Things to do in Hambantota during Holidays
Hambantota is the capital town of its district, located in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. Known for its beautiful coastline, the town is developing fast with an aim to be a major urban hub of the country. With an international airport already in operation just 18 kms from Hambantota, the town is also in the process of constructing a sea port to be launched in the near future.
Choosing to come for a holiday in Hambantota is an amazing idea because there are many things you can enjoy in this area:
- Indulge in a unique environment of wildlife amongst the breathtaking ocean.
- Visit National Parks and explore the wildlife of Hambantota. Jeep Safaris are a common activity here.
- Explore Lankan culture by visiting Temples.
- Enjoy a peaceful evening walk around the Birds Park and expect to see a wide collection of birds from all over the world.
Best time to visit & Weather
The climate of Sri Lanka is tropical all year round due to its location being close to the equator. As a result, the country is affected mostly by two monsoons: Northeast and Southwest. The southwest monsoon usually strikes from May – September and this is the season that affects Hambantota with rainy days. However, if you still plan to travel during this season, you will most likely not be disappointed because the rain does not continue all day long and you will probably find a few days in between the monsoon where there is no rain at all. Sunshine is expected on most days, despite the monsoon season so you can still complete most of the items on your “things to do in Hambantota” list.
Apart from May – September, other months are absolutely perfect for visiting Hambantota. The northeast monsoon does not affect this region at all hence there is nothing to worry about there. Sunshine and holiday-perfect weather is guaranteed almost every day from November – April.
Getting Around Hambantota
Driving to Hambantota from Colombo is approximately 240kms and would take about 2-3 hours via the Southern expressway. Driving on the alternative Galle Road will take about 4-5 hours to reach Hambantota from Colombo.
If you are arriving at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake and want to drive straight to Hambantota from there, you would have to add another 40kms in terms of distance and one hour in terms of travel time (via highways).
An easier option would be to fly direct to Mattala Rajapakse International Airport for your holiday in Hambantota because this airport is located just 18kms from Hambantota.
As for getting around to complete your list of things to do in Hambantota, hiring a car is the most convenient option. Public transport such as buses and trains will not get you to the exact locations and will require a combination of transport modes.
Things to do in Hambantota
1. Temple Visits
- Vihara Maha Devi Temple, Kirinde
This is a Buddhist temple built at a height on the beach in memory of where the princess of Kelaniya was supposed to be brought ashore by the tsunami. The temple is built on top of rocks and it has a story house in which the inner circular walls are embedded with the story of Vihara Maha Devi and King Dutugemunu.
- Tissamaharama Temple
Tissamaharama Temple holds a lot of historical significance and is classified as one of the most important temples in the country. In addition to plenty of ruins that you can see in its vicinity, the temple is a beautiful sight at day time as well as with the night time lighting.
2. National Parks
- Yala National Park
An extremely popular wild life sanctuary, categorized as the second largest park in the Island is situated approximately 45kms from Hambantota town. Jeep safari’s and camping are common adventurous activities that the park has to offer. Due to the southwest monsoon, this park may be closed for a few months of the year so it is better to check before you plan your things to do in Hambantota.
- Bundala National Park
This park is along the eastern coast of the town and is a popular bird watching destination because it is home to several species of migratory birds. Lagoons, salterns and marshes in this park are able to give shelter to more than 20,000 birds at any given time. Elephants and other animals migrating from the neighbouring Yala National Park also reside here.
3. Hummanaya Blow Hole
This is the only discovered blowhole in Sri Lanka, and is the second largest out of six blowholes in the world. The southwest monsoon brings in spectacular displays of the Hummanaya blowhole, and this can be seen particularly in June. The outlet of the blowhole lies at a cliff 20 meters above sea level. The fountain explodes every 10-15 minutes as a result of water pressure build up and the spring can shoot up as high as 18 meters, depending on how strong the waves are.
4. Ruins from the British Empire
Mortello Tower is an acient tower built in the late 18th century, during the British rule. This tower was built as a replica of the Mortello Tower in Corsia, in defence of the coastal areas, when the Kandyan Empire was attacking. A two storied tower, 25 feet in height, 40 feet in diameter, and is situated close to a lighthouse, bungalow and gallows.
5. Turtle watching
You will come across a turtle watch activity on the rekawa beach (Tangalle – a town close to Hambantota). Because the main aim here is to protect the turtles, lights such as camera flashes are not allowed. Usually in the months between April – September, visit this beach at nights and you can see hawksbill turtles, green turtles and sometimes leatherback turtles laying eggs on the shores. The eggs are left undisturbed as a part of the turtle conservation project. You can take a tour to the visitor centre for better displays.
6. Kataragama/Kathirgamam annual festival
Pilgrims from several religious faiths visit the city of Kataragama, particularly in the month of July. ‘Pada Yatra’ is the event where pilgrims walk the distance from their district to the temple. This journey begins weeks and months in advance so that pilgrims are able to make it in time to this temple for their festival. Due to severe crowd during the festival, you could opt to visit this temple during non-festival days.
7. Botanic Gardens in Mirijjawila, Hambantota
Spread over 300 acres of land, this dry zone botanic gardens conserves trees and medical herbs. The exhibition of its unique bio diversity makes this garden a popular tourist attraction.
8. Scuba Diving – Tangalle
Approximately 50kms from Hambantota (an hour’s drive), in Tangalle, you will be entertained with a scuba diving activity in the glamorous ocean. This location is ideal for scuba diving due to its calm seas and high visibility for beautiful corals and a wide variety of sea creatures. In addition to that, this area remains relatively unexplored so the adventurous kind will be thrilled to discover several shipwrecks, coral tunnels and caves during your holiday in Hambantota!
Find out more about Best Places to Visit in Sri Lanka.
Where to stay in Hambantota
In Hambantota, you will find both mid-range and exclusive hotels for you to stay at. Most of the hotels are either located on the amazing beaches of Hambantota or have a beautiful view of the natural greenery that Hambantota has to offer. Browse around online and pick a suitable hotel based on your budget and preferences for your holidays in Hambantota.
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