Sri Lanka’s palm-fringed southern coast is the most traditional and atmospheric corner of the island. Although development has gathered pace here in recent years, it’s still a predominantly rural region, most of whose inhabitants earn a living from coconut cultivation, rice farming and in-shore fishing.
Galle, the island’s fourth city, is the main hub and deserves at least a day or two to explore its charismatic 17th fort, jutting into the bay beyond Sri Lanka’s most famous cricket ground. Behind the citadel’s belt of red laterite bastions is hidden an enclave of UNESCO-listed, colonial-era villas and whitewashed churches, little changed in centuries save for a clutch of pretty boutique hotels, designer shops and cafés.
Further along the coast lie some of our favourite hideaways in Asia, where you can soak up the languid tropical weather, marvel at the sublime coastal landscapes and take in some of the exuberant Sinhalese festivals for which this predominantly Buddhist region is renowned.
Weather on Sri Lanka’s South Coast
The wettest period along the south coast is between May and September. For sun worshippers and beach lovers, the best months are February and March.
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Highlights: Galle & the South Coast
Places to Visit
Midway between Colombo city and Galle on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, Bentota is a byword for ‘watersports’, with some of the best facilities on the island. The area also holds an exceptional array of beaches, most of them surprisingl...
Jutting like a small peninsula into the Indian Ocean from Sri Lanka’s southwestern tip, Galle is a gorgeous, colonial-era fortified city acclaimed as the finest of its kind in Southeast Asia. Although it has been a port since ancient times...
Horton Plains National Park
Named after a former British governor, the Horton Plains National Park is – at around 2,200m (7,200ft) – the island’s highest and most isolated plateau. Covered by montane forest and undulating moor-like grassland, it forms the headwaters ...
This little, laid-back resort on the south coast is among our favourite on the island thanks to its low-key feel and picturesque shoreline. Spread over three separate bays bounded by rocky headlands, the village nestles under a canopy of c...
Sinharaja Forest Reserve
In complete contrast to the more arid country to its east, the 34-sq-mile (88-sq-km) Sinharaja Forest Reserve is the country’s last viable area of primary tropical rainforest. The hilly area has long featured in local legends and lore. Its...
Yala National Park
When it comes to spotting Sri Lanka’s leopards, the dry woodlands and scrub of 377-sq-mile (978-sq-km) Yala National Park are unsurpassed. It is the country’s oldest and most popular reserve with lovely varied landscapes encompassing fores...
Bundala National Park
Bundala, in the far south of Sri Lanka, is one of Asia’s birding hot spots. September til March is the best time to visit, when scores of migratory birds flock in to breed on the park’s chain of brackish coastal lagoons, or ‘lewaya’. The l...
Dotted along the prettiest stretch of the south coast, Tangalle consists of a series of gorgeous little coves enfolded by screens of gently inclining coconut palms and piles of black granite boulders. Tourism in the area is low key, and th...
Half an hour’s drive east of Galle, Weligama Bay forms a conspicuous bite out of the Sri Lanka’s heavenly south coast, and one that has attracted surprisingly few visitors given the spectacular, golden sand beach that lines most of it. Spr...
Galle and the South Coast Experiences
Wildlife in Sri Lanka
Ranked amongst the world’s great biodiversity hotspots, Sri Lanka is arguably the best destination in Asia for viewing wildlife. Its isolation, copious rainfall generated by two distinct monsoons, and notable range of altitude and terrain ...
Travelling along the coast between Unawatuna and Weligama you’ll see lots of tall wooden poles protruding from the foreshore. At low tide, many will have men sitting on crossbars lashed to them, dangling rods into the waves. Stilt fishing...
Evening Catamaran Cruise
We’re delighted to have teamed up with partner company, ‘Sail Lanka’, to offer delightful sunset cruises out of the south coast on one of their beautiful, state-of-the-art catamarans. Departures are from Mirissa harbour at 2.30pm daily. A...
Virgin White Tea
The trip inland to the Handunugoda Tea Plantation is one of our all-time favourites from the south coast. It’s unusual for a tea estate to be so close to the sea, but that’s not the only unique feature of this beautifully situated estate. ...
Cinnamon Experience at Villa Mayurana
Discover how cinnamon, the ‘King of Spices’, is grown, harvested and turned into those aromatic little sticks we love to use to flavour mulled wine at Christmas. Villa Mayurana, a forty-five-minute drive from Galle on the south coast, is ...
Suggested Itineraries: Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka By Region
Talk to the Experts
At TransIndus we are committed to quality and determined to ensure every one of our clients enjoys the best holiday possible. Having lived or worked, and travelled extensively in their specialist countries, our consultants are experts whose advice can be depended on. To make an enquiry, call us on 0208 566 3739
020 8566 3739