Kabalana Beach, Everything You Need to Know

Are you thinking of exploring Kabalana Beach? Wondering what to expect, if there’s much to do, how crowded it gets, and if there’s a vibe? Don’t worry we’ve got the answers, welcome to our guide to Kabalana Beach, we hope you enjoy it.

Our memories of Kabalana Beach are always as sweet as the moment. The soft sand between our toes, a cool breeze over our skin, the fresh taste of king coconuts, the faint laughter of the local kids playing football, the lasting buzz after a few big waves, those long days of chilled nothingness, and the stunned silence as everyone watches an epic sunset. 

Sunset at Kabalana Beach

The memories are hard to forget, but let’s be real, the moments are always better.

Whenever we’re on one of our long trips to Sri Lanka, Kabalana Beach has got to be up there as one of our most visited locations. It always starts with a simple question, “What should we do today?”. And the answer is always the same, “Kabalana Beach?”. 

The thing is, there’s just something so simple about Kabalana Beach. Whether you’re looking for a pumping surf session, a chilled relaxed day, to meet some other travelers, or to find a nice spot for evening beers, Kabalana always fits the bill. 

If you’re still working out your travel plans or wondering if Kabalana is worth a visit, then look no further. Here’s everything you need to know about the beach, and why we think it’s a must-visit destination.

People walking down the beach with a misty background at Kabalana

Kabalana Beach at a glance

Kabalana Beach is located on the Sri Lankan South Coast in the small surf town of Ahanagama, and it’s definitely the most popular beach in town.

Despite it being the local hotspot, Kabalana still has some of those up-and-coming and partially undiscovered vibes – you won’t find this beach on many of the must-travel guides or top 10 beach articles, but luckily for you, we think this is one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka. If you visit, here’s what to expect. 

Two people hold hands with a young girl with the sun setting in the background at Kabalana beach

The good

  • Stunning beach – A long, golden sand beach framed by palm trees with one of the best views of sunsets in Ahangama, what more could you want?
  • Great vibes – Surfers on the breaks, local kids playing football, volleyball games, and all kinds of travelers. Kabalana always has great vibes.
  • Good surf – The Rock is one of Sri Lanka’s best waves and Kabalana has a fun beach break too. It’s great for advanced, intermediate, and beginner surfers.
  • Relaxing – Grab a sunbed, a seat in a makeshift bar, or find an empty piece of sand, Kabalana is perfect for a chilled day.

The bad

  • Crowds – Kabalana is one of the most popular spots in town and can sometimes get busy, especially towards the surf spots. 
  • Restaurants – Although a few good places have opened lately there’s still a lack of good choices near Kabalana.
A giant wave breaking at The Rock with people walking in the shallows at Kabalana Beach

The beach

Kabalana is a beautiful long, wide, golden sand beach that stretches along the the road and rock walls to the east of Ahangama.

It’s a stunning beach defined by its soft sand meandering around the many small headlands, hotels, and patches of palm trees on this part of the coast.

Two people walk along Kabalana beach with Mosvold Villa in the background

At one end of the beach is the giant Egyptian-themed Kabalana Hotel that sits against a reef with a big rock out to sea.

This is where the “The Rock” surf spot is located which has become famous as one of the biggest and best waves for surfing in Sri Lanka, almost as big as the giant sphinx heads you’ll see at the hotel… don’t worry, you’ll know what we mean when you visit.

A child plays in the sand at Kabalana beach whilst people sit on the sunlougers in the background

This end is the heart of the beach with many beach shacks and makeshift sunbeds dotted around, a few bars and restaurants upon the rock wall, and where most people come to hang out and enjoy the good vibes. 

The beach stretches 500 meters with many hotels on the shorefront and ends at the upmarket swanky Sandhya Hotel. Along the beach, you’ll find more shacks and sunbeds that you can rent for $2 a day and nice stretches of empty sand to find your own quiet space.

A girl smiles on one of the makeshift sun-beds at Kabalana beach

The beach at Kabalana is completely natural and will ebb and flow with the weather conditions and the time of year. Sometimes the sand is super soft and fluffy, other times it’s harder, and if you come in October or November there might not be a beach at all as the sands have temporarily moved in the Southern Monsoon.

If you want to see Kabalana in all its glory, it’s best to visit in the peak season between January and April when the sun often shines and the beach is as wide as it can be.

Soft white sand and sun beds at kabalana beach

The vibe

Kabalana is at the heart of Ahangama’s beach vibes where a great mix of surfers, laid-back travelers, family holiday-goers, and locals come to enjoy the best spot in town.

The beach always has a good social vibe and a buzz around it. It’s the kind of place where it’s easy to chat with other travellers, join a volleyball game, or play some football with the local kids.

A couple lies on the sand with people hanging out in the background at Kabalana beach

The vibe at Kabalana is intertwined with surf culture. Everywhere you look there will be beginners practicing popups, pros shredding The Rock, people having fun on the beach break, and obviously, a few whispers of surfers claiming slightly bigger waves than might have been.

Whether you want to join in or just watch the world go by it brings a nice vibe and a different kind of buzz to many of the other tourist hotspots along the coast.

