Unawatuna Sri Lanka is a top destination for your holiday !
Unawatuna has undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches on the south coast of the island. This is a great place to chill out during your holiday and take in the festive atmosphere.
Unawatuna our just “Una” is picture perfect for the sea, surf and the sun. It is sure to be one of the best places you visit during your Sri Lankan holiday. Even though there are no noticeable scars of the dreadful Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, a few locals still share their experiences of that fateful day.
Unawatuna’s succes lies in the fact that the beach is off the Matara road linking Galle and Matara and hence away from busy traffic. The beach embraces the gentle curve of the bay and its blue waters offer a standing invitation no traveller can refuse.
How to get to Unawatuna and how to move in and around
Unawatuna is about 150 km from Colombo International Airport. Getting here by car can take around 3 hours if you avoid entering Colombo city. If you plan to spend your holiday in Sri Lanka just in Una, a comfortable but a little expensive option can be to ask your hotel to arrange for a chauffeur-driven car to fetch you at the airport. Alternatively, you can also arrange for your own car by visiting the specific web page here (please place link to the Chauffeur-driven car section).
If you arrive here after a stay in Colombo, the train to Galle followed by a short tuk-tuk ride can be a good option especially because you get to catch picturesque views of the ocean all along the rail journey.
From Galle, Unawatuna is just 6 kilometres away. If you do not wish to take a tuk-tuk, just know that there are regular buses from Galle to Unawatuna. They however stop on the main road, meaning you will have to haul your luggage up to the beach, about 500 metres away or waive a tuk-tuk from the bus stop.
Finding a place to stay in Unawatuna is not a problem. There are all sorts of options for staying overnight in Una from guesthouses to hotels to homestays to boutique hotels. The variety of choice is also reflected on the range of prices. Hence, there is surely a place to fit your taste and pocket, provided you book in advance and re-confirm your booking prior to your departure.
Note for parents: If you are travelling with young children, avoid staying in huts that can prove to be noisy and humid.
There is a whole range of restaurants that await you at Una, from home-cooked meals (if you order them in advance) to restaurants offering tables with candles set right on the beach at dinner-time. Una has managed to stay with the trend of Westerners wising to taste only vegetarian or vegan food. A few restaurants offer them at affordable prices.
As Una is quite small, please note that there are no ATMs here. The Sanasa Bank branch in the premises of the Buddist temple in Yaddehimulla can however change your foreign currency. In case you need to withdraw cash, you will have to go to Galle or Koggala.
Top tourist attractions in Unawatuna
The sea and the sand here is what you are for. If you are keen on having fun splashing around the idyllic waters with or with kids, this is the place for you.
There are no wind-surfers here, so swimmers can enjoy the waves for themselves.
The beach is longer but narrower than Mirissa and the combination with coconut trees offers spectacular photo opportunities.
Over time, the people running the restaurants and hotels have managed to enlarge their settlement towards the beach despite the wreckage caused by the 2004 tsunami. This is something of a challenge the authorities have to deal with in the coming months especially to preserve the international reputation of the beach.
Yatagala Raja Maha Viharaya
North-east of Unawatuna, about 3 km across the Galle highway, is Yatagala Raja Maha Viharaya. A visit to the site is a must for temple lovers who wish to see a rock temple built in harmony within the rock formations.
The quiet atmosphere that prevails here, due to the fact that the temple is not visited by many tourists, offers the visitor a chance to linger around and patiently admire the site.
The monks present today perpetuate a 1500 year-old tradition of piety and worship.
From the temple, there are wonderful views of paddy fields and villages.
Tourist spots around Unawatuna
The view from Rumassala of the southern coast of Galle is so breath-taking that it used to be known as “Buena Vista” during the Colonial era.
During colonial times, seafarers docked at Rumassala to fill their crafts with fresh water.
The Rumassala jungle forest is home to a great variety of mammals, birds, insects and reptiles.
The coral reef of Rumassala hosts some of the best-preserved coral in the Lankan seas. It serves as a major spot for snorkelling and diving expeditions from nearby Unawatuna.
Rumassala is mentioned in the Hindu epic ‘Ramayana’. The legend goes that the monkey god, Hanuman, was sent to bring Himalayan herbs to cure Rama's wounded soldiers during the battle that opposed Rama and Ravana. Instead of wasting time to recognise the exact herbs, Hanuman brought a whole chunk of the Himalayan mountains. Once Hanuman arrived in Sri Lanka, he picked the exact herbs and laid the mountains on the Southeast coast of Sri Lanka that was to become Rumassala.
The quiet and secluded Jungle Beach in Rumassala is popular among locals as a picnic spot and recreation area but most of the time, there are not many people around.
The other attraction is the Peace Pagoda, gifted by Japanese monks in 2004. The giant Hanuman statue is another interesting piece to admire if you have time to stop over.
