Passikudah & Kalkudah – Paradise Or Not?
After enduring a sleepless night on a crowded night bus – most of that night was spent being stared at by numerous people – signs leading to Kalkudah Village finally start to appear. The time is 4 am and the sun still hasn’t risen. The coach doesn’t go directly through Kalkudah, so we know in our minds it is a bit of a guessing game when to ask the driver to let us off. We wearily stroll off the bus and down the long main road, while the stars and the moon still shone above us. The journey from Colombo on the west coast of Sri Lanka to the village of Kalkudah – close by to Passikudah and Kalkudah Beach – on the east coast is a long journey. We’re in search of paradise though and no journey is too long when you’re heading to paradise. After all that, are Passikudah and Kalkudah paradise?
If Sri Lanka’s east coast isn’t in your itinerary, change it, now. The east coast of Sri Lanka wasn’t in our plans originally (not sure what we were thinking!). However, we finished our route through The Hill Country and around the south and west coast a little earlier than anticipated, so, luckily for us, we made the choice to head to the east coast for the remaining few nights of our visa, rather than leave the country early. After a bit of a research around what the east coast beaches have to offer, we made the choice to head to the pristine white beaches of Passikudah (sometimes spelt Pasikuda or Pasikudah) and Kalkudah (well we hoped they would be as pristine as we saw in pictures).
Passikudah & Kalkudah Beach
There are two beaches in the area – you might have guessed their names by the heading – Passikudah Beach and Kalkudah Beach. Both of the beaches are within a 5-minute walk from each other, so there was no excuse for us not to explore them both.
Passikudah Beach is the main beach out of the two, in terms of popularity and development. There is a bus station right by the entrance of the beach. The main entrance to the beach is where you will find the busiest area. There’s a section of the sea which is a swimming area, so it’s always full to the brim with people splashing about and enjoying themselves. This is only a small section of the beach and there’s nothing stopping you swimming in ‘undesignated swimming areas’. If head north along the beach, you will have no problem finding a deserted patch of sand to relax on.
Passikudah is a beautiful beach, with white sands and a clear, calm ocean. However, the beach isn’t flawless. Seaweed and coral scatters across the beach, but that adds to the natural charm. As I mentioned the sea is motionless and definitely the most appealing to swim in which I have encountered in Sri Lanka. The only issue with swimming off Passikudah Beach is that the shore is full of coral reefs. Make sure you don’t end up with a painful experience by stepping on the coral. However, with the beautiful clear water, you can easily avoid the coral.
The main drawback to Passikudah Beach is that large and expensive resorts lay claim to much of the land behind the beach. It does hinder some of the natural beauty of the beach. If you’re looking for a completely deserted stretch of sand, then Passikudah isn’t the beach for you. You can find a quiet patch of sand, but nowhere is deserted thanks to the resorts in every direction. Having said that, Passikudah is a beautiful beach with a crystal clear and lazy sea.
Around 500 metres from Passikudah, you will find a bay which is home to a 2km stretch of deserted golden sands, which goes by the name of Kalkudah Beach. Unlike Passikudah, Kalkudah is not lined with luxury resorts, there are a couple at the beginning of the beach, but that’s where they end. The majority of the beach is all yours. By all yours, I literally mean all yours (apart from a few cows and dogs wandering about). In the two whole days we spent lounging around on Kalkudah Beach, we must have only seen a very small handful of people stroll past us.
The reason that the pricey resorts find Passikudah Beach more attractive than Kalkudah is down to the sea. The sea-bed in Kalkudah Bay drops dramatically around 10-15 metres off the beach. Also, the waves are much more unpredictable at Kalkudah Beach, therefore more dangerous than the none existent waves at Passikudah Beach. Olivia felt the full brunt of the unpredictable waves when she ended up on the floor and her sunglasses were lost at sea, never to be seen again. Hopefully, the negatives are enough to keep the resorts far away from this beach.
