Koggala Airport, nestled in the serene landscapes of Sri Lanka, holds a storied past as the former Royal Air Force (RAF) Station RAF Koggala. Before the tumult of the Second World War, the tranquil lake at Koggala served as a hub for seaplanes, but with the onset of conflict, its significance soared. A water runway was delineated, and a flying boat base emerged, ultimately becoming the largest of its kind in the eastern theater of operations.

Amidst the chaos of war, Koggala Airport played pivotal roles in various historical events. It was from here that a Catalina aircraft embarked on a mission that pinpointed the fleet of Admiral Chuichi Nagumo on April 4, 1942. Later, in June 1944, two Sunderlands based at Koggala undertook a daring rescue mission, retrieving a group of wounded Chindits from the jungles of Burma.

Following the Japanese occupation of the Malay Peninsula, Koggala assumed newfound strategic importance. The Imperial Airways flight, vital for the British and Australian war effort, needed an alternative route after losing its refueling point in Singapore. Koggala emerged as a crucial stopover on the journey from London to Sydney, ensuring the continuity of this critical lifeline.

Beyond its historical significance, Koggala captivates nature enthusiasts with the scenic allure of the Koggala River and Koggala Lake. The village itself, stretching along Sri Lanka’s South Coast, boasts stunning beaches and renowned surf spots, enticing travelers seeking sun, sand, and surf.

Exploring Koggala reveals hidden gems, including Buddhist hermitages nestled on islets dotting the tranquil waters of Koggala Lake. Visitors can arrange visits to these serene retreats with prior permission, immersing themselves in the spiritual ambiance of these sacred sites.

While Koggala is often recommended for a visit to the Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Art Museum or a leisurely ride to the lake’s islands, the area offers much more. Adventurous souls can embark on catamaran rides with local villagers, try their hand at fishing, or traverse the dirt tracks encircling the lake on bicycles or Tuk-tuks. Along the way, encounters with diverse vegetation and wildlife, from snakes and monitor lizards to an array of bird species, await exploration.

Finally, the pristine expanse of Koggala Beach beckons with its clear, soft sands, inviting leisurely strolls along the coastline to neighboring bays like Ahangama and Midigama, promising moments of tranquility amidst nature’s splendor.