Unawatuna is located on the South of Sri Lanka around four hours by train from Colombo. It is a coast city and if you are going here than you are probably looking for a relaxing time on the beach. I must say it is a great place to do so but there are few more things that you can do in Unawatuna to make the most of your time.
This is the main reason people are going to Uhnawatuna city. The Unawatuna beach is wide and quite long with soft yellow sand. There are many restaurants close to the road so you can always get a lunch or a nice dinner at the beach.
You don’t really need to rent a sunbed with an umbrella, a towel or a sarong should be fine mostly because it is cloudy quite often and the sand is soft to lay on. But if you want to get more comfortable the sunbed should not be more than Rs 500 ($2,5). If you decided not to pay for the sunbed and umbrella, don’t forget to use sunscreen and a hat even when it is cloudy.
On the beach you will see the vendors who sell fresh coconuts, beer, cut fruits or beer. The prices are higher than on the street for example, so it is alright if you will haggle.
Location: Unawatuna beach
Unawatuna is a great place to try various sea food. There are many sea food restaurants that will offer you a fresh sea food with a good price. Particularly we fell in love with Crab Curry that was served with white rice and some vegetables.
Another option how you can try the sea food and do it cheap: just go to the seafood market and pick what you like there. The seafood at those markets are fresh and cheaper than at the restaurants, especially if you know how to haggle. After you got your favorite stuff from the market just go to a restaurant and ask them to cook it for you (it won’t be pricey).
Unawatuna is a home to a beautiful Japanese Peace Pagoda temple. This temple was built by the Japanese monks during the civil war that ended around ten years ago. To visit the temple is free of charge and open to everyone. It is a sign of peace and friendship. There are few of them in Sri Lanka although we visited just one in Unawatuna.
It is really easy to get to the Japanese Pagoda from the center. The ride by TukTuk will take around 10-15 minutes and cost Rs 200 – 400 depending on your location.
Location: Jungle beach rd.
Jungle Beach is a kind of a “secret” beach that is located 5 minutes walking from the Japanese Pagoda. It is called that because to get to this beach you actually need to go through a small jungle. The beach is divided in two parts by a rock formation.
The entrance from the Japanese Pagoda will take you to the smaller part with usually less people and the second entrance is located by the car park and goes down to a wider part with white sand. I recommend going to the one by the Japanese pagoda.
Both parts of the Jungle beach look very exotic and it worth it to visit this place at least one time.
Location: Jungle beach rd.
What picture comes to your mind when you think of Sri Lanka? For me it is a person on a palm tree swing. This iconic Instagram picture was stuck in my head since I first saw it. Maybe because I am scared of heights and I was wondering if I can do this or maybe it was just that pretty, in any case the tree swing is located 10 minutes from Unawatuna city center.
Dalawella beach is the place you need to come to if you want to try it out. There is a hotel/bar that owns this swing and if you are staying at their hotel it is free to use it. For those who are not staying there to use the swing cost Rs 500 ($2,5).
Location: Dalawella beach
Another thing you must do while you are staying in Unawatuna is visit Galle Fort. You can rent a TukTuk for Rs 400 and 15 minutes later you are there. It was a Dutch fort during the colonial time.
The place is charming, and it will be a mistake not to visit it. Just wander through the center of the old Fort and check out cute clothing and jewellery stores. Go to the remains of the old protecting wall and visit the light house (which is the best part of Galle Fort).
The Galle light house is incredibly beautiful, surrounded by palm trees. From one side there are old colonial buildings and a beautiful white mosque and from the other side there are rocks and blue waves splashing the fortress wall. Does it sound good? It looks even better!
Location: Church St, Galle 80000, Sri Lanka
The main spot where you can do a whale watching tour is Mirissa. But unless you are very lucky, you won’t see much on the boat tour. We spent four hours just moving around in circles and sometimes seeing the splash from far away that is supposed to be a whale. So I really recommend for those who really want to see a whale to take a plane tour.
This tour you can do from Unawatuna without going to Mirissa. Such a tour costs $150 per person and you can buy it at any travel office in Unawatuna. This is much more expensive, but you will actually be able to see the full whale and not just a fin or blow hole.
Staying all over Sri Lanka we realized that Unawatuna is the best place to get souvenirs if you require some. Everything starting from the tea and spices to the clothes and wooden crafts are cheaper than everywhere else. Maybe because there are so many souvenir shops, they have competitive prices.
If you think that you are going to go to the tea factory and get an expensive tea for cheap, than you need to know that the tea factories sell their products way more expensive than the same tea cost at the supermarket. The same goes for spices.
I am sure it is even cheaper in Colombo if you know where to go…but no one should stay in Colombo on their trip to Sri Lanka anyways.