Matara is one of the three districts in the Southern province of Sri Lanka. The coastal region is lovely with nice beaches, especially Polhena and Tangalle. The University of Ruhunu and the Uyanwatte stadium, which is the biggest in the southern province is located here. This is also the hometown of the famous Sri Lankan cricketer, Sanath Jayasuriya and a village in this district has been named Sanath Jayasuriyagama (literally meaning Sanath Jayasuriya village).
Weligama is a beautiful coastal area and one can see lovely fishing boats that look quite funny with two long poles balancing them on either side as they bob sideways in the waters. Also, unique to this district is the stilt fishermen. Stilt fishing as the name suggests is fishing carried out by standing on stilts in the water.
Also off the coast of Weligama is Taprobane Island, the only private island in Sri Lanka and the villa on the island was originally built by Count de Mauny in the 19th century and has had many famous visitors to the island, including Somerset Maugham, stay there but is now owned by Geoffrey Dobbs, the founder of the annual Galle international literary festival. The property can be rented out and is about 2000 dollars a day.
Vevurukannala Buddha, constructed by a Buddhist society project, is the tallest standing Buddha in Sri Lanka. Though it is a more recent work, it is interesting for its story house and the Jathaka stories passageway. The story house beside the standing Buddha statue has the story of Buddha painted alongs its interior walls providing an opportunity for visitors to learn about the life of Buddha from his birth as Prince Siddhartha to his becoming Buddha. And, even more interesting is the passageway parallel to the standing statue that allows one to climb up to the top of the statue. Along the passageway are painted all the Jathaka stories, which is an ancient fictional (for the believer, it is the truth and not a fiction) series of chronicles about all the births of the Buddha, his evolution into Buddha.
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The Galle road is generally the busiest road in Sri Lanka hence travelling the road from Colombo to Matara, one will have to face the traffic.
There are chartered flights to Dickwella and Deccan aviation is one such company offering the expensive water taxi flights.
The inter-city train goes around the coast from Colombo to Matara and takes nearly 4 1/2 hours.
Hiring a car or a van or using your own vehicle is the best way to travel to Matara.
There are inter-city buses that depart frequently from Colombo to Matara.
Apart from the hotel restaurants which are pretty good, there are a few smaller cafes in town:
|Beach Inns||Beach Road, Madiha||GUESTHOUSE||86|
|The Retreat Madiha||Pubudu mawata||Guesthouse||-|
|Ravana Ridge||124/A, Beach Road, Polhena||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hilten Surf Hut||Matara Road Midigama||Apartment||-|
|Reef Edge||No 11 C, Beach Road Polhena||HOTEL||-|
Lalitha Hotel: This hotel is located close to the town area and is not ideal for a holiday rest but for an overnight stay, while passing through the town. The rooms have the basic facilities of air-conditioning and hot water as well as TV.
Polhena Reef Garden: A cosy establishment by the Polhena beach. Rooms are large with hot water and airconditioning but with no TV. Meals are nicely cooked here.
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