Galle & the South

In many ways, the South encapsulates traditional Sri Lanka. Stretched out along a great arc of sun-baked coastline from Galle in the West to Tissamaharama in the East, the area remains essentially rural. An island of a thousand sleepy villages sheltered under innumerable palms, where the laid-back pace of life still revolves around coconut farming, rice cultivation and fishing (you may see the distinctively Sri Lankan method of stilt-fishing). Culturally, the South remains a bastion of Sinhalese traditions exemplified by the string of temples and giant Buddha statues found across the coast, and by the colourful festivals celebrated throughout the region, which culminate in the exuberant religious ceremonies enacted nightly at the ancient shrine of Kataragama.

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The South’s physical distance from the rest of the island, meant that the ancient kingdom of Ruhunu (or Rohana) – a name still often used to describe the region – evolved into one of the heartlands of traditional Sinhalese culture.

The region’s varied attractions make it one of Sri Lanka’s most rewarding areas to visit. A gateway to the South – and one of its highlights – is the atmospheric old port of Galle, Sri Lanka’s best-preserved colonial town, while beyond Galle stretch a string of picture-perfect beaches including Unawatuna, Weligama, Mirissa and Tangalla. Nearby, the little-visited town of Matara, with its quaint Dutch fort, offers a further taste of Sri Lanka’s colonial past, while ancient Tissamaharama makes a good base from which to visit two of the country’s finest national parks: the placid lagoons and birdlife-rich wetlands of Bundala, and Yala, famous for its elephants and leopards. Udawalawe National Park is home to a large resident population of wild Asian elephants. In addition, it is one of the best places for bird watching. . If you wish you can visit the Elephant Transit Home en route to Yala. The South is also famous for whale watching in Mirissa and visiting the turtle hatchery Beyond Tissamaharama lies the fascinating religious centre of Kataragama, whose various shrines are held sacred by Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims alike.

Our specialists have unrivalled experience of the Indian Ocean, allowing them to craft you a truly memorable bespoke holiday.


Attraction (Places Nearby)

Whale Watching in Mirissa

Blue WhalesWhale watching in Sri Lanka is one of the most unique and interesting water related activities you can do during your holiday tour in Mirissa Sri Lanka. The warm Indian Ocean of the southern Sri Lanka is the best place to spot a wide variety of whales & dolphins. There are believed to be [...]

Yala National Park

Sri Lanka's most famous Wild Life ParkYala National Park (also known as Ruhunu National Park) is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. Actually it consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public; and also adjoining parks. It is situated in the southeast region of the [...]

Elephant Transit Home

Uawalawe Elephant Transit HomeElephant Transit Home (ETH) takes care of orphaned elephant calves – until they are independent and able enough to be released back to the wild. Although, a majority of the general public enthusiastically supported this endeavour, at the inception many conservationists doubted its feasibility. Some openly opposed the initiative and tried to [...]

Galle Dutch Fort

Galle Fort - A UNESCO World Heritage SiteThe Galle Fort, or Dutch Fort as it is also known, is a fortification first built by the Portugese on the Southwestern coast of Sri Lanka. The initial fortifications, which were built in the late 16th century, were quite basic. However the fort underwent extensive modifications in the [...]

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