A tourist guide to Sri Lankan beaches - Mount Lavinia Beach (Colombo)
Sri Lankan Holiday Beaches - A guide for the first time tourist
I think I am very lucky to be able to live on this beautiful island which is sun and sand almost the year through. As an islander, I have had many an opportunity to travel to many of the best beaches around Sri Lanka. As a first time tourist to Sri Lanka, you might find it difficult to decide on the best places to visit. In this article, I introduce you to a stretch of beach called Mount Lavinia Beach which is located in Colombo. If your hotel is located within Colombo, then this is the beach for you to make your way to. Having said that, there are many more gorgeous beaches outside of Colombo and I highly recommend you to seek these out if you are traveling across Sri Lanka. I aim to introduce some of these in future posts. Read on and please feel free to drop me a note if you have any questions.
Other Tourist Guides:
A tourist guide to Mount Lavinia Beach - Sri Lanka (Colombo)
Sri Lankan holidays - Best beaches to visit
Introducing Mount Lavinia Beach in Colombo Sri Lanka
While Sri Lanka has many coastal areas that offer exceptional beach experiences, the best that you could find in Colombo is in Mount Lavinia. It is a strip of beach populated by several restaurants ranging from very basic budget style to the 5 star luxury experience that money can buy. Throw in a couple of Hotels into the mix and you get a strip of beach that can be a nice place to chill and enjoy the sun and sand while sipping your favourite drink and watching a glorious sunset.
Advice on Sellers /Hawkers
For the tourist, it must be said that like all beaches around the world, you may find some form of commercialization such as the occasional seller of beach wear or handicrafts, the palm reader, the snake charmer, etc. The golden rule is that if you are not interested, politely decline and walk away. If interested, you can usually bargain but it's always helpful if you have a Sri Lankan guide with you to get the best prices.
Hygiene and safety aspects
As for the beach itself, Sri Lanka being an Island will attract some form of drifting debris but for the 10 years that I have been coming here, it has never been a huge issue. Most or all of the restaurants clean up their beach areas on a daily basis and the water is clean enough to have a nice swim. Please note that it is important to ask your guide which areas are safe as there are currents in certain areas. It is best to be safe as in any sea. The good news is that there are no sharks or jelly fish.
As for the restaurant rundown, if you are on a budget holiday, then I recommend JoJos beach restaurant which will allow you to bring your alcohol from outside as long as you will order food from their restaurant. The food is very basic ranging mainly of 'bites" such as deviled beef, pork, fried fish and fried rice. The costs are low in comparison to the higher end restaurants such as Lavinia Breeze which will charge you premium prices but their dishes are of exceptional quality. Lavinia Breeze offers 5 star dining which is predominantly continental food such as Italian with some Chinese and Sri Lankan preparations.
You could also try the Golden Mile, the Steam Boat restaurant , Boat Haus Cafe and Mount Breeze Sawadee restaurant which are medium cost restaurants offering Chinese and Sri Lankan cuisine. One restaurant noteworthy of being mentioned is the Loon Tao Chinese restaurant. Pricing is fairly affordable and the food is of very good quality and a must to experience. All restaurants offer some form of alcohol from beer to assorted but keep in mind that serving hours are from 9 am to 2pm and then again from 5 pm to 9 pm. Alcohol is not served on religious holidays and Poya days.
-->See link section located at the end of this guide for individual restaurant web links.
Mount Lavinia Beach Restaurants - Recommended Restaurants - Mount LaviniaClick thumbnail to view full-size
Getting there and back
Travelling to Mount beach is easy. If you are in one of the main hotels located next to the Galle road, you could hop a bus straight down to Mount Lavinia. It should cost you a maximum of 25 Rupees by bus. Tell the conductor you want to get down near the"Lion Pub" Restaurant (which is on the opposite side of the road). You cant miss it because the entrance is shaped like a Lions head with the mouth open. Once you get down, you have two options. You could walk to the beach by asking directions from the police office who is generally stationed near the Lion Pub, or you could flag a Trishaw which has the "Meter Taxi" sign on it.
The Meter Taxi is better than a non metered taxi as you will be paying by the meter. It will cost you a maximum of 200 Rupees or less. Tell them you need to go to Mount Beach and give them the name of the restaurant. The taxi can go as far as the railway tracks and you will have to cross over to the beach. At this point you should see the row of restaurants and recognize the names. Just ask one of the security guards at any of the restaurants closest to you for directions to your restaurant.
Getting back can be a bit difficult as there may not be taxis near the beach and the ones that are there generally charge higher prices. Call 0117299299 or 0715800800 which are numbers to two budget meter taxi companies and order a taxi. Having said all this, Its much easier if you had your personal guide along with you.
Mount Lavinia Beach - Restaurant Links
I have put together the following links so that you can check out the individual restaurant websites for more information. Hope you find this usefull.
- Lavinia Breeze Restaurant
The Lavinia Breeze Seafood Restaurant is the quintessential dining experience by the beach. Comfortably nestled on the sandy beach of Mount Lavinia, the Lavinia Breeze takes pride in its gourmet seafood dishes, its service, and an ambiance that can b
- Steam Boat Restaurant
Steam Boat is open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week and offers a sensational range of Chinese and Mongolian cuisine. The Steam Boat Restaurant Complex offers normal dining, family restaurant, two reception halls, Conference and meeting facilities a
- Boat Haus Cafe (Haus Chandra Sea Food Restaurant)
The seafood is excellent and the little restaurant that sits on the beach provides a lovely beach experience. Sip a glass of wine while dining on your favorite seafood, be it prawns, crabs or lobster.
- Jojo's Restaurant
Jojo's is a very small restaurant with very basic services. However, they do offer you the option of having a drink on the beach (yes you can bring it with you) while you purchase any food items and chasers from them.
- The Golden Mile Restaurant
The Golden Mile Beach Restaurant is the latest concept of a seaside restaurant ideally located amidst swaying coconut palms overlooking the sprawling golden sandy beaches of Mount Lavinia like an oasis in the desert. Completely constructed out of so
- Mount Breeze Sawadee Restaurant
Sawadee Restaurants are well-known for seafood and delectable Eastern Shore favorites! Sawadee in the Hotel Mount Breeze is home to two spectacular restaurants. Each of the Sawadee in the Hotel Mount Breeze's two restaurants offers its own distinct r
- Loon Tau Chinese Restaurant
LOON TAO otherwise known as “Waves of Prosperity” - true to the theme of our Specialty Chinese Seafood Restaurant located in world famous Mount Lavinia Beach not too distant from the Ocean Waves… You could listen to the magical sounds of ocean waves
Google Maps - Sri Lanka
Mount Lavinia Beach Sri Lanka (Colombo)
Great Stuff on Amazon - Recommended reading from Amazon
I highly recommend the following books on Sri Lanka. It will give you a good sense of what you can expect as a first time visitor to the country.