The small town of Koggala located by the coast, belonging to the district of Galle and in close proximity to Unawatuna, is a relatively uncluttered wonderland. Koggala is bordered by the cities of Habaraduwa on the west and Ahangama on the east. It is home to a few of the finest surfing sites in the country and also a beautiful stretch of ocean. The sandy shores are lined with stylish hotels, decent and fancy restaurants that serve delicious food and little boutiques that looks onto the quaint views of the ocean. Koggala is the ideal place to relax and enjoy a moment of serenity.
Koggala is famous for its beach, lake, river and religious sites. On top of all these scenic and popular sites of attraction it is also the birthplace of the renowned Sri Lankan author Martin Wickramasinghe and The Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Art Museum is a major tourist attraction in Koggala. The house in which he grew up too is a part of this museum and consists of various artifacts and exhibits such as masks, puppets, kitchen utensils, dancing costumes and instruments, etc.
One side of this coastal town is bordered by coral reefs while on the other is the Koggala Lake. The lake of Koggala is home to a variety of wildlife. The lagoon consists of several islands. Madol Duwa is one such island that gained fame as a result of the novel ‘Madol Duwa’ written by Martin Wickramasinghe. Visitors can take a boat ride and explore these islands while enjoying the birdlife and surroundings. On a few of these islets in the lake there are Buddhist temples which can be visited.
Koggala is also home to one of the longest beaches in the island. The Koggala beach is perfect place to loosen up a little and to meander along the sandy shores. Ergo if you wish to get away from the hustle and bustle of the other cluttered coastal areas, Koggala is the ideal place because it is relatively uncrowded and thus more peaceful.
Furthermore, the Handunugoda tea estate is a famous tourist attraction. This tea estate is acclaimed for its flagship product; the Virgin White Tea, one of the priciest teas in the world. Tourists flock to this estate to witness the process of tea making and also to fill out their taste buds by trying out some of their teas.
Stilt fishermen in Ahangama are also another wonderful sight to see as they capture small fish by perching on a vertical pole with crossbars. The Kathaluwa Purvarama Maha Viharaya with its 19th century murals depicting Jataka stories and the Thalathuduwa temple, the sea turtle hatchery that works relentlessly to conserve sea turtles, the Kottawa reserve, the Hiyare rainforest and the Dickwella lace center are some other major attractions.
Koggala has historic importance because Koggala is home to a few ancient temples such as the Kathaluva Purvarama Maha Viharaya and Thalathuduwa temple. The Kathaluva Purvarama Maha Viharaya is noted for its 19th century murals and also for the first and oldest printing press of Sri Lanka.
The well acclaimed Sri Lankan author, whose books have been translated into several languages; Martin Wickramasinghe’s birthplace was Koggala and the house he grew up in has now been transformed into a museum. The Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum is committed to displaying the local culture and traditions.
This coastal city was affected to a considerable degree by the Tsunami in 2004. Since then, this resort has be restored and as a result attracts even more tourists.
How to get there
In order to arrive at Koggala from Colombo, there are many alternative modes of travel.
By road: renting a vehicle or hiring a taxi is the most comfortable and unrushed mode of travel. The journey from Colombo to Koggala covering a distance of 138km, will take nearly 2 hours or 2 and a half hours. The fastest route is via the Southern Expressway (E01).
By bus: in order to reach Koggala by bus, you’d have to board a bus to Galle since there aren’t any direct buses to Koggala. The journey to Galle would take approximately 4 hours with buses leaving the terminal in Colombo every 2 hours. After reaching Galle, the next option would be to taxi the short distance to Koggala. The whole journey would take approximately 4 hours and 15 minutes. Travelling by bus is an inexpensive mode of travel.
By train: an alternative option to travel to Koggala is by train. There are 3 trains that leave to Habaraduwa from the railway station at Colombo Fort every day. While travelling by train is the most economical mode of travel, the journey would take roughly 3 hours and 5 minutes and will make 17 stops on the way. Some of the train stations at which this Koggala bound train would make stops are Dehiwala, Wadduwa, Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Galle, Unawatuna and then finally at Habaraduwa.
By air: this is the most costly and also the most effortless mode of transport. Flights operated by Cinnamon Air will leave Katunayake and make a short stop at Dickwella, before resuming the journey to the final destination; Koggala.
