A vibrant jewel in the hills of Sri Lanka

Kandy, the hill city, the sleepy town with centuries of history and tradition, is a must see during your visit to Sri Lanka. Home to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and many other temples and kovils of historic significance, the city in the hills, located at the center of the island, can serve as a stopover on your way to other parts of the country. Some destinations close to Kandy include Sigiriya, Dambulla and Horton Plains National Park.

The town is buzzing during the day and winds down by dusk, but there’s plenty to see and do. Start with the Temple of the Tooth and take a walk around the Kandy Lake to experience Kandy ‘town’. A quick stop at Arthur’s seat at Rajapihilla Mawatha will give you a bird’s eye of the town and surroundings. Make your way the big white Buddha statue, Bhairavakonda for even more stunning views, or head over to Helga’s Folly for an out of the ordinary visit to a hotel with a lot of charm and culture of its own.

If you’re in the mood to shop, the Kandy City Centre is the one-stop mall in town, with a collection of clothing stores, bookshops, accessories and a new food court that offers both Sri Lankan and international cuisine. There are also several smaller cafes that cater to all different pallets, but plenty of smaller ‘kadey’ shops for local fare and a total local experience, as well. The Muslim Hotel is one such option.

Head out of the town area to Peradeniya where you can spend several hours strolling through the Royal Botanical Gardens – make sure you visit the suspension bridge that can give you a beautiful view of the Mahaweli River and the green surroundings. Also in Peradeniya is the well-known University of Peradeniya, an open-layout campus with a lot of greenery. This is a great place to visit if you have time to walk or drive around and take in the fresh air.

On the outskirts of Kandy you’ll also find ancient temples such as Lankathilaka, Gadaladeniya and Embekka, rich in history of the Kandy kingdom.

If nature is more your taste, the Hanthana mountain range offers a trail for hikers, but remember to keep safety in mind and go with a guide as it’s easy to lose your way. The Knuckles Mountain Range is also not too far away for hikes that can be done in a day or overnight. Closer to town, you’ll find Udawatta Sanctuary, where you can go for a fairly easy walk through a forest reserve.

If you get the chance to travel on the train from Colombo to Kandy, booking the Intercity is your best bet – the second class option will give you a real feel of the experience, while being able to take in the mountain air as you approach the hills with the windows open. Keep your camera handy because it’s definitely Instagram-worthy!

Key Attractions in and around Kandy

  • Temple of the sacred tooth relic
  • Lankatilaka temple
  • Udawatta Kele sanctuary
  • Kandy view point
  • Bahiravokanda vihara buddha statue
  • Kandy Lake
  • (Peradeniya) Royal botanical gardens
  • Temple of Gadaladeniya
  • Embekke Devalaya
  • Galmaduwa temple
  • Maha Vishnu devalaya
  • Degaldoruwa temple
  • Asgiriya maha viharaya
  • St. Anthony’s church
  • Hanthana mountain range
  • Helga’s Folly
  • The church of St. Paul
  • Kandy Garrison cemetery
  • Commonwealth war cemetery
  • Hulu river and waterfall
  • Knuckles mountain range
  • Millenium elephant foundation
  • Ceylon Tea Museum
  • Giragama tea plantation
  • The Queens hotel

Beach side living amidst local communities

Negombo is vibrant coastal town close to the Bandaranaike International Airport. It is the second largest city in the Western province after Colombo (situated approximately 35 km north of Colombo). It is well known for its fisheries, cathedrals, market places, eateries and beach stip. It is a renowned tourist attraction owing to these reasons.

The name “Negombo” was first used by the Portuguese. The Sinhala name for Negombo, “M?gamuva” means cluster of bees. According to popular folktale, it is believed that a swarm of bees settled on a boat, and the place was named where the boat was pulled ashore.

