The palm tree rope swing at Dalawella Beach in Sri Lanka literally went viral overnight and became a serious tourist hotspot thanks to social media! Many tourists to Sri Lanka now put it high on their list of things to do when visiting the country. Read on to discover how to find the palm tree rope swing, when to visit, what else there is to see in the nearby area and much more!
How to find the rope swing:
The famous palm tree rope swing is located on Dalawella Beach, in the south of Sri Lanka near Unawatuna (Sri Lanka’s most popular beach town). To get to Dalawella Beach from Colombo takes about 2 hours in a car or train.
To find the swing if you are coming from the road (Matara Road), look out for Salt Beach House. There is a turquoise sign for the beach house that is visible from the main road with an entrance to the beach in an alleyway just to the right of it. Go through the alley and you will find the rope swing directly in front of Dream Cabana Guesthouse. If you type ‘the palm rope swing‘ or ‘dream cabana swing‘ into Google maps it will give you the exact location.
The people who run Dream Cabana Guesthouse are so friendly – definitely sit and chat to them if you can! They actually made the swing for themselves just for some fun, little did they know it would turn into one of the most talked about spots in the country, become Insta famous and be on many people’s bucket list!
How much does the rope swing cost?
When I visited (February 2019) they suggested you to pay 500 rupees ($3USD) for the upkeep of the swing, and this will grant you unlimited swings. Not a bad price at all, plus you are helping the local community which is great. It always makes me so happy to see how social media can help transform the lives of local people when I am travelling!
What time of day is best to visit the rope swing?
Dalawella is a very popular and busy beach and the rope swing has now become a big tourist attraction, so if you want to visit when the beach is quiet you will need to be there in the early morning. When I visited just after sunrise the beach was almost deserted which was nice so I could swing to my heart’s content (or until my arms got too tired more like!). During the day and at sunset it gets really busy and you’ll most likely have to queue to get on the swing, but it is a really nice chilled out vibe here. Photos taken at any time of the day at Dalawella Beach come out really well, but I find the sunrise/sunset ones are extra dreamy as the sky is so beautiful!
How to get onto the rope swing?
To get on the swing is actually quite tricky if like me you don’t have much upper body strength. I got the man who was working at the guesthouse to hold the swing whilst I hoisted myself up on it, or alternatively you can climb onto the trunk of the tree and use that to swing off from once you have got your foot secured on the rope. There’s a little loop where you stick one foot – all the balance goes on this foot, and the other one is free to do whatever! Swinging out onto the Indian Ocean from the rope swing is such a cool feeling!
What else is there to see here?
The Ship Rock
Whilst the rope swing is the funnest thing to do on Dalawella Beach, make time to enjoy the rest of this idyllic beach and it’s beautiful low bending palm trees. Stroll to the left of the swing for a couple of minutes and you will find ‘The Ship Rock‘, although personally I think it looks like Pride Rock from The Lion King! This is another great photo spot, and whilst it is a bit tricky to climb up, it makes for an awesome picture!
Spot turtles and locals stilt fishing
There are also the stilts for ‘stilt fishing’ – the traditional way of fishing in Sri Lanka in which the locals would sit on a big stick a couple of metres above the water (so as not to disturb the fish or cause a big shadow) and wait to catch fish. Nowadays the fishermen don’t fish here, but for a small fee they can pose on the stilt for a picture if you wish. The sea is perfect for swimming in too, so be sure to have a splash in the water afterwards! You may even spot some turtles near the shore!
Visit nearby Unawatuna and Galle
Dalawella Beach is 2km down the road from Unawatuna, a loveable beach town in Sri Lanka which you have to have to check out! The lovely town of Galle is also only 20 minutes away and it is definitely worth it to spend half a day here exploring the colonial buildings, cute streets, artsy cafes and boutique shops – there are so many things to do in Galle! The fortified old city was founded by Portuguese colonists in the 16th Century and later expanded by the Dutch and has almost a European vibe to it which is so nice!!
Discovering the beautiful Colonial Old City of Galle