Dalawella Beach

Dalawella beach: 5 Fabulous reasons to visit

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Thanks to the infamous palm tree rope swing, Dalawella beach has become one of the main attractions in Unawatuna. As you probably guessed, the Instafamous Dalawella beach rope swing was at the top of my list of things to do when we decided that we would be visiting Sri Lanka back in January 2019. Be sure to check out our full 2 week Sri Lanka itinerary if you’re wondering where to go in Sri Lanka.

But there are so many other fabulous reasons to visit Dalawella beach. It’s not just about the tree rope swing. And it’s not because this is where I got engaged to the love of my life. Ok maybe it’s got a little to do with that. But Dalawella beach has a vibrant charm of its own. While the rope swing has made it a tourist hotspot, for the most part Dalawella beach feels private and peaceful.

Where is Dalawella beach?

As you’ve probably gathered, Dalawella beach is in Unawatuna – a beachside town in Southern Sri Lanka. We were in Sri Lanka for two weeks and Unawatuna was our favorite part of the whole trip. It’s quickly becoming one of Sri Lanka’s biggest tourist destinations. Many tourists like to spend their time in the Southern parts of Sri Lanka, mainly because the south boasts the most beautiful beaches in the country.

Only about a two hour drive down from the capital city of Colombo, Unawatuna is the perfect place to stay for a few days. It’s a small town and has some great shopping, trendy restaurants, and fun activities nearby. There are also some really great day trips that you can do from Unawatuna. We took the bus into Galle one of the days and, of course, spent some time exploring Galle fort. I wouldn’t recommend staying in Galle itself, but it is great for a day trip. Mirissa, another popular beach resort town is also fabulous and it’s only about a 40 minute bus ride away. We had so much fun at the Palm tree forest and secret beach of Mirissa.

But, when it comes to the Unawatuna beach – while it is quite nice – it’s very touristy and full of hawkers. There’s also no shortage of restaurant owners who will do just about anything to get you into their establishment for something to eat. If you’re looking for a little peace and quiet under the palm trees, Dalawella beach is the place to be.

Read Next: Here’s a 10 day Sri Lanka itinerary with everything you need to know about finding the best temples, cultural activities and more.

5 Fabulous reason to visit Dalawella beach

So before I go on anymore about why Dalawella beach Sri Lanka is so fabulous, here are some reasons that you definitely don’t want to miss out on a visit here.

Dalawella Beach

1. Far less crowded than Unawatuna beach

If you’re looking to escape the crowds then Dalawella beach is where you want to go. Unawatuna beach is great for swimming but it’s full of tourists and its always busy. The main section of Dalawella beach – in front of Wijaya beach bar – also gets rather busy. But it’s not half has hectic as Unawatuna beach.

Also, Dalawella beach stretches on for miles, and is separated by a few coves and bays. If you’re looking for some peace and quiet, you can walk a little further up the beach (just past the first cove), and there will be virtually nobody else in sight. You can’t swim in these areas though, which is why the first part of the beach is the most crowded. But, if you like the idea of feeling as though you’re just about the only people in paradise – you will love it!

When I say only people, I do mean people, because we came across the cutest little beach puppies further up the beach. Is there anything cuter than beach puppies?? Not in my eyes! They seemed to be resident pups – I think they lived at one of the beach houses. So they spend their days playing in the sand – What a life! P.s I nearly got my hair ripped out but it was totally worth it.

Dalawella Beach
Sri Lanka beach puppies

2. Dalawella Beach Swing

Of course, this list would not be complete if I didn’t mention the bucket list swing photo. My photo turned out nothing like those fabulous ones that I had seen and envisioned (sigh). But I had a lot of fun and it was so worth it.

The story behind the iconic palm tree swing photo is actually really cool. The original swing can be found outside a guesthouse called Dream Cabana. The guys here built the swing as something fun for themselves and it’s since evolved into one of the most talked about attractions in Sri Lanka. All it took was an epic shot from a few popular Instagrammers and Vloggers and it exploded on social media. Now it’s one of the must-do things in Sri Lanka.

