Sri Lanka is a beach lover’s paradise, with mile-upon-mile of pristine palm-backed tropical beaches, warm turquoise waters and soft split sugar sands. Just 15 minutes in a Tuk Tuk from Satori through the jungle villages delivers you to a glorious coastline where you are spoilt for choice.
Our favourite all-rounders include Unawatuna Beach, with its calm waters, relaxed beach bars and street vendors offering local crafts and fabrics.
Wijiya Beach offers safe swimming for children and delicious simply cooked seafood from small beachside restaurants. Stay here until the sun dips into the horizon for a heavenly sunset.
For boogie boarders, Mirissa Beach is excellent. It’s a little bit further away than the others, around 40 minutes’ drive south, but worth the journey. Keep an eye out here as it is the best place in Sri Lanka for seeing blue whales a short distance from the shore. Serious surfers head for Hikkadwua Beach, 18kms north from Unawatuna, where a huge expanse of sand is slapped by some great waves. Be aware of strong currents and stay within the flags. Our team can organise transport to any of these beaches for you.
Although Satori Villa is a blissful world of its own, there is plenty to do in the area if you decide on a break from the pool and hammock.
Galle Fort – Established by the Portuguese in the 15th century, Galle was colonised by the Dutch and British – and is now a World Heritage Site. Stroll its narrow streets and ramparts (particularly lovely at sunset) for the sights and sounds of life’s patchwork; Buddhists, Tamils, Muslims and Europeans living in harmony, the energy of trade and the gentle claps at the ever-present cricket matches.
Galle Town – Best explored on foot or by Tuk Tuk. Don’t miss the exotic fruit market and myriad shops selling everything from saris to televisions.
Bike rides – Galle resident, Alex Barrett will take you on an unforgettable ride through paddy fields and jungle. Suitable for all ages, trips last 1.5 to four hours and give you a real slice of Sri Lankan village life.
Turtle Sanctuary – There are several in the area, including a well-run one in Habaraduwa, 15 minutes away.
Tea Estate – The Handunugoda Estate is 40 minutes away and has a fascinating tour around the production of white tea.
Yala Safari Park – Leave Galle at 3am to arrive at Yala for sunrise and sightings of leopard, elephants and crocodiles.
Temples – Sri Lanka is predominately Buddhist and you’ll find temples everywhere, including Yatagala and Kalatuwa. Note: temples get crowded on Poya days (full moon).
Sailing – Mirissa Water Sports Centre has a 54ft Indonesian fishing trawler for sports fishing and coastal cruises and a 24ft gaff for bay sailing. Blue whale watching is available Nov-May.
Scuba Diving – The dive centre at Unawatuna provides advanced and beginner courses, as well as night dives.
Surfing – There are a number of surf schools in the area, and great waves at Unawatuna, Wijiya and Mirissa.
Kogala Lake Sunset Tour – Marvel at the spectacle of thousands of birds and bats all flying to a lake island for the night.
Please ask our team to assist with transport and costings for these trips.
While we encourage you to stay in and take advantage of our staffing provided in the villa cost, dining out is definitely a treat not to be missed in Sri Lanka.
With influences from Arab traders, Malay navigators, Portuguese, Dutch and British colonists and the islands’ South Indian neighbours, Sri Lankan cuisine is complex, fascinating and utterly delicious.
Curries are the staple (meat, vegetable and even fruit). Full of the rich spices that have been grown and traded here over the centuries, they range from mild to fire-hot, most with the coconut milk base that is a distinct feature of Sri Lankan cuisine.
These are served with side dishes such as pickles, chutneys and zesty ‘sambols’; the most well known is the coconut sambol, a paste of coconut, chili peppers, dried fish and lime juice.
There are plenty of options for eating out – from street food to high-end restaurants and you’re not restricted to Sri Lankan food – everything from Thai and pizza to Full English breakfasts and high tea is available in Galle.
Don’t miss the abundance of fresh fish here either – particularly good cooked simply at small local restaurants down on the coast.
We’ve put a list of our favourite places to eat in the welcome book in your room – let us know if you find a new gem! And as always, our staff will be pleased to help with reservations or transport.
Sri Lanka has a wealth of artistic traditions and you’ll find excellent crafts at modest prices in Galle fort and the town itself. Although fixed pricing is creeping in it’s worth bargaining for the best price. Be aware you’ll need an antique export licence for objects more than 50 years old.
Galle itself is Sri Lanka’s lacemaking centre – a craft bought here by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The Shoba Display Gallery on Pedlar Street showcases the work of local lacemakers.
At Ambalangoda, Sri Lankan mask workshops are open to visitors, including the Ariyapala and Sons Mask Museum and Southland Masks, close by at 353 Main Road.
Lacquer bowls originate from Matale near Kandy but are now found everywhere. Look for premium work finished with lac, a resinous substance secreted by insects.
Shop for colourful batiks. And if you wish to have clothes made by the excellent local tailors ask our staff for recommendations.
Ceylon Tea and spices make excellent souvenirs. Sri Lanka is a major producer of cinnamon, chili powder, saffron, turmeric and cloves, which can be purchased from grocery stores.
Precious stones are another value buy, including aquamarines, tourmalines, topaz, garnets, amethysts, rubies and sapphires. Choose a dealer or shop belonging to the Sri Lanka Gem Traders’ Association.
If you need assistance in arranging a shopping trip please ask our team.
While many of our guests come to Satori for the full duration of their holiday, others like to combine their stay at the villa with a wider tour of Sri Lanka. To assist with any additional holiday plans you may wish to make, we have teamed up with travel expert Kate Glover from Fleewinter Travel, UK.
Kate has been organising holidays in Sri Lanka for over seven years and is passionate about the country. She has travelled extensively and can advise on your plans, organise a seamless itinerary and recommend the best places to visit and things to do – as well as some wonderful hidden secrets off the beaten track.