Tangalle Beach is worth the trek to get there from Hambantota.
Head on down to Hambantota Beach and, once you're done being mesmerized by all the palm trees rising above it, choose your favorite one and sit down beneath it. Feel free to dip your toes in the water or even wade a bit, but be mindful of the rough surf.
Take a safari in Yala National Park for a chance to see an elephant.
Suspend your disbelief — Sri Lanka might be thousands of miles from Africa, but it's possible to go on safari here! Take a day tour to Yala National Park, where you have a chance for some face time with one of Sri Lanka's native elephants. Or, choose to boat or trek through Bundala National Park, where hundreds of migratory bird species can be found year-round.
Hire a taxi to take you on a short road trip westward and then back eastward along the southern Sri Lankan coast. Head all the way to Galle and Mirissa or simply over to Tangalle, which is less than an hour away by car — all three are among Sri Lanka's most gorgeous beaches. Enjoy the beautiful scenery and sink your toes into the sand, grab a surfboard and hit the legendary waves, or simply sit back and watch the entire scene play out.
Take advantage of Hambantota's location on the coast and enjoy traditional Sri Lankan curries made with seafood — creamy, spicy crab curry is especially famous, but curries made with shrimp and fish are also popular. Visit restaurants along the beach or inside any of the city's fine hotels, or grab a fresh bite at the Hambantota Fish Market.
Stop at Hambantota Fish Market for souvenir shopping (or just people-watching), even if you don't eat there. Shop for elephant trinkets carved out of shells from local coconuts, and pick up a few boxes of Sri Lanka-grown Ceylon tea to bring home and enjoy on a cozy night in. Then, head into the tourist shops inside hotels or at the visitor center in Yala National Park for postcards, magnets and other keepsakes to help you remember your trip.
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