Top Five Beach Experiences In Sri LankaSri Lanka — By Alex B on July 6, 2012 at 6:46 am
By Mandy Jayatissa
Exclusive to the Lost Girls
Spreading outwards from the lush, green, central province to the warmer, drier outskirts of the island, Sri Lanka boasts a wide array of ecosystems and atmospheres. Standing out boldly amongst these are Sri Lanka’s spectacular beaches. Ranging from calm, sleepy stretches of sand for those seeking some peace and quiet, to the more energized, pulsating ocean side retreats for those seeking some adventure, Sri Lanka offers a beach holiday for any type of traveller.
1. Mount Lavinia
Mount Lavinia, known to the locals as Galkissa, is extremely popular, mostly because of its proximity to Colombo. A 30-minute tuk tuk ride away from the capital city, and out of view from the bustling town, lies this beautiful, vibrant beach. Humming with activity, Mount Lavinia beach is enjoyed by both locals and tourists alike. With plenty of local bars scattered down the shore, it is the perfect place to wind down after a day spent shopping in Colombo.
If you find your self in Mount Lavinia, make sure to check out the famous Mount Lavinia Hotel, once built as a personal residence for Sir Thomas Maitland, the British governor, in the early 1800s. Legend has it that the house contained a secret passageway to the home of his lover, a dancing girl called Lovina, after whom the town is named.
When someone says “beach town,” Hikkaduwa is usually the first place that pops in to mind. Merely a half hour drive away since the opening of Sri Lanka’s Southern Expressway, Hikkaduwa holds the perfect combination of eclectic beach culture wrapped up in a soothing ocean-side atmosphere.
During the day you could relax on the beach, take a ride on a glass bottom boat to view the famous coral reefs, or shop at the charmingly authentic local shops. When the sun sets, Hikkaduwa springs to life, with even locals from Colombo driving down to party the night away.
Make sure to have a chicken and cheese roti at the infamous Roti Stop. Open till the wee hours of the morning, this roadside eatery is about as uniquely Sri Lankan as it gets.
Five minutes from the famous city of Galle, Unawatuna provides a quick getaway for those looking to spend a quiet day relaxing on the beach. Dotted with quirkily named bars and inexpensive restaurants, Unawatuna beach is the perfect place to have an icy cold Lion Larger (Sri Lanka’s delicious local beer), or have your pick of freshly caught sea food at extremely economical prices. Have a friendly game of beach-cricket with the locals, hire a boat for a tour of the bay and the nearby Rumassala Temple, or simple kick back, relax, and let the cool sea breeze engulf you.
4. Arugam Bay
But the 6-10 hour journey (depending on whether you drive, take the bus, or go by train) is very well worth it the moment you set your eyes on the absolutely pristine Arugam Bay. Most of Sri Lanka’s east coast is largely undeveloped, and this lends itself very nicely to the quaint, beach side atmosphere. While there are plenty of clean, affordable places to stay in Arugam bay, it has managed to stay clear of the large, resort-style hotels, and the large numbers of tourists that usually accompany it.
Arugam bay is renown for its waves—with surfers from all over the world travelling here to get a bite of the crystal blue action.
Also on Sri Lanka’s east coat, Trincomalee offers one of the most placid oceans. Take a boat ride to the nearby Pigeon Island for one of the most colourful snorkeling experiences you’ll have, or simply relax on the white sandy beach which outlines this historic town.
Famous for it’s natural harbor, Trincomalee is seeped in a history which dates back to times of Marco Polo and Ptolemy. Make sure to visit the beautiful and intricately built Koneswaram Temple, which lies majestically atop Swami Rock, a rocky cape overlooking Trincomalee.
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The variety of beaches contained within such a small island may come as a surprise to most, but there really is a beach in Sri Lanka to suit anyone’s mood or style. The experience of burying your toes in the soft sand while watching the sunset (or sunrise!) as you sip on King Coconut water is one that simply cannot be paralleled.
Mandy Jayatissa travels to Sri Lanka very often, mostly to escape the gloomy British weather. She is an ESL teacher by day, and an avid writer by night. She might have been a cold-blooded reptile in her past life, because her favourite hobby is basking in the sun.
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