Southern Province

Galle 

The seaside town of Galle is 116 Km away from Colombo by road or rail, down the south coast of Sri Lanka. Both routes are picturesque, following the coastline closely for much of the way. You can also take the Southern Expressway if you need to reach the city by half the time but there is not much scenery to admire. Today’s town has grown greatly and spreads into the surroundings but the Fort is the slowbeating heart of Galle‘s history. The walled city has stood since the early sixteenth century, through the Colonial periods of the Portuguese, Dutch and British and in our present times is proclaimed as an Archaeological Reserve and has been identified as a living World Heritage Site. The etymology of the name Galle is explained as probably an altered form of the Sinhalese word “gala”: a cattle fold or posting-place from which the Portuguese named it Point-de-Galle. The simpler and more popular theory is found in the similarity of the Sinhalese word: gala, for rock, which the Portuguese duplicated by adopting the Latin word: gallus, for rooster. They thus designed the coat-of-arms of the city as that of a rooster standing upon a rocky perch.

The Portuguese captured Galle from the Sinhala kings in 1587 and erected the first fortification, a single wall fronted by a moat which extended from the sea to the harbour. The Dutch landed in 1640 with 12 ships and 2,000 men under the command of Wilhelm Jacobsz Coster who defeated the Portuguese after severe fighting and a four-day siege. The Dutch later converted the Portuguese “fortalezza” into a single bastion which they named Zwart Bastion and built a formidable line of defence, ringing the walled town by ten bastions, which endure to this day. Akersloot Bastion is named after the birth-place of Coster, the Dutch commander who captured Galle. The name has been chiselled on a stone at the spot and also bears a date which, however, has no bearing on the date of erection of the Bastion. The grim old walls are a favourite promenade for Galle‘s citizens and its visitors alike.

 





Mirissa

Sri Lanka has been known by many names over the centuries. During the years under the British occupation is was known as Ceylon and many years before that it was called Serendib, a word now used to describe utter tranquility and relaxation. It is said that Marco Polo visited this tear shaped Island in the 14th century and described it as " undoubtedly the finest island in the world ". Mirissa,sri lankaMirissa and its breathtaking sandy beach pretty much transforms your dreams and visions of a tropical paradise into an everyday reality. Located close to the Southern tip of the Island of Sri Lanka and only about 200 km from the Equator, this secluded crescent shaped beach is the perfect place to sit back, relax and forget about all the hussle and bussle of your other life that’s a million miles away. This small sandy tropical beach boasts some of Sri Lanka’s best and most stunning sunsets and sunrises. All the Guest Houses in Mirissa are set back from the actual beach giving you the impression that you are on a deserted palm fringed island. Every now and again the silence is broken by the sound of a coconut falling on the sand or a chilled beer being opened by someone further up the beach.





Tangalle

The palm fringed bay and picturesque coves of Tangalle are a natural treasure. This is a lazy town littered with gentle reminders of the Dutch days of the 18th century and beautiful villas looking out over the shimmering sands of Seenimodera. Located 195 kilometres form the beautiful capital of Colombo and 35km east of Matara, is a pleasant fishing port situated on one of the finest and largest bays in the island, which is protected from the ocean by an enclosing reef. You can arrive at this exquisite destination both by train and bus or hired transport within 4 to 5 hours. Exhibiting fine beaches which are good for swimming and more than reasonable for diving, Tangalle is a popular beach destination on the south coast. It is believed that the name is derived from ran-gala or golden rock, from a legend that tells of a time when a holy man once partook of a meal there, and the rock was turned to gold whilst further research also reveals that it means the “projecting rock”, because long ago the town was protected from the ocean by a long rocky slab that projected into the sea across the mouth of the bay. Tangalle has spread since those days, so that it now comprises not just one bay but a series of them. Approaching Tangalle from the west, you will encounter Goyambokka and Pallikkudawa, situated on a double bay south of the town. Beyond the town and harbour are the larger bays, Medaketiya and Medilla. Medaketiya in particular has fine white sand, excellent swimming conditions, and is rarely crowded. The most popular day excursion from Tangalle is to the stunning rock temple of Mulkirigala, 20km to the north where after ascending a series of rock steps you will reach a few natural caves with numerous wall paintings and Buddha statues.

