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Myth and reality, golden beaches of Sri Lanka

From the legendary waves of the east coast to the golden beaches of the southern regions, Sri Lanka’s idyllic shores are rapidly gaining the infamous reputation of being the ultimate paradise. With nothing more than a couple of names scribbled down on my map, I journeyed to areas once affected by the civil war and hopped around some of the roughest yet inspiring sceneries I have ever witnessed.

Trincomalee (or just Trinco)

 

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Fishing boats at Trinco beach

 

The recent war left deep scars on the faces of the people around here. If you can’t find your way around a pile of garbage and a series of beach shacks, then you are better off to the more organized and traveler-friendly beach area of Nilaveli. Locals are welcoming but it is easy to see how the deprivations and lack of general education have shaped the warlords of yesterday into impresarios of the moment.

The truth? If the authorities would reinforce proper garbage disposal, the beach would look much better than just a desolated landfill of trash. But I guess they don’t.

 

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Trinco beach

 

 

Arugam Bay

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Local canoes are called Oruwa

The ultimate surfers’ paradise. Yes, sort of. From afar Arugam has it all to be named one of the best waves of the world. This tiny village badly affected by the Tsunami in 2004 is now home to beachfront guesthouses, shacks and surfboards rentals. Expect no sea view café or bar while there and try to have your meals at the guesthouse you are staying because there are no restaurants worth a note around the village.

Best waves are found at Main Point but little ones can be surfed in the middle of the bay, perfect for beginners.

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Arugam beach

Tangalle

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Tangalle beach

Just a short drive away from Yala National Park, Tangalle beach is nothing more than a little bay with rugged coastline and big waves crashing against the massive rocks ashore. Long palm trees hovering across the bay make the scenery more dramatic and hillside villas with incredible sea views will have you dreaming summer days gazing at the ocean.

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Rocky beach front at Tangalle

Mirissa

 

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Mirissa beach

 

A beach where time stands still. Once a hippies rendezvous, Mirissa is now known as the weekend escape for expat community living in Colombo as well a generous bunch of French and Russian solo travelers looking for a local island affair. Male prostitution is becoming an issue but nobody seems to take it too seriously.

The laid-back feeling of an unpretentious beach holiday comes complete with a better range of accommodations. Guesthouses are well-kept and clean, steps away from the ocean and reasonably safe.

 

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The rock at Mirissa Beach

 

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