All the adventures, exploring, biking round ancient cities and looking for elephants is tiring when you head to Sri Lanka. Luckily this island has everything including the stunning beaches to relax, and enjoy a little bit of tan time!
The most common area to head is the South of the Island due to it beautiful sandy beaches and insane sunsets, but the East is also a big magnet for surfers and scuba diving, I spent 5 days along the South soaking up the sun and enjoying the spotless beaches.
Tangalla Beach is a small town, with a beautiful long beach, and a perfect stop after coming from the Safari tracks of Yala National Park. One of the best known beaches here is Silence beach, with its palm swings and like it names implys very quiet atmosphere. The beach is 12km long, with a small river just behind some of the beach, and a super cute village to walk through. Its still very local when it comes to restaurants, market stalls and venders. It was a piece of Paradise.
Koggola Beaches have become famous due to the Stilt fishing which became popular during the Second World War, due to the simple fact more fish was needed, so people had to get crafty to go deeper from the shore without boats. It may look easy, but it takes serious skill to perfect the talented way of fishing. The men mainly come out early morning and late afternoon. The beaches recently have been protected with a lot of boulders to make sure the beaches and town is protected from the big waves.
Mirissa Beach is where I spent 3 days of relaxing, eating and catching the sunset. Its full of westernised beachfront shacks with so much fresh food, golden sands, perfect waves for the ones who would like to learn to surf, but still isn’t a very busy town so has that perfect balance. It has alot of artists who are residence here, so street art, and beautiful murals can be found through the small streets of this beaut town.
Satori Beach gets a special mention, i stayed here which is a 15 minute walk from Mirissa at the Satori Beach Hostel which i can not recommend enough. Its a beautiful quiet beach with hardly any waves due to the protection from the peninsula of Mirissa on the left, with a small harbour and several fishing boats coming in and out through out the day. It has a wonderful relaxed vibe, with plenty of cute dogs and Hostel food is delicious!
One of the most famous photo spots in Mirissa is Coconut Hill. It is walkable from the town but takes a good 25 minutes, I caught a a tuk tuk for only( 500 rupees). Good to go with a friend for company as the sunsets, we arrived earlier to dodge the crowds. At 4.30pm is was almost empty, with a beautiful silhouette with hundreds of coconut trees, made famous by the instagrammers of the world. It is actually a coconut farm, which was discovered due to being a perfect sunset spot. With the waves crashing over the huge boulders at the base of the hill its a couples paradise. I loved the location and sunset, but it did get very busy.
Weligama Beach is a 29 km long beach, which is full of surf waves, and therefore surfers. People come from all around the world to Surf in Sri Lanka and the culture in Weligama shows this perfectly, with waterfront surf shops, alot of bleach blonde hair and even more hippie restaurants.
Annawatuna, wasnt actually on my list but one of my room mates recommended it as a must stop , and for good reason. Not yet overcrowded with tourists, but more backpackers, with the beaches dotted with beach huts, scuba diving schools all along the curving main beach. It was full of trendy cafes, and some delicious local restaurants. The local bus from Mirissa was only 1 hour, and costs 200 rupees (80p)
The main beach is an effortless walk to it from the main town. There are also several other beaches which are easy to get to from the town. The main one is the Jungle Beach, surrounded by huge trees and rainforest, with monkeys and small beach shacks. Its a 10 minute walk down from the road above, but is well hidden and has a different atmosphere to the main Unawatuna beach. From here I walked to the Japanese peace Pagoda which was was my last stop before a storm hit, it provided amazing views of the ocean and surrounding areas for my little culture hour.
Galle Beach is located on the other side of the Fort wall, but is perfect for a balance of exploring in the morning and chilling in the afternoon. In the shallows you can see fish swimming around your feet.
The last stop was half a day on the way to Colombo from Galle, a small town called Arangala/ Kosgoda has The Victor Hassalblad Turtle Conservation opened in 1978. One of the things on my bucket list was to go see one of the many turtle sanctuaries in Sri Lanka. I had heard alot of negative things about alot of the turtle farms where they exploit the turtles with letting people touch them, and crowded ocean releases. However the one i visited had very positive comments, they don’t let people witness the releases to make sure the 3 day old hatchlings are not influenced by human interaction or flashes/ light etc. As well as try to rehabilitate as many injured turtles as possible.
There are soooooo many other stops along the coast I wanted to visit, and tried to make time to visit, but the slough over took the explorer in me this time. The transport to the South of Sri Lanka is so easy with the main train route from the North, and the trains from the capital which go all along the South coast, not to mention the continuous buses going too and throw.
The beaches were in pristine condition, with no rubbish, and and in November it wasn’t as busy as the high season in December – April, so meant at times i had the whole beach to myself. Each town had its own little charm, and relaxed vibes showing just why Sri Lanka has been come such a popular destination. I want to go back so bad!