Unawatuna is the most popular beach town in Sri Lanka and for good reason – great beaches, buzzing nightlife, and lots of hipster cafes make this a place you might never want to leave! And while there are many tropical beaches you can visit from here, Jungle Beach is a hidden gem not many tourists know about just yet.
If you’re planning on visiting this secluded paradise, here’s everything you need to know before you go:
Jungle Beach is situated in the bay of Galle, overlooking Galle Fort, and consists of two small beaches separated by 100 meters of rocky shore. The first one is known as the Dutch Watering Point, and the second one is the proper Jungle Beach.
It is considered a great spot for snorkeling as the bay is protected from waves by a coral reef, but make sure to bring your own mask as there is almost no infrastructure in the area. Here you can spot schools of colorful fish, moray eels, crabs, triggerfish, and more!
How to Get To Jungle Beach
Located west of Unawatuna and nestled in a densely forested area, you can access Jungle Beach by a 30-minute walk from Unawatuna, by boat, or by car/tuk-tuk.
If you opt to walk, you can follow the map below (make sure to stop at the Japanese Pagoda!):
Take Yaddihemulla Road until you reach a junction, then turn right onto Jungle Beach Road and follow the signs to the beach. The whole way there should take around 30 minutes.
We highly recommend walking there but if you opt to go by car, you can park at Jungle Beach Car Park and go down to the beach from here. A tuk-tuk can also take you there and should cost around 500-1000r – check out our Sri Lanka Travel Cost – Budget Breakdown in 2023 for the latest updated transportation prices around the country.
Japanese Peace Pagoda
On top of the hill overlooking Jungle Beach, you’ll find the Japanese Peace Pagoda, which stands as a symbol of peace and purity and offers amazing views of the area! If you opt to hike to the beach, the Pagoda marks half the way there.
You don’t need to pay anything to visit the Pagoda, although locals are all around the entrance selling drinks and flower offerings. The flowers are not expensive so if you can afford them, it’s a nice way to support the local community.
Fun fact: In Buddhism and Hinduism, flowers represent generosity and show the beauty of enlightenment, and are often considered to be the noblest offering substance, with lots of benefits for the offerer.
Jungle Beach Tips:
- There used to be a little beach hut selling food and refreshments on the beach before the pandemic, but there was nothing there when we visited in 2022 so if you plan on spending the day here you should bring your own food.
- The best time to visit the beach is during the dry months (December to March). However, we visited it in July, and despite it being monsoon season we had good weather and the beach was virtually empty.
- The 30-minute walk to Jungle Beach is quite short but because of the hot humid weather, you can get dehydrated FAST – bring water with you!
- There are monkeys around the trail there so be aware of your belongings!