Must-Visit Places in Tangalle with your Family
When visiting Sri Lanka, you’re bound to stop by one of its gorgeous beaches, studded along the island’s south coast. One of these is the popular beach town of Tangalle, located in the Hambantota district around 195 kilometres south of Colombo. Of course, you might want to beef up your itinerary with a little more than idle days spent on sunny sands – not that an entirely beach-dedicated holiday wouldn’t be worth it! But if you’re looking for other ways to entertain your family during your stay, here are some must-visit attractions in the area that you should consider adding to your travel plans.
Mulkirigala Raja Maha Vihara
Located about 17 kilometres north of Tangalle (a tuk-tuk will get you there in about half an hour), the Mulkirigala Raja Maha Vihara is an ancient Buddhist temple that was embedded within a massive rock that reaches a height of more than 200 metres. Known to locals as Little Sigiriya, the temple built into the rock face is said to be more than a thousand years old – and a few hundred years older than Sigiriya, Sri Lanka’s famous Lion Rock. It is an official archaeological site, according to the Sri Lankan government, and is home to several ancient intricate paintings and inscriptions.
If your kids are older and love history, they are likely to find the colourful cave paintings and sculptures appealing. Just remember that, when visiting any temple in Sri Lanka, you and your family should be dressed respectfully, with arms and legs appropriately covered.
The Hummanaya Blow Hole
A 20-minute drive to the west of Tangalle will take you to the Hummanaya Blow Hole; one of the world’s largest geysers and the largest in Sri Lanka. Jets of water shoot up to a height of 30 metres, at periodic intervals, spraying delighted onlookers with seawater. This can be a particularly fun experience for families with children, and there’s a small rocky beach nearby if you’d like to dip your toes in the water.
If you’re having trouble deciding which of the many amazing beaches in the vicinity you should choose to visit, maybe take a look at Goyambokka Beach. It’s located a short ten-minute drive west of the centre of Tangalle – a drive which will give you gorgeous views of stunning coastal scenery. The serene atmosphere of the beach makes it one of the best places in Sri Lanka to kick back and relax, swinging in a hammock with a book while the kids splash in the ocean.
Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary
One of the oldest established bird sanctuaries in Sri Lanka, Kalametiya is located about 20 kilometres east of Tangalle and is a great option for a family outing. It’s an easy half hour drive away, and the best times to visit are in the early mornings and late afternoons, when the sun is lower and the wildlife moves about more freely. The tours offered at the Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary take you on a boat excursion to spot some of the resident birdlife, as well as an opportunity to take a guided tour through its jungles. With lush mangroves dotted around the coastal lagoon, there are more than 150 species of birds that call this sanctuary home, such as the Indian Reef Heron and the Black-capped Purple Kingfisher. There are also more than 20 species of mammals, 41 species of fish and 38 species of reptiles living here, which an experienced tour guide will be able to help you spot during your tour. It’s an easy way to spend a few hours learning about the country’s biodiversity during your stay in Tangalle.