30 Best Places to Visit in Southern Province Sri Lanka - 2019 With

Recommendations for Southern Province Sri Lanka

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Mirissa
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Rock gently in the mild breeze, slip into a hammock and crack open a coconut, assuring that the hours, days or may be weeks’ slip by calmly. That’s Mirrisa or for you! It is a small town located on the Southern Cost of Sri Lanka in the Matara District of the Southern Province. Situated at an elevation of 4 meters above the sea level, Mirrisa lies at a distance of about 240 km from Colombo and 4 km south east of Wligama. It is a small yet quickly developing beach of Sri Lanka.

Modern resorts envelope the beach and there is a myriad of simple cafes along the sand that may well seem to appear and vanish with the tides. At present, the government is taking measures in context to the sand encroaching constructions and has put an absolute ban on it for the time being however, since the tourists visiting here is rising every year, the ban may soon see a lift. None the less, the beach and the nightlife here make it a prominent tourist attraction. Being a massive fishing port, people swamp in large numbers to fish here.  Other activities common here include dolphin and whale watching.  

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Places to Visit in Mirissa
Whale Watching Spot

Whale watching spot comes at the top amongst the major attractions in Mirissa. You can find a number of operators around this area offering trips to the Indian Ocean for dolphins, whales, and turtles spotting.


Location:  Harbour Road, Mirissa, Sri Lanka.

Timings: Usually, the whale watching tour starts early in the morning around 6-7 AM and lasts for 4-5 hours approximately. The ocean gets rough due to sunlight in the afternoon, hence, it is difficult to spot a whale in the water at this time.

Price: The average cost for whale watching is Rs. 2500 - 3500. However, if you are a group of 4-5 people, you can negotiate the prices to get a better deal.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to spot whale is from December to March as the ocean is not rough during this time.

Distance from Mirissa: This place is located around 15-20 KM away from Mirissa beach.

Secret Beach

The secret beach of Mirissa is not a secret anymore as it is easy to reach and well signposted nowadays. It is one of the amazing places to visit in Mirissa for capturing some beautiful moments and epic photographs.

Moreover, most of the beaches in Mirissa are crowded so the secret beach is the perfect place to relax and sit in a peaceful environment.


Location: Secret Beach Mirissa, Mirissa, Sri Lanka

Timings: Open for 24 hours.

Price: The best thing about Mirissa beach is there is no entrance fee for it.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit this beach is either early in the morning to relax or in the evening to enjoy an incredible sunset.

Distance from Mirissa: This beach is located at a distance of approximately 1-2 KM from the heart of the Mirissa town. You can reach a secret beach in several ways like you can choose to walk, hire a moped or take a tuk-tuk. However, try to start early if you’re planning to go on a walk, otherwise, it will be 20 minutes of hard work in direct sunlight on a steep pathway.

Mirissa Beach

If you want to enjoy a sunset dinner at a lovely restaurant then do not miss to visit Mirissa Beach. It is one of those attractions in Mirissa where you can find plenty of great restaurants offering a variety of seafood.

Although you will find this beach a little crowded yet, it will give you a very relaxing vibe.


Location: Mirissa, Sri Lanka.

Timings: Open for 24 hours.

Price: Visiting Mirissa beach is free of cost. In fact, you can enjoy the Lion beers on free sunbeds at a very reasonable price.

Best Time to Visit: The beach gets busy from 11 AM so it is recommended to visit this either early in the morning to avoid the crowd or in the evening to enjoy a lovely sunset.

Distance from Mirissa: Once you reach Mirissa from Colombo, you can easily found this exotic beach as it is only a couple of KM away from the Mirissa railway station.

Parrot Rock Bridge

Another one of the amazing places to visit in Mirissa is to climb up the Parrot Rock. This small and easily accessible rock will give you a stunning view of the Mirissa area. This is a place which will take your mind away from work and stress.

It is a very quiet place where you can relax watching surfers in the high tides of water. You can also chill out in the nearby restaurants of this place.


Location: Mirissa, Sri Lanka.

Timings: Open for 24 hours.

Price: You don’t need to pay any price for visiting this place.

Best Time to Visit: You can come early in the morning to enjoy with the low tides and the amazing morning sea breeze. Visiting it in the evening is also a great idea if you want to enjoy wrapping up activities looking at the breathtaking sunset.

