Sri Lanka is an island. The entire county is surrounded by beaches (for those non-geography buffs out there). If you have limited time in the country, choosing the right beach to soak in the rays and dip in the Indian Ocean is difficult. I've had many experiences where I hate a lot of places that people loooove, and vice versa, so I'm just going to tell you about my absolute favorite beach in Sri Lanka and why and let you decide if it's the one for you.
'nuff said? Jk jk jk - read on for all the deets.
So, let's let the cat out of the bag. My favorite place is Goyambokka Beach and here's why:
Where we stayed
The reason we loved this place so much had a lot to do with where we stayed. It was a little no frills cabin in the jungle that was a short 5 minute walk to the beach. The wonderful part about it was the beautiful family that owned the cabin and lived right next to it. It was a young couple, their two small children, and many extended family members rotating in and out throughout our stay. We didn't speak the same language, but communication isn't always verbal. They were so kind and loving and we ended up spending much of our days and nights hanging out with them (using improvised and unofficial sign language).
So much love from this family.
Peacocks would run through the yard, monkeys would put on a show jumping tree to tree in the morning, and their lovely chickens would scare Zay shitless on the daily. It's ok, his new buddies were always there to cheer him uo.
***At the time of writing this, the cabin where we stayed was no longer listed on Airbnb unfortunately, but they run this cabin as well which is directly on the beach. It might be tricky with a kid. You can always message Srimal and ask if the Eco Forest Lodge is still available. Here are the reviews for it.
If you are new to Airbnb, use this code to get $40 off your first trip!
I loved watching them together.
Zay just became a part of their family. He would wake up,
walk out our door, run inside their house and eat breakfast with them.
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Where we ate
Hands down, the best food we had in Sri Lanka.
I honestly don't even know how food can taste so good. Srimal, the owner of the cabin we stayed, also owned a restaurant right on the beach. If your mind is going to a fancy oceanside 5 star dining experience, jump to the complete opposite end of that spectrum.
Zay and the kids playing at the restaurant while we wait for our food
Searching for crabs with the restaurant in the background
Srimal would take the fish his father caught that morning to the ocean with a cutting board to clean and filet it.
Srimal's restaurant was rustic in it's realest form (not like a hipster bar in Brooklyn). It was 2 stories made of mud and straw. The candlelit kitchen was on the first floor and the most perfect view of the ocean with tables and chairs was the second floor.
Srimal's father would take out his small canoe every morning to catch fish. Whatever he caught would be what Srimal cooked that day. It wasn't just the freshness of the fish, but whatever he did with that fish was true talent that mere words could never do justice.
Not only was the food incredible but I loved the family aspect. All day long, aunts, cousins, sons, and daughters would be hanging out at the beach, helping to when needed, and just having fun. It was truly a beautiful place, so even if you don't stay at Srimal's family's cabin, definitely eat at their restaurant Think Club.
Where we chilled
A little known secret. Just up the path from the cabin we stayed is a gorgeous, almost untouched beach. A ridiculously expensive hotel is tucked back on the beach, so people think that it's privatly owned by the hotel, but au contraire.There's no such thing as a private beach in Sri Lanka; it's all for public use. So, enjoy one of the most beautiful and picturesque beaches on the planet on Amanwella beach.
This beach was perfection
The beach had small pools where Zay could play since the ocean was fierce in this area.
What was endearing
Were there big resorts and fancy hotels along the beaches? Yeah, of course. We're talking some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world and foreigners eat that shit up and try to make money off of it. But the beautiful thing I found was that locals owned the majority of restaurants on the beach. There was absolutely nothing fancy about them, but you are almost guaranteed a delicious local meal, a local experience, and friendly faces. Every morning we walked down to The Sea Breeze Garden and had a breakfast of string hoppers, dhal, and the best sombuca I've ever had. If you do decide to head there, tell her the day before so she can prepare the food ahead of time.
We almost exclusively give our money and use services that contribute directly to the local economy, and Goyambokka Beach and the surrounding area made it easy.
Zay was well entertained while we waited for our food
The restaurant had a homey feel
What we missed
I admit, we didn't do much around here except hang with the family, swim, enjoy the beach, and eat. If we weren't so set on spending every moment we possibly could doing those things before we had to go, we could have seen some cool things (no regrets). But if you do head there and want to see a little more, there are beautiful temples botanical gardens, lagoons, and bird sanctuaries that you can check out if you can pull yourself away.
And that's Goyombokka Beach and it's surrounding area. If you don't mind sacrificing some comforts for killer food and hospitality, this is your places. If that all sounded like the cup of tea (with 7 heaping teaspoons of sugar) you're looking for in a beach, then go. And please do me a favor and tell Srimal and his family that we miss them!