Tangalle, Sri Lanka’s Secret Beach Paradise
Slip into a hammock, crack open a book, and just watch the days go past while sunsets break the clouds apart and make you gasp with wonder. I can not say enough about Tangalle. Of all the places we visited in Sri Lanka during our two-week stay, Tangalle was by far our favourite.
From the moment we arrived in Tangalle, we felt like we had stepped into a postcard. Many parts of Sri Lanka’s southern coast are oversaturated with businesses, tourism and the general bustle of daily life. While we enjoyed areas like Mirissa and Galle, they are very busy places. We discovered a certain kind of serenity and peace that comes with sharing a massive expanse of unspoiled beachfront with barely 20 others.
How to Get to Tangalle
The train along the coast from Colombo stops in Mirissa. I recommend staying in Mirissa, and then haggling a tuk-tuk to get to your hotel on the beach in Tangalle. Not having a train line out here means that it's secluded, private and serene. The tuk-tuk ride from Mirissa took us about 1.5 hours and cost us 3000 Rs.
Where to Stay in Tangalle
Our favourite hotel on this trip was the Serein Beach Hotel, an incredible place sitting on its own stretch of pure white sand. From the moment we stepped inside the open-plan lobby, we felt at home. The hotel has 3 floors with large, beautiful rooms. The rooms are made of recycled materials and cooling soil bricks with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out towards the waves that dance across the shoreline. The typical layout of a Sri Lankan bathroom is just to have one room with a shower head - Serein Beach managed to make this a clean and lovely eco-friendly bathroom with solar-powered hot water. The service was top-notch and every need was seen to, including installing extra mosquito nets, arranging our safari and giving us tips on local natural beauty.
Where to Eat in Tangalle
The beachfront where we stayed is not a business/tourism hotspot, meaning that there are (thankfully) no shops, touts or restaurants. All food is part of a hotel, with each offering fresh seafood options and curries. We ate next door on our first night at Ganesh Cabanas and enjoyed a delicious curry and tea in front of the most radiant sunset. On our second night, we dined at our hotel. Breakfast was included in the price of Serein and we had a full Sri Lankan spread. A complete Sri Lankan breakfast typically involves sweet bananas, roti, coffee or tea, omelettes, thin pancakes, chicken sausages and juice. Avoid the juice if it's not from a bottle, as per the Lonely Planet health recommendations.
What to Do in Tangalle
Relax and unwind! Hang out in a hammock, go for long walks along the coast, swim in the little rock pools, snooze in a beach chair, read from the viewing deck of the top floor of Serein Beach Hotel with 360 degree views of paradise, and just simply enjoy yourself.