It’s a bold statement, but as it stands at the moment, it’s definitely one of my favourite beaches I’ve ever been to. Kalkudah is pretty much the perfect beach. There’s an unspoiled stretch of golden sand, the distance from the town isn’t too far, but far enough for the beach to be peaceful and finally, although the waves can be a bit unpredictable, they aren’t bad enough to not be able to swim in the sea and they add a bit of excitement.
Paradise Or Not?
In short, Kalkudah – yes, Passikudah – no.
When I travel the world in search of the perfect beach, I don’t want to be on a beach with tonnes of people and resorts which lay claim to the beach which lies at the foot of their premises. I want to be on a beach which I cannot find anywhere near home, where’s there’s no soul for miles. A flawless, clean and unspoilt beach. A beach like Kalkudah. Passikudah is a beautiful beach, but the resorts kind of ruin it for me. Out of the two, Kalkudah blows Passikudah out of the water.
Of course, this is only my opinion. Different people like different things. Passikudah is definitely the more family friendly beach and those who can afford to stay in the luxury resorts may well prefer that kind of vibe. For me, Kalkudah Beach is my idea of paradise.
Although there are numerous pricey resorts around Passikudah, you can still find a place to stay to suit a low budget. You will find the majority of the budget accommodation in Kalkudah village. The village is around 1km from the beaches, but a tuk-tuk will only cost you Rs 100-150 ($0.70-1.00) to the beaches and most of the guesthouses rent bikes, so you can cycle there.
Nandawanam Guest House – This is the guesthouse where we stayed while in Passikudah. A double room with A/C and en-suite will set you back Rs 4000 ($27.50) a night. The facilities are basic but clean. There is a restaurant attached to the guesthouse so you won’t have to walk too far to find some decent local rice and curry or seafood.
Along Passikudah Road where Kalkudah village is, you will find plenty of budget accommodation, the majority of these guesthouses offer A/C and none A/C rooms. A couple of other guesthouses along Passikudah Road are Sea Breeze Inn and Abi Guesthouse.
How To Get To Passikudah/Kalkudah
Travelling From Colombo
If you are travelling to Passikudah from the capital, it’s fairly easy and there are a couple of options.
The first option is by train. Take the train from Colombo Fort to Valaichchenai. This ticket should cost you around Rs 400 ($2.75) for a 2nd class reserved seat. The train takes 8 hours 15 minutes, so make sure you reserve a seat. In my experience, reserved train tickets often sell out and I have been unable to buy them a couple of days before at the train station. A company which I have used myself to get the return journey tickets back to Colombo is Visit Sri Lanka Tours. The tickets do cost more, but it was necessary to buy in advance on this occasion, due to the length of the journey.
Alternatively, you can take a private A/C coach from Colombo to Valaichchenai. These coaches usually go overnight, leaving Colombo at 9 pm and arriving in Valaichchenai at around 4 am (not the most ideal time to arrive anywhere). The coach can be booked on busbooking.lk, costing Rs 1000 ($6.85).
From Valaichchenai, which is the closest town to Passikudah, you can take a tuk-tuk from outside the train station to your guesthouse for around Rs 250 ($1.75).
Travelling From Batticaloa
If you are travelling from Batticaloa to Passikudah, the easiest and cheapest way to complete the journey is by bus. There are direct buses which go from Batticaloa bus station to Passikudah. The first bus is at 6 am. The bus takes 1 hour and costs Rs 58 ($0.40).
You can take a tuk-tuk to Passikudah but at a much more expensive cost. We were quoted Rs 1000 ($6.85) from numerous tuk-tuk drivers while we were waiting at the bus station, which we turned down every time while we happily waited for the much much cheaper bus.
For more information and destinations in Sri Lanka Click Here.
Any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments section.
What’s your idea of paradise when it comes to the beach & what’s your favourite beach you’ve ever been to? Will you take a trip to Passikudah/Pasikuda/Pasikudah & Kalkudah?