Koggala – Looking for the stilt fishermen

Have you heard about the Stilt Fishermen of Koggala? Yes, those guys posing and fishing on the beaches in Sri Lanka. Well, after reading the Lonely Planet Sri Lanka Guide, our dream was as well to find these men and take a photo about them. In reality though, it’s not that romantic anymore, as it sounds. As the locals realised the business opportunity and they are not really there to fish anymore. Some of them yes, and in high season you can find real fishermen, too. But out of the fishing season these fishermen are just there to pose for money, as they know that many tourists desire the famous pictures with the posing stilt fishermen. In this article we will explain how and where to find them, and besides that we also share with you what else to do in Koggala.

Top things to do in Koggala

Pose with the stilt fishermen

If you are searching for the stilt fishermen, you might ask locals directly, and most likely they will know what you mean and will try to help you. The usual answer is Mirissa or Koggala, or sometimes even around Galle. You will be able to see a lot of sticks all around these beaches, but you also need to go at the right part of the day to find any fishermen on them, otherwise what you will find is just this:

If you want to go for sure – your best location will be indeed Koggala. Also, if you want to find the fishermen, you need to get there during the day, ideally in the morning – definitely before lunch time. You might be lucky – as locals say – later during the day, around sunset as well. We haven’t seen any fishermen later during the day. Only in the morning hours / before noon.

Also, what you need to know is that they are not everywhere out of fishing season. They appear only at the most frequently visited points by tourists. So if you want to go for sure, look for these places:

Stilt Fisherman Viewing Point

Once we arrived to this point, all of the fishermen were out of the water, waiting in the shadow. Their leader came when he saw us, and explained the tradition nicely, also how the tradition works out of season. He also informed us that for his 4 fishermen we need to pay 2.000,- Rupee (4-5 EUR) and in exchange we can take as many pictures as we want. They were super friendly and nice, and indeed posing for us. And if we wanted to stay longer, for sure they would stay as long as we want.

Traditional Fishing Point

Here, since it was less fishermen and we arrived when they have almost finished the attraction for other tourists, we paid only 1.000,- Rupee – but still we could take as many pictures as we want. Of course, they wanted to ask for more, but you can negotiate with them.

Enjoy the most picturesque beaches of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has many beautiful beaches, indeed. But if you are looking for those ones that we can only see on postcards: where the ocean is indeed turquoise blue, where the sand is indeed golden, and where even the palm trees are growing in a way that they give you the perfect frame for your picture – go to Koggala!

Visit the Dondra Lighthouse

Dondra is just 38 km from Koggala. It is a settlement on the extreme southernmost tip of Sri Lanka, in the Indian Ocean near Matara, in the Southern Province. The Dondra Head Lighthouse, ruins of several Hindu shrines of Tenavaram and a Vihara (Buddhist temple) are located in the vicinity. In Dondra, just on the way to the lighthouse you can find many lovely bays where you can have a bath. You can spot here many locals as well enjoying their bath.

Take a tuk-tuk to Mirissa

The beach of Mirissa is only 20 km far from Koaggala. It is maybe the most well-known touristy beach in Sri Lanka. You can spot here the most tourists, and the most touristy services. It’s famous for excellent surfing conditions, restaurants, bars, and snorkeling. You can find many European standard bars and hotels here as well. The coastline is like in the paradise and you can find some natural swimming pools as well shaped out of the natural rocks of the ocean.

Mirissa’s Harbour is also worth the visit. You can see here many colourful boats, packed next to each other on a crazy big territory. It’s also the place where the whale watching boats are starting.

How to get to Koggala

By bus

National Transport operates a bus from Colombo to Koggala every couple of hours. It costs LKR 550 – 750 (2-3 EUR) and takes 4 hours approximately.

By taxi

Koggala is 139 km away from Colombo, the country’s commercial capital where your journey begins. The quickest way to get from Colombo to Koggala is to take a taxi which takes approximately 1 hour 45 minutes.

By tuk-tuk

If you are moving around with your tuk-tuk, you need to know that the road conditions are ideal, and you won’t have any problem even if you came from Galle or Tangalle directions either.

Where to stay in Koggala

If you are looking for these beach views, go to K&K Beach Galle Hotel. You can rent rooms there of course, of you can just get a daily pass to enjoy their facilities, pool, cocktails, so on, while you can take thousands of amazing pictures at their coast.

If you are looking for more options in Koggala, you will see that there are many great resorts here around. Just take a look at the below map!

Best beaches around Koggala

If you are looking for more beaches around Koggala or overall in Sri Lanka, don’t miss our article about the most amazing beaches in the country. Sri Lanka’s beaches are well known for their idyllic scenery and excellent surfing conditions. From east to west, every beach has its own unique character. But – depending on your preferences – you might find good or better options. Here we are listing our favourites, the 10 best beaches in Sri Lanka as per our taste. Enjoy & let us know if you had the chance to visit any of them!

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7 Replies to “Koggala – Looking for the stilt fishermen”

  1. salsaworldtraveler – I spend my time (and resources) pursuing two hobbies: travelling while accumulating frequent-flyer and hotel status, points and miles and Latin dancing. I'm more successful with the former though both are great fun. I am currently a Delta Diamond Medallion, American Airlines Executive Platinum, and United Silver. Hotel status includes Starwood Lifetime Platinum and SPG Ambassador, Marriott and Ritz Carlton Platinum. IHG Platinum and Hilton Gold I'm a licensed instrument-rated private pilot for single-engine land, fixed-wing aircraft although I have let my currency and medical certificate lapse. I fly about 400,000 butt-in-seat miles per year in economy, business and first class. All international first-class flights and most international business-class flights are courtesy of award tickets from ff miles from credit card points and bonuses, and (although hard to do) actual flying. This blog reports on aircraft, airlines, lounges, hotels, destinations, and Latin dancing events and venues. Comments and suggestions are welcome
    salsaworldtraveler says:

    They don’t have to worry about sharks.

  2. NattyTravels – Hi! I'm Natalie a solo traveller who is on a journey to travel to as many places as possible even if it means doing the whole thing alone. It was never a plan to travel alone, however I have found myself to be in this situation. It has now become my mission to encourage people to travel and live life to the full, regardless of the situation their in. Get inspired and follow me on this sometimes frightening but magical journey. You will frequently see links in my posts where I recommend some very useful cool items at my Amazon store https://www.amazon.co.uk/shop/nattytravels17
    NattyTravels says:

    I had never heard of the stilt fishermen of Koggala before reading this. Thanks for sharing, and the posing pictures were well worth the 1.000. -Rupee.

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