1) Sunny Days
There’s something so healing and nourishing about the Sri Lankan sun. It not only warms your body, but your heart and soul as well. The south coast of Sri Lanka is known for it’s balmy, breezy and sunny weather. If it gets too hot, nature is on top of it! A light thundershower rains down and cools everything off in a matter of minutes. One of the loveliest things at OTP is the full frontal views of the Indian Ocean that allow for a beautiful sea breeze to ebb and flow throughout the property all through the day.
2) Life’s A Beach
Soft, silver sand, dotted with sea-shells washed up by the waves. OTP is just a short walk away from the beaches of Unawatuna, some of the finest sandy beaches on the south coast of Sri Lanka. The waves here are gentle enough for you to take a dip and swim out into the Indian Ocean. Or if that sounds like too much work, take a stroll along the shore, or simply relax at a shack with a cool thembili coconut water and watch the sunset – each one more stunning than the last.
Sri Lankan cuisine is one of the best kept secrets of world cuisine. That’s why we make it a point to infuse Sri Lankan goodness with international recipes at Botanik, and bring out the best of Sri Lanka’s gastronomy. Whether it’s a gazpacho made from a local pennywort, called Gottukolla, or a lightly grilled snapper fresh from the Indian Ocean, there’s no shortage of good eats on the south coast. At OTP, you can discover the subtle vagaries of Sri Lankan cooking! Take a specially guided market walk with our chefs and then enjoy a hands-on cooking lesson that teaches you how to make some of our favourite dishes!
4) Cultural Down Low On the Low Country
Locally known as the “Low Country”, the South Coast of Sri Lanka is culturally quite different from the northern and provinces. There’s a distinctive cultural spirit that pervades the coast, and a deep sense of spirituality as well. Folklore, folk dance and ethnic music (particularly percussion) are deeply ingrained into the local culture. The “devil dancers” and their vivid masks, the Stilt Fishermen (which you can often see in the water from your balcony at OTP), shell and coconut crafts (don’t miss out on these at the OTP boutique), are just some of the aspects of local culture. There are also a number of beautiful Buddhist shrines, ancient temples, churches and mosques, just a short distance away from OTP, that are worth visiting.
5) It’s A Celebration!
While every full moon celebrates a Poya, a sacred day in the Buddhist tradition, the biggest cultural event of the year takes place in April during the Tamil & Sinhala New Year celebrations. Mark your calendars for a day of fun, feast and terrific cultural performances, traditional sports, and competitions between local communities. Ring in the New Year with Sri Lanka with a menu of traditional dishes at Botanik at OTP!
6) Sun Salutations & Stretch
With it’s expansive waterfront, soothing breeze, sunny skies and laid back vibe, there’s no better spot on the planet for yoga than the south coast of Sri Lanka. When you stretch your arms upwards in a Surya Namaskar to the Sri Lankan sun, you imbibe its warm energy into your spirit, and it uplifts you. At OTP, our yoga deck is right on the waterfront. As you fall into a relaxed Shavasana, close your eyes and listen to the soft whisper of the palm trees overhead, the gentle rhythm of the waves as they lap against the shore, and the soft salt breeze tingling on your lips. Ask us to learn more about our yoga sessions at OTP.
7) That Healing Feeling
The South Coast of Sri Lanka is blessed with tropical abundance – particularly of the herb and spice variety. Several of these have intrinsic and natural medicinal properties. Hedawedakama, an indigenous form of Sri Lankan naturopathy, and Ayurveda are ancient medicinal practices all along the coast. At OTP our Spa Pavilion offers Sri Lankan spa treatments, such as massages, scrubs and wraps under the experienced hands of Sri Lankan therapists, using pure, organic and locally sourced ingredients.
8) That Perfect Fit(ness)
Going away on a holiday doesn’t mean that you have to let go of your fitness routine at all. On the contrary – the south coast of Sri Lanka is ideal for those who want to stay fit and be on vacation at the same time. At OTP, our in-house gym facility is ideal for those who want to work out. Run on that treadmill while taking in gorgeous views of the Indian Ocean – or better yet, running on the sand is an even better workout for your legs. Our pool is specially designed for those who want to swim some laps – or if you’re an ocean swimmer, then the Indian Ocean is calling your name. A little kayaking on Koggala lake keeps that core and upper body in shape, while a bicycle ride or a run through the paddy fields is a great cardiovascular workout, while breathing in that fresh sea air.
