Sri Lanka is famous for its beaches, especially in the southern province of the country. While coastal towns like Galle and Hikkaduwa bring in the crowds, Tangalle is more calm and secluded. If you are planning a relaxed beach vacation, Tangalle is the perfect spot.
Tangalle boasts beautiful seaside vistas, mangroves and coves. Tangalle will offer you a look into authentic island living, with mild weather, fishing boats wading out into sea, and fisherman heaving in their nets full of the day's catch – Tangalle delivers picture-perfect scenery. A holiday in Tangalle will be very laid back - just you and the warm Indian Ocean with white frothy waves crashing the golden sandy beach.
Here are 5 things to do when in Tangalle!
Picture Credit - www.au.iha.com
The Rekawa beach is the nesting ground for 5 species of turtles, namely the green turtle, the loggerhead turtle, hawksbill turtle, olive ridley turtle and leatherback turtle. The Rekawa Turtle Watch is a marine conservation project which protects the creatures nesting sites to ensure safe hatching of the eggs.
The tours begin at 8:30pm and can go on till around 11:30pm as the time for the turtles' arrival can vary, patience is key here. You can watch the turtles arrive at the beach and reach their nesting site where they will lay their eggs and return to sea. You can also witness the eggs hatching and the baby turtles making their journey into the ocean. The best season for turtle watching is from April to July, where you can spot turtles every night. The tour costs 1000 rupees for adults and 500 rupees for children. Advanced booking is not required.
Visitors are advised against flash photography, torches or any light source as this would disorient the turtles. If no turtles appear on the beach, the ticket is fully refunded.
Picture Credit - Luděk Chmurovský, commons.wikimedia.org
As beautiful as they are, most beaches in the Tangalle area are not safe for swimming as the waves are too strong; Goyambokka will be your best bet for a relaxing beach session. Goyambokka boasts of wide white sandy beaches and serene little coves. This is true paradise with palm trees lining the beach, and hammocks tied to the trees, with little bamboo huts to find shade in.
The sparkling turquoise waters beckon you for a swim as the sun warms the white sands of the little coves. Being on Goyambokka beach will make you feel like you are on your own private island, as the beach is not crowded and you can have it all to yourself. Lie down on the sand with a good book and sip on some fresh coconut water or wade into the calm waters of the beach
It’s a great beach to have a moment to yourself and forget about work and other responsibilities and just relax – true island living!
Picture Credit - Dave Lonsdale, flickr.com
If you want to experience something away from the beach the Mulkirigala Rock Temple is a must-visit. Nestled away in a coconut grove is the ancient Rock Temple, perched atop a 205m natural rock.
There are 7 caves in which reside the 7 ‘viharas’ which are located on five different terraced levels, they house large reclining Buddha statues as well as Buddha statues in the seated and standing positions, while intricate wall paintings adorn the walls.
Said to be built in the 3rd century the temple is recognised as an archaeological site. An 18th century British official found Pali manuscripts in the monastic library, which were used to make the first English translation of the ‘Mahavamsa’ (Great Chronicle). This gave a glimpse of the early history of Sri Lanka to the Europeans.
Most of the architecture, wall paintings and sculptures available today are from the Kandyan era of Sri Lanka. A 206m climb from the base is a small dagoba which offers stunning views of the surroundings.
You have to pay an entrance fee of 500 rupees to enter the temple; it is open from dawn till dusk.
Be sure to visit this magnificent rock temple and get transported back in time!
Picture Credit - www.thelostguides.com
Tangalle has many water sports activities such as surfing and diving however, kayaking through the Tangalle lagoon is a more fulfilling experience, allowing you to explore the exotic wildlife residing in the mangroves.
Since kayaking is pretty much a solo activity, you can get a relaxed, intimate experience with the lagoon. There are many little water ways running through the mangroves where you can take in the tropical beauty, and witness exotic birds and fish, as well as the occasional monitor lizard laying on the banks of the lagoon.
The recommended times for kayaking are during early morning and evening hours. Noon may be too hot for kayaking and may result in sunburn! You can rent a kayak from the Lagoon Paradise Beach Resort for 500 rupees an hour, they also provide life jackets.
The hotel is located at Kapuhenwala Road, Marakolliya, Tangalle.
Don’t forget to pack that bug spray and binoculars and take as many pictures as you can – but don’t fall off your kayak!
Picture Credit - Mstyslav Chernov, commons.wikimedia.org
Tangalle is quite close to most wildlife reserves in the country, such as Yala National Park, Bundala National Park and Udawalawe National Park. So you can break away from the beach and experience some wildlife!
Elephants are one of Sri Lanka’s main tourist attractions; these majestic beasts are also revered in Buddhism and are an important part of the country’s history. The Udawalawe National Park is regarded as one of the best places to witness wild elephants.
The park is home to a few hundred elephants and they can be seen throughout the year. You will be able to witness herds of elephants roaming the plains of the reservation. Most of the elephants can be found bathing in the reservoir and mingling with each other.
If you want to get a closer look at the elephants you can visit the Elephant Transit Home. Supported by the Born Free Foundation, the home houses rescued and orphaned elephants going through rehabilitation, after which they will be returned to the wild. Around 100 rehabilitated elephants have been released into the wild through the transit home. You won’t be able to get up close and personal with them, however, feeding time is highly enjoyable!
The Elephant Transit Home is an hour’s drive away from Tangalle. A tour can be arranged through the hotel or resort you're staying in. The ticket price for adults is US$15 and US$8 for children, with a group charge of US$8, vehicle charges of 250 rupees with a 15% VAT. The last ticket is sold at 5:00pm.
The entrance fee for the Elephant Transit Home is priced at 500 rupees for adults and 250 rupees for children. The feeding times are at 9:00am, noon, 3:00pm and it closes by 6:00pm.
The park is located at 7th Mile Post, Sevanagala, Monaragala, Uva Province.
Having a Muslim-friendly holiday in Tangalle will not be difficult as most hotels, restaurants and cafes along the beach and around the city serve Halal friendly food, however, be aware that these places may sell alcohol. If you are feeling spiritual during the vacation visit the beautiful Muhiyadeen Jumma Mosque located on Tangalle Road, Tangalle.
So head over to this tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean and don’t forget to pack those shades and sunscreen before going to Tangalle for the tropical beach vacation of your dreams!