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Bundala National Park

Home to a number of vibrant and colourful birds, the Bundala National Park in Sri Lanka is one of the favourite destinations for bird watchers all around the world. The park spans across an area of 6216 hectare within which it shelters around 200 different bird species out of which more than 50 are migratory bird species.

The topography is an amazing combination of scrubs, marshes, lagoons and sand dunes. Almost every species of water birds can be found in the park most of which are attracted to the lagoons.

Best for: Watching wide assortment of bird species and their activities around the four lagoons.

Location: 251 Km from Colombo

Best time to visit: September to March.

Price: Morning & Evening Safari price is LKR 7,000 per jeep. Ticket price is LKR 2,000/LKR 1,000 per adult/child.

Timing: Morning Safari from 5.30am to 09.30am and Evening Safari from 2.30pm to 06.00pm.

Tangalle Beach

A perfect remedy for your wintertime blues- Tangalle Beach, which showcases a wide stretch of sandy beaches. The turquoise water complemented with the lined palm trees and soft sand is what makes the Tangalle beach the ideal place to be in. The beach,located 160kms south of Colombo also offers some of the most beautiful and breath-taking sunsets which makes it the perfect place to sit by and relax.

If you dig a little deeper into the history of the Tangalle beach you will find that this beach was a small fishing village. Fishing, hence became the primary source of livelihood. The waves can be a bit violent which is why it is not considered an ideal place for swimming.

Highlights: There are some off shore reefs along the North West tip of the peninsula which is one of the finest diving sites. You can indulge in snorkelling which will be both adventurous and exciting.

Kumana National Park

An unventured area to watch the beauty of wildlife and bird life, Kumana National Park or Yala East National Park is a great place of natural beauty. Spreading over an area of 35,664 hectares Kumana National Park have around 20 lagoons and reservoirs to sustain wide variety of bird life with over 200 species of birds including migratory and endemic.

Kumana Villu, a mangrove swamp is sporadically flooded by sea water and supports varied bird activities. A number of threatened reptile species can also be spotted in the park. It also shelters some of the mammals from neighboring Yala National Park.

Best for: Bird watching around the lagoons and tanks.

Location: Ampara district. 391 Km away from Colombo

Best time to visit: April to July.

Price: Full Day Safari price is LKR 12,000 per jeep. Ticket price is LKR 2,000/LKR 1,000 per adult/child.

Timing: Full Day Safari 5.30am to 06.00pm

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What You Should Know More About Hambantota

  • Q. Travel advice

    • Don’t forget to carry your binoculars when you are going out to visit the sanctuaries and national parks.

    • The water current in Hambantota is pretty high which makes the sea not fit for swimming.

    • Keep your costly belongings safe in hotel lockers.

    • Hambantota is mainly known for the beaches and sanctuaries. Keep an eye over children constantly.

    • Don’t get off the jeeps/vans in the middle of the national parks. You never know when you will be chased by an animal.

    • Sri Lanka is pretty high in crimes. You may lose your wallet very easily. Keep it safe.

    • Drug abuse is another prime crime in Sri Lanka. Stay away from those issues.

    • Follow the rules that you will be told before entering the national parks and sanctuaries.

  • Q. Drinking laws

    The minimum age fixed for consumption of liquor in Sri Lanka is 21. You will get a lot of pubs in Hambantota but don’t forget to drink responsibly.                                                                                                                  

  • Q. Our recommendation- things you can’t afford to miss?

    Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary
    This place was declared as a bird sanctuary in the year 1984. This is a small sanctuary which is a home to a large number of endangered species of birds and reptiles. The sanctuary is situated between Tangalle and Hambantota. The rare birds that you can spot in this sanctuary are Sri Lankan Junglefowl, Glossy Ibis, black-capped purple kingfisher, Indian Reef Heron and many more. 

    Buldana National Park
    This National park was declared so in the year 1993 from a sanctuary. The Buldana national park is not so famous and is still undiscovered, but you must visit this park if you love wildlife and bird-watching.  You can spot a lot of migratory birds in this wetland like the flamingos. Visit in the winter months of December to February to witness the migratory birds. Apart from birds, you can also see elephants and crocodiles in this park. 

    Hot Springs
    One of the three natural hot springs in Sri Lanka is the Mahapelessa Hot Springs in Hambantota. The water of the spring is ideal for taking a bath as it has a lot of therapeutic properties such as healing skin eruptions. You might spot some elephants too in the vicinity of the Mahapelessa area.

    Yala National Park
    This is one of the largest national parks in Sri Lanka and is very famous among the tourists. There are a lot of stories regarding Yala. Some say, the empire of Ravan was there in Yala. You will be taken inside the park on safari vehicles.  There are five blocks in the park and all of them are national parks on their own but only two of them are opened for tourists’ visit. The main attractions of this national park are the Sri Lankan Elephants. These gentle giants are a treat to watch.  There are two holy places in the Yala Nationl Park, namely, Sithulpahua and Magul Vihara.  

    Kumana National Park
    Formerly known as the Yala East National Park, this park is one of the five blocks in the Yala National Park. You will get to see the mangrove forests there. It is a home to thousands of rare bird species like yellow footed pigeons, red faces malkoha, ducks, egret, etc. 

    Ruhuna national park
    This is the first block of the Yala National Park. It is pretty similar to block 2, that is Kumana National park. 

    Ussangoda National Park
    It is one of the newest National parks in Sri Lanka. It is a place for the breeding of the sea turtles. On the east of this park, there is Kalametiya wildlife sanctuary, a bird-watching hotspot.

    Ridiyagama safari park
    It is a zoo in Hambantota district, opened in April, 2016. It is the only safari park in Sri Lanka.  

    International Cricket Stadium
    The second largest stadium in Sri Lanka is Mahindra Rajapaksha International Cricket Stadium which is in Hambantota. This stadium was built in 2011 for the World cup. You must pay a visit there if you are a cricket fan or haven’t seen a cricket stadium before.  

    Tissamaharama Raja Maha Vihara
    This is an old Buddhist Temple in the Hambantota district. It is believed to be established by Lord Buddha himself. It is one of the four major Buddhist monasteries in Sri Lanka. 

    Sithulpawwa temple
    Sithulpawwa Raja Maha Viharaya is also a Buddhist temple. It was established in 2nd century BC. This temple was the school for Buddhist monks. Other Buddhist monasteries you can visit are Mulkirigala Raja Maha Viraha and Kiri Vehera.

    Kataragama is a holy town for the Buddhists and Hindus. You must visit the Kataragama temple there.

    Thanamalwila River
    This river is not much visited by the tourists making the place lonely. But this is a beautiful place to see pure natural beauty. This river lies to the north of Hambantota town.

    Hummanaya Blowhole
    The second largest blowhole in the world is Hummanaya blowhole. It is located in Kudawella.

    Mirijjawila Botanical Gardens
    This alluring garden is a must visit for them who loves watching flowers. The main mission of this garden is promoting eco-tourism.

  • Q. What you will like there?

    The entire district of Hambantota is naturally rich. Very rare places around the world are having as many parks as Hambantota. Enjoy your holidays amidst nature.

    Hambantota is rich in flora and fauna. You will get to see a large variety of migratory birds, reptiles, crocodiles, elephants and what not.

    Jungle safari
    The jungle safaris on vans or jeeps are so tempting and adventurous. You can see the animals really close.

    Heritage places
    There are a lot of Buddhist temples and monasteries, some established around 2500 years ago. They are great to pay a visit. 

    Tele-cinema village
    A tele-cinema village is created in Hambantota. There are three stages. You will love visiting the place for entertainment.

  • Q. Recommended reads for destination