To reach Rumassala, any tuk-tuk driver from Galle can take you there for around Rs.400. If you are on your own, take the first right after the Katugoda Railway station and follow the signboard “Rumassala Sama Ceitya”.
Koggala offers a pleasant stretch of beach with a sizeable and picturesque lake close to the shores. The topography of the area is interesting as it offers a subtle combination of coconut-stringed pathways, mangroves and gardens.
A small number of cosy hotels situated between the sea and the Koggala are very popular with tourists.
The other option if you are staying for longer periods is to rent luxury lake-view villas. If you are interested in spotting wildlife like monkeys, monitors, squirrels, birds, snakes, etc.
Ask your hotel to arrange for a catamaran or a boat ride on the lake.
Unawatuna has some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka
You're at one of the best beaches this part of Sri Lanka has to offer. Look nowhere else. Enjoy!
If you have opted for a longer stay at Unawatuna, there are some other beaches you can go to for a day trip or longer. Most famous among them are:
The quiet and secluded Jungle Beach in Rumassala is popular among locals as picnic spot and recreation area but most of the time, there are few people around.
This beach lies further to the East of Unawatuna. This could be a good option for children as the rocks and coral have created a natural pool here.
This beach is just a stone's throw away from Dalewella Beach. It offers almost the same kind of topography and services as Dalewella.
Wildlife, bird safari and natural parks near Unawatuna
Hiyare is a convenient place to go if you plan to spend a lot of time in Unawatuna.
The forest is to be explored on foot or by boat, as there are practically no tracks. As soon as you enter it, you sense the fact that you tread on an undisturbed part of the world. The reservoir is a natural lake and provides drinking water to the city of Galle.
Over a hundred varieties of birds are to be seen here including endemic ones like the Two-spotted Threadtail and the Black Ruby Barb. Mammals in the forest include Mongoose, Porcupine, Purple-faced Leaf Monkey and Hog Deer, an extremely wary and nocturnal animal that is rarely seen in the wild by naturalists. Butterflies and dragonflies of different species and reptiles such as the Sri Lankan Green Pit Viper make up for the ecosystem of the forest.
Kottawa Forest Reserve
Northeast of Galle lies Kottawa Forest Reserve a lush lowland rainforest of around 15 hectares. It is home to more than 150 varieties of trees species, some of them centuries old. Kottawa is also an ideal place for bird lovers.
How to keep children occupied during your stay in Unawatuna
Koggala Sea Turtle Farm & Hatchery
Just north of the Kogalla Air Force Camp in Habaraduwa is the Sea Turtle Farm & Hatchery, an organisation dedicated to the survival of sea turtles.
There are five varieties of Sea Turtles found in Sri Lanka: Olive Ridley Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle, Green Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle and Leatherhead Turtle. The major nesting habitats are located in Galle District (Bentota, Induruwa, Kosgoda, Thibbattawa, Ahungalle, Balapitiya and Unawatuna) and Hambantota District (Rekawa, Wellodaya, Kahanda modara, Walawemodara and Yala).
The farm that was entirely destroyed during the tsunami has been put up again. It offers a great opportunity to adults and children alike to see newly hatched baby turtles before they are released back to the ocean.
Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum
Martin Wickramasinghe, one of Sri Lanka's famous writers, wrote about the culture and life of the people of Sri Lanka. This house where Martin Wickramasinghe was born has been converted by the Martin Wickramasinghe Trust to establish a Folk Museum Complex, surrounded by hundreds of indigenous trees and shrubs. The house and the surroundings remind the places around Koggala that are ever present in Wickramasinghe’s writings. The Folk Museum houses a collection of artefacts, a beautiful collection of masks, varied inventions in agriculture, fishing utensils, pottery and metal works, various objects used in folk dances and religious ceremonies. The museum is open everyday from 9 am. to 5 pm.
+94 91 228 3427
Great things to do during your stay in Unawatuna
Diving and snorkelling
The diving centres in Unawatuna offers quality lessons starting from beginner level. Be sure you are here during the right season (October to April). Qualified divers can help you explore the remains of five shipwrecks at different depths including The Rangoon, today home to different colourful varieties of fish.
Cooking classes at Sonja's Health Food Restaurant
If you are planning to buy some spices in Sri Lanka and take them home, why not learn to cook them the Sri Lankan way?
What better idea to perpetuate your voyage to Sri Lanka than to serve some delicious mouth-watering Sri Lankan curries to your friends and families back home as they travel to the island through your photos?
If you are game, Sonja's Health Food Restaurant is the place to learn to cook a few classic Sri Lankan recipes. A typical cooking lesson lasts half a day during which you go shopping with the cook, prepare the vegetables and meat and then prepare the meal.
Enjoy the beach bars and parties
Una is a lively place for the young and the old in search of a chill-out party. The trendy bars and beach clubs offer good music but not the kind of full-moon rave parties you can find in some other beach-oriented destinations in Asia.