Around the seventh and eighth centuries, the Arabs (Moors) who dominated the East-West trade routes, settled in Negombo and started trading in cinnamon. In the early 1500s the Portuguese seized the coastal areas as well as the cinnamon trade from the Moors and built a fort for protection. The Dutch managed to overthrow the Portuguese in 1644 and improved the fort and developed the town further. The British gained the town in 1796.

Many local Karavas converted to Catholicism during the Portuguese rule. As a result, the majority in Negombo and surrounding coastal areas are now Catholics. Negombo possesses an old world charm with many Portuguese-era Catholic churches and forts. It is fondly nicknamed ‘little Rome’ due to the numerous Catholic churches and Roman Catholic residents.The affable natives are well accustomed to visitors, so one does not have to worry about being gawked at constantly.

Attractions in Negombo

If you are ever in Negombo it would be inexcusable not to visit the following attractions.

The Main Fish Market

The Negombo Fish Market (Fishing Village) also known as the “Lellama” by the locals is located across the lagoon bridge, near the Old Dutch Gate. The large open air fish market is the second largest in the country. You will witness fishermen in hundreds of boats bringing in their days catch. The best time to visit the fish market is at dawn, around 6:00 am to really understand the magnitude of the operation. The abundance of seafood is awe inspiring. The Negombo fish market is not for the faint-hearted since it is a slippery and smelly affair but is well worth the effort. Some folks even offer tours of the market, just be sure to approach the genuine ones.

The Dutch Canal

A canal created right in the midst of the city’s lagoon, the Dutch canal is one of the most picturesque landmarks of Negombo. As per history, the canal is a creation of the Portuguese in the 17th century, after which the Dutch made some modifications and used it as a supply route during their administration. The canal is still being used. It runs across the town and is hundred kilometers long. A visitor can take a tour of the canal through a boat or a bicycle ride. To get the most of this Negombo attraction sign up for a canal or river tour which further enlightens various features of this very alluring attraction. Most of the tour guides speak English, so communication is not an obstacle.

The Muthurajawela Marsh

Known as the ‘Swamp of Royal Treasure’, Muthurajawela borders the Negombo Lagoon to the south and Kelani River to the north. The one and a half hour boat ride takes you along the Dutch Canal, through the marsh onto the lagoon. Along the way you will be able to capture images of water monitors, crocodiles, monkeys and a host of other fish, reptiles, birds and small mammals. The marsh houses a large variety of flora and fauna. About 192 flora and 209 fauna, excluding 102 species of birds have been discovered. It is also a residence for 40 different species of fish. The Muthurajawela marsh was declared sanctuary by the government in 1996 due to its vast biodiversity. Visitors are assisted by the Muthurajawela marsh centre. The centre educates people about the importance of Muthurajawela. The staff at Muthurajawela marsh centre is available every day except Monday; from 7.00 a.m to 6.00 p.m.  A boat ride service is provided for visitors to travel through the marsh and lagoon. The center offers well-trained guides. You will not only be able to travel on water, but even walk on the land and view the natural greenery. Early mornings or evenings are the best times to view, Muthurajawela. Late mornings and afternoons should be avoided due to the harsh tropical sun.

The Angurukaramulla Temple

Located east of the town centre (near Harishchandra College), the Angurukaramulla Temple, with its 6m-long reclining Buddha statue is worth seeing. Three-wheelers are the most popular mode of transportation. You are greeted by a very characteristic dragon face at the entrance, only to intrigue you further in the temple’s insights. The interiors are also notable of ancient murals. To make things further interesting, there is also a three-hundred-year-old library concealed in thick moss here. In case you are interested in the kings of Sri Lanka from a bygone era, you will get a lot of information about them at this temple.

St. Mary’s Church

St. Mary’s Church is one of the larger cathedrals in Sri Lanka. Considering that the majority of the town’s population is Roman Catholic it comes as no surprise that it is quite an important building in the city. The architecture is majestic. The fading pink chamber of St Mary’s Church, in the town centre, has some astonishing religious ceiling paintings covering the nave. It is known as “Mahaweediya Palliya” in the Sinhala language and is quite easy to locate.

