Let’s go to the south of Sri Lanka where I decided to spend a few days in a little paradise. Have you heard of Tangalle?
The season is not usually optimal in august in the south of the island, so I thought to find a rough sea compared with my last trip in January. Finally the weather was not so bad, still hot but humidity was also more important.
Where is Tangalle?
Tangalle is a small town on the south coast of Sri Lanka situated after Matara, the last city served by the train.
So you will have to take a bus then to reach Tangalle.
How to come to Tangalle?
If you have a high budget you can choose a taxi to reach Tangalle from the main airport of the island. It will cost about 100 € for a journey of 3 hours 1/2 and it will be the fastest transport.
If you want to save money, you can take a train to Matara, then a bus to Tangalle. The journey by train is very nice because you will travel along the coast. It takes around 3 hours to reach Matara by train.
Once there you will take a tuk-tuk to the bus stand, then a bus to Tangalle or Kataragama which also stops in Tangalle. It takes about 2 hours 1/2 to reach Tangalle. So i advise you to leave early from Colombo Fort if you want to arrive before the night.
You can also find a direct bus from Ella to Tangalle. The journey will take around 4 hours.
What to do in Tangalle?
Unlike the resorts on the south coast where you generally go there to have fun, Tangalle is rather quiet and has the advantage of still being preserved from mass tourism.
It is the perfect place for living in harmony with nature, between the sea and the mangrove.
Tangalle have beautiful and long sandy beaches where you can walk early in the morning. But the sea is often rough in this part of the island and swimming is not always possible. However, some corners of the beach are more quiet so it’s better to ask your hotel where you can swim safely.
You can also rent a canoe to discover the mangrove and watch the birds and the varants that live in the lagoon. The best moment to go is early in the morning.
Do not hesitate to hire a tuk-tuk to visit the small town of Tangalle, its port and its market. For my part I kept the phone number of the tuk tuk driver who took me to my hotel and I finally booked him for the day. Here is his mobile if you need to find a driver in Tangalle . His name is Indika. Tel: +94 77 049 2188.
Indika showed me the port and after stepping over the boats, i was lucky to visit the boat of one of his friends. He explained me that the fishermen could sail during 1 week, 2 weeks or one month until they catch enough fish. You can imagine the conditions of such a journey for 6 people in so little space. (You can click on the pictures to enlarge them )
The NGO Turtle Conservation Project also offers night expeditions to see the turtles that lay their eggs on the beach of Rekawa. A great experience to live if you are not in a large groupe of people as we can see in high season.
Mulkirigala Rock Temple
You shouldn’t miss the Rock Temple in Mulkirigala. This is a Buddhist temple perched at top of a rock, located about 16 km northwest of Tangalle. You can go there by bus but it is not direct and you will have to walk a good distance to reach the temple. It takes half an hour to go to Mulkirigala by tuk-tuk, more expensive than the bus, but more pleasant and faster.
The site consists of 7 temples hidden in the caves of a cliff with a height of 205 m. The temples date from the 3rd century, they have been restored and you will see Buddha statues, colorful paintings and magnificent sculptures from the 18th century. A museum is also located at the foot of the rock and contains manuscripts.
It is better to arrive early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat and do not forget to take a bottle of water because you will need it 🙂
The temple is nestled in the green forest and coconut trees so the walk is very pleasant and you will see many monkeys during your visit.
And when you reach the top of the rock after climbing the 500 steps, you will have the greatest reward. A breathtaking view over the surrounding country!
Where to stay in Tangalle?
There are many hotels in Tangalle situated along the beach. Prices are generally higher than in the southern resorts but accommodation is also from another standard. For my part, I decided to stay at Shiva’s Beach Cabanas, a hotel located at the Marakolliya beach.
Shiva’s Beach Cabanas
Looking for an original accommodation on the beach, I discovered the Shiva’s Beach Cabanas while surfing the internet. When I saw these wooden huts built on the beach in Tangalle, I thought it was the ideal place to stay for a relaxing holiday.
A little paradise away from the noisy southern resorts. A huge beach lined with coconut trees. Lovely hammocks on the beach that invite you to a pure moment of relaxation. The constant noise of the waves and bird songs in the background which remind you that the jungle is not far. Finally the perfect place for a break between the sea and the mangrove.
My lovely wooden cabana was finely furnished, a mattress on the terrace to relax during hours with the sound of waves and the song of birds, a nice room with mosquito net, a large ensuite bathroom with hot water and the sea just in front of you.
The restaurant is located on the beach, facing the sea. It is one of the places where I ate the best rice & curry and seafood fried rice. Served with a fresh fruit juice as we like in Sri Lanka or a cocktail as the Arrack Attack, made of arrack, the local alcohol, lemon, orange and honey.
And my favorite breakfast … pancakes with kithul honey 🙂
Here are the details of the hotel Shiva’s Beach Cabanas for the people ready to experience a holiday in an idyllic location.
My stay in Tangalle is over and it’s with a small sadness that I leave the Shiva’s Beach Cabanas for other adventures in Sri Lanka. If you went to Tangalle you can share your experience. Your questions and comments are welcome.