Get ready for a trip down south. This part of Sri Lanka has got a whole lot to offer, and it is easily explored from the comfort and luxury of a private Sri Lanka villa. The south used to be known as Ruhunu or Rohana Kingdom and the original Sinhalese culture is still felt here today. From sleepy villages to colonials towns, a gorgeous coastline with lively and desolate beaches and amazing wildlife to be spotted on the land and in the sea, it is no wonder that south Sri Lanka attracts more and more tourists every year. Go now if you can and make sure to visit these 5 highlights of the south:
1. The ancient port town of Galle
Galle was founded by the Portuguese in the 16th century and expanded by the Dutch before becoming an official UNESCO World Heritage Site in these modern days. Once an important trading port – now a beautiful city exuding old-age charm and elegance, attracting wanderers, writers, artists and lovers of history and culture. Galle is not to be missed during a trip to Sri Lanka and lucky for you, this town happens to be located down south. The old town is just wonderful to explore on foot. You can visit museums and stroll along narrow European-style streets, passing colonial mansions, churches, antique shops and vintage boutique cafes. In the afternoon, take a walk along the fort’s walls and see the lighthouse.
Mirissa is a beautiful crescent bay where you can spend days or even weeks just relaxing and having fun. Book a private villa and spend lovely days here on the beach under the sun and in the crystal clear water of the ocean. You just won’t get enough of those blissful balmy evenings, watching the sunset, dining by the seaside and exploring the nightlife of this charming town in the south of Sri Lanka. It is also in Mirissa that you can go on a whale watching tour in the early morning. Such a magical experience out at sea where you can not only spot the biggest mammal in the sea but also dolphins.
With its stunning beaches and azure blue waters, it is no wonder that Unawatuna is such a popular beach town among travellers from all over the world. This beautiful beach getaway town of the south is located just 6 kilometres from the historical city Galle. It is also close to a sea turtle farm and hatchery. A non-profit organization to protect these amazing sea creatures. While snorkeling in the sea of Unawatuna, you might encounter one or two turtles, too. Apart from the main beach area which is a true eye-catcher, also pay a visit to the more hidden Jungle Beach.
4. Yala National Park
Yala is one of the most visited national parks in all of Sri Lanka. It is also one of the biggest, and it is here that you can spot elephants, sloth bears and Sri Lankan leopards in the wild. This expansive national park that borders the ocean is divided into 5 blocks of which 2 are accessible to tourists: Ruhuna and Kumana. Safari jeeps leave start twice a day at 6 am and at 2 pm, passing grass and woodlands, lakes and rivers. On the way, you may also see crocodiles, boars, deer and plenty of exotic birds.
5. Handunugoda Tea Estate
There is Hill Country in the Central Province of Sri Lanka but also in the south. You can surround yourself with stunning, lush green tea plantations at the family-owned Handunugoda Tea Estate. This tea factory may not be big, but it is really worth visiting. You will be taken on a free tea plantation tour where they will explain all about the process of tea making. The surroundings are beautiful, the tour is fun and educational, and the tea factory features ancient machines from England that are quite interesting to see. Don’t forget to visit their shop, too, where you can do a complimentary tea tasting and stock up some of the tea(s) you like the most. There is no pressure to buy. Their most famous tea is the Virgin White Tea, claimed to be the healthiest tea in the world.
Written by Stephanie of Villa-Finder.com