The Old Dutch Fort

This is a structure that goes back to Sri Lanka’s colonial days when the nation was once under the rule of the Portuguese and then the Dutch. The city was encircled by an earth wall. Eventually , he landmass on which the Old Dutch Fort Gate was constructed was regularly washed by the sea. Close to the seafront near the lagoon mouth are the ruins of the old Dutch fort, which has a fine gateway inscribed with the date 1678. The Dutch Fort is now part of the local prison. You can easily walk from the Negombo bus station or hotel area to reach the fort.

Negombo Beach

Even though it doesn’t match up to the splendor of most Sri Lankan beaches, Negombo’s beach, which stretches north from the town right along the hotel strip is quite pleasant enough for a good stroll. The best time to visit this beach would be either early morning or evenings. If you visit in the mornings, you are likely to see some fishermen at work. While this is great sight to experience, it also makes for a brilliant photo opportunity. The beach is dotted with several hotels. You can rent a chair for a minimal fee.

The coolest Part of Sri Lanka .

Nuwara-Eliya is a city in the hill country of the Central Province, Sri Lanka with a picturesque landscape and temperate climate. It is at an altitude of 1,868 m (6,128 ft) and is considered to be the most important location for tea production in Sri Lanka. The city is overlooked by Pidurutalagala, the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka.

The city was founded by Samuel Baker, the discoverer of Lake Albert and the explorer of the Nile in 1846. Nuwara Eliya’s climate lent itself to becoming the prime sanctuary of the British civil servants and planters in Ceylon. Nuwara-Eliya, called Little England, was a hill country retreat where the British colonialists could immerse in their pastimes such as fox hunting, deer hunting, elephant hunting, polo, golf and cricket.

Many of the buildings retain features from the colonial period such as the Queen’s Cottage, General’s House, Grand Hotel, Hill Club, St Andrew’s Hotel and Town Post Office. New hotels are often built and furnished in the colonial style. Many private homes maintain their old English-style lawns and gardens.

Due to its highland location, Nuwara-Eliya has a subtropical highland climate, having no pronounced dry season, a monsoon-like cloudy season and with a mean annual temperature of 16 °C (61 °F). In the winter months, there can be frost at night, but it warms up rapidly during the day because of the high sun angle.

The town really comes alive in April for the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year. It is difficult to find accommodation as Sri Lankans holiday in the region during this period. Main attractions during April include motor and horse racing events. Parties are held nightly in the hotels, and the season culminates in the nine furlong (1811 m) Governor’s Cup at the Nuwara-Eliya Racecourse, Golf Tournaments at the Nuwara-Eliya Golf Club, and the flower show at the end of the month.

The town’s attractions include the golf course, trout streams, Victoria Park, and boating or fishing on Lake Gregory. Victoria Park is an attractive and well-used oasis. It is popular with birdwatchers at quieter times because of the good opportunities for seeing species, particularly the Indian blue robin, pied thrush or scaly thrush lurking in the denser undergrowth. The Kashmir flycatcher is another attractive bird species in the park.

Galway’s Land Bird Sanctuary, close to Lake Gregory, is an area of montane forest a few kilometers east of the town. Covering an area of 0.6 km2 it is home to many bird and mammal species endemic to Sri-Lanka, including wild boar and barking deer.

The city is a base for visits to Horton Plains National Park. This is a key wildlife area of open grassy woodland. Species found here include the leopard, sambar, and the endemic purple-faced langur. Endemic highland birds include the dull-blue flycatcher, Sri Lanka white-eye, and yellow-eared bulbul. The plains have a well-visited tourist attraction at World’s End — a sheer precipice with a 1050 m drop. The return walk passes the scenic Baker’s Falls. Early morning visits are best, both to see the wildlife and to view World’s End before mists close in during the later part of the morning.

