Elephant Palace Kabalana is a stunning contemporary villa near Galle, Sri Lanka, on one of the best swimming/ surfing beaches in the south of the country. Ideal for 2 couples with / without kids or a group of 4 – 6 friends. EP is easy to find from the main ocean road, with its distinct row of silver elephant heads, and orientation is straightforward.
Koggala Lake is under 10 minutes drive away, and is a wildlife sanctuary, on which one can arrange amazing boat tours, or even bicycle tours along its banks. Two Buddhist temples on the lake are also well worth a visit. Yatagalla temple inland from Talpe and the Japanese peace pagoda on Rumasalla are also noteworthy and only 20 minutes drive away. 30 minutes to the north is the world-heritage sight Galle Fort (best shopping & restaurants galore), the initially Portuguese (16th century) and then Dutch construction (17th century) with magnificent views all along the ramparts.
Elephant Palace stands on Kabalana Beach, arguably the most beautiful boutique beach on the southern coast. Not only is Kabalana one of the few beaches that is ideal for swimming, shallow for a long time without rocks or reef, it also is the optimal spot to learn to surf on the white water. Thus there is a surf school two doors down from EP, plus on the north side of the beach a world-famous break referred to by experienced surfers as “The Rock”. The fact that it is still a secret is because 10 minutes to the south are the large spectacular famous beaches Welligama (general level surfer’s favourite) and Mirissa (top whale watching spot). In the low season, Kabalana can often be totally empty, apart from the stilt fishers picturesquely posing in the shallow water. But even in the high season, mostly only those living on the beach or surfers compliment its breathtaking scenery.
There are small “kadés” (convenience stores) in small walking distance from Elephant Palace. Both Ahangama to the north and Habaraduwa to the south (5 mins drive each) are small towns with supermarkets, the latter also has a big “pola” or market day on Wednesdays, where not only fresh fruit and vegetables are sold, but also toys, clothes and household items. (Please note that EP’s houseboy and cook are happy to do the shopping and prepare meals for guests according to their wishes, and this can even be arranged before arrival). For more sophisticated shopping tourists head to the Galle Fort, but for bargain-hunters Manjari, the department store in central Galle is the place, as well as the manifold shops on Main Street, all only half an hour’s drive away from Elephant Palace. Banks are efficient in Sri Lanka, yet only open till 3pm and the nearest ATM is 5 minutes to the north.
Facilities at EP include Living/Dining room opening onto spacious verandah and private pool, 2 large ensuite bedrooms with balconies, and 1 smaller room suitable for kids, Off street parking and wifi included, Large lawned garden with tropical plants and coconut trees, Fully equipped kitchen, utility room, linen/storage room, staffed with cook, room boy and night security guard, Direct access to the beach.
Opposite EP is a fantastic restaurant, especially renowned for its oysters and lobster prawn, fresh from nearby Koggala Lake. There are bars and beach clubs, spas and salons all along the coastal road to Galle centre. Unawatuna has the greatest concentration of nightlife, shops and restaurants, and is only a 20-minute drive. Mirissa (15 minutes in the opposite direction) also has beach bars & restaurants galore. For more upmarket dining, a clear list of all surrounding facilities will be provided, and the owners of EP will gladly help arrange villa visits for those guests who would rather services came to them.