Tangalla and the surrounding area provide an inspirational base to discover the South of Sri Lanka.
Daya (comfortable A/C van) or his brother Karu (tuk tuk or catamaran) will be happy to show you around. For example:
Rekawa beach is an unspoiled beach where the turtles have come for many years to lay their eggs. At Rekawa beach, five of the world's seven species of marine turtle come ashore to nest throughout the year. All five species of turtles that nest in Sri Lanka are either endangered or critically endangered. The Turtle Conservation Project (TCP) has established an "in situ" nest protection at this beach, all the process is natural. TCP is not a turtle farm.
The project runs for more than 20 years. So the babies turtles they protected at the beginning of the project are coming back to Rekawa beach. The turtles always come back at the same beach. So you can see turtle at any time of the year. It is not guarantee of course. During high season from April to July, there are 5 to 15 turtles per night. During low season from October to January, 1 or 2 turtles per night. You pay the entry only if you see a turtle, otherwise you can give a donation. The tuk tuk is needed to be paid even if you don’t see a turtle.
You can see turtles only at evening time, leave Patini at 8pm. You wait at the center while TCP people are walking along the beach and signal to the center when they find a turtle.
The main bad point about TCP is the number of visitors, some nights it can be 100 people per night. During low touristic season, about 30 people per night go to watch a turtle. They are trying to find a way to manage so many visitors. Usually, they take you by group of 20 people near the turtle.
TCP on Rekawa Beach is at about 10km (around 30min by tuk tuk) east from our bungalows. You can go to TCP only by tuk tuk because the paths are in bad condition and are too narrow for a car. We can arrange a tuk tuk to go to there and it will wait until you like to go back to your bungalow. The beach is closed at 11.30pm. The entry is 1'000rs per people (they refund the money if you don't see turtle) and the tuk tuk is 1'500rs (2 or 3 people). You can combined this activity with the visit of Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary (3'000rs for the tuk tuk to visit Kalametiya and turtles and 1'000rs per person for the turtles if you see a turtle) and/or Ussangoda red land (prices not yet fixed).
For more information about the turtle project in Sri Lanka, please visit turtlewatchrekawa.org or their facebook page.
Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary
Recently nominated by the IUCN-Sri Lanka for a wetland of international importance RAMSA Status, the Rekawa, Ussangoda, Kalametiya (RUK) area, east of Tangalle, is known as one of Sri Lanka's most ecologically diverse and biologically rich areas, providing extensive lagoons, beach and ornithological habitats of national and global importance.
From sandy beaches, rocky headlands, lagoons, estuaries and mangroves, to its historical and cultural sites the RUK area contains many ecological important terrestrial and wetland habitats for many of Sri Lanka's spectacular endemic and migratory birds.
Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary is a wet land with two brackish lagoons, mangrove swamps and open areas with pockets of scrub jungle. This area is a very important site for migrant shore birds. Nominated by the IUCN-Sri Lanka for Ramsey Status declaration for wetland biodiversity it is home to a wide variety of bird species making it a special place for serious bird watchers too.
Best moments to visit the area are very early in the morning or late afternoon.
Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary is at about 25km (around 45min by tuk tuk) east from our bungalows. We can arrange a tuk tuk to visit this area. The tuk tuk is 2'500rs (2 people) for around 3.5 hours (5/5.30am to 9am or 3.30/4pm to 7/7.30pm), entry free. You can combine this visit with the turtles watch at Rekawa (3'500rs for the tuk tuk to visit Kalametiya and turtles and 1'000rs per person for the turtles if you see a turtle) or/and with Ussangoda red land. The tuk tuk is 3’500rs to visit Ussangoda and Kalametiya or 4’500rs to visit Ussangoda, Kalametiya and the turtles at Rekawa. If you like to visit Ussangoda and Kalametiya, you need to leave Patini at around 1pm. You will be back at about 7pm. If you add the turtles at Rekawa (1’000rs per person if you see a turtle), you will be back at about midnight. You will be able to eat at Rekawa, in a hotel or in local shops.
Ussangoda is a place of natural beauty and a designated archaeological site. It is also a nature reserve and is located in the southern turtle breeding zones. Ussangoda is a patch of high ground by the sea and spreads over a significant area. But unlike the reset of the land surrounding, it is only covered with grasses and a few smalls pockets of pigmy forests. The summit of Ussangoda area pans like a plateau for a significant length.
