Sri Lanka south coast is the home to dozens of pristine palm-fringed beaches. Here are a 2 days Sri Lanka south coast itinerary…
Sri Lanka South Coast Itinerary
I know there are many foreign travellers, who have made south coast of Sri Lanka their second home, they live in southern Sri Lanka for many months once they arrive (of course they have plenty of free time). Some of them spend entire winter season (3 months) in a beach resort of Southern Sri Lanka. Why do the love southern Sri Lanka? Because southern Sri Lanka harbours some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, such as Tangalle and Weligama. Not only beaches southern Sri Lanka is home to many other tourist attractions such as historical monuments, wildlife parks, waterfalls, rivers, rainforest and many more. If you decide to take a southern Sri Lanka tour it will be a complete package with leisure and activities.
Southern Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful places in Sri Lanka, and it can be really crowded during the peak holiday season (From November to April). But it is not difficult to find some isolated places for a peaceful time. This article is about a 2 days southern Sri Lanka tour from west coast beaches such as Bentota and Colombo.
Southern Sri Lanka has been a secret over the last few decades, and only a few visitors knew about its beauty. But this best-kept secret in Asia is being slowly revealed, as Sri Lanka’s tourist traffic is heading to the south and aiming at its tropical beaches, rich culture, and incredible wildlife and crumbling historical landmarks. That’s why the big players in the world’s hotel industry such as Shangri La, Marriot have opened its branched in southern Sri Lanka; they know that southern Sri Lanka is a hot topic in the travel world very soon.
West coast is the most popular beach holiday destination on the island and a large part of travellers makes it the base of their Sri Lanka trip. The travellers, who wish to explore other parts of the island often, make short trips to other areas of the country such as southern cost, cultural triangle, Sri Lanka Mountains to explore many other interesting tourist attractions. There are dozens of golden beaches on the west, but it is lack of some other features such as the national parks, historical monuments and rainforests. Therefore what most travellers, who spend their beach holidays on the west coast do are making short trips to other places such as southern Sri Lanka and explore places such as ancient temples, wildlife reserves. Below mentioned Sri Lanka southern coast itinerary for 2 days is a very popular activity as it enables the travellers to explore multiple tourist attractions within 2 days.
Do I get time to relax on the 2 days Sri Lanka southern coast tour?
This 2 days tour is the program for the travellers, who like to experience the rich natural wealth of southern Sri Lanka. This is not a tour to relax, even though the southern coast of Sri Lanka is rank among the best spots for relaxing, the time is not allocated for relaxing. In fact, this is a short tour itinerary for 2 days.
2 day Sri Lanka south coast itinerary
- Day 1: Bentota / Mirissa / Yala
- Day 2: Yala / Galle / Bentota
Places to see in Sri Lanka Southern coast tour
- Galle Fort
- Mask museum
- Whale watching in Mirissa
- Mangrove forest boat tour
- Yala national park jeep safari
Day 1 of Sri Lanka South Coast Itinerary – Bentota/Mirissa/Yala
On the first day of the southern Sri Lanka tour you drive to Yala, along the southern and western shore. You will be passing many coves and bays along the way, which are perfect swimming spots. E.g. The Unawatuna beach which is near Galle is a year-round swimming spot and has a natural rock formation. This natural rock stops the underwater current entering the bay.
The first day of the southern Sri Lanka tour starts early morning if you start the tour from Bentota; the starting time is 4.00 AM. It is mandatory to start the tour early morning due to the whale watching trip that will be done on the first day. Whale watching trip is the first activity of the 2 days tour and takes place in Mirissa.
Mirissa whale watching tour
You will be heading to the Mirissa harbour from the hotel and board the whale watching boat at around 06.30 am. The whale watching boat leave the harbour by 7.00 AM and you need to report to the harbour between 6.30 – 7.00 am. Normally the journey from Bentota to Mirissa takes around 2 hours (early morning, sans traffic).
