Koggala is a small beach town located approximately 139 kilometers south of Colombo. Koggala is bounded on one side by a reef and on the other by the Koggala Lagoon: a large coastal lake into which the numerous tributaries of the Koggala Oya( Koggala River) drain. Although it is constantly ignored and over shadowed by its more popular neighbour; Unawatuna, Koggala is a beautiful, unexplored town with one of the longest stretch of beach in the country and is definitely worth a visit!
Hence, if you planning a visit down south in Sri Lanka, Koggala should be on your bucket list.
Koggala is a very easily accessible town. There are several options that can be used:
- Southern Expressway Bus or Private Vehicle: You could take a Expressway bus from the Kottawa junction in Colombo, which would take you all the way to town of Galle. From there, you can take a Galle-Matara bus, and get down at Koggala Junction (Bus ticket would be about LKR20) or take a tuk from Galle which would cost you around LKR 300-400. You could even drive down in your own private vehicle.
- Galle Road Bus: You could take normal Colombo-Matara Bus number 02 from Colombo Fort. This bus runs on the Old Galle Road, which is longer (around 3-4 hours), has some traffic and would be a long journey. Nevertheless, you would get views of the sea.
- Train: You could take a train from Colombo Fort, and get down at Galle Station. There is a train in the morning (leaving Fort at 6.30am) and in the evening (leaving Fort at 3.30pm). This journey is quite fast, and would take around 3 hours.
Attractions/Things to do:
Martin Wickramasinge Folk Museum
Martin Wickramasinghe, known as the father of modern Sinhala Literature, was an honoured and well known Sri Lankan novelist. He was born on 29th May 1890 in Koggala. His works were influenced by the landscapes of the sea, lagoon studded with little islands, the flora and fauna and the changing patterns of life and culture of the people of the village. After this death, the Martin Wickramasinghe Trust transformed his
house into a Folk Museum. The Folk museum is an ideal place to get to know the author better, to understand a little of what Koggala and its people meant to him, and a little bit about Sri Lankan history, culture and customs and is a must visit attraction. The Museum is situated a few kilometers from Koggala town.
The Koggala Lagoon is situated near the Koggala Town and is embellished with eight, large ecologically rich islands and countless small ones. It is possible to see the lagoon, although it is advised not to stand on the bank due to crocodiles. Nevertheless, it is possible to hire a motor boat and travel across the lagoon (a 1 hour ride would cost LKR 3500), and visit Cinnamon Island, Bird Island and Madol Doova (Madol Island): the most popular Island which is author Martin Wickramasinghe, based his story on. The lagoon is lined with lush mangrove swamps of which 10 species are endemic to Sri Lanka, and numerous birds and wildlife can be spotted.
Sea Turtle Farm and Hatchery
Since its inception in 1986, the not-for-profit Sea Turtle Farm and Hatchery, which is located in Habaraduwa (2KM from Koggala Town), has released 500,000 sea turtles into the ocean. The team of 4 look after and breed 5 species of Sea Turtles, which have been sick or injured due to ships and fishing nets (On our visit, we found a disabled turtle who’s one flipper had been hit by a propeller), and release them into the ocean when they are ready. Visitors can see turtles who are kept in tanks, and help to feed them, as well. The entrance fee is LKR 500; the whole contribution goes into helping these turtles and the hatchery is open to the public from 8.30 am to 6.30pm. It is a truly unique experience!
Kataluva Puvarama Maha Viharaya
Dating back to the 13th century, Kataluva Puvarama Maha Viharaya is one of the most interesting temples located in South Sri Lanka. It is located about 5km from Koggala Town, towards Matara. It is well known for its Kandyan style paintings some of which date back 200 years. They depict the 500 previous lives of Lord Buddha. Another
interesting fact is that there are cameo style paintings of Queen Victoria and the Queen Mother in gratitude for ensuring that Buddhism was practiced during the era of British colonialism.
And finally, no coastal town tour is complete without a visit to the beach! Koggala has one of the longest stretch of beach which is absolutely breath-taking. Personally, having been to most of the major beaches on the Southern belt, I’ll happily say Koggala is the most beautiful; clear, million shades of blue sea, swaying palm trees and golden sand beaches and mostly isolated which makes it more enjoyable. End your trip with a dip in the sea and try to catch the sunset here. It’s gorgeous!
Here we are; How to spend 12 hours in Koggala! Hope this article convinces you to visit this gem of a town. Make memories and leave only leave your footprints behind!