Luxury holidays in Ahangama

There are many trumpeted paradises along Sri Lanka’s south coast, but it’s the ‘who, me?’ humbleness of surfer’s rest Ahangama that makes it so appealing. Settled cosily between the cliff-edge drama of explorer-luring Weligama Bay and the yogic serenity of Koggala Lake, its niche is boarding and beaching all day before heading to a cobbled-together bar or bijou veggie cafe still rocking salt-lick hair, sarongs and sandy feet. And inland, jungles, paddy fields and plantations give a burst of green for monkey-spotting treks. It’s accrued a community of creative and New Age-y sorts over the decades, but in recent years has started to attract more attention – who could ignore those emerald waters and gold-dust sands? A few sleeker bars and eateries have sprung up and a new crop of hotels, but – for now – it’s still the more secretive sanctuary in the south.

When to go

From October to April Ahangama is as pleasant as can be; December does bring the winter-sun crowd to the coast, but spring is more serene. If you want to see turtles hatch, arrive from November.

Getting there

  • Planes

    Most visitors fly into Colombo and make their way along the shoreline. Bandaranaike International is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Ahangama.
  • Trains

    Trains from Colombo Fort take the scenic route along the coast, passing through beauty spots Bentota and Hikkaduwa and colonial city Galle. However, carriages can be packed and seats in short supply, so it’s one for the experience.
  • Automobiles

    If you can afford it, save yourself some hassle by hiring a private driver already au fait with the chaos of Sri Lankan traffic. It’s possible to drive – and for an extra authentic road trip, you could hire a tuk-tuk – but be sure to register your licence with the proper authorities first, and brace yourself for a wild ride.