My little family consisting of myself, my husband and our two girls 6 and 1, have just spent 8 days in Sri Lanka’s family tourist spot of Unawatuna. Its roughly a four-hour flight from Dubai to Colombo airport then a further 2-hour drive south of Sri Lanka to reach Unawatuna, which is a picturesque coastal town in the Galle district.
We arrived in Unawatuna around 10.30pm, many shops had already closed for the evening and there were only a handful of bars open. Our First impressions were that Unawatuna was a sleepy, slower-paced place, so for us, although we do normally like liveliness this was probably for the best with us having small children in tow.
Where we stayed..
We left it a little bit late for booking our accommodation so we weren’t exactly spoilt for choice for hotels and guest houses. We ended up booking the Thaproban Pavillion Resort and Spa which I was a little reluctant to do as it’s a fairly new hotel and I had my heart set on something more like a traditional Sri Lankan guest house. However, once we had arrived that evening, I was pleasantly surprised with the decor, the cove beach looked magical as it was lit up with lanterns and the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks were so calming.
We booked a suite which turned out to be the icing on the cake as it had stunning panoramic views, we could see all the way across to Galle lighthouse and it had the most amazing spot to watch the sunset from on our balcony.
Thaproban Pavillion Resort and Spa pool and sunset views
If we woke early enough there was an array of wildlife including peacocks, chipmunks and large black crabs scuttling around the rocks. Lola, my eldest daughter and I, left Dad and the little one asleep early one morning so we could explore the rocks and get a close-up look of the chipmunks dodging in and out of the rocks for the rich pickings that were on offer – “the big black ugly crabs”, as Lola described them.
Exploring the grounds
From our hotel, it was around a 5-10 minute walk to Unawatuna beach and a 15-minute walk to the main streets where plenty of bars, shops, and restaurants were. If we didn’t want to walk we could get a relatively cheap tuk-tuk for around 200-300 Rupees each way which is roughly £1-2.
Walking to the beach
A walk through Unawatuna..
Unawatuna is beautifully bohemian. Along with the sleepy vibes, there is plenty of yoga, meditation, and Ayurvedic massage on offer. Vegans and vegetarians don’t need to worry about what to eat as the menus are very inclusive of veggie options in most places.
We took a look inside Dunes Fort and found this enticing tree swing
Small bars and restaurants line the narrow streets. At the front, their terraces adorn chill out beds and hammocks and to the back many of the restaurants spill out on to the beaches, even more so in the evenings when the vendors move more tables across the sand. We tried out a couple of different bars and restaurants most evenings of our stay and I’m happy to say we didn’t experience a bad meal once. The food was excellent! The vegetarian Sri Lankan curries were quite honestly the tastiest I’ve ever had! There were also lots of seafood and meat on the menus for non-veggies like my husband. We would often see fresh fish on display and bbq style cooking going on.
Places to visit..
Galle is a picturesque place and full of history as it hosts a 300-year-old Dutch fort as well as other historical buildings with Dutch and Portuguese influences. There are many restaurants, boutiques, and art shops to browse in. We particularly loved the architecture and exploring the many shops and guesthouses.
Galle Fort Hotel
There are so many boutiques to explore, this particular one had a hidden oasis at the back
Wijaya beach is a family owned hotel that has the most beautiful turquoise waters where majestic turtles can be seen swimming at high tide. With just a 5 minute walk along the beach, we found stick fishermen which are such an interesting and rare sight as we don’t have anything like it in the UK or Dubai! At the hotel, we hired sunbeds for 500 Rupees which is around £2.50 for the day. They also served great stone baked pizza which went down an absolute treat for everyone!
Handunugoda tea plantation
This one was for my husband as he is a real tea lover. Upon arrival, we had to walk up a steep hill through the jungle-ous plantations, then, we where we shown to tables and given a cup of Ruby oolong and a slice of chocolate cake each. The kids absolutely lapped it up, even my 18 month old was swigging down the tea and scoffing the cake with glee. After a walk back down the steep road with a bit of a tour, we were shown around the factory where the tea is made and eventually we were shown to a shop where all types of tea were available to try. If I’m honest I had visions of this being incredibly boring but we all really enjoyed it and what’s more, it was completely free, they simply asked for a donation to what we saw fit at the end.
Tea leaves as far as the eye can see, all picked that morning
The best way to trek through the plantations!
We traveled to Sri Lanka in April which meant we had very high humidity that got pretty uncomfortable at times. It was do-able to an extent but before long, throwing ourselves into the pool was the best way to cool down, especially midday.
February and March are supposed to be the lower months for humidity so if you’re thinking if going this is definitely worth considering! Also, there are lots and lots of mosquitos, so we used citronella oil spray on everyone which worked well to keep them away!
Unawatuna is a beautiful destination and certainly one that I would recommend going to for families like us as well as everyone else who has an itch to see that part of the world!
Have you been to Sri Lanka? I would love to hear from you in the comments!