One of the distinctive features of Nuwara-Eliya’s countryside is the widespread growing of vegetables, fruit and flowers usually associated with temperate Europe. This “Little England” is covered with terraces growing potatoes, carrots, leeks, and roses, interspersed with tea bushes on the steeper slopes.

The slow-growing tea bushes of this highland region produce some of the world’s finest orange pekoe tea. Several tea factories around Nuwara-Eliya offer guided tours and the opportunity to sample or purchase their products. Enjoying High-tea at the Nuwara-Eliya Grand hotel is a delightful way to experience the many charms of this place.

‘Lover’s Leap’ is a spectacular waterfall set among tea plantation a short walk from the town of Nuwara Eliya. It falls a height of 30m in a long cascading sheet of water. It is said that it is named after a young couple who decided to be bound together forever by jumping off the cliff to their demise.

A gravestone of Major Thomas William Rogers, (the Government Agent for Badulla District) is in the corner of the golf grounds. He is infamous for having shot, at the very lowest estimate 1,400 wild elephants.Folklore in Nuwara-Eliya says that every year his gravestone is struck by lightning for his great sin. This place is not open for the visitors.

Another place related to folklore is the Hindu temple called Seetha Kovil (Hanuman Kovil). It is found on the way to Badulla from Nuwara-Eliya before reaching the Hakgala Botanical Garden. The temple is in the village called Seetha Eliya. The area is related to the Ramayana story in Hinduism. Folklore says that the mighty king Ravana kidnapped princess Seeta who was the queen of Rama and hid her where the temple now is.

There is a church called the Holy Trinity Church on Church Road, which accommodate an old graveyard. Most of the gravestones have British names on them. The best way to get to Nuwara-Eliya is by train. The nearest station however is 8km in Nanu-Oya. As part of our tours we organise the train ride for you and bring your luggage by car

Herds of elephants and other exciting wildlife

Wasgamuwa is one of the protected areas where Sri Lankan Elephants can be seen in large herds. It is also one of the Important Bird Areas in Sri Lanka. The National Park’s annual daily temperature is 28 °C (82 °F) and has a dry zone climate. Rain is received during the north-eastern monsoon, from October to January. July–September is the dry season. Highest elevation of the National Park is Sudu Kanda (White mountain), which is 470 metres (1,540 ft) of height. The soil of the national park contains quartz and marble. The forests of Wasgamuwa represent Sri Lanka dry-zone dry evergreen forests. The park consists of primary, secondary, riverine forests and grasslands.

Ruins of Malagamuwa, Wilmitiya, Dasthota irrigation tanks and Kalinga Yoda Ela canal which are built by Parakramabahu I remain in the national park. In the past water was irrigated from the Minipe anicut left bank canal to Parakrama Samudra by Amban ganga which had run through Wasgamuwa.

Wasgamuwa National Park exhibits one of the highest biodiversity among the protected areas in Sri Lanka. More than 150 floral species have recorded from the park. Cryptocoryne walkeri and Munronia pumila are two plants with economic value. Reservoirs and riverine forests support large number of fauna species. The forest consists of several layers.

Wasgamuwa National Park is home to 23 species of mammals. The park is inhabited by a herd of 150 Sri Lankan elephants. Marsh elephant (Elephas maximus vil-aliya) roams in the Mahaweli river area. Both monkeys found in the park, purple-faced langur and toque macaque, are endemic to Sri Lanka. While water buffalo and Sri Lankan axis deer are common to observe, Sri Lanka leopard and sloth bear are rare. Small golden palm civet is another rare endemic mammal.

