Worth getting out of bed for
Cycle rides through Aranwella village take you past tiny homes and down foliage-flanked lanes bursting with wildlife. Visit the village temple behind Maya to see the head monk, who will bestow serene Buddhist blessings on you, if asked. Further afield at Rekawa, learn and observe the rituals of marine turtles laying and hatching on the sands by moonlight with the Turtle Conservation Project
(+94 (0)77 781 0508; www.tcpsrilanka.org
) or, between November and April, head off whale-watching with Mirissa Water Sports
(Mirissa Harbour; +94 (0)77 359 7731; www.mirissawatersorts.com
), 70km south-west of the hotel.
If you fancy eating out, head to beach-beautiful Amanwella (Bodhi Mawatha, Godelawella, Goyambokka, Tangalle; +94 (0)47 224 1333; www.amanresorts.com), whose 800-metre crescent of palm-shaded sand is a dream. Daytime dining options include the casual Beach Club for amazing seafood, burgers and salads, and the airy dining room up by the pool, which is a romantic spot for evening assignations. Il Camino (Suriya Gardens, Nakulugamuwa, Tangalle; +94 (0)47 224 2286), in Mawella, opens only in the high season. Italian owner Manuela serves up very reasonably priced home-cooked cucina beside the sea in simple, rustic surrounds. Alternatively, call a day ahead to order Ananda’s excellent crab curry at The Last House (Pubudu Mawatha, Seenimodera, Nakulugamuwa, Tangalle; +94 (0)77 719 0874), a five-bedroom boutique hotel set on the same sultry expanse of sand as Il Camino.
The only bar for miles is Amanwella’s sea-view stunner, which serves up a comprehensive menu of wine, champagne, Cognacs and cocktails.
May Wesak marks the birth, death and enlightenment of Buddha. Local villagers celebrate the occasion by fashioning home-made paper lanterns to hang outside their homes, which they illuminate prettily at night. A twilight stroll is the best way to take in the delightful displays.