Home to a chain of pristine beaches with turquoise blue water, endless sandy shores and mangroves, Tangalle is a lush tropical paradise located in the Southern coast of the paradise island of Sri Lanka. Located 195 kilometers away from metropolis of Colombo, Tangalle is a relatively tranquil beach resort still unaffected by hordes of tourists, and is situated on one of the largest and magnificent bays in the island. The encompassing reef protects this fishing port from the ocean. Fishing is the main source of income of the residents in this small coastal village. This secluded beach is the perfect place to stroll around; especially during daybreak and sun down. The waves in certain areas can be quite rough and unsuitable for swimming. There are many bays in the vicinity namely, Goyambokka, Pallikkudawa, Medaketiya and Medilla. Out of these, the latter two have exceptional swimming conditions and are not affected by mass tourism. The Goyammbokka beach is definitely a crowd-pleaser with its clean, pristine beach and picturesque views. The horseshoe shaped bay of the Hiriketiya beach located in close proximity, with palm trees lined up along the shore and clear warm water attracts surfers; especially novice surfers since the coastal conditions are ideal for novice surfers.
The Mulkirigala Raja Maha Viharaya is an important religious site that dates back to 2000 years. This temple is located on top of a high cliff and offers a bird’s-eye view of the vast ocean once at the top. There are murals, Buddha statues and natural caves. In one such cave, palm-leaf manuscripts were discovered by a British administrator named George Turnour. These manuscripts played an important role in the translation of the Mahawamsa (the Great chronicle of Sri Lanka).The Hummanaya blowhole which is also the 2nd largest blowhole in the world, the Kalametiya bird sanctuary; is home to many birds and reptiles who have been threatened and the turtle watch Rekawa are some noted attractions in the vicinity. The location of Tangalle also makes it convenient for visitors to visit the Yala, Udawalawe and Bundala national parks and explore wildlife in Sri Lanka.
Renting a canoe and exploring the mangrove and bird watching are some other popular pastimes among visitors to Tangalle. Influences of the alluring Dutch architectural styles can be seen in some of the buildings located in the town. The Dutch Fort located in the heart of this city reflects these architectural styles of the Dutch.
If you are looking for a place where you can enjoy water sports, all night raves with a beach vibe going on, then Tangalle is definitely not the place for you. However, if you wish to sit back and have a lazy beach holiday while enjoying the sun and sand, then Tangalle is the ideal place. Make sure to visit Tangalle during the months of November to April because the beaches are at their best during these times. This is the perfect spot for a romantic beach getaway.
The name Tangalle is believed to have been derived from ‘ran-gala’ or ‘golden rock’ legend, when a holy man once consumed a meal at this rock, the rock then turned gold in color. However, there is another belief that the name ‘Tangalle’ means ‘projected rock’ in Sinhala and that this refers to the rocks that protect this town from the sea.
The Indian Ocean Earthquake and the tsunami that was caused by it gave rise to massive destruction and damage in this area. The rebuilding of the town after the horrible devastation has been slow yet progressive over the last few years.
How to get there
In order to reach Tangalle from Colombo there are many alternative modes of travel available.
By road: travelling by road is a relaxed and trouble- free mode of travel where you can either drive or taxi to Tangalle from Colombo. The fastest route is via the Southern Expressway (E01) and the whole journey covers a distance of nearly 190 kilometers. Travelling by this route will take approximately 3 hours before you reach your desired destination.
By bus: while traveling by bus can be tiresome, it is an economical mode of travel. The journey to Tangalle from Colombo takes 6 hours. This bus that leaves the Colombo Bastian Mawatha bus terminal will make two stops on the way at the Galle and Matara bus stations. There are buses leaving to Tangalle from the bus station at Colombo every two hours.
By train: traveling by train is an alternative mode of travel that is reasonably priced. Since there aren’t any direct trains from Colombo to Tangalle, you’d have to take a train to Kamburugamuwa from Colombo fort. The journey to Kamburugamuwa will take approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes. This train will make short stops at 11 stations and Ratmalana, Hikkaduwa, Galle, Weligama are some of the major stations among these. From Kamburugamuwa, the best option is to taxi to Tangalle and this would take another 45 minutes to reach Tangalle by taxi.
By air: traveling by air is the most expensive yet fastest way to reach the desired destination. If you wish to fly to Tangalle, there are two options to choose from. However, there aren’t any direct flights to Tangalle. The first option would be to taxi to Diyawanna Oya from Colombo and then catch a 30 minute flight to Hatton. From Hatton you’d once again have to taxi to Tangalle. The second option is to fly to Hambantota from Colombo and then taxi to Tangalle. While the first option takes approximately 4 hours the latter takes 4 hours and 15 minutes.
From Tissamaharama: hands down the most effortless way to reach Tangalle would be by air. For this purpose you would have to taxi to Hambantota and then board a flight to Dickwella. The rest of the distance, from Dickwella to Tangalle takes only 15 minutes by taxi and the whole journey takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Another available mode of travel is by road. If you wish to travel by road you could either rent a vehicle or taxi. The fastest route to Tangalle is via the Tissamaharama road and Colombo- Galle- Hambantota- Wellawaya Highway (A2) and it will take 1 hour and 20 minutes. The final alternative is to taxi to Hambantota before catching a bus bound to Tangalle from there.
