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Tangalla – The Perfect Beach

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Wherever you are sitting right now, whether it is snowing or raining outside, close your eyes and picture yourself being somewhere else – in the most perfect place you can imagine. Do you see a white sandy beach that stretches out as long as your eyes can see, with soft turquoise water? If so, then what you are dreaming of has a name – Tangalla Beach! It is Sri Lanka’s answer to paradise! ♥

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The perfect medicine for wintertime blues, don`t you agree?! With its turquoise water, palm trees, and a long stretch of white soft sand, it is almost a cliche of what a tropical beach is supposed to look like.

We spent five lazy days here, dipping in the ocean, playing beach ball, and reading, and listening to music on the sand. The perfect place to go for some peace and quiet!  From Tangalla city, the white sands stretch for kilometers and kilometers, both northwest and southwest, with a series of smaller bays and beaches.

Tangalla was originally a small fishing village, and fishing is still the main income for many of the locals. Tangalla suffered grievously from the tsunami in 2004, and rebuilding has been very slow. The beaches are not exactly packed with tourists and are very peaceful.

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The sunsets are breathtaking. This could be the perfect beach if you ask me! The waves can be a bit rough, and the same goes for the currents, especially in the afternoon. So Tangalla Beach is not perfect for swimming. We were actually warned that swimming could be very dangerous.

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This small bay is one of the few recommended places to go swimming, with a sheltering reef that catches most of the big waves. It’s like a natural jacuzzi, lovely!

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We stayed at a really nice hotel called Serein Beach Hotel, which was brand new and opened in December 2013. Not bad waking up to this view from the bed!

The kilometer and kilometer of soft sand make it the ideal place to go running. Or just go for an afternoon walk.

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In between sunbathing and swimming, it`s nice with a coconut break at one of the small peaceful cafes/ restaurants along the beach.

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And did we take a “pose-in-the-sunset” picture? Yep, of course, we did, we took plenty. Here are two :).

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In the afternoon, the locals usually came to enjoy some beach time. They were all very friendly and were really interested in our camera. Some of them even wanted us to take a family portrait.

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Then, after a “hard” day at the beach, it is time to stroll home in the stunning sunset…..hasta la vista! We absolutely loved our time in Tangalla!

This place has the potential to explode with tourism, and Tangalla might be one of those places where we look back someday and goes “way back when…..”. So it was really nice to visit now before the masses might arrive.

This is the same beach where we had the pleasure of joining the rescue of a sea turtle. You can read more about that here.

Where To Stay In Tangalla

There are several hotels and B&Bs to choose from in Tangalla, some are beautifully located right at the beach. Below are some of the best accommodation options in Tangalla including the address and price, starting with the place we called home for 7 nights.

1. We stayed at: Serein Beach Hotel

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Me at the balcony in our room at Serein Beach Hotel

Read our review of the hotel HERE. We absolutely loved the Serein Beach Hotel! Do not think twice, this is the PERFECT place to stay at in Tangalle!

It is the tropical dream come true. It is a fairly new hotel, right by the beach with a beautiful garden. All rooms have a balcony that faces the ocean. They also just built a new lovely pool (2018)!

2. Turtle Bay Hotel

  • This also looks very nice, right by the beach, but it is more expensive than Serein Beach Hotel.
  • Address: Kalamatiya, Tangalle 82200, Sri Lanka
  • Price Range: From 125 us$
  • Click for latest prices

Travel Guides

We used the Lonely Planet`s Sri Lanka travel guide on our trip. You can get that and other great books by clicking on the pictures below which will take you to Amazon.com (affiliate links):


 


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Hover over the pictures below and press the green PIN IT button that pops up: 

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What is the best beach you have been to? This blog post is the first in our beach series – what do you think about our beach rating criteria? Do you miss any?  We`d love to hear your opinion in the comment area below! If you like this blog post and find it useful, please share and like it on social media! Thank you so much! 🙂

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Written by Maria Wulff Hauglann

Maria is a Norwegian travel nerd who has explored more than thirty countries on four continents. She holds a master's degree in Computer Science, as well as an MBA. In 2014 while on a year-long trip across South East- Asia, Maria co-founded the travel blog Nerd Nomads to help others get out and explore the world. In 2018 she left her day job permanently for a life of full-time travel. See our about page for more about Maria.

