The seaside town of Galle is 116 Km away from Colombo by road or rail, down the south co
ast of Sri Lanka.
Weligama is located at a distance of 143 km south of Colombo along the southern coastal belt of Sri Lanka.
Weligama can be reached by the main A2 Colombo-Galle-Matara motor way, the Southern Expressway as well as by Colombo-Matara southern Railway line.
Weligama town Sri Lanka
The Weligama bus station is in the centre of the town of Weligama, which is one block inland from the bay. Weligama railway station is another block inland from the bus station. Directly opposite the railway station is the small post office of the town. Close to the post office are a few local banks.
Weligama Beach Sri Lanka
Weligama is a popular tourist destination and hosts several boutique hotels. The name Weligama itself, in Sinhala, means `Sandy Village’ which is a direct reference to the sandy bay beach in the town. The loveliest stretch of the bay beach is around the island of Taprobane. Most often dozens of traditional colourful outrigger boats are seen pulled up following their night fishing expeditions.
Stilt fishermen in Weligama
Weligama beach is famous for its stilt fishermen. In chest-deep water on the beach, just a few meters off-shore, are the stilt fishermen perched on a cross bar fixed on a single pole planted into the sea-bed.
These fishermen, who are the poorest of the poor, spend hours with their lines cast out to the sea to catch small fish and sell them in return or use for their daily meals.
Leper King Statue
At the western end of the town, near the railway track, stands a 3 meter high rock carved statue of a regal figure. It was believed to be a statue of a king whose identity hasn’t been established even today. According to the legend, the statue depicts an eighth or ninth century provincial ruler who had revered from leprosy by drinking coconut milk for three months.
The other belief is that the statue depicts the Mahayana Bodhisatva, possibly Avalokitesvara. The carvings of meditating Buddhas in the tiara of the statue lend credence to the belief concerning the Bodhisatva.
Weligama Lace weaving
Along the beach road are the verandas of the houses where local ladies can be seen busy at turning out exquisite products of crochet and tatting lace: blouses, table clothes, table mats etc. Introduced by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Lace making has remained a traditional handicraft along the coastal stretch of Weligama. The trade of making lace flourishes at Weligama during the main tourist season which is from October to March.
From Weligama beach, a walk amidst the countryside reveals the tropical beauty of the southern villages of Sri Lanka: the river that runs through the forest, coconut plantations and rubber plantations bring in vivid landscapes. You will also come across rice fields that lead to a Buddhist temple.
Aggrabodhi Vihara at Weligama
The Aggrabodhi Vihara located about 1 Km from the Weligama rest house towards inland is an ancient temple site established in the 3 century BC. The present Aggrabodhi Vihara is a reconstruction of the ancient Buddhist temple which was destroyed by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century. The Sinhalese literary works of the 13th and 14th centuries had been narrated on Aggrabodhi Vihara Buddhist Temple revealing the importance of it.
Snake Farm at Weligama
14km from Weligama along the Akuressa Road is the popular Snake Farm, which has fifteen kinds of snakes on it. Among the snakes are enormous pythons. The visitors are allowed to handle snakes with the assistance of the caretakers.
Unawatuna is located 140 km south of Colombo along the Southern coastal belt of Sri Lanka, 5km south of the seaport of Galle.
Unawatuna can be reached by the Colombo-Galle (A2) main Motor road, the Southern Expressway as well as by the southern Railway line that presently runs from Colombo to Matara via Galle.
Unawatuna Beach Sri Lanka
Unawatuna beach is a picturesque semi circular bay beach that stretches no more than one kilometer. As the numerous other fine beaches in the south western and southern coast line of Sri Lanka, Unawatuna too is fringed by lush groves of coconut palm trees. However it has a rare geographical occurrence: on either end of the bay you can see headlands.
And on the headland to the northwest makes an exceptionally scenic and rare spectacle; a gleaming white great globe of a dagoba.
Turtles in Unawatuna
At Unawatuna , with a bit of luck the tourists may witness turtles laying eggs along the shore. Diving also affords the opportunity to enjoy the sight of these magnificent sea turtles swimming around in the blue waters of the Indian Ocean.
The Twin Reefs at Unawatuna
Protected by a double reef over the bay creates a natural pool that makes the bay safe for swimmers.
From the midway of the stretch the swimmers are able to reach the Rock island. The Galapiteala Reef and Napoleon Reef, offering multi level dives brings in opportunities to enjoy exceptional marine life: Napoleon Wrasse, Bat Fish, Golden Moray Eels and numerous other colourful species of fish can be found here.
Diving, Snorkelling and Surfing at Unawatuna
Besides swimming, the Unawatuna beach is also famous for snorkelling and surfing. The wrecks of sunken ships make the Unawatuna beach popular among scuba divers too. A boat ride of 20 to 30 minutes takes the diving enthusiasts to locations of wreck dives.