 





Bentota

The palm fringed bay and picturesque coves of Tangalle are a natural treasure. This is a lazy town littered with gentle reminders of the Dutch days of the 18th century and beautiful villas looking out over the shimmering sands of Seenimodera. Located 195 kilometres form the beautiful capital of Colombo and 35km east of Matara, is a pleasant fishing port situated on one of the finest and largest bays in the island, which is protected from the ocean by an enclosing reef. You can arrive at this exquisite destination both by train and bus or hired transport within 4 to 5 hours. Exhibiting fine beaches which are good for swimming and more than reasonable for diving, Tangalle is a popular beach destination on the south coast. It is believed that the name is derived from ran-gala or golden rock, from a legend that tells of a time when a holy man once partook of a meal there, and the rock was turned to gold whilst further research also reveals that it means the “projecting rock”, because long ago the town was protected from the ocean by a long rocky slab that projected into the sea across the mouth of the bay. Tangalle has spread since those days, so that it now comprises not just one bay but a series of them. Approaching Tangalle from the west, you will encounter Goyambokka and Pallikkudawa, situated on a double bay south of the town. Beyond the town and harbour are the larger bays, Medaketiya and Medilla. Medaketiya in particular has fine white sand, excellent swimming conditions, and is rarely crowded. The most popular day excursion from Tangalle is to the stunning rock temple of Mulkirigala, 20km to the north where after ascending a series of rock steps you will reach a few natural caves with numerous wall paintings and Buddha statues.





Wadduwa

If a big part of your Sri Lankan holiday revolves around the local beach life, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Wadduwa’s strip of golden sandy beaches is well worth writing home about. In fact, the shores here are said to be one of the most beautiful in the region, envied for its long sandy curve and gin-clear seas. It’s also home to thousands of palm trees, which always provide a welcome shade – and of course, a picturesque sight for a memorable beach holiday in the tropical island of Sri Lanka. It’s not all about sunbathing here, though. The surrounding waters of Wadduwa is ideal for water sports like Windsurfing, and on terra firma, you’ve got games like beach volleyball going on. And as Wadduwa is still a working fishing village, nothing beats a stroll down to the boats as the fishermen bring in the day’s catches. If you want a spell away from the sand, you’ll find enough distractions to keep you occupied here. The train from Wadduwa takes you right along the coastline and has plenty of impressive Kodak moments along the way. You can enjoy a day in the buzzing capital of Colombo, which lies just 35 kilometres to your north or a day in the historically city of Galle which is about 90 kilometres away towards the south. Of course, you could just stay in Wadduwa and soak up the culture. You’ll find a real pick and mix of shops, many selling traditional Sri Lankan handicrafts such as fierce-looking masks and colourful wood carvings.

There are also a fair number of boutiques and jewellery shops which are easier on the pocket than back home. There are a few bars and restaurant scattered in the area which adds to the charm of this beachside resort town. People mainly visit Wadduwa due to its laid-back atmosphere and also to escape crowded and full-on resorts. The pace here is just as slow after dark. The nightlife is pretty much hotel based and amounts to an unhurried meal with a couple of quiet drinks livened up only by an odd traditional show. It’s as good as a go-slow retreat gets. Even if you’re well-travelled and have experienced luxury and riches from around the world, we guarantee you’ll find something new and exciting here in Sri Lanka.

 





Hikkaduwa

The beach of Hikkaduwa is situated 98 km from Colombo towards the south of Sri Lanka. This fun coastal town, 14 km away from Galle was the first (1960’s) of Sri Lanka’s beautiful beaches to be discovered by tourists. Snorkelling and diving in the clear waters are a major past-time along this stretch and is the most environmentally friendly way to see the colourful fish that dart around. The coral sanctuary found along the coast of Hikkaduwa is a large shallow body of water enclosed by a reef, decorated with layers of multi coloured corals, and is home to countless numbers of vibrantly coloured fish. Off the beach there is a collection of small islets surrounded by beautiful coral formations. Many species of fish and large turtles are found here. There are more than four different shipwrecks for diving enthusiasts to explore along with dive shops offering PADI courses and equipment.

With plenty of beachfront accommodation and a reputation as the second best surf spot in Sri Lanka, the reason why so many visit Hikkaduwa is blatantly clear. The resort area has now engulfed two or three villages south of it, and is now a 4km strip of hotels, shops, bars, restaurants and guesthouses. The beaches are lovely and wide and swimming is safe here, though the currents are stronger when it comes to the south of Hikkaduwa. The impressive coral reef runs just offshore and is still populated by exotic fish and sea turtles. Glass bottomed boats are available for visitors wanting to admire the wonders of the deep while keeping their feet dry! After a short distance southwards from the centre of the reef, it diminishes and starts a wider sandy bottomed beach with good waves ideal for board surfing and body surfing. You can always rent the necessary equipment needed for snorkelling and surfing from a number of places Hikkaduwa is an established tourist destination and the surfing there is quite well known. The area is not overcrowded but there are many tourists and locals during the peak season. Since its a coral reef, it is always advisable for travellers to be safe than sorry. Do not feel intimidated by the locals although there might be instances that you are hassled. There are many shops selling Masks, Gems, Jewellery, Batik, Antiques and etc. along with several Buddhist temples, all which add spice to life at Hikkaduwa.