Ussangoda is note for unusual placement by soil structure, flora, location. There are many folk stories related to this site which include different takes about the land. General belief is that it is a part of a meteor or a proximity to a meteor hit ground zero. The main rationale for this belief is the soils brick-like hard quality with a reddish colour which is unique to this patch of land. Some rocks and soil layers contain what some speculate to be remnants of an extreme heat (caused by an event such as a meteor hit). It is also suspected that the soil has a high concentration of minerals/metals giving its unique colour. In several places, especially by the sea facing areas rocks and soil can be observed clearly having multiple layers usually with distinct colourization. The rock debris has high iron concentration. Magnets attract them.
It can be also noticed that Ussangoda is located geographically closer to another archaeological site "Miniha Gal Kanda", where evidence for pre-historic human existence has been found.
There are several mythologies related to the area. The site is considered a sacred / forbidden ground for general affairs in local lore. One popular mythological belief is that Ussangoda is a ground of the local demi-god "Mangara". Other beliefs range from religiously rooted backgrounds to the unwritten/alternate history related to Ravana.
This text is from Wikipedia.
You can visit Ussangoda combined with Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary or with the turtles watch at Rekawa. Ussangoda is located about 20 minutes more far from Kalametiya. You can visit Ussangoda only by tuk tuk because the paths are too narrow for a car. We can arrange a tuk tuk to visit this area. The tuk tuk is 3’500rs to visit Ussangoda and Kalametiya or 4’500rs to visit Ussangoda, Kalametiya and the turtles at Rekawa. If you like to visit Ussangoda and Kalametiya, you need to leave Patini at around 1pm. You will be back at about 7pm. If you add the turtles at Rekawa (1’000rs per person if you see a turtle), you will be back at about midnight. You will be able to eat at Rekawa, in a hotel or in local shops.
The Hummanaya Blow hole at Kudawella
A blow hole is a natural fountain, caused when the sea water rushes through the submerged cavern and is pushed upwards. Only seven blow holes are known in the world. Hummanaya Blow Hole is the second largest with water spout of 12-16 m during the South West monsoon (May to August).
This blow hole is located at about 11 km (around 25min by tuk tuk) west from our cottages. We can arrange a tuk tuk to go to there and it will wait till you like to go back to your bungalow. The tuk tuk is 1'200rs (2 people) and the entry is 200rs per people. You can combined this visit with the biggest sitting Buddha at Wewurukannala Temple at Dickwella and or with the Lace exhibition at Dickwella.
Rock temple at Mulgirigala
At this cave temple, ancient rock steps lead you through a series of natural caves, with unique wall paintings and Buddha statues, and on to the summit 210 m higher (533 steps) with beautiful view.
The general belief is that Mulgirigala Vihara was founded around 130 BC and has been a place of tranquility and sanctity ever since.
This temple is located at about 18 km (around 30min by tuk tuk) north from our cottages. We can arrange a tuk tuk to go to there and it will wait till you like to go back to your bungalow. Usually people need between 1 and 2 hours to visit this temple. The tuk tuk is 1'500rs (2 people) and the entry is 500rs per people. It is possible to visit some pottery factory in the area. If you combine this visit with Wewurukannala Temple at Dickwella and/or the Blow Hole at Kudawella, you will drive along different roads through beautiful landscapes of paddy fields.
A man will follow you to explain the temple. This man is a guide. He will ask you money at the end of the visit. So better to fix the price (around 1'000rs) with him before you start the visit or tell him that you don't need him if you like to visit alone.
Wewurukannala Temple - Biggest Buddha at Dickwella
The largest Buddha statue in the whole of Sri Lanka, 50m in height. The oldest part is about 250 years old. You climb inside the Buddha and enjoy the beautiful view from the top! There is also an image house and a sort of Buddhist chamber of horrors.
This temple is located at about 17 km (around 30min by tuk tuk) north from our cottages. We can arrange a tuk tuk to go to there and it will wait till you like to go back to your bungalow. The tuk tuk is 1'500rs (2 people) and the entry is 200rs per people. You can combine this visit with Blow Hole at Kudawella and/or Lace Exhibition at Dickwella. If you go to visit Rock Temple at Mulkirigala, you will drive along different roads through beautiful landscapes of paddy fields.
