South Coast Holidays

South coast Sri Lanka’s slew of seductive golden beaches froth with fresh-cut coconuts, just-caught seafood, palm tree rope swings and pods of dolphins and whales.

South coast Sri Lanka holidays are a tropical treat of caramel-coloured sands and salt-tangled hair. On the edge of the Indian Ocean and easy to reach from Yale or Galle, this is the perfect spot for ‘do-nothing’ days following a tour around Sri Lanka.

The south coast has the magical appeal of a slower rhythm. You’re equally likely to be cycling down dusty roads and picking exotic fruit in local markets as you are dipping in an ocean-facing infinity pool or slinking from spa to golf course. Wave chasers head to Weligama for gentle breaks and surf schools, beach seekers drop their towels in Tangalle and nature lovers visit Bandula National Park’s dunes and lagoons or Rekawa Beach for seasonal turtle nesting and hatching views.

Ready for sunsets, seafood and lazing on the sand with a fresh coconut in your hand? Talk to us today for a tailormade Sri Lanka holiday.

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South Coast Hotels

Our recommendations for the best places to stay in South Coast

Shangri-La Hambantota

Sri Lanka’s first Shangri-La resort brings a slice of Asian-inspired luxury to the island’s south...

Cape Weligama

With its jaw-dropping views, exceptional service and lavish suites and villas, this exclusive res...

Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort

Sri Lankan-inspired design, Anantara’s renowned experience-focused luxury and a breathtaking sett...

Udawalawe Jeep Safari & Elephant Transit Home

Founded in 1995, the Elephant Transit Home is a haven for orphaned or injured elephant calves who are rehabilitated back to full health before being returned to the wild. Great lengths are taken to minimize contact between the baby elephants, their caregivers and visitors but you can enjoy watching them stamp their feet impatiently as they wait for their food and relish in the fact that once old enough to survive alone, they’ll be free to roam the national park once more. After a delicious lunch in a local restaurant, hop into your private jeep and get ready to explore the Udawalawe National Park, a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of nearby Udawalawe Reservoir. Infamous for its large population of elephants, have your camera at the ready as you spot herds of these majestic creatures feeding, playing and bathing in waterholes as well as an abundance of other mammals, reptiles and birds.

• Duration: half day
• Time: midday to 6pm
• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Udawalawe, Hambantota, Tangalle and Yala
• Available for guests staying at hotels in Tangalle, Hambantota, Galle, Koggala and Weligama

Good to know
This unforgettable trip is suitable for all ages.

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Bundala Bird Watching Safari

The first wetland to be declared as a RAMSAR site in Sri Lanka, Bundala National Park is a must do for bird enthusiasts. The UNESCO designated biosphere reserve hosts 197 species and is one of the best places to observe both migrant and resident birds which use the parks five shallow lagoons as feeding sites. Delight in the impressive bird song as your personal tracker guides you through the six different types of wetland where you’ll spot the likes of Black Headed Ibis, Painted Storks and Terns along with other small mammals, reptiles and butterflies from the comfort of your own private jeep.

• Duration: half day
• Time: 5.30am to 9am or 2.30pm to 6pm
• Daily departures
• Operates between October and March
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Hambantota, Tangalle, Udawalawe and Yala
• Available for guests staying at hotels in Tangalle and Hambantota

Good to know
Due to the early start time of the morning excursion, we’d recommend an afternoon visit for those staying further afield.

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Udawalawe 3-hour Jeep Safari

If you’ve already had the pleasure of exploring the Udawalawe National Park and would like some additional time observing the abundant wildlife in their natural habitat, this is the excursion for you. As you head back into the vast park it won’t be long before you stumble across a herd of elephants strolling alongside the track or water buffalo and deer congregating by a watering hole. Your knowledgeable driver will be on hand to point out the local flora and fauna from soaring eagles to prehistoric looking monitor lizards and will ensure you discover the best secluded spots.

• Duration: half day
• Times 6am to 9am or 3pm to 6pm
• Daily departures
• Operates year round
• Private experience
• Available for guests on a car and driver itinerary staying in Udawalawe, Galle, Hambantota, Tangalle and Yala

Good to know
Suitable for all, if not staying in the vicinity of the national park we’d recommend an afternoon safari due to the early start of the morning excursion.

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The Cinnamon Experience

Not far from the golden shores of Weligama is the hillside Top House, a working cinnamon plantation that’s been lovingly restored by its British owner. A combination of self-sustaining age-old techniques and modern technology is used to extract cinnamon leaf oil at the newly built distillery. During your private tour, you’ll explore the cinnamon nursery, the plantation itself, the peeling hut and the distillery, travelling on foot and by a tractor-hitched trailer, and learn about the processes involved in creating their artisan produce.