Distance from Mirissa: The parrot rock is located to the left side of Mirissa beach. So once you reach Mirissa beach you can easily get on this rock to have an excellent sea view.

Coconut Tree Hill

One of the unique and unusual places to visit in Mirissa is Coconut Tree Hill. Located at the end of Mirissa beach, this place is completely covered with palm trees.

It is one of those attractions in Mirissa, which are great for taking pictures of all the tall beautiful palms overlooking the ocean. You can also enjoy a well-deserved coconut at this place to add an extra memorable element to your journey.


Location: Mirissa, Sri Lanka.

Timings: Open for 24 hours.

Price: No entry cost.

Best Time to Visit: Being in the proximity of the main beach; it is recommended to reach this place early in the morning or before sunset.

Distance from Mirissa: You can reach this place by taking a short walk from Mirissa beach. It will take 10-15 minutes approximately walking along the beach to reach this beautiful spot.

Bentota
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Places to Visit in Bentota
Bentota Beach
An extraordinary experience amidst an ordinary setup lies 65 kilometres from Colombo and is named Bentota beach. Soak yourself in the ordinary golden sand while enjoying the marvellous sound of the mighty Indian Ocean crashing against the shores. The mesmerizing view of the sea will leave you speechless. If you are planning to break the monotony of the routine just try your hands at adventure sports found alongside the palm trees.



Highlights: You can visit Kasgoda Turtle Hatchery and also go on a boat cruise on the Bentota River.

Getting there: Bentota is very well  connected with the cities and is very easily accessible. You can ride from Galle or you can take a ride from Colombo. 
Bentota is approximately 101km south of the airport from Colombo
Hambantota
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The district city of Hambantota is located towards the extreme south of Sri Lanka. The city was completely destroyed by tsunami in 2004, but now it is growing up to be the 2nd major city in Sri Lanka after Colombo. Hambantota is well-known for its biodiversity. There are approximately 20 wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in the entire Hambantota district. You will encounter a lot of colourful and magnificent birds in the parks and sanctuaries. Not only birds, you will find many other animals which are rare in other sanctuaries. There are some heritage sites too in Hambantota like Buddhist temples and stupas.

Hambantota, being a city, has a happening nightlife. You can enjoy in one of the many nightclubs and bars like Café Chill Out, various hotel bars, etc. The food in Hambantota is just mouth-watering. You will get to choose from a variety of sea foods like crabs, lobsters, etc. Some of the good restaurants are Bojun Hala, Jade Garden Restaurant, and Sera.

You must be thinking where to stay in Hambantota. Well, you have a plenty of choices to choose from. The best sea facing hotels are Shangri-La’s Hambantota Resort and Spa, Peacock Beach Hotel, Hotel Camellia, and a lot more of them. If you are a shopaholic, you will get a lot of junk jewelleries, fancy showpieces, shells, etc. to buy from the road-sides. There you have malls too to hang out.


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Places to Visit in Hambantota
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
Hikkaduwa
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Hikkaduwa is a small town in extreme south of Sri Lanka. This is a place with a great beach, perhaps the second best in Sri Lanka. If you love surfing, Hikkaduwa is your paradise. This small town was hit by tsunami in 2004 and was totally destroyed, killing a lot of locals and tourists. There is a tsunami photo museum too which you must visit to see the damages that Hikkaduwa suffered. Since then, it’s re-growing from scratch.

There are a lot of tourist spots in Hikkaduwa. The beach is the prime attraction. Apart from the sea, there are national parks, Buddhist monasteries, really good restaurants, and many more places to pay a visit. In short, Hikkaduwa is a complete tour package.

The food in Hikkaduwa is mouth-watering. As it is situated near the sea, you will get great sea-foods in the beach side shacks and restaurants including shrimps, clams, oysters, crabs, octopuses, etc. There are tasty options for the vegetarians too like tropical fruits.

The nightlife in Hikkaduwa is not much famous. You will get some night clubs and bars in the town but they aren’t that much known. There are a lot of hotels and resorts facing the sea, you can choose one of them for your stay. Your hotel or resort might organise a whole night party on weekends.


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Places to Visit in Hikkaduwa
Hikkaduwa Beach
Even a 90 year old will feel young as he steps onto the beach of Hikkaduwa,98 kms from Colombo. The charm of the hippy mood will get into your blood, making you feel completely carefree. You will find predominantly young and independent travellers walking on the beach.