With some guests, we have discovered some small, very old and non touristic temples on the South Coast, more or less near of Tangalle. You can find them on the map of the Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka, in the Districts of Matara or Hambantota.
In a small village near Mulgirigala Temple, you can visit a pottery factory and see worker shape nice pots.
This factory can ask some money (500rs or 1'500rs for 2 people) at the end of the visit. Better to ask the price before entry.
This visit can be combined with Mulgirigala Temple.
At Matara (1h from Tangalla), visit a private home (Jez Look Batik or Art Batik) where they make batik and understand this slowly stepped process. They also have some pieces in silk.
We can arrange the taxi to go there for 3'500rs or a tuk tuk for 2'000rs. the entry is free. If you don't buy anything, a donation will be welcomed to thank for the visit.
At Dickwella, you can visit a lace exhibition where they will show you lace making.
This exhibition is located at Dickwella, about 20km (around 30min by tuk tuk) west from our bungalows. The tuk tuk is 1'700rs, entry free. If you don't buy anything, a donation will be welcomed to thank for the visit.
This visit can be combined with Wewurukannala Temple or Blow Hole or on the way to Matara, Galle or Colombo.
Brass workers of Angulmaduwa
A visit to the Traditional Brassworkers of Angulmaduwa is an interesting stop on the way to Mulgirigala Rock Temple. This village is famous as the place where Sri Lankan brass began. Today, artisans create bells, oil lamps, and other brass items using methods that are centuries old. This workshop closed due to lack of business.
The lighthouse was built in 1890 and is located at the southern most point of Sri Lanka. From its 49m height, you will have a beautiful view on the South coast. If you saw the French Lighthouses on the Atlantique ocean (in Bretagne), Dondra Lighthouse doesn't worth a visit. Fot the other people, this lighthouse worth the visit (500rs per people).
Dondra is located at around 35km (about 45min by van) west of Tangalle. You can visit this lighthouse on the way to Matara or Galle. Entry is 500rs per people.
Sri Lanka is situated within the International Whaling Commission's protected zone in the Indian Ocean. Of the 80 species of cetaceans observed and identified worldwide, 26 are found in the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. Whale and dolphin watching is a seasonal activity in Sri Lanka, available on the west coast in locations from Kalpitiya and along the South West Coast from November to April while the east coast off Trincomalee is preferable from June to September. For the dolphins, the period between January and April is also a good time for the South Coast.
We can organize for you a trip to Mirissa to watch whales and dolphins, between November to April. Please tell us as soon as possible because we have to book seats on the boat. The boat price is 6'500rs per people (pay by cash LKR only), the taxi price 6'500rs or tuk tuk 3’800rs (winter 2014-2015 prices). The taxi or tuk tuk will wait for you and bring you back to Patini. You will leave Patini at 5am and come back at around 1pm, depend on whales... If you still feel good after few hours on the boat, you can go to visit Galle for 3’000rs extra for the taxi. If not, you can come back or enjoy Mirissa beach for 1’000rs extra for the afternoon for the taxi or tuk tuk.
Three national parks are located around Tangalle, within two hours car, Yala, Uda Walawa and Bundala. We advise you to visit:
- Uda Walawa if you want to see large herds of Asian elephants. Uda Walawa has a huge population of elephants in a small area, so it's really easy to see them. Next to the park, an elephant orphenage feeds them at 6am, 9am, midday, 3pm and 6pm.
- Yala if you like to see various animals and landscapes and if you like to have a chance (50%) to see a leopard.
- Bundala if you like to see various birds in a park visited by few tourists. You can also see very few elephants and crocodiles. The best period to visit it is from November to March when the migrant birds escape the winter in Himalaya.
The Department of Wildlife Conservation manage all national parks in Sri Lanka.
We can arrange a day trip to any of the national parks (for example, for Yala, leave Patini at 12pm and return at 8.30pm, the other parks are little shorter distance so you will leave later and return earlier):
- Uda Walawa: Orphenage entry is 500rs per people. Park entry is about 6'000rs for 2 people (10'200rs for 4 people). Jeep is 5'000rs. Taxi is 6'500rs or tuk tuk 4'000rs.