9) The South Coast Aesthetic
Did you know that the south coast of Sri Lanka is an art and architecture connoisseur’s best kept secret? Indeed! Find incredible finds at local antique shops in Galle and on the coast. Discover the amazing array of Sri Lankan art in the art galleries that dot the south coast. At OTP, we have a fantastic collection of contemporary Sri Lankan art – one fo the finest of it’s kind outside of a gallery or a museum. The south coast is also a repository of fascinating architecture – a blend of local styles and old colonial vestiges from the Portuguese and Dutch era. Galle Fort itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But don’t miss lesser know gems like the Star Fort at Matara and the old Dutch Trading House. It would be remiss to miss out mentioning the architectural heritage of Geoffrey Bawa. Don’t miss his beautiful architectural legacy in Galle – but more than that, his own private estate Lunuganga, is just a short drive away from OTP and totally worth a visit.
10) Happy Families
Sri Lanka’s south coast is ideal for families. Whether it’s a multi-generational gathering, parent-child bonding, or a sibling sojourn, the south coast is that perfect balance of activity and relaxation that makes it ideal for family fun. At OTP, our two-bedroom suite is perfect for families. The Large living area is a great hang-out spot and affords you a terrific sense of privacy. The kitchenette comes with it’s own little shopping list just incase your kids want something special. Leave behind the hustle-bustle of everyday life and have real conversations and reconnect with your family in the privacy of your suite with a cup of perfectly brewed Ceylon tea or Sri Lankan coffee (French-pressed to perfection) with your loved ones. Take a bicycle ride together into the countryside, relax by the pool, snorkel in the ocean or hit the beach.
11) Batiks & Boutiques
The south coast is known for it’s cool funky vibe, and the fashion reflects that ethos. This is the land of gorgeous Batik on natural silks and cottons. Batik was brought over from Indonesia by the Dutch and has found it’s home on the south coast of Sri Lanka. The Portuguese brought lace-making to the south coast and even today, you can find some of the traditional lace-makers left. These hand-made textile traditions have lead to a spate of imaginative and innovative fashion labels and brands and a day exploring the boutiques of Unawatuana, Galle and Mirissa is extremely enjoyable. If you don’t want to leave our pool deck, though, then check out OTP’s own fashion label of fun, relaxed and casually elegant beach-ware at the OTP boutique!
12) Sparkles & Spangles
Sri Lanka has long been known and coveted for it’s amazing gem-stones. From gorgeous emeralds to moonstones, there’s a whole rainbow of precious and semi-precious jewels that will make your eyes sparkle. And how can we forget the famous Sri Lankan pearls? But if you’re looking for something lighter and more fun, check out the array of fun beads, hand-crafted jewellery, silver work, and surfer-style bracelets. These make great gifts and are the perfect, easy-to-wear takeaway from Sri Lanka. Don’t forget to check out our range of cool accessories at the OTP boutique!
13) Free-wheeling Through The Countryside
One of the best ways to explore the South Coast is to go off the beaten track and explore the by-lanes and backroads by bicycle. Not only can you venture onto paths untrodden, it’s a non-polluting, eco-friendly way to get around and preserve the pristine natural environs. One of our signature activities at OTP is a guided bicycle tour through the local paddy fields and coconut groves. Pass through small hamlets, cycle through the coconut palms, and enjoy the song of the birds as you discover the beauty of Sri Lanka.
14) Deep Dives
If you’re a water baby, then this you’ve found yourself a happy home – and might just never leave. The terrific thing about OTP is that we’re smack in the middle of the best stretch of coast for a variety of water sports. If you’re an ocean swimmer, head down to Unawatuna. Divers and snorkelers can go just a few miles up the coast to Hikkeduwa. Surfers, head 15 minutes down the coast to Ahangama and Mirissa. If you’re a SUP (stand up paddle board) junkie or want to paddle around aimlessly, then head to Koggala lake, just ten minutes away. Want to watch the whales? Then a short drive to Mirissa finds you a boat ride into the ocean. (Best Kept Secret - If you just want to watch the best sunset ever over the water, don’t leave our pool deck).
15) Where Nature Knocks At Your Door
No, you haven’t had too many martinis last evening… that is a monkey you’re seeing on top of the coconut palm outside your balcony. And if you look out a little further, don’t be surprised if you see a school of dolphins dancing around in the waves.
