Take yourself into the hills above Thalpe and you’ll discover a true Sri Lankan treasure. Handunugoda Tea Estate is prized for its Virgin White Tea – a precious, ancient blend traditionally made from leaves untouched by human hands. Make arrangements in advance and you can embark on a private tour of the bountiful estate with a resident planter. Tasting the white tea is a treat. Taking some home is a must.
Prepare to spend a whole day at Koggala Lake, near Thalpe. Small islands, spice gardens and a wildlife-rich mangrove will have you reaching for a camera – or binoculars. Much of Sri Lanka’s birdlife resides here at one time or another. See as much as you can with a boat tour that weaves around the lake and its islets.
With its gentle curve of rose gold sand fringed by deep green palms, Thalpe Beach is the quintessential Sri Lankan escape. Yet this narrow stretch of coastline is one of the country’s lesser-known beaches. That makes it ideal for luxury hideaways, with just the sound of the sea and the clinking of cocktails for company.