Unawatuna: complete travel guide
Unawatuna consists of a small cozy street packed with fun hotspots. It is one of the most popular and therefore quite crowded beach destinations on the coast of Sri Lanka. Therefore, do not expect deserted beaches and undiscovered gems. But is it really that bad? Sometimes it’s secretly quite nice to sit down at a hip coffee shop and end the evening with drinks and live music. Moreover, here you will find the beautiful Jungle Beach and that alone is well worth a visit.
TIP! If you find Unawatuna really too busy, you can also book an overnight stay in Hikkaduwa, Matara or Hiriketiya, for example, and visit Unawatuna from here. These spots are slightly less touristy and still within fine distance of other nice beach destinations. Rent a scooter and travel inland and you’ll also discover a Sri Lanka as few people know it.
In this article about Unawatuna
- To do
- Travel time
- Practical information
- The nicest accommodations
- How do I get there?
- Our opinion
- You pay with the Sri Lankan rupee (250 rupees is about 1 euro)
- Train tickets and bus tickets can be arranged on site. This does not necessarily have to be done in advance and certainly not online. If you go by bus, you don’t pay until you get on.
- Download the app PickMe, the uber of Sri Lanka. Also to arrange TukTuks.
- Negotiating the price is very common in Sri Lanka. So do this too!
- For a Tuktuk ride, you pay about 100 – 300 rupees (about 1.50 max). This is for a ride of about 5 – 15 minutes.
- They drive LEFT in Sri Lanka. Don’t forget lol.
- At most restaurants, you pay an additional 10% service charge. It is then still customary to tip 5 – 10% (depending on the food and services). Sounds maybe a lot but on average a dinner with drinks costs less than 10 euros incl. service charges. So that one euro you can well spare ;p
- Want to visit a temple? Then keep your clothes in mind. VOor both men and women, legs and shoulders covered. Buy a nice sarong somewhere and make sure you always have it with you.
What to do in Unawatuna
A visit to Unawatuna is not complete until you’re with toes in the sand at Jungle Beach stat. Jungle Beach, as the name suggests, is found in a teeny tiny patch of jungle. From the main stand it is about a 30-minute walk to Jungle Beach, but it is also possible to do most of it by tuktuk (about 500 rp) and then it is only a 5-minute walk.
The bay is beautiful with countless palm trees, a pearly white beach and brilliant blue waters. Quite scarce in Sri Lanka anyway. Although it is no longer a hidden gem, it is a lot quieter than other beaches in Sri Lanka. An absolute must-visit for when in Unawatuna.
If you just want to walk onto the beach from your hotel, Unawatuna Beach is also a big tip. This is Unawatuna’s main beach and therefore immediately very popular. The beach is nice and wide and full of restaurants. It is the ideal place to plop down and enjoy the beach and the sun.
Although there is not a lot of surfing in Unawatuna itself, there are surf options plenty nearby. For example, you can surf perfectly in Weligama, Hikkaduwa or Hiriketiya. Not so experienced yet? No Worries, there are numerous surf schools where you can book a lesson. But you can also rent a board for an hour or 2 on almost any beach in Sri Lanka.
Visit the old fort Galle
Galle Fort is an old fort with unusual architecture. It was once occupied by Portuguese, British and the Dutch have also been here. This gives the town a special appearance. The old Fort Galle has remained almost untouched with the Tsunami so you can still find many beautiful old buildings. But not only for that reason, Galle is a must-Visit. The town has a lovely atmosphere, nice shopping, great places to eat and a wonderful view of the sea.
Visit Welligama or Mirissa
From Unawatuna, it is only a half-hour drive to popular Weligama and Mirissa. Both are known for its perfect surf conditions and numerous hotspots.
Rent a scooter
Want to escape the crowds for a while? Rent a scooter! This is the way to see more of Sri Lanka. Drive up along the coast or go inland and discover beautiful green landscapes and the most charming villages.
Transportation in Unawatuna
Unawatuna is not big so you can easily reach everything on foot. If you do want to see more of the area, you can hop into a tuktuk on any street corner. It is also possible to rent a scooter or even cruise around in your own tuktuk. This way you have even more freedom and discover a part of Sri Lanka that few tourists see. Definitely a fat tip!
Which budget do i need in Unawatuna?
Of course, how much Unawatuna costs depends on what type of traveler you are and the number of activities you have planned. We opted for a simple room and ate at both some trendy eateries and simple roti along the road.
We use a daily budget of about 60 -70 euros per day (2 pers) and stayed well below this in Unawatuna. We made a total of 77 euros in 2 days, which is a daily budget of 19.20 euros per person per day. With the current exchange rate (May 2022) even 12 euros p.p. per day.
|Sri Lankan rupee||Price Feb 2022||Price May 2022|
|229.73 = 1 euro||369 = 1 euro|
|Restaurant (64%)||11.340,00||€ 49,33||€ 30,73|
|Transportation (10%)||1.820,00||€ 7,90||€ 4,93|
|Accommodation (26%)||4.500,00||€ 19,55||€ 12,20|
|Total||17.660,00||€ 76,78||€ 47,86|
|Per day||8.830,00||€ 38,39||€ 23,93|
|4415||€ 19,20||€ 11,96|
Most of it – as you have come to expect from us by now – went out for beers and food. A total of 11,340 rupees, 64% of the entire budget. We opted for a hip slightly more expensive lunch at Skinny Toms Deli, a snack at the Roti Shop (+ lunch on day 2) and another small bite at Koha Surf Lounge. On the beach, we drank some more beers with papadums at One Love and ended the evening at Daffodil Restaurant.
We found a simple (unfortunately not very clean) accommodation in the middle of Unawatuna for 4500 rupees incl. breakfast. We chose to travel a lot by public transportation and only took a tuktuk to Jungle Beach once.
In Unawatuna we visited Jungle Beach which is free to visit. As a result, we did not have to incur expenses for activities and sightseeing. So a budget-friendly destination!
Tip! Download the app Travelspend! After trying quite a few travel budget apps, this is definitely the winner!
Practical information about Unawatuna
What are nice places to stay in Unwatuna?
How to get to Unawatuna?Unawatuna?
We drove from Hikkaduwa to Unawatuna. This is just a 60-minute bus ride and costs about $0.50 per person. If you want a little more comfort, you can also possibly rent an uber, pickme or tuktuk.
> From Colombo by cab (uber/pickme) about 25 – 50 euros and takes about 2 – 3 hours
> By bus from Colombo to Unawatuna costs 100 rp (€0.50) p.p and takes about 4 hours
It is also possible to travel by train from Colombo to Galle and catch a bus or tuktuk in Galle to Unawatuna. From Galle, it is about a 20-minute drive.