- Yala: Park entry is about 6'000rs for 2 people (10'200rs for 4 people). Jeep is 6'500rs. Taxi is 7'000rs or tuk tuk 5'000rs.
- Bundala: Park entry is about 5'500rs. Jeep is 5'000rs. Taxi is 6'000rs or tuk tuk 4'000rs.
Kataragama Temple is the second most important religious pilgrimage site in Sri Lanka and the most important temple on the southern coast. It is a holy place for Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus, and the site contains buildings of all three religions.
To have more information about Kataragama Temple, please visit kataragama.org.
You can visit Kataragama Temple combined with Yala or Bundala National Parks or with another temple around Tissa (Sithulpawwa or Kirinda). Kataragama is located at about 100km (around 2h30 with a van) east from Tangalle. The taxi to visit Kataragama costs 9'000rs. If you like to visit Kataragama with one National Park (Yala or Bundala), the taxi costs 10'000rs.
Kirinda Temple stand on an outcrop formed by round black rocks, from which you have a beautiful view on the beach and ocean, with good energy. This temple celebrates a romantic legend.
You can visit Kirinda Temple combined with Yala or Bundala National Parks or with another temple around Tissa (Sithulpawwa or Kataragama). To visit Kirinda and Sithulpawwa by car/van, it costs 10’000rs. Tissa is located at about 80km (around 2h with a van) east from Tangalle. To visit Kirinda and Yala by car/van, it costs 9'000rs.
This cave temple was founded in 2nd century BC. The modern name Sithulpawwa is derived from the ancient 'Cittalpabbata' meaning 'The hill of the quiet mind'. The Dagoba can be seen on the top of the rock. The image house still contains some fragments of paintings. In the eastern precinct, the ruins of an ancient preaching house can be seen, where a cluster of 10 feet high pillars rises from the earth.
Due to the black rocks where stands the temple, you have to visit it early morning or late afternoon or on a cloudy day to avoid to burn your feet on the black rocks. So it is hard to combine Sithulpawwa Temple with a National Park. Some guests visited wearing socks to be able to visit it during sunny day.
You can visit Sithulpawwa Temple combined with another temple around Tissa (Kirinda or Kataragama). To visit Kirinda and Sithulpawwa by van, it costs 10’000rs. Tissa is located at about 80km (around 2h with a van) east from Tangalle.
The stilt fishermen are a very particulars way to fish in Sri Lanka. You can see them only around Weligama on the southern coast. Usually, they fish early morning or late afternoon. But they understand the touristic interest, so you can see one fisherman almost any time of the day. They will ask you money for the picture. You can see the stilt fisherman during your trip to Galle Fort.
Few kilometer east of Galle and Unawatuna, at Habaraduwa, you can visit a Turtle Hatchery and see turtles at different ages. You can visit it during your day to Galle or on the way to Colombo. The entry is 500rs per people.
Galle Fort is fortified city built by the Portuguese in the 16th century on a peninsula. The Dutch developed it in the 18th century. Then the English settled in the Fort.
Galle Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The sunset is beautiful from the west part of the remparts. Maybe you will be able to see some turtles swimming in the sea at the bottom of the Neptune Bastion.
You need at least two hours to visit it. You can easily spend half day or full day to visit it, its museums, art galleries, shops, ... Galle Fort is located at about 80 km (around 2 hours by car/van and 2h15 by tuk tuk) west from Tangalle. We can arrange a A/C car/van or a tuk tuk to go to there in the morning and come back to Tangalle in the evening. The car/van is 9'000rs for the day and the tuk tuk 5'500rs. You can visit Galle on the way from or to Colombo or airport. The driver will add 1'000rs for less than 2 hours waiting and 2'000rs for more than 2 hours waiting. Be aware that you need to add one hour for the extra way to visit the Fort from the expressway.
Sleeping in the Fort give you a spirit of colonial time.
With hot air ballooning or Montgolfière, you could see Galle and Yala from the air. I can't find any more information about Galle and Yala. Maybe a possibility from Uda Walawa. They mainly fly around Dambulla. For more information, please visit flysrilanka and srilankaballooning. Some more information here.
