The palm tree rope swing at Dalawella Beach near Unawatuna in Sri Lanka is an Instagram sensation. Just like that Kandy to Ella train shot, everyone has to have this one! We visited the South Coast during the off-season, having whole hotels to ourselves, but still found people queuing to get their picture on the swing.
But did you know there is more than one amazing palm tree rope swing in Sri Lanka? In fact there are so many it is beginning to rival Bali!
The Insta-famous swing was not actually our favourite, it's the busiest and most difficult to master, so we've listed a few alternatives for you.
The Palm Tree Rope Swings near Unawatuna
The palm tree rope swing at Dalawella Beach
The swing at Dalawella Beach is THE instagram swing in Sri Lanka. If you've seen one on social media, we're 99% sure it would have been at this beach (unless you're following us of course!). The swing is outside a small guesthouse (Dream Cabanas) and is attached midway up a palm tree that stretches out towards the beach.
The swing itself is the trickiest to master of all the ones we tried in Sri Lanka. It has a single foot loop on the bottom, and will require either climbing up a palm tree and launching yourself off, or getting a good push to get going. Once you start swinging, you'll quickly fly towards the Indian Ocean!
Joe mastered this pretty well but i actually found it impossible to stand up, no upper body strength will not get you far on this swing! If I included my photo in this post I'm pretty sure you'd be laughing for days : )
The swing at Dalawella Beach is the only one on this list which has an entry price and this is due to its popularity. They charge 500 rupees (just over $3 USD) per person and also sell drinks as well. We read that the swing is free if you buy a drink, but this wasn't the case for us or anyone we saw whilst we were there.
There were around eight other people here in the low season, I'm sure the number is a lot higher in the peak season. The whole of the south coast was dead quiet, but there were still people wanting their shot on this swing! There is no set time for how long you are allowed to swing, though no one seemed to go for too long as it does require a bit of effort!
When to go - You can go at any time of day, but it is pretty special at sunset. You can get those beautiful sunset colours from the right angle.
Getting there - Dalawella Beach is a five minute tuk-tuk ride from Unawatuna. You could walk, but with the humidity and distance, we wouldn't recommend it!
Go to the alley beside Dream Cabana and head to the beach. You'll see it once you get there.
Read More: Best things to do in Unawatuna
The Palm Tree Rope Swing at Mihiripenna Beach
For a much quieter experience in Unawatuna, head to Mihiripenna Beach. You'll need to cut through one of the guesthouses (bit awkward if you're not staying there, but they happily waved us through) and head to the eastern side of the beach.
You'll see a swing in front of a overgrown green patch of land. The setting is stunning with a golden beach, wild sea and palm trees in the distance.
Mihiripenna itself is a beautiful beach and we loved that you could still find quiet stretches of sand in a popular area like Unawatuna. In peak season, there are also stilt fishermen here you can photograph (although nowadays they are actors posing as stilt fishermen as opposed to the real deal!).
I loved this swing because it was easy to get on to and there were no crowds. You could swing for as long as you like and not worry about people waiting their turn. I imagine it's how the Dalawella Beach swing was before it got so famous.
When to go - You can go at any time to Mihiripenna beach as there are very few people who visit by comparison to Dalawella beach. We went in the afternoon, stayed for well over an hour and there wasn't another soul on the beach the whole time. It would be a good sunset spot.
Getting there - Mihiripenna beach is a short tuk-tuk ride from Unawatuna (around 10 minutes) and only a short distance from the swing at Dalawella beach so you can visit both easily in one afternoon.
Sri Lanka Must-Do: A Yala Safari
Where to stay in Unawatuna
Heaven By O
Heaven By O was one of our favourite hotels in Sri Lanka, combining incredible value and with a bit of style. The hotel is tucked away off the main street, meaning you get peace and quiet. The rooms are spotlessly clean, are beach style with a comfortable bed and a really good shower. We highly recommend staying here, the owners who ran it were lovely.
The palm tree rope swings at Dikwella Beach
The Dikwella Beach Swing
Another amazing swing in Sri Lanka is down on the coast in Dikwella. Towards the end of this huge stretch of beach, you'll find a really odd looking palm tree that is almost horizontal which has its own swing.
During sunset, there are few better places to be in the whole of Sri Lanka. The sun sets just behind the swing and if you get lucky with the weather, you'll have a view that is bathed in golden light.
On the way to the swing we passed children playing, locals having a game of cricket and a really relaxed vibe. When it got close to sunset everybody left and we sat watching the most gorgeous one of the trip all alone.
This was my second favourite swing, as again there were no other tourists and it was really relaxing. It has a proper seat so swinging is easy and comfortable and I'll admit to spending over an hour swinging back and forth in the breeze.
When to go - The swing at Dikwella beach is an all day destination, but we'd recommend sunset for the beautiful light.
Getting there - The swing at Dikwella Beach is just outside the Dikwella Beach Hotel on the far eastern side of the beach. We walked from the western side of the beach as we struggled to find another entry!
Read more: The best things to do in Mirissa & Dikwella
The palm tree rope swing at Mahi Mahi Restaurant, Dikwella Beach
Another lesser known swing is the one outside the Mahi Mahi Seafood Restaurant in Dikwella. It's the bay before the Dikwella beach swing, and you can walk between the two in around half an hour.
Set on a narrow stretch of beach, the swing is in another amazing setting, surrounded by palm trees and looking out to a wild stretch of ocean (or wild in the monsoon season anyway!). We visited in the late afternoon and a crowd of locals were playing on the swings, but no foreign tourists. There are actually two swings side by side if there is more than one of you.
Whilst we were there, plenty of locals invited us to go drinking with them in the bar next to the beach (and they'd clearly had quite a lot before meeting us). The swing is free, although we did buy drinks as we didn't want to abuse their hospitality.
When to go - You could go at any time of day, the sun sets behind the beach, so you won't be able to get it in your photo. Late afternoon or early morning always make for the nicest light.
Getting there - This swing is the easiest to get to of all four swings. Simply head to the Mahi Mahi Seafood Restaurant and walk through to the beach. We'd recommend buying a drink as a kind of entry fee.
Sri Lanka Must-Do: Best things to do in Ella
Where to stay in Dikwella
We loved the area around Hiriketiya Beach, so our advice would be to pick a hotel in this area. It's a long way from the main road and the area is really picturesque.
Budget - Seacoast Sanctuary Beach Hotel
Seacoast Sanctuary Beach Hotel is a great budget choice in Hiriketiya. It is so close to the beach that all you have to do is walk ten steps, open a gate and you're there!
The rooms are clean, comfortable and many have balconies that look out to the sea, meaning you can hear the sound of the waves. The bathroom was good with a powerful shower and the staff were really friendly.
Mid-range: Salt House
If you're looking for a mid-range option, then Salt is a great choice. It's a short walk from the beach, serves great breakfasts and dinners (the best western food of our trip) and even has a yoga studio. It is set within a secluded garden courtyard with its own swimming pool, making it really peaceful and relaxing.
Are you planning a trip to the South Coast of Sri Lanka? Had you heard of these alternate swings before? Let us know in the comments below!