The number of bird species recorded from the park is 143. This includes 8 endemic species. Endemic red-faced malkoha is a resident bird in this national park. Sri Lanka junglefowl is another endemic bird inhabits the park. Lesser adjutant, yellow-fronted barbet, and Sri Lanka spurfowl are the species that visit the reservoirs and streams of the national park. Peafowl, painted stork, black-headed ibis and Eurasian spoonbill are the park’s other aquatic birds. Rare Sri Lanka frogmouth can be found here. Another rare species, chestnut-winged cuckoo, is seen near the Mahaweli river.

Endemic and endangeredFejervarya pulla is one of the eight species of amphibians of the park.  Of 17 reptile species recorded in the park, five species are endemic. Water monitor and mugger crocodile are common in the water bodies of the park. Skinks Lankascincusspp., lizards Calotes ceylonensis and Otocryptis wiegmanni, and serpent Chrysopelea taprobanica are the endangered reptile species. Endemic Garra ceylonensis and combtail are among the 17 fish species reside in the aquatic habitats of the park. Of the park’s 50 butterflies, eight species are endemic

A treasure trove that is also a temple

The Gangaramaya Temple is one of the most important temples in Colombo, Sri Lanka, being a mix of modern architecture and cultural essence. The temple’s architecture demonstrates an eclectic mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, and Chinese architecture. Although it may not be the best representation of a Sri Lankan Buddhist temple and despite the focus on business, the temple does hold a treasure trove and is ideal for a visit on a quick tour of Colombo.

This Buddhist temple includes several imposing buildings and is situated not far from the placid waters of Beira Lake on a plot of land that was originally a small hermitage on a piece of marshy land. It has the main features of a Vihara (temple), the Cetiya (Pagada) the Bodhi tree, the Vihara Mandiraya, the Seema malaka (assembly hall for monks) and the Relic Chamber. In addition, a museum, a library, a residential hall, a three storeyed Pirivena, educational halls and an alms hall are also on the premises. Most notable for tourists is the architecture of the Simamalaka Shrine, which was built with donations from a Muslim sponsor to the design of Geoffrey Bawa.

Today Gangaramaya serves not only as a place of Buddhist worship; it is also a centre of learning. The temple is involved in Buddhist welfare work including old peoples’ homes, a vocational school and an orphanage. The temple is uniquely attractive and tolerant to congregation members of many different religions

Take on these sacred heights and let the first light touch your soul

Adam’s Peak is a 2,243 m (7,359 ft) tall conical mountain located in central Sri Lanka. It is well known for the Sri Pada, i.e., “sacred footprint”, a 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in) rock formation near the summit, which in Buddhist tradition is held to be the footprint of the Buddha, in Hindu tradition that of Shiva and in Islamic and Christian tradition that of Adam, or that of St. Thomas.

The mountain is located in the southern reaches of the Central Highlands in the Ratnapura District and Nuwara Eliya district of the Sabaragamuwa Province and Central Province —lying about 40 km northeast of the city of Ratnapura and 32 km southwest of the city of Hatton. The surrounding region is largely forested hills, with no mountain of comparable size nearby. The region along the mountain is a wildlife reserve, housing many species varying from elephants to leopards, and including many endemic species. Adam’s Peak is important as a watershed. The districts to the south and the east of Adam’s Peak yield precious stones—emeralds, rubies and sapphires, for which the island has been famous, and which earned for its ancient name of Ratnadvipa

Access to the mountain is possible by 6 trails: Ratnapura-Palabaddala, Hatton-Nallathanni, Kuruwita-Erathna, Murraywatte, Mookuwatte and Malimboda. The Nallathanni & Palabaddala routes are most favored by those undertaking the climb, while the Kuruwita-Erathna trail is used less often; these trails are linked to major cities or town by bus, accounting for their popular use.

Adam’s Peak is revered as a holy site by Buddhists, Hindus, some Muslims and Christians. It has specific qualities that cause it to stand out and be noticed; including its dominant and outstanding profile, and the boulder at the peak that contains an indentation resembling a footprint.