From Galle: located a few kilometers away from Galle, Koggala is a city that is often visited by visitors to Galle. Visitors have limited modes of transport to reach Koggala from Galle; either by renting a vehicle or taking a taxi. It will only take 45-50 minutes to arrive at Koggala. There are 03 different routes that can be taken when travelling by road in order to reach Koggala. The first option is via the Colombo-Galle-Hambantota-Wellawaya road (A2). Another possible route is to take the Southern Expressway (E01), while the final alternative is via the Galle-Deniyaya-Madampe highway (A17).
From Tangalle: in order to reach Koggala from Tangalle you could either fly or travel by vehicle. Those who wish to fly to Koggala, would have to taxi to Dickwella at first and this will take approximately 15 minutes. After another 15 minutes of flying, you can arrive at Koggala. Both Cinnamon Air and Sri Lankan Airlines offer domestic flight services daily. The fastest route to take when driving or taxiing is via the Colombo-Galle-Hambantota-Wellawaya highway (A2) before proceeding onto the Southern Expressway (E01). The next option is to take the Southern Expressway (E01) from Tangalle.
Vehicle and taxi arrangements or flight bookings can be made for you by our tour consultants at Epic Sri Lanka Holidays.
The climate in Koggala is rarely subject to major fluctuations. Hence, Koggala is a year- round tourist destination. However, it is best to avoid visiting Koggala, during the months of June- October because of the rain. January to April can be considered the best time period to pay a visit to this coastal town because of the clear skies and the moderate temperature.
Food and Drink
Based on tourist reviews, some of the best restaurants that serve local and fusion cuisine and terrific sea food in Koggala are the ‘Restaurant Patty Place’, ‘Stick Fishermen View Restaurant’, ‘Catalina Grill’, ‘Café Ceylon’, ‘Wiener Dschungel’, ‘Surf ‘n’ Turf’, ‘Pepper’ and ‘Mumbo Jumbo Beach Restaurant’. If you wish to have an unforgettable food experience, these restaurants and cafes are the places to visit.
Koggala lagoon and lake: a visit to the Koggala lake; with its rich biodiversity and eco system will leave all you nature-lovers in raptures. The lagoon consists of eight small islands. A boat trip around the lake to explore these beautiful islands is a must do, where visitors have the ability to spot different varieties of mangroves and also the ability to witness wildlife in action.
Kathaluwa Purvarama Maha Viharaya– Kathaluwa Old Temple is a Buddhist temple renowned for its 19th century murals. Paintings of Jataka tales (stories regarding the previous births of the Buddha), European soldiers taking part in a Buddhist procession and a painting of Arahant Kashyapa (a principal disciple of the Lord Buddha) paying last respects to the Buddha can be seen here. The first and the oldest printing press of Sri Lanka is preserved at the Katahaluwa Temple.
Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum– the house of Martin Wickramasinghe; a well acclaimed author in Sri Lanka whose works have been translated into different languages, was developed into a museum by the Martin Wickramasinghe Trust. The various artifacts displayed at the museum successfully portray the history of the folk culture and traditions of Sri Lanka.
Stilt Fishing– the excellent coastal conditions in Koggala has made it a perfect place for stilt fishing. It is a beautiful sight to see the fishermen perched on the vertical poles with crossbars, hard at work. The silhouettes of the fishermen with the gentle waves against the sunrise or sunset creates a breathtaking spectacle.
Handunugoda Tea Estate– spread over an area of 200 acres, this is the only tea estate in the country located in close proximity to the ocean. This estate is most famous for its flagship product, the ‘Virgin White Tea’; one of the priciest teas in the world which is rich with antioxidants.
Koggala Beach– the uncluttered beach of Koggala is the longest beach in Sri Lanka. Visitors can engage in surfing, diving and snorkeling while at Koggala. The clear waters make it suitable for snorkeling and provides the perfect opportunity to explore the deep seas and various species of fish.
Habaraduwa Beach– away from the hustle and bustle of the other coastal areas of the Southern district, Habaraduwa is a peaceful town with breathtaking beaches. It is home to the Habaraduwa sea turtle hatchery and stilt fishermen too can be seen on these waters.
Kottawa Reserve– is home to more than 170 varieties of trees with approximately 100 endemic species and a variety of wildlife. A visit to this reserve provides insights about the rich biodiversity and ecosystems.
Hiyare Rainforest and Reservoir- Spread over an expanse of 600 acres, an animal rescue programme and biodiversity research centre has been initiated. Though the rainforest only covers a small area it is home to a variety of endemic species.
Whale and Dolphin Watching in Mirissa– Mirissa is undeniably the best place to watch whales and dolphins while in Sri Lanka. The whale watching season starts in November and continues till April.