One day in five fantastic beaches of stunning Sri Lanka?

Beach-hopping in Southern Sri Lanka…

An idyllic, mystical pearl-drop island in the Indian Ocean with 1340 kilometres of coastline. Bait enough. Active adventurer, laid-back lazy or photo-enthusiast…whatever your travel style, beaches will inevitably creep into your Sri Lanka itinerary. Problem: Too many beaches, too little time. Multiply challenging choices by dubious dilemmas, divide by greed, and get smart. If you’re stationed in Galle, like we were, beach-hop an entire 50-kilometre stretch southwards, in search of unadulterated Sri Lanka. Resurrected post-tsunami. Down an endless road with dazzling, tan-gold tropical sands, wave-drenched rocks and emerald palm clusters. Sleepy villages, red-roofed houses with white columns and cool verandas, modest home-stays, elite eco-retreats, sarong-clad fishing folk, cheerful red tuk-tuks and suntanned backpackers in chappals. Serenity. Untouched by mindless tourism. Game?

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Vibrant vibes at Unawatuna

The stream of family-run guesthouses, boutique hotels, pretty restaurants and shops selling beachwear and souvenirs on the Amerasinghe Road that winds through the Unawatuna village are indication enough. Popular, thriving night-life hangout ahead? Not so fast. If you’re bright and early, maybe not. Indulge in the luxury of solitude. Stroll the length of the shallow, broad crescent-shaped beach, feeling the waves curling beneath your toes. Oruva boats pose prettily, palms fringes offer comforting shade and vendors sell wood souvenirs. Let your ears guide you towards the cheerful music of the shacks. Settle in the comfort of the bright cushions of the straw-roof cabanas. Grab a mango shake. And drown in the sounds of the incessant waves.

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Solitary swings at Wijaya

This is where dreams of secret beaches with palms leaning over the water come to life. Insta-alert! There’s a celebrity swing tree nearby. Struggling against strong winds and supported by carefully planted cement bags and ropes tied at the right angles. Give it a shot. But first, lunch with the best view you could wish for, awaits at Wijaya restaurant. Drool over heavenly prawn mango curry on rustic benches, as you stare at the hypnotic sway of the palms overhead. Perch on the terrace ledge and dissolve into nothingness. Follow the rhythm of the froth and foam. Let the wind rustle your hair into a mess. Watch people walk hand-in-hand through the rocky cove below. Count the yellow king coconuts dangling from thick stalks of trees. Lost in paradise?

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Sad stilts at Koggala

Stilt fishermen perched on cross bars tied to slim poles stand in shallow water, so that they cast minimal shadows and fish come closer. Or are they posing locals…desperate to earn traveler tips so they they can afford two square meals a day? Maybe they aren’t fishermen and maybe they’re not fishing. But they are balancing skilfully on stilts, replaying leftovers of yesterday’s magical traditions. Sad, because even this sight may soon be a thing of the past. So, brush away your cynical side and psyche yourself to focus on the loveliness of the scene instead. Toothpick-thin tall palms, transparent aquamarine waters and pin-prick poles puncturing the soft sands. They ARE fishing…in your mind, they are. Give in to the fantasy. Who’s checking? And why do you care if they are?

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Fish frenzy at Welingama

A wide bay with a long rocky-strip jutting into the ocean. Boats named ‘Fast’, ‘Tulsa’ and ‘Deutsch Lanka’, decked with red flags and bamboo-stick masts rushing in by the dozen. Enthusiastic fishermen teams jumping into the water and pulling the vessels ashore with full gusto. Sailing ropes being thrown in and knots being tied with speed. Baskets full of fish being hauled away in plastic baskets. Fishmongers in short-sleeved shirts and sarongs crowding over makeshift stalls, brisk negotiations in progress. Loud, excited calls, busy movements and palpable action. All very infectious, isn’t it?

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Harbour hues at Mirissa

Whale-watcher’s paradise? Surfer-snorkeler’s delight? Or photographer’s fabulous find? A rocky road leading to a fishing harbour. Hundreds of docked boats. And an explosion of colors, colors and more colors. Brilliant blues. Chirpy yellows. Raging reds. Soothing aquas. Gorgeous greens. Boats and catamarans fighting for space, yet bunched up in complete harmony in one joyous, cheerful scene that makes your eyes light up and your smile go wide. A bunch of happy fishermen folding and repairing meters and meters of green nets, giving you life lessons in contentment. And the final vantage point up on the hill. Vision of a perfectly curving beach, more gust-blown palm trees, rolling sands and paths cutting into cliffs. Balancing on the rough rock-wall that separates you from the Indian Ocean, think about how time goes by and yet stands still. A blue boat bounces over the sparkling silver, marking its presence with a red flag. A five-letter word comes to mind. Bliss.