This forest is the last piece (7x21km) of virgin rainforest in Sri Lanka. It's a national park, a Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. For more information, please visit Wikipedia and Sinharaja's website.
This forest national park is visited by walk (about 5h slow walk and observations) with a guide. You will discover many endemic species (trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles and birds). In the middle of the walk, you can swim in a waterfall pond.
We can arrange a A/C car/van to go there (about 2h30 one way, 11'000rs for the full day), the guide who will bring you to the forest (jeep or tuk tuk) and show you the forest. The guide will arrange your lunch. The guide price is 4'000rs (per people, included jeep, lunch, entrances, guide). Breakfast is available for extra cost. The driver will bring you back to Patini. The trip will start at 5am and stop at 7pm.
Ella is the nearest mountain town from Tangalle. At Ella, you can see Rawana water fall, beautiful landscapes with tea plantations and Ella Gap, visit a tea factory (1h, 200rs per people) and climb Little Adam's Peak (45min climb up). On your way back, you can visit Buduruwagala (1h included the road and the visit, 200rs per people).
This trip will be a full day trip, leave at around 8am and back at around 8pm. You can make it shorter if you don't want to see everything... We can arrange an A/C van to show you all these. The price will be around 12'000rs for the car/van. You will need 3h30 to reach Ella from Tangalle.
Daya (A/C van) or his brother Karu (tuk tuk, catamaran) can take you for several one day trips or few hours’ trips (please read details in the activities pages):
- Blow Hole (250rs/p), Lace exhibition (donation), Wewurukannala Temple (250rs/p), Pottery (price entry ?) and Rock temple (Mulkirigala) (500rs/p and around 1’000rs for the guide) by tuk tuk (3’000rs), half day.
- Turtle nesting, by tuk tuk (1’500rs), only evening (8.00pm to midnight), entry turtle 1’000rs per person if you see turtle.
- Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary by tuk tuk (2’500rs), half day (around 5am to 9am or around 3pm to 7pm), entry free. With Ussangoda, 3’500rs and 1h30 more after (morning) or before (afternoon) birds watching.
- Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary with Turtle nesting, by tuk tuk (3’500rs), half day (around 3pm to midnight), turtle entry 1’000rs per people if you see turtle.
- Ussangoda red land then Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary then Turtle nesting, by tuk tuk (4’500rs), half day (from 1-2pm to midnight).
- Lagoon mangrove by catamaran (rowing boat), 1h30, at 6.30am or 4/4.30pm, 1'500rs for the catamaran (up to 4 people), entry free. Kayak (1 person) is 1’000rs, canoe (2 persons) is 1’300rs for about 2 hours.
- Kataragama Temple with Yala or Bundala National Parks, (one temple with one National Park) by A/C van, one day, around 10'000rs for taxi and around 12'500rs for the safari (2 people), temple’s entry free. Please read prices details in the corresponding section.
- Kirinda Temple and Yala or Bundala National Parks, (one temple with one National Park) by A/C van, one day, around 9'000rs for taxi and around 12'500rs for the safari (2 people), temples’ entries free. Please read prices details in the corresponding section.
- Kirinda Temple and Sithulpawwa Temple by A/C van, one day, 10’000rs, temples’ entries free.
- Dondra lighthouse (500rs), Matara Batik's factory (donation), Weligama stick fisher (price?), Spice garden (donation), Turtle Hatchery (400rs/p) and Galle Fort by A/C car/van (9'000rs) or tuk tuk (5’500rs), one day.
- One National Park by A/C van or tuk tuk, half day, around 19'500rs (2 people) according to the park and to the vehicle. Please read prices details in the corresponding section.
- Sinharaja rain forest, full day (5am to 7pm), 11'000rs for the taxi and 4'000rs per person for the guide, entrances, lunch. Breakfast available for extra price.
- Ella (Little Adam's Peak, tea factory (200rs/p), tea plantation, Rawana water fall, Buduruwagala (200rs/p)), full day (8am to 8pm), 12'000rs for the taxi.
- Whales watching, morning (5am-1.30pm), 6’500rs per person for the boat, 6’500rs for the taxi or 3’800rs for the tuk tuk. In the afternoon, possible to visit Galle (3’000rs extra for the taxi) or enjoy Mirissa beach (1’000rs extra).