A surfer carries two rented surfboards with the sun setting in the background at kabalana beach

Away from the energy and crowds, there are many pockets of almost nothingness and great places to find a quiet spot on the sand or to rent a sunbed and get away from everything. Here, in the midday heat time seems to slow down, it’s one of the best places to chill in Ahangama.

I have this strange condition where I find it almost impossible to nap in the daytime, but Kabalana is the only place in the world where that seems to change – it’s a special beach to me.

Two people lie on the sand chatting and being social at Kabalana Beach

As the evening draws close, Kabalana Beach is one of the best places in Ahangama to watch the sunset. The beach comes alive with many people strolling along the water’s edge and playing in the shallows to a soft pink glow.

Often this is one of the best places to come and chill with friends or sit in a bar to watch the surfer silhouettes as the sun drops below the horizon.

Lots of people standing on the shoreline of Kabalana beach with a pink sky at sunset

Things to do

Kabalana Beach is one of the best places in Ahangama to spend the entire day and if you visit you won’t be short of things to do. Here are a few recommendations to give you a better feel for what’s on offer.

Relax and chill

Kabalana Beach is perfect for those looking for a super chilled-out day. Find a sunbed or a patch of sand, kick back, and let the day pass by. It’s all about the easy life here – perfect for those who just want to zone out with a good book or to the sound of the waves.

A row of makeshift sun beds at Kabalana Beach

Hit the surf

The Rock is one of the top surf spots in Sri Lanka and is regarded by many as the best deep-reef A-frame on the island. If you’ve seen some pictures of big surf in Sri Lanka on social media, there is a good chance it was taken at this spot. So if you visit, you have to hit the surf.

Read more: The Rock Kabalana Surf Spot Guide

A surfer takes a big overhead wave at The Rock Kabalana

The Rock can get a little busy but there’s also a fun beach break with many peaks if you want your own space. If you need a board many locals rent them for $5 a session.

If you’re a beginner, Kabalana Beach is one of the best places to learn in Ahangama. The shallows have small waves and a nice sand bottom so it’s the perfect place to practice your popup and enjoy the ride. Lessons can be organised directly on the beach for $10-15.

Read more: Ahangama Surf Guide, Find The Secret Spots

Two tourists having a surf lesson on Kabalana Beach

Football with the locals

Every afternoon, like clockwork, the local kids play football on the beach after closing their school books and it’s never a private event. So if you fancy it, just flick off the flips flops and ask to join, they never say no.

Tourist playing football with the local kids on Kabalana Beach

Play volleyball

There are two Volleyball nets at Kabalana and it’s always an open invite. A few times a day several travellers will start a game and more and more people will keep joining until it’s definitely breaking Olympic-sized rules – it’s all good fun under the sun but it can get a little sweaty so after you might want to…

People playing volleyball on Kabalana Beach

Go for a swim

The ocean at Kabalana Beach is a nice shallow sandy bottom so it’s an easy place to go for a swim and cool off. There are currents but it’s still easy to sit and chill in the shallows. If you’re like me though it’s better to swim out back and try some body surfing in the larger breaking waves.

Sunset beers

There’s no better way to end the day at Kabalana Beach than a cool beer. There are not many bars but if you ask someone from a beach shack they’ll find you a nice cold Lion and we also like to go the The Rock Beach Bar to chill in their sunloungers and watch the stunning sunsets that are often on show.

a bright orange sky and people hanging out at Kabalana Beach at sunset

Where to eat and drink

If you start to feel a little hungry there are tonnes of great places to eat in the local area. We suggest avoiding the beachfront restaurants because the quality is low and the prices are high. A few of our favourite places within a 5-minute walk of the beach are:

Humous and Shakshuka served at Nuga House
  • East Falafel – Falafel pitas, shakshuka, and shawarmas from a native Israeli, what more could you want? Don’t forget to ask for their spicy sauce.
  • Veda Cafe – the best all-you-can-eat local curry spot with over 7+ different options that change daily for under $2. 
  • Nuga House – an amazing Israeli-inspired brunch spot with the best toasts and good humus
  • Big Mighty – the best burger and comfort food for a big post-surf feed
  • Trax – Set in some old jungle ruins these guys have an amazing Asian fusion menu – bibimbap, udon, and gyozas in Sri Lanka, who would have thought it?

If you want to get a quick snack on the beach you can’t go wrong with a good homemade roti. The locals in the shacks cook them fresh and they’re always really tasty. If you like spicy food a few of them use the super hot Sri Lankan chillis, it’s not to be missed.