26 Comments

  1. Dear Maria,
    Your blog has been very helpful while travelling through Sri Lanka and we enjoyed reading it very much. So thank you for all your work!
    We do have to make a comment on your Tangalle blog. We booked at Moonstone Villas and it was a huge disappointment. The place on itself is lovely, yes, but definitely not located at the beach but at a very busy road. Heavy traffic all day and night! It was more like a motel. We had a room with some ocean view (the sea is on the other side of the road, but there’s not a good beach there). But when we sat on the porch we hardly could hear each other because of the buses and trucks speeding by, horn honking most of the time. I am not exaggerating. Same experience at the restaurant. Terrible.
    We booked 3 nights but stayed only two and that was really more than enough. We found it very awkward that this place gets a lot of good reviews on Tripadvisor while no one mentions the road and traffic. We are trying to find out if they pay people for reviews on TA.
    On day 2 in Tangalle we walked along the beach and found a nice spot in front of the ocean, Patini Bungalows, close to the Serein Hotel, where we spent a few good days!
    Our learning: read the reviews, but also check Google Earth ????. Or, when you’re not travelling in high season like we did: just go and see!
    Ciao! Marlies

    Reply
    • Hi Marlies,

      Thank you so much for the information about Moonstone Villas. We have not stayed at this hotel ourselves, but it was one of the places we considered booking when we were heading to Tangalle. Oh boy am I glad we chose Serein Hotel instead. 😉

      Thanks for the recommendation about Patini Bungalows. We loved Serein Hotel, the beach is perfect around this area of Tangalle. I totally agree, it`s best to just go to Tangalle and have a look at the different hotels yourself.

      Thanks for commenting Marlies!

      Cheers,
      Maria

      Reply
      • Hey, I would just like to come out in support of Moonstone. I am here right now and it is an oasis of well run calm. The chalets are beautiful, the pool is lovely and it is incredibly well run. In an area that does not have much swimmable water, having a drink by the pool is a great pleasure. The noise is absolutely not as bad as described above, and is mostly drowned out by sea and nature. The restaurant is really solid and the pizzas are freshly made. PS. As Madame nerdnomad described, it is all about the east side of the beach!

        Reply
        • Hi Emil,

          Thanks for commenting and describing your experience at Moonstone Villas. Not many hotels in Tangalle has a swimming pool, so that was the main reason why we considered staying there and added it to our recommendations.

          -Maria-

          Reply
    • Hi Jane,

      Unfortunately, hotel prices tend to fluctuate a lot. It depends on when you are going, the availability of the hotel etc. I do recommend checking prices at more booking sites, as well as the hotels own website.

      For instance, I just noticed that for a random date in July this hotel through Booking.com is much more expensive than through Agoda.com. Of course the result may be the opposite for another date.

      We will probably remove the exact dollar amounts from these posts since they change so rapidly.

      Hope you find a nice hotel, and I wish you a great trip! 🙂

      -Espen

      Reply
  2. Hi,
    Great post, making me wish I was back on the beach as I sit in Colombo airport waiting for my flight! I agree, Tangalle has a great beach. What time of the year were you there? It was exactly like that for us, deserted. After Kalkudah Beach, Tangalle was probably my favourite in Sri Lanka.

    Reply
    • Hi Nathan,

      Ah, I wish I was back on Tangalle beach too sitting here in Norway in wet and cold autumn weather.

      We were in Sri Lanka in February/ March. Had very nice weather.

      Thanks for the tip on Kalkudah Beach, it looks stunning. Will definitely check it out on our next trip to Sri Lanka.

      Happy travels!

      -Maria-

      Reply
  3. Hi Maria,
    Have you or any of your readers stayed at Trincomalee? We are visiting Sri Lanka in June July and I’ve read that beaches on the east coast are better at that time of year. Tangalle beach looks amazing but would the weather be bad?
    Would appreciate any feedback you have,thanks!
    Megan

    Reply
    • Hi Megan,

      We have unfortunately not been to Trincomalee yet, but I`ve heard that it`s great with stunning white sandy beaches! You are right, in June/July it is rainy season on the west and south coast of Sri Lanka, and it`s usually nice weather on the east coast. So Trincomalee is probably a better choice than Tangalla in June/July.

      Have a great trip to Sri Lanka!