In the matter of full disclosure, we never actually found the “original” Dalawella swing. Since the rise in popularity of the palm tree swing, just about every guesthouse, restaurant and backpackers along the Dalawella beach has put up a swing of their own. Originally, the Dream Cabana swing was free, but they have now all started charging between 200 and 500 rupees for a go. It’s really not much and it’s a lot of fun so you should definitely do it.

There are at least eight different swings along the Dalawella beach now. If you’re not concerned about the photo and just want to do it for fun, any of them will do. But, if you want to capture a good photo you will probably have to judge for yourself which one is best. Since we couldn’t find the original swing, I decided to just do it for fun. I still would have loved a great photo, but I settled for fun instead.

3. Accommodation

Prior to our trip we didn’t realize that Dalawella beach would be so much more appealing than Unawatuna beach. So I guess we got lucky in that we just happened to book an apartment that was in the Dalawella beach resort area. Since our trip I have read posts from so many travelers who say they would stay in Dalawella as opposed to the main Unawatuna beach area if they ever visit again.

Dalawella has a personality of its own and it shines through in all the establishments that surround the area. It’s laid back, authentic, and peaceful. Although it’s only about a two minute tuk tuk ride away from Unawatuna main beach, it feels like a different world. You can trade the madness of the main beach for pure peace and tranquility. This is one of the top Sri Lanka quiet beaches.

From backpackers to guesthouses, and hotels to cute little apartments, you can find all sorts of accommodation at Dalawella beach. Many of these place are actually on the beach. When we visited in February 2019 there was a new 5-star hotel going up on the beach. I’m not sure when it will be up and running, but it looks like it’s going to be a big hit.

Most of the time we book our accommodation through Airbnb. If you haven’t yet signed up on Airbnb you can follow my link here and get £33 off your first home booking, and £12 to use towards an experience worth £40 or more.

4. Restaurants and Establishments

We came across the cutest little family run restaurant about two properties down from our apartment. It’s called Jungle Restaurant and we ate either lunch or dinner here just about everyday during our stay. If you ever visit Unawatuna you have to check it out. It’s a fully family-run restaurant with the husband and wife in the kitchen and the son and daughter serving customers.

With the jungle-like setting, delicious food, and amazing hospitality, you really can’t go wrong here. They have fairy lights and lanterns set up in the garden which makes for a magical dinner setting. If you’re looking for traditional and tasty Sri Lankan cuisine you won’t be disappointed. Jungle restaurant was probably the most authentic dining experience we had over our entire trip.

There are plenty of other great Dalawella beach restaurants in the area as well. Wijaya resort is one of the more popular options, but we weren’t all that thrilled by it. The service wasn’t great and neither was the food selection. But everywhere else we went to was fabulous. I absolutely love enjoying a drink or a meal with the waves crashing in the background. And there’s no shortage of beach bars at Dalawella beach.

Sunset in Sri Lanka

5. The Sunset

We witnessed the most beautiful sunset that I’ve ever seen at Dalawella beach. We had sunset swims just about every night during our time in Unawatuna. It was so magical and breathtaking. The way the shimmering sun went down into the calm ocean on a clear summers night is one of the most awe-inspiring moments that I’ve ever experienced.

Believe it or not, I didn’t get any photos of the sunset that I’m talking about. On our first night at Dalawella beach, we arrived with just our swimming attire to have an evening swim. As soon as I stepped onto the beach and saw that view I regretted leaving the camera behind. Our apartment was about a 5 minute walk away but we decided that since we would still be there for a few more nights, we could take sunset photos on a different evening.

Honestly, it was a blessing in disguise. With only each other and no camera in hand we got to experience the magical Dalawella beach sunset with no distractions. No evening after that was as clear and beautiful. But in all honesty, I doubt a photo (especially with my level of photography skills) could have captured that sunset in all its beauty. It was definitely one of those moments that you have to experience for yourself. Even if you only go to Dalawella beach for the sunset, it will be worth it!

