Best beaches of the world: Unawatuna Bay Beach, Sri Lanka
Unawatuna bay Beach was once named "The
Best Beach in the World" by Discovery Television Channel
Safe Swimming, Surfing, Snorkeling, Diving Wreck Diving, (year-round), Corals, Trekking
The Beach takes no back seat to any other in the world. It is a
stunning tropical beach. Five km southeast of
VOC Galle Dutch Fort of Sri Lanka is
Unawatuna, a small (1km), wide & intimate semi circular bay with its
picturesque sweep of golden, pristine beach which is terminated by a
shining pure white Buddhist stupa (Dagoba) sitting pretty on a green
hill. The Beach is enclosed by headland on the other side too. The
entire stretch of beach is well sheltered by a sweep of palm-fringed
land right behind it. And well protected too: the beach enclosed by
double reef breaks down the impact of the waves of Indian Ocean to make
it ideal for safe swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving & even for you to
learn surfing. The reef shelters more species of fish than the Great
Barrier Reef. It is said by many industry experts to be among the top
ten beaches of the world. The reef off the far end of the beach, 150m
offshore can be reached from shore & you can even venture into the main
waters of the Indian Ocean by traditional twin log like fishing
catamaran made solely of timber.
Galle seaport, the first landing seaport of the Arabs, the
Portuguese, the Dutch & the English being only 5 km away, Unawatuna
provides several interesting Wreck Dives too. Lord Nelson, a cargo ship
& Rangoon are reachable. Those are only 20-30 minutes away from the
beach by boat.
Apart from the beach, the scenery right behind the beach is unlike any
other in the world, with the stupa perked on the top of a green hill.
Where else can you windsurf while admiring Stupa (Buddhist temple), the
epitome of Buddhist architecture? You can stroll up to the dagoba
(stupa) on top of the hill.
Trekking & Rumassala Hill
Here is an unexpected bonus for the trekkers too. As if swimming,
surfing, diving wouldn't do, you will be strolling over the rocks rising
from west end of the beach. The grand rocky outcrop that rises sheer
behind the village, on the west end of the beach is legendary. The hill,
Rumassala is home to a large collection of medicinal herbs. It sports
entertaining gangs of boisterous macaque monkeys. In the great Indian
epic, Ramayana, Lord Hanuman, king of the non-human Vanara tribe was
sent by India's Lord Rama to Himalayas to fetch a herb to save his
brother Lakshmana, who was mortally wounded in their battle against
Lanka's King Ravana of non-human tribe "Yaksa". Having failed to
identify the plant, Lord Hanuman, rose to occasion & became larger than
the problem (with apologies to Sudha Murthy of Infosys - How I taught my
Grandmother to read), larger than the life, larger than the herb
congested mountainside of Himalayas & ripped off a whole hill & brought
it to Lanka. But then in his haste, he managed to drop off a couple of
chunks. One is the Rumassala hill, the other being
Ritigala hill. Both
hills are home to rare plants & herbs: protected areas. The sea
bordering Rumassala has the Bona Vista reef, home to some of the
best-preserved coral in the island. The summit of the hill provides
excellent view across Galle Harbour towards the
VOC Galle Dutch Fort.
And to inland, the view is enchanting with the sight of
Adam's Peak far
On the other side of the headland is Jungle Beach. With another 45
minutes walk you can reach this Horse saddle shaped bay. Indeed, you can
reach there by boat too, if you are unwilling to trek. This jungle beach
provides fine snorkeling opportunity.
Unawatuna village was once a suburb where Dutch commanders and Dutch
merchants living in Galle built their quiet country residences. The
colonial bungalows (villas) built by them & their British successors are
instrumental in making the Strand Street a scene to behold.
From Unawatuna to Koggala to Weligama to Mirissa
The road runs close to the coast for most of the 23km to
Beach and beyond. Numerous beautiful stretches of beaches with attractive
secluded small guest houses & hotels are interspersed with a number of
small villages along the coast.
Just 2km ahead, the small village of Dalawela, offers the escape from
Modern hustle & bustle of famous Unawatuna to those who seek seclusion.
Though located right by the side of the main road, Dalawela is an
undeveloped stretch of beach of great charm. As if the lovely beach
wouldn't do, Dalawela afford you the joy of natural sea water swimming
pools to the boot. Cabanas & small guest houses are right behind the
palm fringed beach.
The fine beaches continue to picturesque village of Talpe, a short
distance east, where a series of upmarket hotels are beginning to open
The stretch of coast from Dalawela to Talpe is home to one of Sri
Lanka's unique & emblematic beach sights, stilt fisherman. The stilts
consist of single pole firmly embedded in the bottom of the sea, close
to the shore & a crossbar planted on to the pole on which fishermen sit
tight whilst casting their lines into the sea when the tides are flowing
right. So abundant is the supply of fish, stilt positions are highly
lucrative, highly coveted & passed down from generation to generation.
on photo to enlarge