Usually, the whale watching trip lasts between 2-5 hours and in some cases, it can be longer than 5hours. The chances of spotting whales are very high in southern Sri Lankan waters and Sri Lanka considered being one of the best places to spot blue whales. However, that can be very rare instances in which you do not encounter blue whales. After the whale watching trip, you proceed to a hotel in Tissamaharama, which is the gateway to Yala national park. Since the duration of the whale watching trip cannot be guaranteed, ether will be no other activity planned for today’s program other than whale watching trip.
You will be staying in a hotel in Tissamaharama, like most travellers, who visit Yala national park do. Ninety per cent of travellers, who visit Yala national park, choose Tissamaharama as the venue for their overnight stay. Usually, the jeep safari starts in Tissamaharama and jeep driver pickup their customers near the Tissamaharama Lake.
Visiting Yala national park is another important activity of 2 days Southern Sri Lanka trip. Yala jeep safari is planned on the 2nd day of the Southern Sri Lanka trip. Tissamaharama is the gateway to Yala national park, which is 25 km from Yala national park. Tissamaharama is the nearest town to Yala national park and it is a small laid-back city with a large extent of forest cover, historical monuments, rice paddies and two gigantic lakes within its border.
Tissamaharama had been the centre of the ancient Ruhunu kingdom (kingdom of southern Sri Lanka), and its history going back 2nd century BC. Some of the historical temples in Tissamaharama are important archaeological sites.
If you are lucky to finish the whale watching trip within a few hours you will be able to reach your hotel in Tissamaharama few hours afternoon. It means you will be having a few hours to explore the beautiful surrounding of Tissamaharama. Tissamaharama is a nice place to roam around if you are kind of person, who enjoy the beautiful scenery, bird watching and beautiful tropical forests. Everything is within easy reach of your hotel in Tissamaharama. If you walk few kilometres towards the Tissamaharama clock tower from the Tissa Lake, you will come to one of the most historical temples on the island known as Yatalatissa dagoba, this historical temple is believed to be originated in 2nd century BC.
Day 2 of Sri Lanka South Coast Itinerary– Yala/Galle/Bentota
Visiting Yala National Park
On the second day of the trip, you will head to the Yala national park, early in the morning. The jeep driver pick-up you from the hotel at 05.00 am and take you to the national park. The drive from your hotel in Tissamaharama to Yala national park lasts around 45 minutes. It is important to reach the national park by 05.45 am in order to enter the national park as early as possible; early morning safari increases the chances of spotting wild animals.
The jeep safari at Yala national park lasts around 3 hours and it enables you to see many animal species such as wild elephants, leopards, wild boar, jackal, deer, sambar and many other animals. After the Safari you will drive back to the hotel and have the breakfast later leave for your beach hotel in Bentota. En-route visit Galle fortress, Hikkaduwa beach, Mask Museum, mangrove forest boat tour.
Every year Yala national park is closed for 6-8 parks, usually, from the first week of September onward – which means that destination of the safari it switched to Udawalawe national park.
In the sri Lankan south coast itinerary, Yala is the main destination for teh safari, however, Udawalawe national park is also a viable option, which guarantees the sighting of wild elephants. Perhaps you are weighing up between a Udawalawe safari or Yala National Park safari. Both are fantastic opportunities to encounter many wild animals and both national parks are within a few hours’ drive of each other, but Yala is popular for a wide range of animals sighting such as wild elephants, bear, leopards, jackal. Udawalwe is smaller than Yala and it is very rare to spot leopards and bear at Udawalawe national park.
Galle Fort is a UNESCO world heritage site, which considered being the best preserved Dutch colonial Fort in Asia. This iconic tourist attraction visited by thousands of travellers every day. There are hundreds of houses, bungalows, temples, churches, museums, galleries, cafes, restaurants, shops and hotels in the Fort.