Historic yet contemporary in experience

Galle Fort, in the Bay of Galle on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, was built first in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. It is a historical, archaeological and architectural heritage monument, which even after more than 423 years maintains a polished appearance, due to extensive reconstruction work done by Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka.

The fort has a colorful history, and today has a multi-ethnic and multi-religious population. The Sri Lankan government and many Dutch people who still own some of the properties inside the fort are looking at making this one of the modern wonders of the world. The heritage value of the fort has been recognized by the UNESCO and the site has been inscribed as a cultural heritage. The Galle Fort, also known as the Dutch Fort or the “Ramparts of Galle” withstood the Boxing Day tsunami which damaged part of coastal area Galle town. It has been since restored

Galle Fort is in Galle, which is located at the extreme southwest corner of the island, in the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, where the shoreline turns east towards Matara and Tangalle. The fort, like most of the forts in Sri Lanka, is built on a small rocky peninsula, belonging to the sea as much as to the land. As it exists today, it covers an area of 52 hectares (130 acres). More than half of the inhabitants inside the fort are Moor, with Sinhalese, Dutch, English, Portuguese and German settlers. More details regarding the history of the fort can be found at the visitor center and at the Dutch period museum inside the Fort.

Fall in love or be inspired by the legendary Geoffrey Bawa

The Lunuganga Estate was the country house of the renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. The estate had been used as a cinnamon estate during the Dutch era and then a rubber plantation under the British. In 1948, the small house in the estate was given on rent to the local tax collector. In 1949 newly qualified lawyer Geoffrey Bawa bought it from its owner intending to convert the estate bungalow into a weekend house and create a tropical version of a European renaissance garden.

The 6.1 ha (15 acres) property is located on the banks of the Dedduwa Lake, in Bentota. Bawa named the estate Lunuganga, which in Sinhala means Salt River. Recognising his lack of architectural knowledge Bawa returned to England to study architecture. After qualifying as an architect he returning to Ceylon in 1958 and joined the architectural practice of Edwards, Reid and Beggs. Bawa continued to develop the house and gardens at Lunuganga for forty years, until his death in May 2003. Bawa was cremated on the Cinnamon Hill and ashes buried there. The house and gardens contain many works from artists such as Donald Friend and Laki Senanayake as well as artifacts from Asia and Europe.

Since Bawa’s death in 2003, Lunuganga has been managed by a group of his close friends, who form the Lunuganga Trust. The gardens are now open to the public and the buildings on the estate are run as a seasonal country house hotel.

Let’s go back in time

Modern day Polonnaruwa is made of two parts; Kaduruwela area is the Polonnaruwa New Town and the other part of Polonnaruwa remains as the royal ancient city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa.

The second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated Chola invaders in 1070 to reunite the country once more under a local leader. The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage Site.

While Vijayabahu’s victory and shifting of Kingdoms to the more strategic Polonnaruwa is considered significant, the real “Hero of Polonnaruwa” of the history books is actually Parakramabahu I. It was his reign that is considered the Golden Age of Polonnaruwa. Trade and agriculture flourished under the patronage of the king, who was so adamant that no drop of water falling from the heavens was to be wasted and each was to be used toward the development of the land. Hence, irrigation systems that are far superior to those of the Anuradhapura Age were constructed during Parakramabahu’s reign – systems which to this day supply the water necessary for paddy cultivation during the scorching dry season in the east of the country. The greatest of these systems is the Parakrama Samudra or the Sea of Parakrama. The Kingdom of Polonnaruwa was completely self-sufficient during King Parakramabahu’s reign.

Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archaeological relic cities in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom’s first rulers. Its beauty was also used as a backdrop to filmed scenes for the Duran Duran music video Save a Prayer in 1982. Polonnaruwa is the second largest city in North Central Province, but it is known as one of the cleanest and more beautiful cities in the country.

