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If a big part of your holiday revolves around the local beach life, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Wadduwa's stripe of golden sands is well worth writing home about. In fact, the shores here are said to be one of the most beautiful in the region, envied for its long sandy curve and gin-clear seas. It's also home to masses of palm trees, which provide welcome shade - and of course, up the ante in the paradise stakes. It's not all about sunbathing here, though. In the waves, you can give watersports like Windsurfing a go. And on terra firma, you've got games like beach volleyball going on. And as Wadduwa's still a working fishing village, nothing beats a stroll down to the boats as the fishermen bring in the day's catches.

If you want a spell away from the sands, you'll find enough distractions to keep you occupied here. The train from Wadduwa takes you right along the coastline and has plenty of impressive Kodak stops along the way. Or enjoy a day in the buzzing capital Columbo, which lies just 35 kilometres to your north. Of course, you could just stay local and soak up the culture. You'll find a real pick and mix of shops, many selling traditional Sri Lankan handicrafts like fierce-looking masks and wood carvings. There's also a fair few boutiques and jewellery shops which are easier on the pocket than back home.

Add a sprinkling of bars and restaurant into the mix and you won't find much else, but that's this place's charm. People come here for its laid-back atmosphere and to escape the big full-on resorts. And the pace here is just as slow after dark. The nightlife is pretty much hotel based and amounts to an unhurried meal with a couple of quiet drinks ? livened up only by the odd traditional show. It's as good as a go-slow retreat gets.