The wreck of “Rangoon”- the British steamer sunken 100 years ago, can be found lying upright with its masts intact. This is a popular diving site in Unawatuna . Within the same area is the “Tango” which also attracts many divers. The other location, a wreck of a cargo ship called “Lord Nelson” is about ten years old. Diving schools at Unawatuna are available offering services to diving enthusiasts: they assist, equip and guide tourists to engage in diving activities in Unawatuna .
Jungle Beach at Unawatuna
Jungle Beach, (4 km from Unawatuna ) is a small stretch of beach with the forest right behind it. As the name suggests, it has its share of wilderness. An ideal beach to enjoy some snorkelling, it can be accessed from the Unawatuna beach by Boat. A minor road too leads to the Jungle beach from Unawatuna .
Yatagala Rajamaha Viharaya at Unawatuna
The Yatagala Rajamaha Viharaya, one of the oldest rock temples of Sri Lanka can be reached from the Unawatuna -Hinatigala road. The rock temple was believed to have been built about 2300 years ago. The temple of which the walls are adorned with murals, houses a 9 meter long reclining Buddha statue.
Turtle Hatchery, Matara Road, Habaraduwa
A hatchery is located about 3 km south of Unawatuna . The hatchery conserves turtle eggs laid on the wide long beach by the Hawksbill, loggerhead and green turtles.
The palm fringed bay and picturesque coves of Tangalle are a natural treasure. This is a lazy town littered with gentle reminders of the Dutch days of the 18th century and beautiful villas looking out over the shimmering sands of Seenimodera. Located 195 kilometres form the beautiful capital of Colombo and 35km east of Matara, is a pleasant fishing port situated on one of the finest and largest bays in the island, which is protected from the ocean by an enclosing reef. You can arrive at this exquisite destination both by train and bus or hired transport within 4 to 5 hours. Exhibiting fine beaches which are good for swimming and more than reasonable for diving, Tangalle is a popular beach destination on the south coast. It is believed that the name is derived from ran-gala or golden rock, from a legend that tells of a time when a holy man once partook of a meal there, and the rock was turned to gold whilst further research also reveals that it means the “projecting rock”, because long ago the town was protected from the ocean by a long rocky slab that projected into the sea across the mouth of the bay. Tangalle has spread since those days, so that it now comprises not just one bay but a series of them. Approaching Tangalle from the west, you will encounter Goyambokka and Pallikkudawa, situated on a double bay south of the town.
Beyond the town and harbour are the larger bays, Medaketiya and Medilla. Medaketiya in particular has fine white sand, excellent swimming conditions, and is rarely crowded. The most popular day excursion from Tangalle is to the stunning rock temple of Mulkirigala, 20km to the north where after ascending a series of rock steps you will reach a few natural caves with numerous wall paintings and Buddha statues. One cave houses a library, in which a most important discovery was made in 1826 by a British administrator who found some long-unseen palm-leaf manuscripts containing the key to translating the Mahawamsa, the Great Chronicle of Sri Lanka.
Mulkirgala has a strenuous climb in some places while it is reasonably easy in most. It is well worth making it to the summit, for there are magnificent views of the surrounding countryside. What is certain is that Tangalle has for long been considered a good anchorage. The Dutch were the first Europeans to discover the maritime benefits of Tangalle and their influence can be seen in a few remaining examples of architecture, such as the Rest House, Court House and Fort. The Dutch Fort stands on a slope above the bay. Unfortunately it has undergone considerable alteration since it was turned into a jail in the mid 19th century. This fort differs from many others of the Dutch era since there are no massive ramparts. There are four main walls, which are 12 metres high, enclosing a space similar to a rhombus. The British too, used Tangalle as an anchorage. Furthermore, tea planters began to develop it as a resort, finding the clean white sand and deep blue water there the best antidote to life in the sometimes chilly and damp hills. The best months to visit this scenic town start from November through to April. Tangalle the land of white sand and basking sun is a place not to be missed when you visit the coastal South of Sri Lanka.
Mirissa is a small town on the south coast of Sri Lanka, located in the Matara District of the Southern Province. It is approximately 240 kilometres south of Colombo and is situated at an elevation of 4 metres above the sea level.
Kataragama a popular pilgrimage destination frequented by adherents of all religions in Sri Lanka.
The main shrine devoted to Skanda popularly described in eulogies as God having six faces and twelve arms whose assistance is sought for worldly gain. The history of the shrine dates back to 2 century BC. The annual procession held in July or August is the main event of the shrine with fire walkers and Kawadi dancers. Offering to the got are made at 4.30am 10.30am and 6.30pm daily.
Kataragama has a network of hotels, guest houses as well as free pilgrim rests.
