Strung out along one of the south’s most stunning stretches of coastline, TANGALLA (or Tangalle) is among the region’s more developed beach destinations, with a string of simple guesthouses – and a handful of upmarket hotels and villas – dotted along the coves and beaches which line the oceanfront here. Tourism has never taken off quite as much as the entrepreneurial locals would like, however, and Tangalla remains resolutely low-key compared to the resorts further west. What gives Tangalla added appeal, however, is the number of rewarding attractions in the surrounding countryside, including the Hoo-maniya blowhole, the giant Buddha and gaudy shrines of Wewurukannala, and the magnificent rock temples of Mulkirigala, all of which can be combined into a rewarding half-day excursion. In addition, the nearby beach at Rekawa is Sri Lanka’s premier site for turtle-watching, while dedicated ornithologists might also fancy a trip to the little-visited Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary, which can be combined with a visit to the mysterious plateau at Ussangoda.

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