From Ella: in order to reach Tangalle from Ella you could fly, taxi, drive or take a bus. If you prefer flying then the best option would be to taxi to Hambantota and catch a flight to Dickwella from there. You will have to taxi the short distance from Dickwella to Tangalle. The whole journey will take just over 2 hours. The next alternative would be to taxi or drive. The entire drive takes 2 hours and 40 minutes via the Colombo-Galle-Hambantota-Wellawaya road (A2). There is another route via the Colombo-Batticaloa Highway (A4) and Pelmadulla-Embilipitiya Highway (A18). However, this route takes nearly 4 and half hours. If you opt for public transport then the best option would be to taxi to Wellawaya and take a bus bound to Tangalle. This journey takes approximately 6 hours and 15 minutes.
Vehicle and taxi arrangements or flight bookings can be made for you by our tour consultants at Epic Sri Lanka Holidays.
In comparison to the climate in the district, the climate in Tangalle is mild. The best time to pay a visit to Tangalle is between the months November and May. The temperature here is subject to slight fluctuations but mostly remains between the range of 25 degree Celsius and 31 degree Celsius.
Food and Drink
There is a variety of options to choose from when it comes to food in Tangalle. There are many great restaurants offering seafood, Sri Lankan, Italian and Mediterranean cuisines. ‘The Oceana Beach Café and Restaurant’, ‘Cactus Lounge Restaurant’, ‘Breakpoint Café and Restaurant’, ‘Kura Place’, ‘Mango Shade’, ‘Saliya restaurant’, ‘Mangrove Chalets’, ‘Dream Family Restaurant’, ‘II Mare’, ‘Turtle Landing Restaurant’, ‘The Lobster Pot’ and ‘Chillout Café’ are some of the restaurants with excellent tourist reviews in Tangalle. These restaurants located close to the beach, offer mesmerizing views in addition to mouthwatering food.
Tangalle Beach: located in the Southern region of Sri Lanka, Tangalle is a paradise made up of a chain of bays and beaches. The turquoise blue waters of this beach attract many sun and sea worshippers because of its tranquil and peaceful atmosphere. With a sandy beach that stretches out to an unending distance, visitors can enjoy a stroll along the shores fringed with palm trees The currents and the waves can be quite rough at times; therefore it is not advisable to go swimming in this beach.
Goyambokka and Pallikaduwa beach: the Goyambokka beach and Pallikaduwa beach are two twin bay beaches. Located at a 10 minute drive away from the heart of the city of Tangalle, the Goyambokka beach is a secluded beach with palm trees lined along the shores and turquoise blue water. The Pallikaduwa beach is made of a string of rocky caves. Since the shoreline of this scenic beach is covered with rocky caves, there is little sand. In comparison to the atmosphere at Goyambokka, the atmosphere here is a little bit more upscale.
Marakolliya beach: this beach situated beyond Medilla with endless sandy shores and tall palm trees is an absolute heaven on earth and is absolutely stupendous. The absence of guesthouses, hotels and restaurants makes this beach secluded and offers complete privacy.
Medaketiya and Medilla beach: the beaches of Medaketiya and Medilla are perfect for swimming and relaxation purposes. These beaches are located towards the east of the town and like many other beaches in Tangalle, are relatively uncrowded. They are located on a land which is covered by the ocean on one side and mangroves on the other. The long stretches of golden sand and the deep blue waters is a tranquil and peaceful place good for relaxation.
Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary: located to the east of Tangalle, it has been declared a wildlife sanctuary and is one the oldest and main bird sanctuaries in Sri Lanka. The Kalametiya bird sanctuary consists of mangroves and coastal lagoons and is rich in biodiversity. This bird sanctuary is a marsh that is home to not only endemic birds, but also to wintering birds. The coastal lagoons and mangroves provide a habitat for both marine and birdlife and there are more than 150 species of birds, 41 species of fish and 38 species of reptiles in this sanctuary.
Mulkirigala Rajamaha Viharaya: sitting atop a massive boulder which is more than 200 meters tall, this ancient temple dates back to more than 2000 years back and holds great cultural and historical importance. Mulkirigala is made up of a string of caves and is referred to as Punchi Sigiriya by locals. In one such cave, palm-leaf manuscripts were discovered by a British administrator named George Turnour. These manuscripts played an important role in the translation of the Mahawamsa (the Great chronicle of Sri Lanka).
Tangalle Lagoon and Kayaking: kayaking through the Tangalle lagoon is a rare experience in which you can partake in. You get the opportunity to explore the birdlife and marine life of the mangroves in a way you’ve never done before while admiring the tropical beauty. All you have to do is rent a kayak, paddle up and explore the mangroves.
Tangalle Dutch Fort: the Tangalle Dutch fort is a small fort situated within the beach resort of Tangalle, in the Southern coast of Sri Lanka. The Dutch, who identified the importance of Tangalle, used this town as a significant anchorage. Later on the British made many alterations to this fort before converting it into a prison in the middle of the 19th century
Turtle watch Rekawa: Rekawa is situated in the vicinity of Weligama and offers the opportunity to watch sea turtles coming on to the shore to lay eggs. Out of the seven marine turtle species found in the world, five are found in Sri Lanka (Olive Ridley, Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Green Turtle and Leatherback). The Rekawa Turtle Watch is a conservation program initiated with the intention of taking care of these turtles and their eggs. Visitors are advised to avoid using torches or any blinding lights or camera flashes since it could disturb and distract these turtles.
Rekawa Lagoon: the Rekawa Lagoon is endowed with a variety of flora and fauna and has a rich biodiversity. This lagoon does not cover a wide expanse; in fact it is a small lagoon surrounded by mangroves and is linked to the Indian Ocean with an inland waterway.