Sri Lanka // The south //

The beaches

Tangalla’s beaches stretch for several kilometres either side of Tangalla town, a busy but unremarkable provincial centre with a dusty selection of shops and cafés plus the obligatory clocktower and anarchic bus station. The most developed section of coast, though still very somnolent, is to the east of town, along Medaketiya and Medilla beaches, a long, straight stretch of golden sand lined with a string of guesthouses opened in anticipation of a flood of tourists who have yet to arrive. Beyond Medilla, around 4km northeast of Tangalla town, the coastline tapers to little more than a sandspit at idyllic Kapuhenwala beach in Marakolliya, backed by the mangrove-fringed Rekawa lagoon.

Though just as sleepy, the coast immediately west of town, known as Pallikaduwa, is quite different in character, made up of a sequence of pretty rocky coves – much more scenic than Medaketiya and Medilla, but with little sand. The rocky shoreline here has prevented building directly on the beach, so most of Pallikaduwa’s accommodation is set back behind the main road.

The most striking section of Tangalla coastline can be found a couple of kilometres further west at the village of Goyambokka, with a superb rocky promontory flanked by two gorgeous beaches – to the west of the headland, Godellawela Beach (or “Silent Beach”, as it’s popularly known) is an absolute picture, though you’ll have to share it with guests from the superb Amanwella hotel.

More about Sri Lanka

20% off ebooks

Subscribe to the Rough Guides newsletter and get 20% off any ebook.

Join over 50,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month.