Your driver will stop the vehicle in Hikkaduwa to show you one of the most beautiful beaches on the west coast of Sri Lanka.
Ariyapala mask museum of Ambalangoda is the only museum dedicated to masking industry on the island. The mask carving industry is going back to more than a thousand years. According to the historical information the mask had been widely used in folklore as well as for treating certain ailments.
During the ancient time, people had believed that certain ailment arises due to the evil spirits and therefore witch doctor had to perform various rituals in order to cure the sick person. It was customary to wear a mask by the witch doctor during the ritual. Even though the rituals are not performed on the island now the masks are still manufactured in Ambalangoda and they are mostly used as a souvenir. The mask museum of Ambalangoda showcases many ancient masks and some of them are very valuable artefacts dates back to more than a thousand years.
Mangrove forest boat tour
Two hours motorboat tour at Madu river estuary is s perfect opportunity to explore one of the most important wetlands on the island. Madu river estuary named as a Ramsar wetland due to its ecological importance. You will be able to spot many avian fauna species and animals such as monitors, monkeys even crocodile on this boat trip. You will also be able to visit the cinnamon island, which is a small island used as a cinnamon plantation.
Few important things to know if you plan a Sri Lanka South Coast Itinerary for the first time
- Sri Lankan currency-Sri Lankan rupees and Indian are not the same and they have different exchange rates. The exchange rates fluctuate on a daily basis, at the moment the exchange rate of Sri Lankan rupees against USD is around 176. The hard currencies such as USD and Euro can be exchanged everywhere on the island, all Banks provide the currency exchange service. ATM machines can be used to withdraw money against bank card and the ATM machines are available in every bank branch.
- Having a local SIM card is very useful and most importantly is cheap. When you have a local SIM it is easy to make calls and receive calls within the island. Usually, all SIM cards come with IDD facility. All SIM cards come with a data package allowing you to surf on the internet at a low rate. SIM cards can be bought at the airport or at communication centres in cities. You need to produce a copy of the passport to get a local SIM card.
- Travelling around Sri Lanka- Having a private car is the best way of travelling around Sri Lanka. Public transport such as buses and trains are cheap but they are always late and behind the schedule. The taxis can be booked with a driver with Local tour operators as well as in hotels. Rent a car and rent a motorbike is also available on the island but most companies that rent cars are to be found in major cities such as Colombo and Kandy. However, it is strongly recommended not to have self-drive cars due to the chaotic traffic in Sri Lanka.
- Buddhism is living religion in Sri Lanka and visiting a Buddhist temple is on the card during your southern Sri Lanka trip. There are few rules and conditions to be met if you wish to visit a Buddhist temple. Please check on this link for more information before head on to the temple.
- Sri Lankans are modest compared to most other countries in the region. It is strongly advised to have suitable attire as you move around the villages and visiting religious places. Do not visit the temple and walk through the towns with your swimsuit or skimpy clothes, it is considered very disrespectful.
- If you head on to the mountains it is advisable to have a sweatshirt. In the mountains, it can be really chilly in the evening and after the sunset. But in general, the average temperature hovering around 35 degrees Celsius on the island except in the mountains.
- The best time to plan your Sri Lanka southern coast itinerary is from November to April, the weather tends to be less rainy during this period. And also the sea is suitable for saltwater activities. There is a large number of protected bays in the Southern coast of Sri Lanka, means it is suitable for sea bath throughout the year, even during the rough sea. During the monsoon (From April to November) the clouds build up in the morning over the coast and rain occurs late evening or night and it is sunny and warm during the day.
- Finding accommodation on the southern coast of Sri Lanka is quite easy because there are plethoras of accommodation providers are scattered among the coast.
- This tour starts from Bentota; however the pick location can be switched to Colombo or any other location in the west coast with a request and usually the first-day transfer from Bentota to Mirissa will take around 2 hours. But it might take up to 3 hours 30 minutes if you start the tour in Colombo.