It’s about time to find a yearning this time. Be it the fascination of exploring stars or an inner call for challenging the waves, watching dolphins in the blue waters, or maybe even going out of the way to learn Kitesurfing, Kalpitiya is just that place where you could do that and more.
Where is Kalpitiya?
Kalpitiya is a strip of land that stretches into the ocean with a bay to its east and an oceanic lagoon on the west. Here, you are actually within the sea yet still on the ground somehow when you arrive at Kalpitiya. Hate to break it to you, but when we visited this beautiful place in March, it was a hot place to be in, and no, not dry scorching hot. It’s more of extreme humidity plus the high temperatures, of course.
By the way, months stretching from May to September are the official summer months, however, at the end of March, when we were here, it was really hot. Hailing from Rajasthan, a warm and dry region in India, we have experience of living in warmer places. So you see this bummer is real since it’s coming from us!
Off the west coast of Sri Lanka, north of Negombo, this little town is our second stop on the Sri Lankan voyage that we’re on and man, it’s a gorgeous small town not frequented by many. Being the place it is, Kalpitiya receives tremendous tropical winds and makes it a haven for windsurfers and beach-goers. Since it’s in the middle of oceanic waters, it is perfect to see a gorgeous show from dolphins.
The backpacker’s way to travel from Negombo to Kalpitiya:
As recommended by our host at Ayurda Home in Negombo, we took a train from Kurana to Palaviya. The Kurana train station is 200 meters from the homestay, so we walked there. We bought two tickets for 240 LKR (1.3$), and the train arrived right time.
After a three hours journey, we got down at Palaviya Train Station. It was already 1:30, and we were hungry. Walking south for 200 meters from the train station, we reached the Palavi-Kalpitiya road. We met another couple, Dianne and Peter, traveling the same way from Negombo to Kalpitiya as we were. At the stop, we saw a bus going to Kalpitiya, but it was full, so we decided to wait for the next one. That also gave us the time to grab something to eat. Thankfully, there was a roadside food shop, and we had a tummy-filling meal with Rice and curries.
After half an hour of wait, another bus came, and to our utter surprise, this one was equally full. We couldn’t wait any longer in the sun, so we took the bus from Palaviya to Kurunchapitiya, and for the rest of our journey, we went standing and sometimes dancing on the turns and potholes on the road. We got down at Kurunchapitiya, which is 4 km before the Kalpitiya main bus station.
After getting down at the main road, we took a tuk-tuk to the resort. The best thing about transit in Sri Lanka is that you’ll have these green and red tuk-tuk at every corner, and going around in these is as much of an adventure as yourself riding a dirt bike, the exact same thrills!
And then, of course, you can skip all of this and book a taxi from Colombo/ Negombo to Kalpitiya. But then where is all the fun in that? Travel local, stay local, and eat local is what I recommend.
Where to stay in Kalpitiya?
Since Kalpitiya is a strip of land stretched out in the sea, the probability of staying at a beachfront property is very high, and nothing different happened with us.
Surfpoint Sri Lanka Kite Village
We stayed at Surfpoint Sri Lanka Kite Village, a beach place where we could walk out to the waters anytime during the day, got a good bargain for about 20$ (3600LKR). What’s so good about this one is its earthen architecture, completely rustic inside out, thatched roof, basic wooden interiors, artistic lightings and stuck between huge palm trees, lovely place to chill and unwind.
The resort also had a lovely seating area with hammocks on trees and a small restaurant serving delicious food all day round. Though the day time was hot and humid, evenings in Kalpitiy are quite pleasant. Palm trees surround the resort, and the nearby Kudawa beach is almost a private one. The resort is a famous Kitesurfing school in Kalpitiya. The teachers are experienced, and the location of the resort is strategically perfect for Kitesurfing. If you are not a game for Kitesurfing, watching the colorful Kites in the blue skies is equally joyful.
Sandy Edge has the reputation of being an exquisite option of stay, especially because of the kind of setup it is. Cabana, chalets and private cabins made out of wood and thatch amidst sandy beach setup and gorgeous palm trees surrounding it from all corners. Even the bar stools and dinner tables are made up of bamboo and have a rustic look. You can get a room for yourself for as low as $30 (5600 LKR), it’s so basic yet so royal.
Majestic Beach Retreat
The place is bombed with fresh colors and lives up to its expectation of an authentic beach resort. You can walk out from their courtyard to sit inside a private cabin out in the open and enjoy a drink or two there. For when you feel a little calmer, you can go out to the shore and cut yourself away from all the voices.
Things to see in Kalpitiya
Now coming to the best things to do around in Kalpitiya, we’re ready with the list, and you can improvise (for there’s a lot of scope in that).
Kitesurfing your way through the huge waves (coming from the strong winds) tops the list, of course. This is the single most famous adventure that people come to Kalpitiya for. If you’re a learner, begin to take lessons here, if you’re a pro, you’re up for some superb kind of experience. Some tend to stay for weeks altogether and even churn out good bucks to learn this activity, not the best choice for us two. Kalpitiya has two Kitesurfing seasons. The summer season is from May-October while the winter Kite surfing season starts from December-February. Since this covers the most time of the year, the probability of missing this fun-sport is minimal.
Beautiful, big and spotless, the beaches of Kalpitiya are quiet and by far the best. Wander your way out of the resort and ride all the way to the nearest beach for a sunset walk on wet sand (we just had to walk a few steps to do that actually). It’s a beautiful experience.
3. Dolphin and whale watching
is one pastime that could quickly become an awesome attraction. Off the coast, you’d be taken on a boat ride, and on stark blue waters, nothing but horizon in sight, next thing you know, you’d be up for a surprise. WOWing moments come when a pod of dolphins takes a series of iconic arc jumps one after another right in front of your eyes. This is a superb experience, and if you really want something to take from this town, take this experience for just about $20 (3650 LKR) per person, in a boat of six people. We went for Dolphin watching early on in the morning, and it was worth every second of it.
4. Wilpattu National Park
The national park goes best with those with an adventure face to themselves. It has a history, legends, and wildlife to it that makes it an offbeat exploration for many. The largest leopard population, indigenous species, and ancient ruins appreciated with legends and folklores, and this is where you’d love to go for adventures in the wild. The national park is home to a variety of wildlife, including leopards, sloth bears, spotted dear, wild buffalo, and mighty elephants. The visit to Wilpattu National park is a day trip from Kalpitiya.
Gurgling waters on both ends, this extended piece of land is beyond the surfers and adventure junkies, Kalpitiya speaks to you whenever you jump start your days on its beaches and listen to its palm leaves numbered in thousands, it’s a living town.