Located around 4 hours away from Colombo, Puttalam may be ignored by many due to its more enticing Kalpitiya neighbour, however, it still is quite a sprawling town. Bordered by the Puttalam Lagoon, the fishing town is of major economic significance to the country, since it is known for energy production, salt, coconut and, of course, fishing. Moreover, the town serves to be a base for adventure due to its close proximity to the Wilpattu National Park and Anawilundawa Bird Sanctuary. This makes it an important town, not to be missed in your journey across the paradise island of Sri Lanka.

Top Reason to Visit

Although boasting of being an ideal base camp to experience adventurous excursions to some exquisite wildlife sanctuaries, like the Wilpattu National Park and the Anawilundawa Bird Sanctuary, it is without doubt, that the top reason to visit the seaside fishing town is for its lagoon. Deemed to be largest lagoon in the country, the Puttalam Lagoon will make anyone awe at the very sight of it, especially during the sunsets, as it is home to unique species of bird species. Coupled with the hustle and bustle of being a central figure for the country’s economy, Puttalam really is quite an interesting little town.

While You’re There

A lagoon of wonder:

The Puttalam Lagoon is widely regarded as the largest lagoon in the country and is, arguably, one of the more picturesque too. The lagoon is home to a great many species of flora and fauna due to its wide shrubs and mangroves. It is possible for nature lovers to awe at the rare species of birds that visit the Puttalam Lagoon, such as the Lesser Adjutant, Eurasian Spoonbill, Asian Open Bill and the Lesser Whistling Duck to name but a few. Witnessing such natural beauty, along with the setting sun during the evening really does make for some of the more spectacular views of the coastal area of Sri Lanka.

Lifeline to the country:

Puttalam is also famed for being an important lifeline to the average Sri Lankan, due to its production of electricity to a large portion of the country. The Norochcholai Power Plant and the Vidatumunai Wind Farms are some interesting sites to visit and understand how Sri Lanka is slowly moving into sustainable, environmental friendly energy. Moreover, the Inginimitiya Reservoir is another exemplary structure that personifies Puttalam, as an important lifeline to the locals, since it serves to provide water to around 10,000 acres of land for agriculture, thus enabling the nearby areas to be made use of by the locals in a sustainable manner. Exploring these structures really show how Sri Lanka is quickly developing into a more sustainable country.

Ideal base camp for adventure:

The town of Puttalam has also become an important base camp for many adventurous excursions, especially to the Wilpattu National Park due to the town’s close proximity to the national park. More recently, the town has also become a base camp for the bird watcher, due to the close proximity to the Anawilundawa Bird Sanctuary that sprawls with some of the rarer, endemic birds of Sri Lanka.

A diverse society:

Puttalam is also a great place to understand the cultural magnificence of the country as many of the religious groups live in peace. This is further shown with the interesting places of worship located close to each other. The Munneswaram Kovil, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the St. Anne’s Church, which is frequented by pilgrims, are just two of the notable places of worship that showcase the cultural diversity the town offers, making it an interesting cultural melting pot of the country.

Insider Advice

Travel: Getting about in Puttalam is relatively easy since there are quite a number of options, especially in the form of tuk-tuks and busses. Just be sure to research on the distance of your destination, should you opt to hire a tuk-tuk, as they could overcharge.

Weather: Puttalam experiences typical tropical climate throughout the year, in other words, temperatures that average around 29°C. However, the month of January and the months from June to August prove to be quite bearable for travelling as the temperature drops to around 26°C.

Money: Apart from the usual supermarkets, credit and debit cards are quite worthless. Therefore, it is mandatory to carry cash in hand with small notes like LKR 20s, LKR 50s and LKR 100s.

Clothing: It is best to be clad in comfortable, light clothing when going about the town.

Safety: Puttalam is generally a very safe place, however do avoid travelling in the night and be mindful of your belongings.

Meals and refreshments: There are quite a few eateries scattered across the town, however, if you are looking for the easy way out, then your accommodation provider is the best bet.

In conclusion, Puttalam may be overshadowed by its Kalpitiya neighbour due to the absence of many adventurous activities within the borders of the town, however, its picturesque lagoon, along with its important power stations and cultural diversity still makes for an exquisite experience of the West Coast.

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