Did we mention the birds? Bring out your binoculars – the south coast is simply teeming with feathery friends, many of which are endemic to the region. This is feline territory – spotting a leopard in Yala National Park (a couple of hours away from OTP) is not unusual (and then you wondered why we call ourselves Owl and the Pussycat?)
16) Ceylon Planters
Sri Lanka’s plantation culture goes back to the colonial era. Ceylon tea is world-famous and the tea-trails of the high country stretch all the way down to the south. In fact, OTP is just ten minutes away from the famous tea-factory and tea gardens at Koggala. But a lesser known fact is that Sri Lankan coffee is excellent. Who needs instant coffee when you can get freshly ground Sri Lankan beans with your own French Press (and real milk – not that powdered stuff) in your suite at OTP? Forget that chai-latte – add a curl of your own fresh and fragrant cinnamon that is grown in the plantations around the area. Need a nibble? Ask our chefs at Botanik to send you a bowl of our deliciously devilled cashewnuts, another local delight! But more than simply the taste, the plantation culture runs deep. Head a few hours north to visit the hilly regions of the Tea Country. Enjoy a variety of Ceylon Tea during our Afternoon Tea sessions in the Edward Lear Drawing Room at OTP. Visit the local tea factory and the tea gardens to learn more about the different grades, types and flushes.
17) Shopaholic Goes To Sri Lanka
Are you that person who carries an empty suitcase on holiday because you know you’re going to shop till you drop? When you come to Sri Lanka, bring two (even then, you might find that you’re shipping a container back). Because you’ll need them. Some of our favourite takeaways include amazing spa products, delicious teas, cashewnuts, spices, the local Arrack liquor, upcycled handicrafts like elephant dung paper and newspaper handicrafts, apparel, batiks, jewellery, beachware, furniture, antiques and so much more… our list can go on and on.
18) The Old World
Sri Lanka oozes old world history at every pore. But while most people associate the ancient kingdoms with the center of the country in Anuradhapura, Polonnawa and Dambule, the fact is that the Galle region is one of the oldest ports in all of Asia! Galle (just a 20 minute drive from OTP) has been an important trading outpost for centuries. In fact, some historians believe that Galle was the ancient port of Tarshish, from which King Solomon imported peacocks, cinnamon and spices. The ancient Greeks, Romans and Chinese all traded with Galle. Ibn Battuta makes a special note of Galle in his chronicles. The Portuguese first came to Galle in the 1500s and built the fort. It was later expanded upon by the Dutch, for whom Galle was a vital link on the Spice Route. Today vestiges of several influences remain all across the region. Galle Fort itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while other ruins dot the coastline, harking back to an ancient time. The south coast is dotted with fascinating nuggets of history and for history buffs, it’s worth immersing yourself in the layers of it’s chequered past.
19) An Island Romance
When you come to the south coast of Sri Lanka, you’ll fall in love. Over and over again. There’s a delightful sense of serendipity and romance that pervades the atmosphere. That’s why honeymooners love to come and spend their romantic moments with us at OTP – there’s something special about the sound of the waves, the whisper of the palms, and the tropical fragrance that wafts from our garden. Sit on the deck with a cocktail as the moon dances on the water. Enjoy a relaxed dinner a deux by candlelight, or a delightful private beach picnic on a secluded stretch of sand. The perfect recipe for romance.
20) Relax… You’re On Holiday
The minute you step through the door at OTP – you know you’re in good hands. A chilled coconut water appears magically in your hand, you wiggle your toes into your flip flops and then flop down on a deck chair and let the sun and sea breeze work their magic. A lazy dip in the pool followed by a spa massage, and then a relaxed cup of tea… and maybe a nap? Feeling peckish – head down to Botanik for a delightful cocktail overlooking the seashore, followed by a fabulous dinner. Round off the day with a light and delectable dessert, before heading to the quiet comfort of your suite. Kiss your Owl and Pussycat cushions good night and drift away to a land of sweet dreams. (When you wake up the next morning, you can start over). Relax… you’re on holiday.
Looking for more reasons to visit the south coast of Sri Lanka? Visit our OTP Destination Guide To The South Coast at: https://www.otphotel.com/a-destination-guide-to-the-south-coast.html