Pooja Kanda sits on the top of a hill near Koggala and the south-coast market town of Habaraduwa, ten minutes' inland from the beach. Famous for accommodating the celebrated Sri Lankan author, Martin Wickramasinghe (who has an interesting museum dedicated to him in town), Koggala has a fine stretch of beach and is renowned for its enchanting lagoon. Here, rich jungle spills onto a meandering expense of water traversed by fishermen leaving nothing but soft ripples in their wake. A boat ride to spice gardens, bird-filled islands and Buddhist temples is the best way to familiarise yourself with these sensational surroundings and be absorbed by local life around the lake. Galle’s seventeenth-century Dutch fort – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is a 20-minute drive away. The fort’s narrow cobbled streets are home to splendid colonial buildings, tiny cafes, churches, boutiques and museums whilst its mighty grass-tufted ramparts are the place to be for superb seaside sunsets.