What to do in the South of Sri Lanka?

Are you planning to travel to Sri Lanka in the upcoming days or months?

If so, then we have the perfect Southern guide to what to do and where to do it.  As you most probably know Sri Lanka is a pretty small island, which makes it perfect to visit the maximum of places in the shortest time. In this article we are going to focus on the Southern and most touristic part of the Island.

So if you are ready, we are taking you on a trip from South west to South East Sri Lanka town by town..

Let’s start with: Hikkaduwa.

Famous for its long sandy beaches, South-west coast Hikkaduwa also boasts good waves for surfers. With many different surf spots you can find the perfect wave for you, depending on your level and desire. And the coast is lined by plenty of reefs, offering great opportunities to snorkelers and divers. 

One thing you are sure to enjoy in Hikkaduwa is Turtle beach. As the name says this beach is the perfect place to spot and even get close to the giant turtles. The ideal time to visit is between December – March. These months should make sure you avoid the South-West coast monsoon seasons. Although it is possible to spot the turtles all year round. Here, we share with you some tips so that your experience with these majestic animals can be the best.

When visiting Turtle beach we advise you to get to the beach a little before sunrise, at this time the water will be calmer and you will miss the crowd of tourists. This gives you the best chance to get close to the animal.

Like any living animal it is important to respect them and remember that you are in their home. It is possible to take photos as the turtles swim around your feet ( remember to remove your flash) and feed them seaweed. A truly unique experience.

A trip into the past: Galle.

The town of a thousand stories is well and truly Galle. As you walk through the town you will see many different aspects of life: the busy local life, the history of the town written in its rocky pavements and the beautiful coast line. 

Galle is known for its fortified city built in the 16th century by Portuguese settlers. Dutch ramparts encircle the pedestrian streets whose architecture testifies to the presence of the Portuguese, Dutch and British. Among the remarkable constructions is the 18th century Dutch Reformed Church. The Galle Lighthouse stands on the south-eastern tip of the fort making it the perfect spot to snap a selfie!

A moment of peace: Unawatuna.

Unawatuna is a coastal town in Galle district. It is a major tourist attraction in Sri Lanka and known for its beach and corals. The most famous beach is Unawatuna beach, a very pretty white sand beach. Here you can enjoy the sunshine, kick back and relax and take a dip in the ocean to refresh. 

If you are looking for a more disconnecting moment on a smaller beach then you should take a trip upto Jungle beach. As the name explains, the beach is surrounded by a jungle of palm trees and cliffs. It is a perfect spot to take a dip in the ocean away from the crowd and admire nature.

Just a step away from the jungle beach is the Japanese peace pagoda. This Buddhist temple is a unique shrine that guarantees peace and solitude to anyone who visits. Built by the Japanese Nipponzan-Myōhōji order in 2005, it was made as a symbol to promote peace in the island. A short hike to the summit of the Rumassala Hill and you’ll find yourself in awe of the astonishing pagoda. Enjoy the stunning views of the coast and the bustling town of Galle when you reach the top.

Please remember when visiting a temple to respect the traditions of the religion in question: Cover your shoulders and knees, take your shoes off and respect the calm and re-energizing silence you will find there. 

Surf’s up in: Weligama.

If you are thinking of trying Surf here in Sri Lanka, then this is the place for you.

The name Weligama, literally means “sandy village” which refers to the area’s sandy sweep bay. The town itself is an interesting blend of lively fishing and beach resorts. The main settlement and coastal road is somewhat scruffy and not that easy on the eye, but you’ll find the sandy beach is attractive once you’re away from the main section.

Talking of beaches, if you pass through Weligama then Weligama beach is a must. With its long sandy shore (3km) and perfect surfing conditions it quickly grew into one if not THE best place for beginner surfers to learn. Swells coming straight in off the Indian and Southern ocean breaks that make it through are drawn out into lovely long frames that hit the main beaches in a series of peaks. A beginners paradise. You can also swim easily at this beach and enjoy the large amount of restaurants and bars that line the coast. 

Our tropical home: Mirissa.

Mirissa is one of the main beach destinations in southern Sri Lanka.

The area has it all, beautiful Sri Lankan beaches, surf waves, whale watching, and great bars and restaurants. It is said to be one of the best places to spot the magnificent rulers of the deep blue,  whales, dolphins, turtles, etc. 

If you are thinking of going whale watching, Mirissa is definitely the best place for it, here are a few tips and things to take into account.

When?

Although it is possible to see the whales most of the year, there are certain periods of the year that assure you to get what you pay for. Between December and March is a good period to spot the giants off the shore of Mirissa.

With who?

When going with a whale watching company make sure to make a responsible choice for your safety but also the animals. In Sri Lanka whale watching is officially regulated through the Sea Mammals (Observation, Regulation and Control).  These regulations stipulate the conditions under which an operator can become licensed to take tourists out to view marine mammals in Sri Lankan waters, with an emphasis on safety measures and vessel registration.

Another great view point to visit is coconut tree hill, a private coconut estate with a nearby temple set on a high cliff overlooking the glistening waters of the Indian Ocean and the untouched stretch of golden beach. Located in proximity to the town, the hill can be accessed throughout the day or night; for free. 

The Coconut Tree Hill is definitely one to add to your bucket list in Sri Lanka as it’s the perfect place to watch a bold, island sunset.

Where jungle meets the ocean: Hiriketiya.

Located in the coastal town of Dikwella, Hiriketiya Bay is best known as a surfing haven.

The palm-fringed stretch of beach that wraps around the bay is dotted with rustic beach cafes and bars; making it the perfect spot for your beach vacation. From surfing to simply relaxing under the warmth of the island sun, the bay entices all types of travellers to soak up the sun, sand and surf.

It is by far one of the prettiest beaches i have seen in Sri Lanka, with its laid back, chill vibes. The perfect place to recharge your batterys for the journey.

 

How far from the camp?

Here we have made your life a whole lot easier by estimating the journey length from our camp to the different places. This will help you plan your days in the simplest of ways: 

Destination

Distance from camp

Hikkaduwa

1h25 – 54km

Galle

57min – 36km

Unawatuna

54min – 33km

Weligama

12min 7,5km

Mirissa

2min – 220m

Hiriketiya

58min – 31km

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