Koggala Lake

The South

Next to the road, Koggala Lake is alive with birdlife and dotted with islands, one of which features a Buddhist temple that attracts many visitors on poya (full moon) days, another that contains an interesting cinnamon plantation and also an (overpriced and touristy) herb-garden island.

You can take a 90-minute boat tour of the lake and islands for about Rs 4000 in a four-passenger motor boat. Besides the main sights, you'll stop at a small island village and see a lot of birds (hawks, herons, egrets etc). Look for the 'Bird Island Boat Tours' sign just east of the 132km post.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The South attractions

1. Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Art Museum

0.51 MILES

This interesting museum includes the house where respected Sinhalese author Martin Wickramasinghe (1890–1976) was born (the traditional southern structure…

2. Kataluwa Purwarama Temple

0.72 MILES

Rarely crowded, this feels like the temple time forgot. Dating from the 13th century, it has some recently restored murals, including some large ones…

3. Handunugoda Tea Estate


This exquisite tea plantation in the hills above Koggala offers (free) highly informative tours of the estate. You'll sample and learn how they produce…

4. Yatagala Raja Maha Viharaya

5.06 MILES

Just 4km inland from Unawatuna, the Yatagala Raja Maha Viharaya is a quiet rock temple with a 9m reclining Buddha. The mural-covered walls are painted in…

5. Buddhist Temple

5.91 MILES

This small Buddhist temple at the west end of the beach has amazing bay views and also a vigilant monk ready to chase away anyone who is hoping to feign…

6. Bandrawatta Beach

6.28 MILES

This lovely natural cove beach is well away from the main highway, has sheltered swimming and also a surf break further offshore. Look out for stilt…

7. Rumassala Peace Pagoda

6.29 MILES

On the hillside west of Unawatuna, this impressive pagoda was built by Japanese Buddhist monks of the Mahayana sect in 2005, as part of their scheme to…

8. Jungle Beach

6.34 MILES

One of those 'secret' spots that everyone seems to knows about, Jungle Beach is a pretty bay just west of Unawatuna. There are a couple of slim-line sandy…