Read more: 15 Best Restaurants in Ahangama

Where to stay near Kabalana Beach

Ahangama stretches 4km along the main road with many hotels claiming they are based in the town when really they are quite far out – so take care when booking. There are 3 distinct regions to stay in Ahangama:

  • Kabalana Beach – the beach and jungle part of the town – best for chilled vibes and beach life
  • Ahangama Town – where the hustle and bustle happens – best for the hipster cafes, parties, and being close to the shops (15-minute walk to Kabalana Beach)
  • Sion – a quieter stretch of hotels on the east side of town – best for luxury hotels and peaceful vacations (30-minute walk to Kabalana Beach)

Read more: where to stay in Ahangama and the top hotels

A map of Kabalana Beach compared to Ahangama and where to stay

In all of these areas you have the choice to stay beachfront, roadside, or in the jungle. The beachfront is amazing being able to wave check daily and be right in the action but comes with a higher cost, the roadside is cheaper but still close to the waves, and the jungle is where you get cheap stays or unique accomodation – and the opportunity to see monkeys!

If you’re going to make Kabalana Beach your regular hangout spot we recommend staying within walking distance, here are a few of our favourite places to stay.

Timeless Villa

Location: Beachfront

Price: $100-120 pn

Timeless Villa is without a doubt the best accommodation on the beach for a reasonable price and is one of our top recommendations in Ahangama. This 20-room hotel is beachfront on Kabalana and has stunning rooms with giant balconies, a pool, a restaurant, a nice chillout garden, and beachfront access.

The garden and sun loungers at Timeless Villa

What I loved about staying here was waking up early and stepping out onto the balcony to wave check every morning. It was perfect knowing whether I should rush to get out or have a few more minutes in bed… which normally resulted in heading straight to the waves.

Timeless Villa is a high-quality accommodation with giant rooms, great artwork on the walls, comfy beds, consistent internet, hot water, and a high level of service. Although it’s a bit more expensive than the other options, you won’t regret staying here. 

Book: See the latest prices

The bedrooms and balcony of Timeless Villa looking out to kabalana beach

Nuga House / Venus Villa

Location: Jungle (5 minutes to Kabalana Beach)

Price: $60-70

A few more of our favourite places to stay near Kabalana Beach are Nuga House and Venus Villa. These are two different hotels that are owned and run by the same people. Nuga House is a communal surf and yoga hotel with a nice restaurant and Venus Villa is a private collection of 8 rooms with a communal kitchen – so you can pick which vibe you fancy.

The pool and room at Venus Villa

These hotels are both based in the jungle so you can expect a slightly quieter and more relaxing stay. We love it because you’re guaranteed to see monkeys every morning as well as monitor lizards, peacocks, and birds. It’s a really unique vibe, almost like mixing the coastline with a safari.

The rooms are finished to a very high standard, cleaned daily, and both have a private pool for cooling off in the midday heat. If you’re looking for high-quality accommodation that’s still a 5-minute walk to the beach and slightly cheaper, you can’t go wrong with either Nuga House or Venus Villa.

Book (Nuga House): see latest prices

Book (Venus Villa): see latest prices  

The rooms and outside space at Nuga House

Tharanga Surfing Villa

Location: Beachfront

Price: $25-30 pn

If you’re looking for the best budget option on Kabalana Beach we highly suggest Tharanga Surfing Villa. This accommodation is beachfront but for only $25 a night!

We’ve stayed here multiple times and yes the rooms are basic but they still have aircon, a comfy bed, a balcony, a fridge, and breakfast included. But for the price, you really can’t beat their beautiful garden and beachfront access. There are not a lot of rooms in this hotel so make sure to book early if you want to get one.

Book: see latest prices

The garden looking out to Kabalana Beach at Tharanga Surfing Villa

Mellow Hostel

Location: Roadside (1 minute to the beach)

Price: $20-50 pn

If you’re looking for a great social vibe you cannot go wrong with Mellow Hostel. This is easily the best hostel in Ahangama with a mix of dorms and private rooms, comfy beds, as good as there can be privacy, and some nice hangout spaces to meet people.

Book: see latest prices

The front view of Mellow hostel in Ahangama

Kabalana Beach FAQs

When is the best time to visit

Ahangama is a year-round destination but does have peak times and different weather throughout the year. The best surf conditions are between November and April when the wind blows consistently offshore and the waves are glassy. The peak months are between January and March when the weather is most consistent. In the other months, you can still visit Kabalana Beach but it will be quiet, some places will be closed, and it will rain a lot more. 

A man walks a bike with bread on it at Kabalana beach

If you visit from September to November there might not be a beach because the sands move in the monsoons.

Are there more beaches near Kabalana

Absolutely! We think Kabalana Beach is one of six must-see beaches in the town. Whether you want to find secret little covers or popular sunset spots, long deserted beaches, or the perfect shoreline to swim, there are many beaches worth exploring. 

Read more: 6 Must-See Beaches in Ahangama

Sunset at Ahangama beach
Ahangama Beach, another great spot just down the road from Kabalana

Where is Kabalana Beach Located

Kabalana is located on the western side of Ahangama, a small surf town on the south coast of Sri Lanka.

Location: Kabalana Beach

What should I bring?

There are not many big shops in the local area near Kabalana so if you’re going to spend the day it’s best to bring everything you need. Make sure to bring suncream, some water, and a towel if you plan on swimming.

A girl sits on a surfboard with the sun setting behind her at Kabalana beach

Enjoy the guide?

We’re on a mission to create the best free travel advice for Sri Lanka. If you enjoyed our article, please support us.



Support Us