SRI LANKAN BEACHES: TANGALLE + UNAWATUNA + GALLE
SUN, SAND & SOME COLONIAL CHARM
Note : This post is in a series of posts covering our entire Sri Lankan backpacking experience. Please refer to individual posts covering the places visited.
Earlier Posts :
For City Tips jump to the bottom
Our Hill journeys complete, we were now looking forward to some Sri-Lankan ‘Beach-Life’!!!
We did the following Circuit : Tangalle – Unawatuna – Galle
There are a range of options for beaches all over Sri Lanka and I guess for us, the choices were based on minimum deviation from our planned itinerary route to save on travel time, no backtracking, ease of getting to and away from the selected location and of course the range of activities and sightseeing possible within short hops from the preferred destination.
Hence we decided on Tangalle, a lagoon which lies just next to Rekawa Beach, a turtle nesting beach.
Stayed at Buckingham Place, a charming boutique hotel off the Rekawa lagoon and our choice could not have been more perfect.
Review at :
With the pristine and nearly isolated beach on one side and the placid lagoon on the other, we had our very own paradise for a few days. We went for a boat ride in the backwaters, enjoyed a few mesmerizing sunsets, cycled around the lagoon and beach areas and were pampered like crazy by the hotel staff.
We ended up staying here for five days and keeping this hotel as the base we visited a string of beaches along the way all the way up to Kudawella Beach, the location of the exclusive Amanwella Resorts and the ‘Hummanaya Blow Hole’.
There are a lot of eating places along the beaches. We enjoyed our ‘sizzling fish and chilled beer’ fix at the Turtle Landing Restaurant at Turtle Bay on two occasions.
From Tangalle we headed to Unawatuna, one of the most popular beach destination for independent travelers.
For the journey from Tangalle to Unawatuna, we took the tuk-tuk from our resort to Tangalle Bus station (SLR 600) and then the local bus which runs hourly to Unawatuna and beyond (SLR 125 per person). The 70 Kms journey takes about two hours.
Unawatuna has a semi circular bay, with a dagoba perched on a rock hedland at one end and a string of eateries and hotels allong the beach.
The sheltered bay gives safe year round swimming and the beach is just perfect for sun bathing.
Although there are a lot of tourists and the place is quite commercialized, the place is (as yet!!) quite charming, pleasant and a great place for spending a few relaxed days!!.
Unawatuna is also the ideal place for using as a base to visit Galle which lies only 5 kilometers away.
We stayed at Hotel Dhammika which is perched right on the beach and offers spectacular views of the beach from the private balcony.
The most ideal thing to do here is just soak in the sun, relax on the beach, take a dip in the sea and enjoy the beach side dining and drinks at sunset and into the night!!
Galle is Sri Lanka’s most well preserved colonial town complete with low strung Dutch-Villas and massive coral bastions.
Galle divides into two parts: the bustling if nondescript new town, where you’ll find the bus and train stations; and the nearby Galle Fort, enclosed by towering bastions, which is where you’ll find the old Dutch town.
The contrast between the two could hardly be more striking: as you head through the imposing walls, the pace of life changes and the centuries seem to slip away.
Galle Fort seems barely to have changed , with low, quiet and mercifully traffic-free streets lined with old villas, churches and other mementos of the Dutch era.
This was our final destination in Sri Lanka. From Unawatuna we boarded the Express bus to Colombo where we concluded our memorable holidays!!.
CITY TRAVEL TIPS
1) Beware that most of the beaches on the south coast are rocky, steep-to and the waters are quite rough. Even at Rekawa, the main beach is not safe for swimming but there is a small natural rock pool at the end of the beach.
2) Unawatuna – The beach town offers a range of resort options so it is not necessary to book in advance. You can get off the bus, take a tuk-tuk to the beach area and scout for the best deals.
3) Unawatuna – Two wheelers are the best way to move around in and around Unawatuna and even to visit Galle. Most hotels provide bikes on hire (SLR 350 for half a day).
4) Galle – This town can easily be covered as a day trip from Unawatuna. The things to see are the Dutch Reformed Church, the Historical Museum, Galle Cricket ground, some fantastic views from the ramparts and just wandering in the by-lanes and amid the colonial houses where little seems to have changed in 200 years!!
5) Galle to Colombo : If travelling by bus take the Express service which goes via the highway and saves a couple of hours and although a bit more costlier than the local bus ticket, it is absolutely worth it.