Polonnaruwa is usually considered over Anuradhapura for day trips as most of its attractions are located within a smaller area. And it is best explored by bicycles. Our tours usually feature Polonnaruwa as a day trip from Sigiriya or Dambulla. The area also hosts a number of National parks so wildlife is plentiful. In fact the monkeys in the area were filmed for the critically acclaimed documentary, (Disney’s) Monkey Kingdom!

Key attractions in and around Polonnaruwa

  • Parakrama Samudraya (Lake)
  • Hatadage
  • Rankoth Vehera
  • Nissanka Latha Mandapaya
  • Gal Vihara
  • Shiva Devalaya
  • Kumara Pokuna
  • Watadage
  • Kiri Vehera
  • Gal Potha
  • Dalada Maluwa
  • Atadage
  • Demala Maha Seya
  • Pothugal Viharaya
  • Alahana Pirivena
  • Lankathilaka Vihara
  • Thivanka image house
  • Royal Palace
  • Bathing Pools

Untouched beaches for quiet reflection

Tangalle (also known as Tangalla) is a large town in Hambantota District, Southern Province, Sri Lanka. It is located 195 km (121 mi) south of Colombo and 35 km (22 mi) east of Matara. It has a mild climate, in comparison to the rest of the district, and sandy beaches. Also compared to beaches along the southern coast, the beaches in Tangalle and its surroundings are known to be quiet, relaxed and mostly uncrowded.

Tangalle is a regionally important fishing port, situated on one of the largest bays in Sri Lanka, which is protected from the ocean by an enclosing reef. It is a centre of tourism and a popular holiday destination on the south coast. In the town centre there is an old Dutch fort which is used as a prison today. The Dutch and subsequently the British used Tangalle as an important anchorage on the southern coast of the island. The Dutch Fort, Rest House and Court House are a few remaining examples of Dutch architecture in Tangalle.


The Mulkirigala Raja Maha Vihara is ( also known as Mulkirigala Rock Temple) 20 km (12 mi) north of the town. The temple is perched on a boulder approximately 200m (660 ft) high. According to ancient inscriptions carved on the rock, Mulkirigala dates back almost 2,000 years when it was a site of a Buddhist monastery. The temple complex consists of ancient murals, a recumbent Buddha statue, devalaya, and several cave temples all of which are found at different levels while ascending the peak of the rock. One of the caves houses a library in which, a most important discovery was made in 1826 by a British administrator, George Turnour, who found a number of olas (palm-leaf manuscripts) containing the key to translating the Mahavamsa, the ‘Great Chronicle of Sri Lanka’. Turnour’s discovery of the tika, or commentary, made it possible for the Mahavamsa to be translated from Pali first into English and then into Sinhala, this translation then enabled scholars to study the history of the island from 543BC to comparatively modern times.

The Parewella Natural Swimming Area, is located 0.9 km (0.56 mi) from Tangalle town center.

Hummanaya blowhole, is located 11.2 km (7.0 mi) north of the town in the fishing village of Kudawella. It is the only blowhole in Sri Lanka.

Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary is 24 km (15 miles) east of the town. The Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1938, originally with 2,500 hectares but was abolished in 1946 due to the opposition by local residents. It was once again declared a sanctuary in 1984 but with a considerably reduced area. The Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary is an area of coastal lagoons and mangroves, which is rich in marine and home to four nationally threatened birds: Indian Reef Heron (Egretta gularis); Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus); Black-capped Purple Kingfisher (Halcyon pileata); Sri Lankan Junglefowl (Gallus lafayettii), as well as other birdlife and reptiles, a large number of which are nationally and globally threatened.

Turtle Watch Rekawa is 10 km (6.2 mi) east of the town. At the beach you can watch five species of marine turtles: Green turtles, Loggerhead turtles, Leatherback turtles, Olive Ridley turtles and Hawksbill turtles laying their eggs in the sand nests at night. The Turtle Conservation Project that conducts a `turtle watch’ programme, which protects the nesting sites until the hatchlings return to the ocean.