Kalutara is a large city south of Colombo, found on the way to the main tourist destinations like Galle and Unawatuna in Sri Lanka. It was once a spice hub in the country, and it is located next to the Kalu Ganga (Black River), from which it derives its name. The city has many hostels around it, as it is a great place to rest in before continuing south to the beaches of Galle. You can also visit the nearby attractions, many of which date back to the 18th century.
For example, take a tuk-tuk from your hostel to the garden of Bevis Bawa. This is a revered Sri Lankan artist and designer who was the brother of the legendary Geoffrey Bawa, a famous architect. Spanning an area of five acres, this garden is known for a wide variety of tropical flora and sculptures contained within it. It is also known as the Brief Garden, so named by its designer. The garden is maintained today by the estate of the artist.
Visit the Kande Viharaya (temple on the hill) in nearby Aluthgama, about twenty kilometers away from Kalutara. This temple, a Buddhist shrine, dates back to the 1700s and is very well-maintained today. Ask your hostel or hotel about the dress code when visiting here: it is typically not permitted to wear shorts, tank tops, crop tops, or other “revealing” attire at most Sri Lanka religious locations.
Near Kalutara is the estate of the younger of the Bawa brothers, Geoffrey. This fabled architect’s home is now a museum and public space of sorts, open from nine to five every day. You should hire a local tour guide to give you a guided tour of the park and the house. This is a rather popular destination (called Lunuganga) so be sure you book your tours and entry before you go.
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Kalutara hostels. Welcome.