How to Travel to the South of Sri Lanka
Travelling to the south of Sri Lanka has always been an important part in anyone’s itinerary, as the region plays host to so many attractions and features that embody the multicultural identity along with the heritage and culture of the island. However, the southern half of the island is vast and can be quite difficult to explore all of it, especially if you’re limited for time or budget. Here is a simple guide to make things easier when travelling down south.
Jotting down the places you want to visit is one thing, but the act of going and visiting these places can be quite tough, since there are many ways to travel. The southern coastal towns can easily be accessed by the Southern Expressway, which allows you to reach your destination in a few hours by vehicle. There is also the older A2 highway that you could take, but will take longer to reach your destination. Alternatives such as the train is also a viable option, and is often considered to be the more scenic one, as the rail line provides an unhindered view of the Indian Ocean.
Browse through our first timer’s guide for using public transport in Sri Lanka.
The southern half of the island is relatively developed with many stores to purchase essentials, as there are supermarkets in almost any major town. However, note that certain rural towns don’t have large supermarkets, but only smaller convenience stores. Therefore, it is important to be ready with cash, preferably small notes, so that you can purchase essentials in an emergency. While finding essentials are easy in the south, it is always better to be prepared with them before embarking on your journey. Ensure to carry water, snacks, and medicine like paracetamol and antihistamines.
The southern coast is known for its water sports, such as surfing, diving, and snorkelling to name but three exhilarating activities. If you like, you also have the opportunity to partake in a whale watching tour during the season that lasts from December to March. If you are not into water sports, there many other activities you could do, such as heritage walks along the Galle Fort, hikes along mythical mountains like the Rumassala Hill, or maybe even revel with your friends in one of the atmospheric beaches of Hikkaduwa and Mirissa. There are many options out there, but it all depends on what you prefer.
Follow our solo guide to beach hopping in Sri Lanka for more!
One of the most exciting excursions to immerse yourself in when travelling to Sri Lanka’s southern coast is to partake in a safari or nature excursion. Many nature reserves dot the region, such as the Sinharaja Rainforest, Kanneliya Rainforest, Yala National Park, and the Bundala National Park to name a few. Witness the island’s unique biodiversity and how it plays a major part in forming the identity of the land.
Overwhelmed with the options? Here’s our round up the most popular national parks in Sri Lanka and what they’re known for.
Whether you’re visiting the most popular towns on the southern coast like Mirissa, Galle or Hikkaduwa, or are looking to explore the ‘lesser-known’ towns of the island, there’s a variety to choose from. Head to the towns of Dikwella, Tangalle, Ahangama or Hiriketiya instead to escape the crowds and the hustle of the larger, more popular cities. If you’re looking for more off-the-beaten-path options to visit, check out these places.
When you do travel, always be prepared with contingency plans if anything were to happen to you. Be it medical, financial, or anything else, make sure you take into account what could go wrong in your trip so that you have control over the potential risks you could face. If you’re a female solo traveller, make sure to read our guide first.