This beach is one of the lesser spoilt destinations in Sri Lanka which is why it is an ideal place for people who want to try something off beat. You will also find coral gardens which are considered to be one of the much appreciated beauty of these beaches which was once completely eroded due to tsunami.



Highlights: The beach should be ideally visited during the Hikkaduwa beach fest which usually takes place during the month of July and August. This fest is conducted in an attempt to revive the charm of hippy culture. Surfing, diving and snorkelling are some of the other attractions which the beach offers.
Akuressa
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Kegalle
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Situated on the Colombo-Kandy Road, Kegalle is a large agriculture based town mainly producing rice and rubber. There are few graphite mines in the town. But the main tourist attraction is an elephant breeding park. Apart from this, there are two other organisations working on elephant welfare. Apart from Kegalle, you can visit some nearby destinations like Hikkaduwa and Yala National park. The fantastic place of Kitulgala in Kegalle district is a complete tour package on its own. You can do a lot of water sports in the three rivers of Kitulgala like water rafting, kayaking, confidence falls, etc. Other than these, you can also organise night camps in the jungle. There are a lot of homestays and hotels in Kegalle for your hospitality. Some suggestions for good hotels are Hotel Heshani, Aarya Hotel, Hotel Elephant Bay, Hotel Elephant Lobby, etc. You will also get private resorts in Kegalle like Wijaya Bunglow. The nightlife in Kegalle is not so much famous, it being a suburban. Still you will find some bars and nightclubs in the town like Planters Club. You can have a drink there and enjoy a cosy evening. Are you wondering where to eat in Kegalle? Here are some good restaurant suggestions for you like Channa, a Japanese restaurant; Ambasewana; Ken Food Center, etc. If you love shopping, you will get some malls in Kegalle to satisfy your shopping craves like Athukorala Shopping Centre.

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Places to Visit in Kegalle
Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage
Peradeniya Gardens is a spacious 147 acre of natural extravaganza consisting of more than 4000 species of plants, and 10,000 varied kinds of trees, incidentally serves as the largest garden of Sri Lanka. The unique and rarest collection in these gardens is the Giant Bamboo of Burma which grows 12 inches each day to a height of 40 meters. Apart from this other amazing collections include Javan fig tree, Cannonball tree, Double Coconut Palm and about 200 other varieties of palm trees and versatile collection of flora. 



Highlight:  
One can pack some food to enjoy an open air picnic here or can relish the cafeteria inside serving local and western cuisine. The Peradeniya Botanical Garden is one prime tourist attraction of hill country and remains quite flooded with tourists every weekend. 

Timings
: Opened daily from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM

Price: Approximate price starts from 2353 LKR for adults and 1177LKR for child
Koggala
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Places to Visit in Koggala
Koggala Beach
Have you seen the waves dancing freely? Koggla beach is one such place where you will find a combination of warmth of the golden sand beneath your feet along with sea breeze caressing you. Located 140km from Colombo, this idyllic place is for all the beach lovers to spend some time and enjoy life as they have always wanted to . Leave your care and worries behind and just be a part of some breath-taking moments.

You will surely treasure some of the fond memories of this beach. Get into the adventurous mood by trying snorkelling and diving. If you are not too fond of adventures you can sit by the beach and enjoy the sight of the mighty waves.

Highlights: If you are going to Koggala, you can’t miss the chance to visit the Turtle Hatchery which is an initiative taken against selling the turtle’s eggs for the purpose of food.

Other Attractions

Dickwella Beach
Plunge into the waters and leave all your worries at bay. The Dickwella beach is primarily dominated by reefs, headland and sand bars which makes it the most appropriate place for swimming. Situated at a distance of 220 kms from colombo, Dickwella beach has housed the largest seated Buddha statue. This has made it the most visited place for all the Buddhist worshippers. The ideal time to visit this place is May, June and July when festivities are in the air and the residents are busy celebrating festivals of Wesak, Poson and Esala. Particulary this place has many temples on its way which gives it a religious bent. The Dickwella beach is an ideal place for many swimmers as it is an extremely safe and calm beach.



