Sri Lanka, Hambantota: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
Hambantota is the main town in Hambantota District which belongs to the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. The city was hit hard by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and now it is under a number of major development projects such as the construction of a new sea port and international airport. The town is a peaceful town and it has a dry landscape, colonial architecture, and great expanses of salt. The whole district is important for its richness of natural beauty and wildlife, also with its heritage sites including dagobas and viharas. The city is famous for its salt flats and hot arid zone climate. It is home to sandy beaches, Bunadala National Park, Yala National Park and the temples at Kataragama.
There are several ways to get in Hambantota. Firstly, the nearest airport to Hambantota is Bandaranaike International Airport which is the international airport of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is also getting another international airport in Hambantota and it is currently under construction. Once it is completed, travellers will be able to fly directly to the city. Secondly, there are no trains to Hambantota at the moment. Travellers can take a train from Colombo to Matara which the journey takes around 4 hours. From Matara, Hambantota can be reached via bus which the journey takes two hours. Next, There are public intercity buses that go to Hambantota and the journey will take around 8 hours from Colombo. Hiring a car is a better option for travellers. Hiring a car or a van for travelling will be much easier and more time-saving than using public transport.
It is recommended that a car or a cheaper van will be a much better option for travelling. It will be also time-saving and more convenient than using public transport.
Places to Visit
Hummanaya is located in a small coastal fishing village called Kudawella near Hambantota. It is the largest blow hole in Sri Lanka and the second largest of the six large blow holes in the world. Hummanaya is a natural fountain which happens as water from the sea rushes through a cave under the rock and pushes onward. The most spectacular time of the display of the blowhole is during the southwest monsoon, especially in the month of June. When the sea is active with strong winds and waves, the blowhole is known to shoot a white steam of water to a height of 25 meters.
Situlpawwa Temple is an old temple that used to be a well known Buddhist monastery. It is considered to be an important historical site for Buddhist teachings. It is a cave complex that the cave temple is 67 feet in height and 30 feet in length. The temple is believed to be a safe haven for the Arahants that occupied the temple during the 1st century. Arahants are the monks who achieved the highest level of wisdom like Lord Buddha. The temple is originally known as Cittalpabbata meaning ‘hil of the quiet mind’. The cave temple is also famous for the discovery of Brahmi script, ruins of different structure and fragments of paintings which can be seen at the image house.
Martello Tower is located a few meters south or the Hambantota Rest House. It was built by the British Empire during the late 18th century. The tower is about 25 in height and 40 feet in diameter with two stories.
Kumala National Park
It is formerly known as Yala East National Park. The park is renowned for its avifauna with its large flocks of migratory waterfowl and wading birds. One of the most important features of this park is the ‘Kumana Villu’ which is a 200 hectare natural swamp lake, fed by the ‘Kumbukkan Oya’ through a half mile long narrow channel. It is at this mangrove swamp that many birds nest in May and June. Kumana is also home to some of the mammals such as elephants and leopards.
Bundala National Park
Bundala National Park is not as famous as Yala and Wilpattu National Park but it has an undiscovered green haven of its town. It is home to a wide range of wildlife also to waterways, clear lagoons and sandbanks. There are many rare species in the park. There are around 200 species of birds found within the park. The ideal time to go bird watching is between December and March. Bundala National Park is also home to a small population of elephants. December is the best month to see the elephants.
Tangalle is a natural paradise. The beach is the best opportunity to play and relax. The scenic beach stretch expands for about 10 kilometres. Medaketiya Beach and Medilla Beach are located to the east from Tangalel Beach. It is also home to sea turtles which lay their eggs at nights. They can be seen at the beaches between the months of January and July.
Yala National Park
It is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. It is open to the public and mostly made from parkland and scrub jungle. It also contains beaches, lagoons, freshwater lakes, rivers. It is possible to spot leopards, elephants, sloth bears during a trip. There is an entrance fee which costs around Rs 3,700 for a day pass.
Where to Stay
Hotel Hambanthota Rest House
The hotel is set 10 km from Bundala Bird Sanctuary in Hambantota. The hotel welcomes guests with a restaurant and bar. The hotel has a barbecue and views of the sea. Guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant. Free private parking is available on site. Rooms come with a TV, kettle and a private bathroom. Free Wi-Fi is available on site. There is a 24 hour front desk at the property. Address: 12 Tower Hill Street, Hambantota, Sri Lanka.
The guest house is located 9 km from Bundala Bird Sanctuary and 9 km from Bundala National Park. The guest house has a barbecue and children’s playground and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant. Free private parking is available on site. There is a shared lounge, room service and hairdressers at the property. This guest house has water sports facilities and free use of bicycles is available. Address: No 63, Barrak Street, Hambantota, Sri Lanka.
Shangri-La’s Hambantota Resort and Spa
The resort overlooks the pristine southern coast of Sri Lanka. The resort is home to an 18 hole golf course, an expansive spa and a village that celebrates local Artisans. It also features state of the art fitness facilities, a dive centre and a 30 metre lap pool plus an additional freeform pool, tennis court and retail facilities. There is a 24 hour front desk at the resort. Guests can enjoy the spa with Chinese and ayurvedic treatments. The resort also features a variety of dishes. Address: Sittrakala Watta, Chithragala, Ambalantota, Hambantota, Sri Lanka.
Mahoora Tented Safari Camp
The safari camp is a 5 minute drive from Bundala National Park. Guests can enjoy local Sri Lankan and Continental meals at the outdoor dining area. Tents come with an outdoor living area, dining table and seating area. The en suite bathrooms feature hot water showers. Umbrellas and mosquito nets are included. This safari camp includes safari jeeps. The property can also arrange barbecues and night walks. Address: Bundala National Park, Hambantota, Sri Lanka.