• Duration: half day
• Start time: 9am
• Departs Monday to Saturday from Galle, Weligama, Tangalle, Koggala
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

Good to know
The plantation is closed on poya days.

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Kanneliya Rainforest Trek

Venture into the Kanneliya Rainforest on a private tour to explore its flora and fauna. While it’s known as one of South Asia's most floristically abundant areas, the Kanneliya Forest Reserve is also home to fascinating birdlife, including many endemics and an incredible diversity of mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, amphibians, and reptiles. During your tour, you’ll have the chance to see the Anagimale Falls, an ancient tangled giant creeper and the little waterfall of Narangas Ella. An impressive Nevada tree observation platform provides a great spot to look out over the Reserve.

• Duration: 3 hours
• Daily departures from Galle or Koggala
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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Learn the Art of Lace Making

Watch a traditional Sri Lankan lacemaker at work on an insightful half-day experience. Sit down with a Beeralu lacemaker to observe how they create intricate art. A lace pattern is hand-drawn on graph paper, after which the design is marked with pins and wrapped around a lace pillow. Then, several lengths of thread are woven or braided with the help of wooden bobbins to create a finished piece of lace. Though this process requires more effort than machine-cut lace that can be produced in bulk and on demand, the authenticity and quality of Beeralu lace are unparalleled.

• Daily departures from Galle, Koggala, Tangalle or Weligama
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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Surf’s Up at Weligama Bay

Negotiate the waves on a two-hour surf lesson. Weligama Bay is the centre of surf culture on the south coast of Sri Lanka and an ideal spot to learn, whether you’re a beginner or looking to finesse your skills. There are gentle beginner waves all day, every day, and all year round. For those who know the basics, there are unbroken waves to tackle, and expert surfers can finetune their paddle, stance, and style — or learn some new manoeuvres.

• Duration: 2 hours
• Time: 11am to 1pm or 3pm to 5pm
• Daily departures from Galle, Weligama, Tangalle or Koggala
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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Get to know South Coast Sri Lanka and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.

Capital
TIME DIFFERENCE

GMT +5½ hours

CURRENCY

Sri Lankan Rupee

FLYING TIME TO DESTINATION

Colombo 10½ hours

RELIGION

Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam & Christianity

LANGUAGE

Sinhala and Tamil

Tangalle
Undisturbed by mass commercialisation, Tangalle’s sands stretch for miles and the area is a nesting ground for marine turtles. On Rekawa Beach you can visit sites that highlight turtle conservation efforts and from April to July, take moonlit strolls to see turtles hatching their eggs. Head into the city for temples and spice markets, kayak and canoe on Tangalle Lagoon and learn to surf at Anantara Peace Haven Resort.

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Weligama
With its huge horseshoe-shaped bay and gentle waves, Weligama is a hip south coast hotspot for surfing, with a dive centre, snorkelling sessions and surf schools all on offer. Whale watching cruises launch off of Mirissa harbour from November to April giving you a chance to see blue whales, killer whales and pods of spinner and bottle-nose dolphins in their natural habitat.

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Hambantota
Scratch a more adventurous itch in Hambantota, a great beach base for exploring Sri Lanka’s nature and wildlife. It’s a two hour drive from the savannas of Yala National Park, an hour from Udawalawe National Park and just 20 minutes from Bundala National Park. Day trips are topped off with luxury resort relaxation. At Shangri-La Hambantota, an exquisite lake-lined golf course meets glimmering pools perfectly angled barefoot steps from the beach.

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South coast beaches
Sri Lanka’s sleepy south coast is largely uncrowded. Stunning golden sands swaddled by palm trees sweep the coastline. Tangalle and Weligama are two of the most popular beaches; the latter is where the island’s stilt fishermen still make rare appearances. Head to Hiriketiya Beach for surfing action, Goyambokka Beach for picture-perfect scenery and Dickwella Beach for seclusion and serenity. Note that the south coast’s waters are often rough and at certain times of the year are a no swimming zone.

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Marine wildlife
Leave the beach behind to see a world of wildlife in southern Sri Lanka’s National Parks. Our handpicked south coast Sri Lanka hotels are within easy reach of Yala, Bundula and Udawalawe where famous residents include leopards, elephants, flamingos, kingfishers and sea eagles. Want to see whales and dolphins breaching and splashing in the Indian Ocean? From November to April, whale watching cruises take off from Mirissa harbour near Weligama, getting you up close with the world’s most breathtaking marine life.

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South Coast Weather

Dec - Mar

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Our experts have curated a wide range of handpicked South Coast Sri Lanka offers to make your next holiday extra special. Make the most of great-value savings, exclusive upgrades and bespoke touches. 

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