White sandy beach stretches out over several kilometers along the coast, only a few guesthouses can be seen, and no more than a handful of people walk in the distance, hundreds of meters away from you when you enter the beach. The sea is crystal clear, the sun shines and palm trees curve over the sandy beach. It sure sounds like a piece of paradise! Or maybe not. It was close though.
When I was planning on our trip to Sri Lanka, it was clear that we would like to spend a few days on the beach, just relaxing on a perfect little isolated beach away from the crowds. Sri Lanka is famous for the paradise-like beaches and we were eager to experience the perfect lazy days at the beach ourselves. I spent a long time searching the perfect spot, one that was close to Galle, easy to reach from Colombo and one that offered just the perfect accommodation. Heading to Sri Lanka during the peak season and starting the preparations rather late meant that the best places were already fully booked. Despite that, I happened to come across a villa that was located in a place that got us both convinced that it would be just the perfect spot for us – Koggala beach.
Koggala Beach sounded perfect, even thought there was not that much information about the place available online. The beach was claimed to be the longest in Asia (which it surely is not), the images online showed a beautiful sandy beach lined with those curvy palm trees, no people and it had the perfect location. We both really liked what we saw online and decided to book the villa for four nights. Soon, I started dreaming of those lazy beach days ahead – this would be a perfect beach holiday spot for us!
Turned out, it wasn’t all that perfect. For sure the beach was beautiful and there were not that many people around. The water was crystal clear and it all looked very much like in the photos. But. There was a huge but – there was absolutely no place to stay in shade anywhere along the beach! The five-kilometer long beach is lined with a few palm trees and thick vegetation, but that all is far away from the shoreline, and mainly bushes that thick that you really do not want to spend time there.. The sun shined hot and bright and during the days we spent at Koggala beach and there were barely no clouds. On the first day, after walking the beach from end to end I started to feel the agony lifting its head and all I could think was how it all looked very much like paradise, but I still did not like it – was I even allowed to complain about anything, let alone the fact that there is no shade when I’ve travelled all the way to Sri Lanka from the northern Europe, just for the sunny and warm weather? Yes, even though I understood that this would seem really immature and stupid to complain about it, I just felt unhappy on that otherwise perfect beach, because of the lack of shade.
It all sounds foolish, I know, but with the +35c heat, direct and constant sunshine and air that was standing still, there was no way I could have survived on the beach for several hours. For sure, if we had stayed on one of the few guesthouses located on the beach, we would have not had the problem as they offered some beach chairs to their guests, but being fully booked, there really was no we for us to make use of those.
Afterwards, now that I’ve mentioned our little problem with the beach to others ho have visited Sri Lanka, I’ve discovered that I’ve not been the only one noticing this apparent lack of shade on the beaches, so for anyone considering to travel to Sri Lanka for a perfect beach holiday – be prepared or make sure your accommodation is by the beach and providing some beach chairs in the shade!