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Beach-hopping in Southern Sri Lanka

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59 thoughts on “One day in five fantastic beaches of stunning Sri Lanka?

  1. Oh these beaches are amazing. I have wanted to see the fisherman balancing on stilts for ages. And no, I don’t care if they are doing it for fish or tourism. It’s still an impressive skill and a great way to keep the tradition alive!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These beaches look very pretty and it’s very cool that it is possible to visit all of them in a single day. The stilt fishers are very interesting, but it is sad that it’s a tradition that is dying out. And it must be amazing to settle down in one of the straw-roof cabanas and to sip a mango shake there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, never knew Sri Lanka for beaches, but now I have that info. Overall, it start looking as more atractive destination to me. Recently I read stories about fantastic home stay there, and now this… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never been to Srilanka before, but I remember back when I was flying, some friends of mine told me that Srilanka reminds me of Indonesia for a bit since they also use the word bandara for airport. Now seeing Unawatuna Beach on the least, it rings a bell on Uluwatu in Bali. Thanks for sharing! 😀

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  5. I haven’t been to Sri Lanka yet despite it being on my list for a while now. Thanks for this reminder that it’s high time I did something about that! The beaches look great, I didn’t know there were so many options around Galle.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You had me at Mango Curry in WIJAYA!. I’ve never been island hopping in Sri Lanka and I have never tried mango curry. I love curry and would love to try this and enjoy it with those amazing views 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Seeing the fishermen up on the stilts to fish is so incredible! After reading, sounds like Mirissa would be incredible to visit. Love the colors at Mirissa too! Your creative descriptions of all the photos are so lively and fun to read! You’re a great writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, 5 beaches in one day would be paradise! The swings at Wijaya sound amazing as does the prawn mango curry—yum. All of these beaches sound amazing, but I think I’d head to Mirissa first. That vantage point from the hill is such a beautiful scene—it looks so secluded and pretty!

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  9. Wow, really nice places. For my upcoming holidays I am planning to visit Sri Lanka, is it worth to spend one full mont in Sri Lanka or do you reccommend to go somewhere else? And how is the weathere there in October? Thank you for the tips!!

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  10. I would definitely be looking for the secret beaches. Glad to hear that there was a restaurant at Wijaya even though it is a less touristic beach. The kids fishing on the stilts would be an interesting site to see. Especially if the fish were biting. We would want to head to Mirissa for whale watching. If it is a snorkelers delight then maybe we could scuba dive too! Thanks for sharing a good variety of beaches.

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  11. What a rich cultural experience! The beaches are stunning both for chilling or swimming but the whole fishing procedure is what strikes me the most and makes me want to visit these beaches in Sri Lanka. I’ve seen many photos of the standing fishermen but I guess that nothing is nearly equivalent to the see them in person!

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  12. Wow! I am just flying to Sri Lanka tomorrow and now after rather a cold week in Europe, I am getting excited about the beaches in Sri Lanka! I think my favorite is Harbour Hues At Marissa. I will try to visit in on my trip, thanks for the recommendation.

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  13. I haven’t been to Sri Lanka and I didn’t know there were beautiful beaches there. It looks very natural and I think beaches should be left as they are rather than destroy it by commercializing!

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  14. It really is a beautiful part of Sri Lanka, and I loved your photos of the stilt fishermen. Did you have to pay them? We actually got chased off by them because we took a photo and didn’t the high price! Did you also visit Northern Sri Lanka, it’s one of my favourite parts of the country!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Someone else had just paid them and we got to witness the spectacle for free 🙂 We went to the Cultural Triangle in the northern part for the lost cities and the wildlife. I have published two other posts on that.

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  15. That’s cool. Coming from southern India, Srilanka always feels like an extension of our land, both in nature & culture.
    Being an island, indeed they’re blessed with such stunning beaches.
    I’m hoping to go there in the coming years. Let’s see.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow- all 5 look like a must visit!! In one Day seems like a rush, but definitely can make a full day out of it!! I love all your photos!!

    Liked by 1 person

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