Photograph: Wikimedia Commons
Are you thinking of a beach getaway where there’s easy access to sea, sand and sun and the food is different but familiar enough to not be strange? Unawatuna, in southern Sri Lanka, ticks all the boxes. Just 152km and a three-hour drive down the road from Colombo’s international airport, here’s a beach holiday where you won’t risk running into your neighbours and colleagues.All clean sand and wonderful shows that are just perfect for lazy paddling about in – the beach at Unawatuna is easily accessed by just strolling off the road. But you’d rather grab a lounger at one of the many beachside restaurants – this way, you’ve found a place to lay your bod under a shady beach umbrella, and an incessant supply of nibbles and cold ones – choose Lion beer for local flavor. The food at Kingfisher Restaurant on the main Devala Road, is excellent. The loos are clean and you would be hard-pressed to budge except for forays into the sea. When you’re in Unwatuna, you must not miss out on the delicious seafood: succulent crabs, spicy prawns and fish cooked to perfection in spice and lemongrass.
While lying back and doing nothing except eating and drinking makes for a great beach holiday in Unawatuna, there are plenty of other options too. If you’re up for some marine action, the whales at Mirissa are beautiful to watch as they break the waves far out to sea. Sri Lanka is a great whale-watching hub, so don’t miss out on these marine beauties. If you’re lucky, you might also see pods of dolphins and flying fish and sea birds.
If you’re looking to do something a little more active, Midigama has surf schools offering lessons and Poseidon Diving Station at Hikkaduwa has great snorkeling and diving courses. If you’ve had enough time in the waters, drive down to Galle and walk the ramparts of the UNESCO Heritage-rated Galle Fort, visit the Dutch Reformed Church and stop at the Maritime Archaeology Museum, a wonderful repository of antiquities from the sea, each well showcased in the Old Dutch Warehouse building.
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