This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Unawatuna.
Unawatuna is a coastal town in the Galle district of Sri Lanka, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. Its beaches are center stage for this waterfront village, yet it is also only about three miles (five kilometers) removed from the Galle city cente and less than four miles (six kilometers) away from the Galle Fort. Consequently, Unawatuna is a main attraction for tourists who enjoy partaking in water sports, exploring coral reefs, and catching a bit of nightlife.
It began when the Dutch reached Unawatuna in 1640 and defeated the Portuguese in nearby Galle. They then built houses for their officials in the beachside town. These buildings have since been turned into hotels, a hospital, and mansions. Due to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, many venues along the coast were destroyed. Additionally, development within the water has changed the currents and coral reefs. However, there are still plenty of palm and coconut trees lining the beach, dozens of exotic bird species flying around, as well as shipwrecks, turtles, and coral reefs to be explored in the ocean. Government agencies are trying to reign in the bulldozers and land development, but there are many quaint hostels as well as camp sites that provide a very authentic experience of Unawatuna for the visiting tourists.
For the budget traveler, there are numerous hostels in Unawatuna. Reservations through third party websites seem to cause issues; so if you prefer to reserve a bed in advance, be sure to contact the hostel of your choice directly. Note that some hostels only provide dormitory beds while others also offer private rooms or camp areas with teepees or other lodgings. Since the cost of a hostel bed is similar throughout Unawatuna but the quality of accommodations fluctuates significantly, you will benefit from weeding through all of them in order to find a hostel with great feedback from former guests.
Once you are settled into your choice of accommodation, you should be able to reach one or more of the pretty beaches as well as several restaurants on foot or by tuktuk taxi. You may wish to start your itinerary at the Jungle Beach. From there, you can walk or take a tuktuk up a hill to the Japanese Peace Pagoda, a beautiful white structure adorned with golden statues. This place provides the perfect chance to take photos of the city and sea from up above.
Less than two miles (three kilometers) from there, you can stop by the Yatagala Raja Maha Viharaya Buddhist Temple. You will see huge granite boulders, walls filled with Kandyan-style murals, as well as a reclining Buddha statue. Monks have been living there for over 1,500 years along with one of the first saplings of the original Bodhi tree.
To travel to and from Unawatuna, you can take advantage of its location along the Coastal/Southern Rail Line which reaches from Colombo to Matara as well as the A2 highway which extends from Colombo to Wellawaya.
Written by local enthusiast for Unawatuna hostelsJakob Lombardi