Thalpe Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Sri Lanka’s south coast and unlike any beach we’ve ever visited before. What makes Thalpe Beach so unique are the rectangular rock pools carved into the long-dead coral reef at the shoreline. Too perfect to be natural, the rock pools were supposedly cut out some 50 years ago by the local villagers and used to soak coconut husks, separating the coir (hairy coconut fibres). Now, Thalpe Beach is a tourist attraction, mostly visited by locals and adventurous tourists.
WHERE IS THALPE BEACH
Thalpe Beach is on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast, about 15 minutes from Unawatuna or 30 minutes from Weligama. It’s located right next to the popular tourist strip, Dalawella Beach, so it’s a great stop to add to your Dalawella Beach visit. We recommend renting a motorbike for around 1500 LKR/24 hours and exploring the coastline yourself, as this will give you more freedom than hiring a tuktuk driver, plus it’ll save you a lot of money.
THALPE BEACH ENTRANCE FEE
There’s no entrance fee to access the pools, however, on our first visit we were asked to pay 200 LKR to park our scooter. On our second visit, we parked just outside the parking lot and walked in, so we were not asked to pay anything. If you’re travelling on the cheap and want to save a dime there’s a little hack for you. You can bring some extra money for snacks and drinks sold in the parking lot.
BEST SRI LANKA TOUR PACKAGES
WHAT TO BRING
Prepare for your trip with our must-have travel essentials.
Waterproof backpack & phone case: Earth Pak 35L or 55L Heavy Duty Backpack, IPX8 Waterproof Phone Case Included (click for price)
Quick-dry microfiber travel towel: Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Travel Towel (click for price)
Insulated water bottle: Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle (click for price)
Snorkel, mask & fins: Cressi Adjustable Mask, Fin & Snorkel Set with Carry Bag (click for price)
If you’re interested in photography and/or videography this is the gear we can’t live without:
To see our complete camera gear read this post here.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT THALPE BEACH
Initially, we expected Thalpe Beach to be full of European tourists like just about every other beach in south Sri Lanka, so we were surprised to instead see crowds of local Sri Lankans enjoying the rock pools. To the left of the pools was a small sandy beach where we noticed some younger kids and their families, plus a handful of foreign tourists swimming. The water right in front of the sand was the calmest, but there aren’t many rectangular pools on this side.
Directly in front of the parking lot you’ll see the dozens of small rock pools, as well as a huge natural swimming pool area. With each wave that came crashing in, the pools would flood and recede again as the water would get sucked back out to sea. The occasional big wave would come in and catch people by surprise, so be mindful of the swell.
We first visited on a Sunday and were shocked by the number of people, so we returned again on a weekday and found just as many, if not more, people swimming at Thalpe Beach. If you can visit and get a secluded Insta-worthy pic, power to you, but we advise you to visit with the expectation that you’ll be sharing Thalpe Beach with plenty of other people looking to cool off from the sweltering Sri Lankan sun.