(237km south-east of Colombo)
“It was . . . the eastern part of the district that won my heart and which I still see when I hear the word Hambantota: the sea perpetually thundering on the long shore, the empty lagoons, behind the lagoons the stretch of jungle, and behind the jungle far away in the north the purple line of the mountains.” – Leonard Woolf, Growing: An Autobiography of the Years 1904 -1911 (1961)
In recent years the provincial capital of Hambantota has become far better known for the devastation it suffered in the 2004 tsunami than for the merits of the town itself. It doesn’t have the attractions of a Dutch fort, glamorous shopping, and boutique hotels - as do other towns along the south-west coast – but it is a one-of-a-kind tranquil town characterized by its dry landscape, Malay population, colonial architecture, and great expanses of salt.