A picturesque cove shaped bay lined with coconut trees to one side, disappears into the tropical Laccadive Sea on the other. Unawatuna is one of those beaches you daydream about when you’re stuck inside on a cold winters day. Although you wouldn’t think so now, it was devastated by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. The Tsunami completely wiped out the small coastal village and took multiple lives. Locals didn’t adhere to advice to re-build back off the beach. Rather they claimed prime real estate and built literally on the beach which adds to the character.
Getting Familiar with Unawatuna
Our Tuk Tuk from the train station dropped us at our designated area of Unawatuna which happened to be the northern end. We then walked on along one of the dirt roads. It was set back off the beach but stretched the entire length. Sandwiched in-between local shop keepers trying to sell you various goods on one side. Motels, guesthouses and restaurants looking out of the beach on the other. Everything you wanted or needed could have been found along this road.
Finding a place to stay at a reasonable price was not as easy as anticipated being the ‘High’ season. If your budget is no issue there are plenty of options. We inquired at a few but quickly walked out. With prices ranging between 9,000 to 12,000 rupees, FAR TO MUCH for a backpackers budget. Walking down random side streets is an effective way to find budget accommodation. We talked to a young local whom had a place for 3,000 rupees a night. Not ideal but after shopping around it was the best we could find.
Soaking up the rays on the beach then cooling off with a quick dip in the ocean is the most cost effective and for me the most enjoyable. Other activities range from scuba diving and fishing to yoga and cookery classes.
Check out more activities for Unawatuna here: http://www.go-lanka.com
Look no further than the beachfront restaurants. As you walk out onto the beach they sit side by side right on the sand. Fresh seafood and cheap beers are on the menu everywhere you go. The hardest part is choosing which one to sit at. They all have different themes to attract different types of nationalities or tourists, menus differ slightly. Wherever you choose, the end result is the same, you sit with the sand in between your toes looking out over the ocean sipping on a nice cold beverage. Life is good.
Unawatuna has begun to compete with Hikkaduwa as Sri Lanka’s beach-party capital. When walking along the beach during the day you are handed fliers to attend parties and offered drugs as part of the process. Trance and EDM is the music of choice. Dance parties run right through the night on the beach front, with bomb fires and local fire dancers providing another source of entertainment.
After a couple of days of chilled out goodness it was time to keep heading south. Unawatuna was stumbled upon by talking to other tourists and provided an amazing atmosphere. If your ever in the area of south Sri Lanka make sure it’s on your to do list!