Tip: There are many others things to do in Unawatuna

Sunset at Dalawella beach

When to visit Dalawella beach

Anytime from October to April is a good time to visit anywhere in the Unawatuna area because the monsoon rains have passed and temperatures are fairly stable. But the absolute best time to visit is said to be between February and April, when calmer seas and lower rainfall make for the perfect weather to explore. We visited in February and had a wonderful time.

As for Sri Lanka Dalawella beach itself, the best time to visit is early-mid morning when the sun is still rising but isn’t to harsh. Or, of course, golden hour as the sunsets.

Sri Lanka Visa Requirements 

If you’re planning a trip to Sri Lanka and need help with visa information, I would suggest checking out iVisa.com. The visa process can be very time-consuming, not to mention confusing, and iVisa strive to make the whole process simpler for travellers by taking care of all the nitty gritty details.

Just follow my iVisa application link here and you can do a quick check to see what is required and proceed with an application if necessary.

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Dalawella Beach

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Maria
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This is such an inspiring post! I will be saving it for when I get to go to Sri Lanka. So far in Asia I’ve only been to Japan, but I dream of seeing paradises like these in the rest of the continent. That sunset photo you shared is incredible, so I can only imagine the one you’re referring to!

Zaneta P Baran
Guest

I am planning our trip to Sri Lanka and I will definitely put it on my list. This sunset looks amazing! The swing reminds me me swing on the beach in the Philippines but I couldn’t hold myself in proper and nice way to take picture haha

Elizabeth
Guest

So gorgeous! The swing, the hammock and the sunsets all look simply incredible!

Soujanya
Guest

I’ve been considering backpacking though Sri Lanka toward the end of this year. I’m really glad I came across this post and your other post detailing an itinerary. Thanks a lot 🙂

Anjali Wadhwa
Guest

I am glad to be reading about Dalawella beach since we are planning a trip to Sri Lanka and it really seems an incredible place far from all the crowd. The rope swing looks like a fun activity. Hopefully will be striking of that too from our itinerary. Thanks for sharing this hidden gem.

Anisa
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Anisa

I hadn’t heard of Dalawella Beach before but it looks amazing. You had me at the swing, and I will definitely stay for the sunset.

Bea
Guest

Dalawella Beach looks amazing! I love that is not crowded. I terribly dislike crowds so this would be a perfect beach for me. And the swings ar are a nice touch.

Rajlakshmi
Guest

Ahh so this is where that rope swing picture is taken. I think yours look pretty cool too. And I am glad you were able to enjoy a sunset without camera… Sometimes it’s good to have things just for your eyes. 😊 I like quiet beaches as well. If I ever plan a trip to Sri Lanka, this would be my choice too.

Meredith
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Meredith

I think you still got a great swing shot! Too funny that there are now so many swings that you don’t know which one is the original. Such a special place! Beaches perfectly framed by leaning palm trees will always have my heart. Thanks for the travel inspiration, as Dalawella Beach will absolutely be on our list when we visit Sri Lanka!

Rosemary
Guest

This is so beautiful to see such a stunning part of Sri Lanka, especially after the recent attacks. I love that Dalawella Beach is not crowded and you are free to play on those swings. Great sunset shot, which you captured really well. Hope to make it to Sri Lanka on my next Southeast Asia trip.

Madhu
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Madhu

Dalawella beach looks really stunning and ya that swing..I so wanna try it too. I am sure getting engaged in such a awesome place would have been a super romantic experience.

Brittany
Guest

That Beach looks incredible and how crazy that no one is there! I’d definitely love to chill out here and go for a swing!

Ketki
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Ketki

That beach swing looks so fun! I have not heard of Dalawella beach particularly but it looks so calm and peaceful. I woould love to curl up with a book here.

samantha
Guest

I love all these photos! You’re editing is wonderful and you’re of course beautiful!
Great post 🙂