Unawatuna, in my opinion, should be renamed Hakuna Matata!
This coastal village on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast has to be one of the most beautiful places I have come across and indeed I felt as if there were no worries.
I have put this complete guide of the 8 Best Things To Do In Unawatuna to help you plan your trip ahead of time.
HOW TO GET TO UNAWATUNA?
The local buses are by far the cheapest and most convenient means of transport between destinations in Sri Lanka.
I personally took a bus from Hikkaduwa to Unawatuna Beach which takes around one hour and the cost is 50 Rupees.
The buses are clearly labeled in English on the front windscreen of the location they are headed.
Make sure you hold on tight because the bus drivers in Sri Lanka are the craziest drivers I have ever experienced.
8 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN UNAWATUNA SRI LANKA
JUNGLE BEACH UNAWATUNA
If getting off the beaten path is your thing, then I know just the spot for you!
Make your way over to Jungle Beach on foot, which is on the opposite side of the headland from Unawatuna Beach.
There is a dirt trail that leads you toward Jungle Beach. You will come across a fork in the trail, the trail to the north is an easy walk through the bush and over to the other side of the headland emerging at the beach.
The second trail will take you down to some small, rocky cliffs on the seaside. This is the off-beaten path I was talking about. From here you can scale around the boulders and over rock pools, eventually emerging at Jungle Beach.
This tucked-away beach is a great spot for a swim and one of the best things to do in Unawatuna. There is also a bar and restaurant on the sand under the palms to enjoy some food and drinks!
BEST TOURS IN SRI LANKA
JAPANESE PEACE PAGODA
Direct your gaze up to the top of the headland and you will spot a big white sculpture, standing tall above the trees, that is in the shape of a bell.
This is, in fact, the famous Japanese Peace Pagoda. A Buddhist stupa to inspire peace among all races.
There is no entrance fee to visit the Japanese Peace Pagoda, though please be respectful, wear suitable clothing and take off your shoes when wandering around the sacred site.
Travel Tip: If you visit here in the late afternoon you will be blessed with an amazing view of the sunset.
See All → Homestays & Resorts in Unawatuna
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Take a day trip to Galle and visit the old Dutch Fort which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Galle Fort is a historical, archaeological, and architectural heritage monument. The Galle Fort even withstood the 2004 boxing day tsunami.
Galle is located 15 minutes north of Unawatuna Beach and the best way to get to Galle Fort is to jump in a tuk-tuk or rent a scooter for approximately 1000 Rupees per day.
See All → Tours in Sri Lanka with Klook
On the outer walls of Galle Fort is the Galle Lighthouse. Discover the old lighthouse down by the water which is surrounded by palm trees and beautiful beaches.
The Galle Lighthouse is another great viewpoint for sunset and is not to be missed.
DALAWELLA BEACH PALM TREE SWING
2 km south of Unawatuna Beach is Dalawella Beach. This spot is up there with one of the most beautiful stretches of beach I have been to.
A palm tree oasis, golden sands, and electric blue water await, so be sure to add it to your list of things to do!
This is also where you can find the Instafamous Palm Tree Rope Swing on Dalawella Beach.
This palm tree rope swing blew up on Instagram and it’s now the reason why some people are visiting Sri Lanka just to have a turn!
Full Blog Post → Dalawella Beach Swing
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TRY THE LOCAL STREET FOOD
Cafes and seaside restaurants fill up the seaside town. During the high season, December to March, the prices for food and drinks are around 1000 Rupees ($10) for a meal and 500 Rupees ($5) for a beer.
If you are a budget traveler like myself and want to spend 250 Rupees ($2.50) on a meal, try one of the local street food vendors and order a plate of Kottu Roti.
A traditional Sri Lankan dish with roti, vegetables, egg, and spices. It is considered the equivalent of a hamburger, in terms of popularity and is a personal favorite of mine.
If you’re scared to get ill with street food, although its awesomeness and deliciousness, consider purchasing Organic Activated Charcoal Tablets before traveling and protect your stomach to enjoy Sri Lanka as much as possible.
There are a number of Yoga studios for those yogis out there and also for people who have never tried yoga and are willing to give it a go.
Daily yoga classes are available at Thambapanni Retreat, Yoga With Asiri, Sri Yoga Shala, and The Secret Garden Dome.
I attended a yoga class at The Secret Garden Dome and it was one of the best experiences to relax and unwind after a few days of adventuring.
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Yatagala Rajamaha Viharaya is about 4 km east of Unawatuna. A 2300-year-old Buddhist place of worship.
The temple is made up of 4 huge granite boulders that create a natural cave that is used as a meditation hall.
Newer developments include a peace pagoda stupa and a giant Buddha statue.
I spent one hour exploring the Yatagala Temple and I highly recommend adding it to your list of things to do.
WHERE TO STAY IN UNAWATUNA
There are hundreds of homestays, private villas, and beach resorts to choose from in Unawatuna, so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay to suit the needs of budget backpackers and luxury travelers.
See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend.
The best 5-star resort in Unawatuna! Thaproban Pavilion Waves offers beachfront accommodation, an outdoor swimming pool, a sun terrace, a bar, a billiards table, and a dartboard.
The rooms are modern and fitted with air-conditioning, flat-screen tv, equipped kitchen, seating area, and private bathroom. American or Asian breakfast is included.
Mid-range: Unawatuna Nor Lanka Hotel
With Unawatuna Beach only 200 m away, Unawatuna Nor Lanka Hotel is a stunning property to stay at. All rooms have air-conditioning, a fridge, and a private bathroom.
Apart from that, you’ll find someone at the reception 24 hours and they have a shared lounge as well as luggage storage.
Budget: La Villa
I personally stayed at La Villa and highly recommended this accommodation to anyone visiting Unawatuna.
The staff are very friendly and the rooms are spacious, comfortable, air-conditioned, have a private ensuite and free wifi is available.
Perfect for couples or friends traveling on a budget.
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN UNAWATUNA, SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM
WHAT TO PACK FOR UNAWATUNA
When visiting Unawatuna, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you:
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More Sri Lanka Travel Guides
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FINAL THOUGHTS – WHAT TO DO IN UNAWATUNA
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions about what to do in Unawatuna, please leave me a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.
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THANKS FOR READING
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