On a beach in Sri Lanka, there was once a rope simply tied to a tree as a makeshift swing. It soon became a source of fun and entertainment for some locals. Someone took a picture of themselves on the swing with the beautiful Dalawella Beach in the background. The photo was posted on social media, and the most famous rope swing in the world was born.
Dalawella Beach is near Unawatuna; a two-hour train ride from Sri Lanka’s capital city Colombo. When you’re at the beach, to locate the swing, head on over to Dream Cabana guesthouse. The swing is on the sands directly in front of it.
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The family who owns the swing loves having visitors. They sell food and drinks while happily offering advice on what to do in the area. It costs about LKR500 (approximately USD2.80) for unlimited swings and the small fee goes towards the maintenance and upkeep of the swing. Some might see this as exploitation, although others understand that it’s not a public activity. Either way, it is the most famous rope swing in the world so it’s worth paying a couple of dollars for.
To use the swing, you have to climb up the tree, and then jump down while holding the rope. It can get a bit tricky, but once you’ve jumped off, you feel the immediate rush of flying through the air, reaching super high. Most visitors opt for pictures on the swing during sunset, but regardless of the time of day, the background scenery is equally impressive.
Besides the rope swing, Dalawella Beach is as famous as Sri Lanka’s other busy oceanfront destinations for its low-bending palm trees, soft sands, and calm water. The beach is also frequented by large turtles that come quite close to shore, and if you’re lucky, can sometimes be seen from the swing.
Take a short walk down Dalawella Beach and you’ll also come across the local fishermen stilt fishing. This is a traditional fishing method where the fishermen sit a few metres above the water, leaving smaller shadows than if they were closer, that in turn helps them catch some fish.
It’s easy and affordable to get around the south coast with a rented scooter – but only if you’re comfortable with driving a scooter in a foreign country. Alternatively, you can have a tuk-tuk (auto rickshaw) take you around.