Lounge – a wonderful excuse to escape the heat and humidity outside.

Cape Weligama has multiple restaurants to choose from.
Opt for a truly Sri Lankan dinner experience, or al fresco fine dining.

When you’re ready to explore further afield, a 30-minute coastal drive leads to the massive granite ramparts of Galle Fort. This 400-year-old Dutch colonial fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and symbol of this region’s strategic importance in maritime history.

Despite the hair-raising driving habits of the locals, the drive to Galle is beautiful. Think emerald hues of palm-frond dappled headlands meeting the sapphire waters of the Indian Ocean. Along the way you pass countless popular surf spots teeming with young, tanned backpackers; while sarong-clad fishermen perch acrobatically on their wooden stilts.

The old town of Galle in Sri Lanka
Daily life in Sri Lanka, and stepping back in time in the old town of Galle.
Galle Fort in Sri Lanka
Galle Fort, the Dutch Reformed Church and the historic town with its stone sea walls.

The history of Galle extends thousands of years back to biblical times. More recently, Galle was a prize to be possessed by western traders in search of wealth and glory. The old town of Galle with its beautifully preserved fort, quaint cobblestone streets, classy boutiques, curio shops and sidewalk cafes; feels like a place which time forgot. A fascinating step back in time.

Written by Angela Field

Sri Lanka is both a beautiful and exhilarating incentive travel destination. Want to know more? Get in touch.