      -Maria-

      Reply
  4. Hey Maria,

    It is great post about the Tangalla Beach. It is a great beach to have relax and have some fun with beach activities. Guess you have explored other things to do around Tangalla beach, such as turtle watching, a boat ride in the lagoon.

    Cheers,

    Re : Mehan’s comment.
    Trincomalee is a great place to explore, the Nilaveli Beach and Pigeon Island (marine national park) are popular among tourists. The Pigeon island is one of the best place for snorkeling. Also, FYI Tangalla gets rain during Sep-Dec 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Anthon,

      Thank you so much! We love Tangalla Beach, it is our favourite beach in Sri Lanka. Next time we plan to visit Trincomalee, it looks beautiful too.

      -Maria-

      Reply
  5. Sorry I’m a bit confused about the beach at Serein Beach Hotel. In most of the TripAdvisor reviews travellers say that they couldn’t swim in the beach there? You call the beach the best swimming beach in Tangalle? Please clarify what beach you think is the best swimming beach. Thanks, Mandy, Surfcoast Victoria, Australia

    Reply
    • Hi, Mandy

      And thanks for catching that! There was a very important “not” missing. It was supposed to read “So Tangalla Beach is NOT perfect for swimming. We were actually warned that swimming could be very dangerous.”

      There is a sheltered cove, forming a natural swimming pool about 10 minutes walk along the beach from Serein Beach Hotel. We use that a lot. Or you can take a 20 min tuk-tuk ride to for instance Goyambokka beach. I do think that in some ways Tangalle benefits from not being a great beach for swimming. If it was it, it would be much more developed.

      I hope you have a great trip to Sri Lanka!

      -Espen

      Reply
  6. Hi! And thank you for a great blogpost ?
    Where would you recomend to stay in Sri Lanka if we must choose one (maby to) beaches?

    We are now considering Tangalle and Bentota over Merissa and Unawatuna…

    Reply
  7. Hei Inger!

    Tusen hjertelig takk! Hmmm, høres ut som dere allerede har tatt en bra beslutning på å velge Tangalle og Bentota over Merissa og Unawatuna.

    Unawatuna og Merissa er veldig turistifisert med masse folk og mye liv og festing på kveldene. Stranda i Unawatuna er i tillegg ganske lita siden de etter tsunamien i full fart bygde hoteller og restauranter oppå selve stranda slik at mye av stranda dessverre er blitt borte. Men det kommer an på hva dere ønsker, Merissa og Weligama er bra for surfing f.eks.

    Vi likte veldig godt Bentota og Tangalle. Begge to er kjempelange kritthvite strender med superfin sand (som hvetemel :)) der man kan tusle langs stranda i timesvis. Havet er også rent og klart. Det er lite folk der slik at man slipper å ligge tett i tett med fremmede på stranda. På Tangalle beach kan man imidlertid ikke svømme siden det er veldig mye strøm og bølger der. Men i buktene er det naturlige små “svømmebasseng” der man kan plaske rundt og bade trygt.

    Håper dette hjalp litt. Jeg ville helt klart valgt Bentota og Tangalle hvis jeg var dere.

    Ha en superfin tur til Sri Lanka og kos dere masse på stranda!!! Og god jul! 🙂

    Hilsen Maria

    Reply
  8. Just spent a couple of nights at Moonstone Villas. Would not recommend it. The A/C didn’t work the first night, the bathroom smelt bad (like old pee), lots of dead insects around the sink. They only clean every 3 days. The place have changed owners in 2016/2017 (?) and the place seems less well run. The food was not good either. Moved to Serein Beach Hotel now and it looks lovely. Looking forward to a few nights here. Thank you for a great blog!!

    Reply
    • Hei Julie,

      Thank you so much for commenting and telling us about your experience of staying at the Moonstone Villas. Really appreciate it! We have not been there for a while as we always stay at our favorite hotel Serein Beach when we are Tangalle. 🙂 Based on your awful experience, we have now removed Moonstone Villas from the recommendation list on our blog.

      So happy to hear that you had a lovely stay at the Serein Beach Hotel.

      Er du norsk forresten? 🙂 Anyway, tusen takk!

      Cheers,
      Maria

      Reply
    • Hi Gale,

      That´s fantastic! Great to hear that you liked the Serein Beach Hotel too. It is our favorite hotel in Sri Lanka. Thanks for commenting!

      -Maria-

      Reply

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