Sri Lanka has truly unparalleled natural beauty. Almost the entire western coast from Colombo down to Galle is one giant stretch of beach. You can pretty much stop anywhere and you’ll have the Indian Ocean creeping up on a pristine soft sandy beach with palm trees swaying in the wind. It’s really a paradise, particularly because it’s all so empty. One especially fantastic unique beach to visit in Sri Lanka is Jungle Beach, which is just a few kilometers from Galle. The beach is perfect for spending an entire day.
Getting to Jungle Beach, Sri Lanka
If you’re in Galle, the nearest large city, your best bet is to take a tuk tuk or Uber. It will cost you anywhere from 700-800 rupees. The ride takes at least 20 minutes and drops you off on the street above the beach, which you have to climb down through the forested area to get to. Since it’s well-known and popular, there are some vendors stands up at the top where you can get water, snacks and small souvenirs. Parking there is 150 rupees.
Once you arrive by car or tuk tuk, you can begin the hike down. The path is pretty clearly delineated and most of it is made up of stone steps that snake up and down the trees. The trees are thick enough that you don’t really see the beach until you’re basically on top of it. But when you get to this wonderful beachy paradise, you’ll have everything at your fingertips to allow you to stick around for hours.
You can also get here by taking a boat from Unawatuna Beach nearby. These tours typically also include snorkeling since the water is really clear and Jungle Beach is flanked on either side by coral reefs, the Coral Reef of Bonavista and the Unawatuna Coral Reef.
How to enjoy a day at Jungle Beach
Though some irresponsible visitors do leave trash, especially among the rocks and overgrowth, Jungle Beach is fairly clean. The sand is nice and soft, so you can throw a towel down and be super comfortable. The water is calm and warm. Since it’s a cove, you don’t get the turbulent ocean waves that you see along the coast. Even if you don’t want to go in the water, you can take a short walk from one end of the beach to the other along the shore and check out the rocks on either end.
The best part about Jungle Beach is that it conveniently has everything you could possibly need. Since the sandy beach is under the canopy of trees, you can easily find shade so you don’t burn. No beach umbrellas necessary, though sun block is always a good idea. As a bonus, sometimes monkeys are messing around in the trees above you. There are beach chairs available, and we were surprised to find no one charged us for them. I’m not sure if this is always the case though.
There is also a full-service restaurant and bar, which is basically a shack, but it makes delicious food so don’t snub your nose at it. You can buy drinks like water or cocktails, and a surprising amount of food including sandwiches, pasta, fried rice, and Sri Lankan dishes. Food and drink are available until close to sundown when they start to close up shop. The restaurant has some tables and chairs so you can get a change of scenery between lying in the sand and swimming.
You’ll also find a small changing area and a squat toilet, so you don’t have to scramble back up the path to find a bathroom. It’s not the most luxurious thing in the world, but it’s quaint and comfortable and perfectly relaxing.
I’m sure it gets crowded, especially during peak travel season, but we found it perfectly lovely and were even able to get chairs in the afternoon. It got a little busier closer to sundown as people came out to see the sunset, but by popular Southeast Asia beach standards, it was practically empty. Even if it’s a little out of your way, Jungle Beach is well worth the effort.