Kalpitiya isn't really a mainstream go-to vacation destination. It's dry, hot and hasn't conformed to Galle's tourist standards yet, so there's not much to do.
Or so you'd think.
Spending a weekend at Anawasal changed our minds for the better once we realised that the place is pretty much an untainted traveller's paradise.
Situated at the very tip of Kalpitiya right along the lagoon, Anawasal is an idyllic slice of heaven for anyone who's looking to get away for a bit.
A constant, cool breeze rustles up the coconut trees making it sound like perpetual rain, but the weather is dry as a bone.
The area is extremely quiet with nothing but the serene sounds of nature as a backing track and the occasional groove emanating from the speakers next door.
You can chill wherever you like from the massive ambalama to a hammock under the open sky, or you can witness a splendid sunset at the jetty.
The entire area is just one big, tight knit community. Everyone's open and friendly, the food is served on community tables and social interaction is encouraged.
The colour tones are all warm and mellow. There's a lot of open space and glass windows so there's always a lot of light during the day.
One might assume that the heat would be unbearable thanks to Kalpitiya's unforgiving sun, but it's surprisingly cool and ventilated once you're inside.
The open air bathrooms are super chic with their minimalist cement walls and little to no decor. It's a real treat showering in the warm sun with the wind to cool you off.
I might have hogged the shower for longer than humanely necessary, but I'm not going to apologise for that.
We got there right on time for lunch and the both of us were starving. We received a fresh kurumba each for our welcome drink which took the bus blues away and lunch was served a few minutes after.
One thing I loved about their service though, is that they ask you if you have any preferences when it comes to your meals. So if you're vegetarian or choose to refrain from certain types of meat, tell them and they'll cater accordingly.
We were served a lavish kaha buth spread for lunch complete with an assortment of sides. Salivating like rabid dogs, we then collected ourselves and enjoyed what may have been one of the best home-made rice and curries I've had so far.
Each of the curries was carefully prepared and not in the least bit overspiced which made for an explosive flavour combo. After polishing our plates off, we groaned and commented at how thankful we were to not be wearing jeans lest a button should pop and hit someone in the eye.
Dessert was a large plateful of Panangai Paniyaaram with a chooty bowl of kithul treacle for dripping. We were also served fresh mango ice cream, but our hands veered towards the paniyaaram.
They make their paniyaaram fresh from the pulp of the palm fruit. It is then batter-fried and served with a choice of dips. I tried to convince myself that gorging on this is fine since it's somewhat healthy, but I'm sure I gained a kilo or two after. Doesn't matter.
Breakfast is served at the usual 8-10, so if you want to sleep in a bit you may. We were served a light, healthy breakfast of omelettes with chopped tomatoes/capsicums, a bowl of spicy kadala and roast paan with jam and butter.
Nothing went to waste. It's great how the portions were balanced out equally between the both of us. The kadala was boiled well and had a smattering of chilli flakes which made it delicously spicy. Paired with the paan, this made for a great start to the day.
They offered a choice of either tea or coffee and we opted for tea. You'll have to pull a diy with this though and add hot water/milk/sugar to the bag as you please.
We were treated to an exquisite dinner at The Rascals next door. Read all about our experience here.
For our last lunch here we got Pol Sambol sandwiches with Egg and Cheese. I opted for the Mango Chutney and Cheese sandwich and it hit the spot. To this day that's still my go-to snack when I have the munchies, so yay.
I wish I could've stuck around for some more of that amazing paniyaaram, but alas, we had to be on our way.
The service is what contributes to this place being well worth your buck. From the minute we left Colombo our gracious host, Shibi, checked on us regularly and ensured we knew which route to take as we went. So if you're travelling by bus, update her and she'll give you directions.
Upon arrival, she dispatched a tuk to the bus stand where we got off and in no time at all we were there. The welcoming committee was an adorable fluffball of a dog called Ana who was much better as opposed to your usual human waiter with a glass of Sunquick.
Our stay here was easy pickings thanks to how well they tended to us. Not that we needed anything, everything was perfect as is.
You can get up to a bunch of amazing things here. At Anawasal they offer services like kitesurfing, paddle boarding, a leisurely boatride amongst the mangroves, an expedition to the nearby uninhabited islands and much more. All this is done in conjunction with their neighbour resort The Rascals.
If you want to kitesurf, you'll have to go through three days of training at The Rascals next door. There is some theory involved and you'll have to have good swimming skills, but we were assured that it wasn't too difficult to learn.
My swimming skills are horrible and I'd probably drown in a puddle so we sat back and watched the pros as they skitted across the sky.
On our way back from the mangroves, we stopped by to check out one of those islands.
There's a multitude of dry vegetation taking root and everywhere you step you'll see plants like cacti and a bunch of other interesting flora. Also, strangely enough there are tiny sand dunes you can step on and pretend you're in Dubai or whatever.
They also offer other activities like kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing and organised trips to Wilpattu which is just a few kilometres away.
If you have your own vehicle, then you're lucky. Like us, if you have to take the bus, you'll have to board a bus to Puttalam from the Pettah Bus Stand. From Puttalam you'll have to take a bus to Kalpitiya and get off at the 35km post. You can then call the resort up, and a tuk will be on the way.
The road to the resort is a bit off the beaten path, so drive slow and eventually you'll find the place!
Anawasal's got an open community, excellent service and functions as a paradisical getaway where you get to just chill for a few days. Book ASAP because they're almost always full. For good reason, too!
If you give the hostess a call at Kalpitiya Town, she'll arrange for a taxi to pick you up. Alternatively, just drive on past the town if you're in your own vehicle and follow the map. It's pretty accurate.