The southern tip of Sri Lanka has managed to avoid the historical conflicts that have marred the landscape throughout the generations. Whether it be Indian raiders, warring kingdoms, conflicting imperial interest, or Tamil uprisings, the south has seen almost none of this, leaving it an undisturbed Sinhalese landscape. Southern Sri Lanka is mainly known for its sun-drenched coastline, and sleepy villages that fill the gaps between resorts, yet at its heart is a traditional lifestyle of fishing, rice farming and coconut plantations.

The city of Galle is considered the front door to the south and its Dutch Colonial architecture still stands today, visible as the best preserved colonial city in all of Sri Lanka. Beyond Galle are some of the world’s most picturesque beaches, which until recent years has been somewhat neglected by the major tourist traps of the west. The sleepy towns and villages in the south make for a more relaxing trip than most are expecting as you make your way from Galle through Matara en route to ancient Tissamaharama in the east.

From Tissamaharama you can cycle to a number of Sri Lanka’s best national parks and wildlife reserves which all offer something unique; here you can camp amongst the natural environment and take tours deep into the wildlife habitats to see elephants, leopards, storks, monkeys, and a host of other interesting animals. Yala National Park lies 20 km from Tissamaharama and is Sri Lanka’s most popular park. Here you are almost guaranteed to spot endemic elephants and leopard amongst the wild landscape of the southeastern tip of Sri Lanka. For the bird watchers there are the Bundala wetlands, where the brackish coastal lagoons house greater flamingos, crocodiles, land monitors, and troops of grey langur monkeys.

The south is full of sand, sun, wildlife, and culture without the crowds found in most other areas. The towns are laid back and there is a noticeably slower pace in life, making the south of Sri Lanka the perfect destination for those looking to relax.

Best Seasons:Oct - Mar
Popular Locations:Yala National Park, Bundala Wetlands, Galle