Swinging Into Sunsets in Sri Lanka
Do you ever see a picture on Instagram from a top travel blogger and just think “wow I wish that was me?” Awhile back, I saw @doyoutravel posting images from Sri Lanka on a rope swing from a palm tree swinging over the blue ocean. Straight away I knew on my adventure to Sri Lanka I had to find this swing and try it out, not to be the same as him but just to feel what that buzz of swinging from a tree across the ocean would feel like. I did some research into where the tree was but could only find Unawatuna on his blog and other pages.
3 weeks into my trip, I arrived at Unawatuna and still in the back of my mind I wanted to find the tree so the hunt began. I headed to the main beach where I was met by a big beachfront with loads of cool bars but no sign of this swing. I spoke to a local who said he thought maybe it was at a place called Jungle Beach about a 20 minute walk away and through the jungle. I headed off and the excitement began to build. After quite a tough trek, I was left disappointed with no sign of the rope swing but a beautiful beach that backed onto the jungle,. Later that night and with the rope swing still in my head, I did some more digging online. I had a small breakthrough of a beach named Dalawella and it was only about a 5 minute drive in a tuk tuk.
The next day, I waited until about 5pm and went in search of the swing. I jumped into a tuk tuk and headed off to the beach. When I arrived, it was a long beach but broken up into many parts by rocks and small bays. To my left, I could see some palm trees overhanging the beach which looked to be the trees I wanted so I briskly walked to them. Passing a local on the way, I asked him “Is the rope swing this way?” His reply was not one I wanted and crushed my dreams of being Tarzan. “Rope swing is broken, it’s gone.” I couldn’t just walk away after all this so I still headed to the tree and tried to climb it (failing miserably).
Deep down, I still felt like this wasn’t the right tree; something just felt off and it didn’t look right. Another local walked past and I asked him if he knew about the swing. “Yes, the swing is 500m in the other direction.” My dream was back alive but the sun was slowly sliding down the sky and in my head, I wanted to swing into the sunset. With all the excitement back inside of me, I darted off in search, crossing rocks and small beach coves. It looked like I had gotten to the end of the beach. There was just a large group of rocks. I climbed over them and there it was, in all its beauty in the distance. The tree and rope swing I had been dreaming about for months and there was no one using it! I ran over like a 5-year-old child on Christmas Day.
A local guy named Pramod, who worked and lived in the family run hotel near the tree, showed me how to climb up and swing. I climbed up and my legs were shaking, it felt high. I looked out across the ocean and the sun was setting in front of my eyes. The sky was a beautiful orange colour. This was the moment I was looking forward to this whole time. I took the leap and there I was, flying like Tarzan through the air and over the ocean. As I swung backwards and forward, I looked at my surroundings and felt so alive. I had done it! I was living my dream I’d been having for months but this time it was real and 100% better than I ever could have imagined. I felt such a buzz. I repeated this process many times like a child going down a slide at a park until I couldn’t swing anymore.
As the sun finally started to fade, I drank a cold beer from Pearly Dream Cabanas with Pramod, his family and my friends. Pramod and his brother showed us their swinging skills, which put mine to shame. I went back to my hostel feeling so happy that I had found the swing and loved every minute of it. If you yourself want to be Tarzan and swing like him, then head here. The easiest way to find it is either stay at Pearly Dream Cabanas with the amazing family for around $50 a night. If you are staying in Unawatuna, grab a tuk tuk for no more than 250rps. Ask the driver to take you to the Pearly Dream Cabana. The swing is right in front of this beautiful place and I would highly recommend this experience!