Highlights: Wewurukannala Vihara which has 50 m high seated Buddha. You can also spot the eye arresting hall of horrors where you can see models of both demons and sinners being severely punished by dipping in hot waters.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Sinharaja Forest Reserve (kingdom of the lion), is a paradise for nature and wildlife lovers. It is home to a vast number of endemic species of birds and mammals of Sri Lanka. About 95 percent of Sri Lankan endemic birds and more than 50 percent of endemic mammals are known to have their habitats in this Forest Reserve. Year round, the forest is covered by plenty of rain clouds. The area span of the reserve is about 21 KM from east-west and about 7 KM from north-south.

 

Location: Situated in the Southern Province, a two-hour drive from Galle via Galle-Deniyaya-Madampe Highway.

Highlights: Experience the leisurely pace of wildlife and the splendor of dense and copious evergreen rainforests. The guide will tell you about different endemic species of flora and fauna that you encounter during your guided tour.

Timings: Opens daily from 6:30 AM to 6 PM

Price: Approximate price ranges from 664 LKR to 1160 LKR

Weligama Beach
Just unplug yourself from the regular city life and welcome yourself into the world of Weligama, 144 kms south of Columbo where everything is pretty calm and peaceful. Ideal place for city people who would just like to borrow some time and get themselves absorbed in a good book while dipping their toes in water. Modest Weligama often witnesses less foreign tourists which makes this place traffic free.

You may find many local women sitting outside their homes with pieces of laces which is considered to be the local speciality of the place since the Dutch times. You can also spot sites of historical importance and some gingerbread villas beautifully adorned with mal lali wooden work which is hard to find anywhere else.



Highlights:Taprobanea, a small island developed in 1920 by a French man named Maunay-Talvande is quite close to Weligama. You can game up your romance by staying or dining in this beautiful island but only with advance booking.
Turtle Hatchery

Turtle Hatchery was started by the Sri Lankans with a view to protect the turtles from extinction. Earlier, people usually fishermen used to collect the turtle’s eggs and sold it to whoever would pay the higher price. With the commencement of the Turtle Hatchery these eggs were fed and cared for until they were 2 to 4 years old. You can find different species of turtles such as Green Turtle, Leatherback and Olive Ridley. Despite their extinction turtles are still caught by the fishermen for fish and shells which is indeed a very lucrative market.



Location: 10 to 15 minutes tuk tuk ride south from Bentota

Highlights: You should visit the Kasgoda Turtle Hatchery where you can spend an interesting time watching the baby turtles grow.

Things to keep in mind: Avoid disturbing the nesting turtles with light.

Price: Approximate price starts from 500 LKR.

Yala National Park Camping
The sensational Yala wildlife National Park promises unparallel thrill and excellent adventurous experience with a visual treat of scenic excellence in the exclusive Yala Safari Camping. It is indeed an extra ordinary experience to rise up to a place where for miles there is no soul visible except the caretakers.The spectacular terrains provide a fascinating visuals through dense to scrub vegetation, rocky pools, spectacular ravines, fresh water lakes with snaking coastline along with sight on endemic mammals like Asian elephant, leopard, black bear, crocodiles, grey languor and many others. It’s a paradise for birdwatchers with the presence of paradise flycatchers, Ceylon Shamas etc.



Location: Thalgasmankada, Sri Lanka

Highlights: Sri Lankan Leopard which is present in Block 1, in a density of one leopard per square kilometre.  

Things to Know: Presence of person of wildlife department is mandatory within the park

Price
: Approximate price starts from 4500-6000 LKR for foreigners
Dondra Head Lighthouse

A chance to connect with the mighty ocean is the Dondra Head Lighthouse. The coconut trees, Bougainvillea flowers and soft breeze blowing all around is the place for this mighty Lighthouse. This lighthouse was built during the Colonial times and was hence formerly known as Ceylon.. It is one of the four international lighthouse in Sri Lanka. People have to climb 196 steps to reach the top of it.The serenity of the lighthouse is far removed from the regular hustle and bustle of the city.




Location: Situated 6 km southeast of Matara town.

Highlights: The breath-taking view of the ocean from the top is simply a show stealer. To climb the lighthouse, you have to take prior permission from the Ports Authority.

Price: Approximate price starts from 500 LKR. 

Induruwa Beach
For all those times when you need a little introspection, nobody minds a carefree walk on the sandy beaches of Induruwa which has been blessed with an absolute quietness with respect to commercial cities. If you are too tired then it is best for you to lie in the sand and take a sunbath making yourself feel completely relaxed.



Highlights: The beach is an excellent place for snorkelling and a river safari in the Madu Ganga River.
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