19km inland from Tissamaharama lies the small & remote town of Kataragama. Kataragama is one of most popular & most sacred pilgrimages sites of Sri Lanka. Like Adam’s Peak, it attracts Sinhalese Buddhists as well as Hindu Tamils. The adored site is visited by Muslims & Christians too.
Kataragama is a small town with clean, tree lined roads with rows of stalls selling garlands & platters of fruit-coconut, mango watermelon.
The beach of Hikkaduwa is situated 98 km from Colombo towards the south of Sri Lanka. This fun coastal town, 14 km away from Galle was the first (1960’s) of Sri Lanka’s beautiful beaches to be discovered by tourists. Snorkelling and diving in the clear waters are a major past-time along this stretch and is the most environmentally friendly way to see the colourful fish that dart around. The coral sanctuary found along the coast of Hikkaduwa is a large shallow body of water enclosed by a reef, decorated with layers of multi coloured corals, and is home to countless numbers of vibrantly coloured fish. Off the beach there is a collection of small islets surrounded by beautiful coral formations. Many species of fish and large turtles are found here. There are more than four different shipwrecks for diving enthusiasts to explore along with dive shops offering PADI courses and equipment.
With plenty of beachfront accommodation and a reputation as the second best surf spot in Sri Lanka, the reason why so many visit Hikkaduwa is blatantly clear. The resort area has now engulfed two or three villages south of it, and is now a 4km strip of hotels, shops, bars, restaurants and guesthouses. The beaches are lovely and wide and swimming is safe here, though the currents are stronger when it comes to the south of Hikkaduwa. The impressive coral reef runs just offshore and is still populated by exotic fish and sea turtles. Glass bottomed boats are available for visitors wanting to admire the wonders of the deep while keeping their feet dry! After a short distance southwards from the centre of the reef, it diminishes and starts a wider sandy bottomed beach with good waves ideal for board surfing and body surfing.
You can always rent the necessary equipment needed for snorkelling and surfing from a number of places Hikkaduwa is an established tourist destination and the surfing there is quite well known.
Hikkaduwa Beach Sri Lanka
The area is not overcrowded but there are many tourists and locals during the peak season. Since its a coral reef, it is always advisable for travellers to be safe than sorry. Do not feel intimidated by the locals although there might be instances that you are hassled. There are many shops selling Masks, Gems, Jewellery, Batik, Antiques and etc. along with several Buddhist temples, all which add spice to life at Hikkaduwa.
The seaside town of Galle is 116 Km away from Colombo by road or rail, down the south coast of Sri Lanka. Both routes are picturesque, following the coastline closely for much of the way. You can also take the Southern Expressway if you need to reach the city by half the time but there is not much scenery to admire.
Today’s town has grown greatly and spreads into the surroundings but the Fort is the slowbeating heart of Galle‘s history. The walled city has stood since the early sixteenth century, through the Colonial periods of the Portuguese, Dutch and British and in our present times is proclaimed as an Archaeological Reserve and has been identified as a living World Heritage Site. The etymology of the name Galle is explained as probably an altered form of the Sinhalese word “gala”: a cattle fold or posting-place from which the Portuguese named it Point-de-Galle. The simpler and more popular theory is found in the similarity of the Sinhalese word: gala, for rock, which the Portuguese duplicated by adopting the Latin word: gallus, for rooster. They thus designed the coat-of-arms of the city as that of a rooster standing upon a rocky perch.
The Portuguese captured Galle from the Sinhala kings in 1587 and erected the first fortification, a single wall fronted by a moat which extended from the sea to the harbour.
The Dutch landed in 1640 with 12 ships and 2,000 men under the command of Wilhelm Jacobsz Coster who defeated the Portuguese after severe fighting and a four-day siege.
The Dutch later converted the Portuguese “fortalezza” into a single bastion which they named Zwart Bastion and built a formidable line of defence, ringing the walled town by ten bastions, which endure to this day. Akersloot Bastion is named after the birth-place of Coster, the Dutch commander who captured Galle. The name has been chiselled on a stone at the spot and also bears a date which, however, has no bearing on the date of erection of the Bastion. The grim old walls are a favourite promenade for Galle‘s citizens and its visitors alike.
Through the rolling streams of Time and Change, Galle still retains – as few other towns in Sri Lanka – an atmosphere of the past. The town was graced with considerable civic amenities and military features. Two hundred years ago a storm-water drainage system was introduced which prevented flooding in the Fort. It was so sophisticated as to have great brick-lined, underground drains, which were automatically flushed
twice a day by the tide. Despite recent face-lifts and new facades to many of the houses and the introduction of modern civic amenities like electricity, telephone systems, water and drainage services, the streets remain narrow and many are known by their original names such as Leyn-Baan street, Zeeberg street and Moderabaay street. A peep into the old houses reveals them to be spacious and airy, with large, ornamental doors and windows, pillared verandahs and cool inner courtyards and gardens.Share this tour
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