Southern Sri Lanka : Unawatuna
The real live Unawatuna lies inside of Route A2 Galle - Matara main road. Unawatuna is located just 5 km south of Galle. The original village where it all started, Yaddehimulla, you turn off the main road just before 123 km Post. The motor-able, tarred road, a kilometre in length, brings you to the best area of Unawatuna with all the guest houses, homestays, restaurants, hotels, internet cafes, tuk-tuk stands, boutique hotels etc. There are no ATMs or money changers, the closest ATM to Unawatuna is in HSBC bank located on Route A2 heading towards Galle.
Most of them are on the world wide web with their own websites. If you search on any major search engine with keywords like Unawatuna, Unawatuna homestays, etc. you will find a host of sites offering varied style of accommodation.
Unawatuna is 150 km from Colombo's Bandaranayaka International Airport in Katunayaka. The journey through busy Colombo roads take over 3 hours by private vehicles. Most hotels and guesthouses offer an airport pick-up service for a hassle-free quick get-away (8500 rps).
Travelling from Colombo downtown to Galle and Unawatuna. Catch the Matara-train (with ocean-view) and jump off in Galle (takes almost three hours, 220 rps) and take either a tuk-tuk (300 rps) or local bus (15 rps) from Galle to Unawatuna. Recommended from Colombo downtown to Galle are aircon mini-buses that take three hours as well (230 rps).
Public transport from Bandaranayake International Airport to Colombo is available just outside the airport.
There is also a recently introduced direct bus service from the Hill Country which stops at various locations along the south coast including Mirissa and stops at Unawatuna before terminating in Galle.
Easiest way to get around is by tuk-tuk. Day trips to Dutch Fortress in Galle, Martin Wickremasinghe Museum in Koggala, Hikkaduwa, Mirissa, Ahangama can be fun on a tuk-tuk. Deal with the driver, make sure there are NO hangers on, or you will be taken for a ride. They can be hired for the whole day, just the trip or to be dropped off some destination. Most of them can be contacted by mobile phone. Get an idea of their charges before hand.
Longer trips and round tours can be arranged with car or vans. Sunrise Tours near the Wella Devalaya got well maintained cars and vans.
Public transport trains and air-con buses are the cheapest mode of transport.
Jungle Beach, (4 km from Unawatuna). Small beach lost in the the jungle, a good place for snorkelling. Access by boat or by tuk-tuk from Unawatuna
Sea Horse Divers, Address, ☎ +94 77-6277622 ([email protected]), . One of the diving centres on the Unawatuna beach, good instructors, possibility to dive for people without license with a discovery dive. 25€ per dive.
The coral reef allows to discover beautiful fishes and seashells. Snorkels and masks can be borrowed in guesthouses or diving centres.
Unawatuna bay is safe for swimmers. From the middle of the beach (Unawatuna Beach Resort area) it is safe to swim to the rock island, however climbing the rock island itself might be dangerous and is not recommended. It will take you one hour or more to go and come back. Giant but friendly sea turtles might pop up close to you.
Japanese Peace Pagoda
A gift from the Japanese, this amazing pagoda is well worth a visit. To get there you can take a 3-wheeler or to walk (20 minutes) follow the road through Unawatuna (away from the A2) until you reach the small t-junction. Turn left to return to the western tip of the beach and the temple, turn right for the pagoda. Continue up the hill, following the clear signs for Jungle Beach. The pagoda, and the rocks further along the track, offer amazing sunset and wildlife photograph opportunities.
Take a boat ride to see the local reefs. In off-season, expect high-pressure sales and reneging of struck deals followed by demands for extra cash.
The streets and beach of Unawatuna offer dozens of places to buy jewellery, clothing, art and other souvenirs.
In Unawatuna most guest houses have their own restaurant business. All over the beach and inside Unawatuna town you will find places to eat delicious seafood, rice and curry, vegetarian menus, rotty, Italian food etc. Recommended:
You will find a huge amount of nice guesthouses in Unawatuna. Guesthouses on the beach are usually the most expensive and they become cheaper if you move away from the beach.