I spent a lot of time researching as I planned the Wandering Kiwi trip to Sri Lanka. I looked online, in a guide book, and talked to friends who had been recently. Most of the Sri Lanka itinerary fell into place fairly easily but one item dominated my travel research – which beach to go to in Sri Lanka?
I was searching for that elusive thing, the perfect beach on Sri Lanka’s popular south coast. A beach that was not over developed, or thronged with tourists and bars and rubbish.
A proper beach: stunningly beautiful, serenely quiet, unspoilt and almost undiscovered. After all I did want some accommodation and maybe a place to enjoy a sundowner.
At one point I thought I had hit the jackpot reading a travel blog post about the perfect quiet beach in Sri Lanka. It went on and on about this secret beach that was so unspoilt etc. etc. and then right at the end it turned out to be just a tiny extension of Mirissa. I’d already talked to my friends who were in Mirissa less than a year ago and they said it was totally over developed.
So it was back to the drawing board with my research. Finally I found a few references to the Sri Lankan south coast beach I eventually chose for our family holiday: Talalla Beach.
It often feels a bit risky planning travel based on what you read/see on the internet but Talalla Beach lived up to all my expectations!
It is gentle curve of golden sand lapped by gentle surf. It has lush vegetation and bendy coconut palms surrounding the beach. It is quiet and uncrowded at all times of the day. It’s everything a beach should be and about an hour’s drive from the historic coastal fort town of Galle.
I loved that local people were here on their holidays, especially on a Poya day (every full moon is a sacred holiday in Sri Lanka), bringing their kids to play on the beach and in the sea.
There is a small fleet of wooden oruwa catamaran fishing boats pulled up on the shore, their nets spread to dry and made with simple rock weights. I simply could not stop taking photos of them…
A tiny shack offers cheap cocktails at the eastern end, which is where I recommend staying by the way mainly because it’s quieter. Up the other end of the beach you can hear traffic on the coast road.
This is not a big surf beach (although there is a beach about a 10 minute drive away where you can get surf lessons if that is your thing) and swimming is safe at all times of the day. The beach does drop away fairly quickly so, while I was happy for my seven-year-old daughter to swim there, obviously we were always swimming with her. The water was just gorgeous.
The accommodation we stayed at was good – it’s one of the original places built here. The rooms are nice and it is set in a lush garden, although as you often find in Sri Lanka, they demand an extra $10 per night to use the air conditioning. It is perhaps a little understaffed but the (Sri Lankan) food in the rooftop restaurant is excellent. It’s called Talalla Secret Bay Hotel.
One word of warning. I talked to another guest at Talalla Beach and they had visited five years ago when there were only three accommodation options. Now there are ten and another being built along the beach.
It is all very subtle development, kept behind the tree-line so the beach mostly keeps its beauty but it’s probably only a matter of time before it will be necessary to move on to find the next perfect beach in Sri Lanka.
In the meantime this place is my absolutely beach recommendation for Sri Lanka’s south coast. Hopefully my photos speak for themselves!
By Natasha von Geldern
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