Top 8 Things to do in Tangalle – Sri Lanka

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  • Post last modified:18/06/2024
Top things to do in Tangalle in Sri Lanka, beach with large rocks on and palm trees to the right

About five years ago I spent 3 weeks travelling solo around Sri Lanka during which time I saw a lot of this wonderful country. One place that is a great addition to any Sri Lanka itinerary has to be Tangalle, a calm and secluded town in the district of Hambantota.

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Top Things to Do in Tangalle

Top things to do in Tangalle in Sri Lanka, beach with large rocks on and palm trees to the right

If you are planning some relaxing beach time in Sri Lanka, Tangalle is the perfect spot to start your trip. It not only boasts beautiful seaside vistas, mangroves and coves but will also offer you a look into authentic island living, it’s a great addition to any Sri Lanka itinerary. Here are my recommended 8 top things to do in Tangalle.

1. Rent a Bike or Scooter

Renting a bike or scooter is the first thing you should do for your sightseeing in South Sri Lanka. You can also use local buses or rent tuk tuks, but tuk tuk drivers often charge you way too much than the actual fare without giving you the option to bargain with them. I feel renting out your own vehicle is the best option for your uninterrupted beach time!

Alternatively, you could take a guided cycle tour.

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2. Swim at Goyambokka Beach

Goyambokka Beach in Tangalle, Sri Lanka. Green palm trees line the yellow sand beach on the left and blue sea on the right beneath blue sky.

As beautiful as they are, most beaches in the Tangalle area are not fit for swimming as the waves are too strong. However, you can have a relaxing beach session at  Goyambokka, one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka, including swimming as the serene bays have a reef which calms most of the waves. Goyambokka also boasts wide stretches of white sandy beaches, making it an ideal spot for lounging under the sun

3. Turtle Watching at Rekawa Beach

Turtle laying eggs on Rekawa Beach

This photo of a turtle on Rekawa Beach is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Rekawa Beach is the nesting ground for various species of turtles, namely the green turtle, the loggerhead turtle, the hawksbill turtle, olive ridley turtle and many more. The Rekawa Turtle Watch is a marine conservation project which protects the nesting sites of these turtles to ensure the safe hatching of the eggs. You can spot turtles every night during the peak seasons which is from April to July, just remember that patience is the key.

4. Mulkirigala Raja Maha Vihara

Mulkirigala Moss Covered Stupa

If you like visiting spiritual places like me, then a visit to the ancient Buddhist temple ‘Mulkirigala Raja Maha Vihara’ is a must. The temple is perched atop a 205m natural rock with seven caves in which reside the seven ‘viharas’. The viharas house large reclining, seated and standing Buddha statues while intricate wall paintings adorn the walls.

5. Diving or Snorkelling in Tangalle Lagoon

Tangalle is one of the best places for scuba diving and snorkelling in Sri Lanka. In the waters off Tangalle Bay, you can find different sea creatures such as lionfish, angel fish, octopus, scorpion fish and even lobsters. You can also discover caves, shipwrecks and coral tunnels while diving, depending on your diving skills and experience.

6. Watch Hummanaya Blowhole

Blow Hole Hummanaya with water spraying up in between the holes walls with blue sea and sky in the background.

This photo of Blow Hole Hummanaya is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The Hummanaya Blowhole is the second biggest blowhole in the world and can be pretty spectacular and exciting to watch. The water can reach up to 25 m (82 ft) to 30 m (98 ft) in height and is most impressive during the monsoon season.

7. Birdwatching in Bundala National Park

Peakcock in Bundala National Park

If you’re a keen birdwatcher or just love getting out in nature, then be sure to head to Bundala National Park. It’s only 40 minutes away from Tangalle and is quite famous for the greater flamingos and other migratory birds you’ll hopefully spot there.

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8. Surf at Hiriketiya Beach

Hiriketiya Beach in Tangalle

Hiriketiya Beach is only 20 minutes away from Tangalle town and is popular with surfers. If you don’t surf already, it’s a great beach to take some lessons and to start learning how to surf. There are lots of surf gear rental shops lining the horse-shoe-shaped bay, where you can rent a surfboard by the hour.

Where to Stay in Tangalle

Being the largest town in South Sri Lanka, there is no shortage of places to stay in Tangalle ranging from budget hostels up to 5-star resorts. There should be something to suit everyone.


Where to go After Tangalle

Once you’ve spent enough time enjoying Tangalle why not head north inland and take the incredible Kandy to Ella train ride?

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It’s an activity you shouldn’t miss in Sri Lanka and well worth the trip to get there.


Have you been to Tangalle in Sri Lanka? If so what was the best thing you did there? 

Planning Your Trip to Tangalle?

Planning your trip to Tangalle in Sri Lanka? Here are some of our recommended useful resources to help you have the best time possible.

TRAVEL INSURANCE IS AN IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION! World Nomads offers cover for travellers in over 100 countries and True Traveller is a great option if you’re from the UK or EU.

SafetyWing is another solution, particularly for digital nomads and long-term travellers.

● Use Wise (formerly Transferwise) for sending or receiving money internationally. It’s cheap, easy and transparent.

● Find amazing flight deals on Skyscanner,  Kayak, and AirAsia

● Compare rental car prices on

Book buses, taxis, ferries and trains with 12Go and Bookaway.

● usually have the best hotel prices.

● Our go-to for self-catering accommodation is Vrbo.

● Discover fantastic trips and activities with Klook, Viator and GetYourGuide.

● Check out Bookmundi, G Adventures, and  Intrepid Travel for group holidays and tours.

Read More Asia

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Tanya Korteling

Tanya is the founder and head content creator for Can Travel Will Travel. She combines freelance SEO, CRO, Data and Marketing consultancy with exploring the world. Passionate about adventure, nature, wildlife and food, she incorporates these in her travels as much as possible. She also loves immersing herself in new cultures. She's visited hundreds of destinations in 50+ countries and lived in 4 countries. Tanya worked as a Data Planning Manager and Digital Marketing Strategist before leaving the UK in 2016 with her husband Andy, to travel, live and work abroad indefinitely. Together they share their experiences and useful information to inspire and encourage others to do the same.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Bigg Nutrition

    Very interesting and informative article. Thanks for sharing such type of precious article.

    1. TanyaKorteling

      Yes definitely OR you can also rent your own tuk tuk (without driver) in Sri Lanka to self-drive – looks great fun!

  2. Laureen

    I love Sri Lanka! I hope to go back someday. Ive saved this for reference.

    1. TanyaKorteling

      Me too – there’s loads I missed!

  3. upasana

    I missed the Hummanaya Blowhole and Bundala National Park. I would definitely try to include it next time I go. Tangalle I agree is a beautiful coastal place away from all the chaos and crowd.

    1. TanyaKorteling

      Yes, I didn’t go to Bundala either but thanks to this guest post it’s now on my list for if I get to return.

  4. Alison

    I also spent a month in Sri Lanka but didn’t make it to Tangalle. Sri Lanka still remains one of my favourite countries and reading this I know I need to return and explore the district of Hambantota. I did get to Bundala which was awesome but would love to see the turtles at Rekawa Beach, see the blowhole and just chill at Goyambokka Beach!

    1. TanyaKorteling

      It’s impossible to fit everything in isn’t it. I went to see the turtles one night but the weather was awful and we didn’t get lucky. Fingers crossed we can try again some time!

  5. Steph

    Sri Lanka is so high on my list of places to go! I’ve heard good things about Tangalle so pinning this for future reference 🙂

    1. TanyaKorteling

      I hope you get to go, you’ll love it!

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