Weligama is a coastal Town located in Southern Sri Lanka. It is well-known for its scenic beaches, surfing spots, and vibrant culture. The town attracts both local and international tourists year-round. This travel guide aims to Offer a comprehensive overview of what you can expect in Weligama.
Weligama has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. It was a significant port and trading hub for spices and precious stones. The name "Weligama" itself means "Sandy Village," which reflects its long-standing relationship with the sea. Historical landmarks, like ancient Buddhist temples, are also a part of the town's rich tapestry.
The town spans an area of about 144 square kilometers and lies on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. The sea to its south offers an array of marine activities. Weligama is surrounded by smaller villages that contribute to its diverse landscape. The region generally experiences a tropical climate.
Things to do in Weligama
Weligama Beach is the highlight of Weligama. It is considered one of the most popular surfing beaches in the country. The beach has a long stretch of sand that allows for plenty of space to sunbathe and swim. Surf schools and rental shops line the beachfront, making it easy for those eager to ride the waves. For families, the shallow waters near the shore are suitable for children to play. Along the beach, you can find cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy local cuisine with a view of the sea. As the day winds down, the beach offers beautiful sunset views, making for a perfect end to your day.
Diving in Weligama Bay
Weligama Bay offers a rich marine environment that attracts divers from all over. With several diving centers in the area, options are available for both beginners and experienced divers. The underwater landscapes feature fascinating shipwrecks and vibrant coral gardens. The area is home to a variety of marine species, including colorful fish and sea turtles, enhancing the diving experience.
Situated just a few meters from Weligama Beach, Taprobane Island is accessible by wading through shallow water during low tide. It is most famous for its exclusive villa that once hosted notable figures. While the villa is private, visitors can still walk around the island and appreciate its unique flora. The island serves as a peaceful escape from the main beach area and offers excellent photographic opportunities.
Located near Weligama, Kushtaraja Gala also pronounced as Kustaraja Gala, is an ancient rock temple. The site is best known for its large statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, intricately carved into a boulder. It is a place of religious reverence and is often visited by locals and tourists. The serene atmosphere and beautiful carvings make it a worthwhile visit for anyone interested in Sri Lanka's rich cultural heritage.
Handunugoda Tea Estate
The Handunugoda Tea Estate is situated not far from the town center of Weligama. It specializes in 'virgin white tea,' a rare variety that is processed entirely by hand. You can take a guided tour of the estate to learn about the meticulous tea-making process, from leaf picking to the final brew. The estate also features a shop where you can purchase an array of freshly produced teas.
Devil's Rock is a small island known for its snorkeling opportunities. Located a short distance away from Weligama Beach, the island offers clear waters and abundant marine life, ideal for snorkeling adventures. It is also a quieter alternative to the more crowded snorkeling spots in the area.
When you're in Weligama, you're in for a culinary adventure that's as vibrant as the town itself. Seafood naturally takes the spotlight here. Expect to find everything from grilled fish to spicy prawn dishes, often just hours from the ocean.
Don't miss the classic Sri Lankan rice and curry, a flavorful combination that's a daily staple for locals.
If you're looking to grab something quick and easy, both hoppers and roti make for a satisfying snack.
The street food scene is also worth diving into, where you can pick up tasty prawn fritters or slices of tropical fruit as you explore.
And don't forget to try some "Thembili" (King Coconut water) to quench your thirst.
Where to Stay
Budget Hotels: For travelers on a budget, there are numerous hostels and guesthouses that offer basic amenities.
Mid-range Hotels: These hotels provide a comfortable stay with additional facilities like swimming pools and on-site restaurants.
Luxury Resorts: For those looking for a lavish experience, high-end resorts offer top-notch amenities, including private beaches.
Location and How to Get There
Weligama is around 165 km from Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo. The train ride to Weligama takes about 3 hours and offers scenic coastal views. For a quicker journey of 2 to 3 hours, car rentals are an option via the Southern Expressway.
Also, Weligama is near Galle, situated about 30 km away and reachable within a 50-minute drive.
Best Time to Visit
The ideal time to visit Weligama is from November to April. This time period offers the best weather conditions for activities like surfing and snorkeling.
Tips and Advice
- Local Currency: It is a good idea to carry some cash in Sri Lankan Rupees for small transactions.
- Safety Measures: Always follow safety guidelines, especially during water activities.
- Health Precautions: Stay hydrated and use sunscreen to protect against the tropical sun.
- Valuables: Store valuable items in hotel safes when possible.
- Weather Check: Check the weather forecast before planning outdoor activities.
- Insect Repellent: Keep insect repellent handy, especially during the evening.
- Tour Operators: Validate the credentials of tour operators before booking any activity.
- Swimming Precautions: Avoid swimming in the sea during rough weather conditions.
1. Mirissa: Located just a few kilometers from Weligama, Mirissa is famous for its stunning beaches. It's also the country's most popular spot for whale watching tours, which usually take place from November to April.
2. Galle: This historic city is a 30-minute drive from Weligama and is home to the Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area within the fort combines colonial architecture with boutique shops and cafes, offering a unique experience.
3. Matara: Another coastal town near Weligama, Matara offers its own set of historical sites and scenic beaches. The Star Fort and the Weherahena Buddhist Temple are must-visit landmarks in this less-crowded destination.
4. Unawatuna: A short drive from Weligama will take you to Unawatuna, known for its coral reef and snorkeling opportunities. The Jungle Beach and the Japanese Peace Pagoda are other notable attractions in the area.
5. Dondra: The southernmost point of Sri Lanka, Dondra is an excellent place for peaceful beach walks. The Dondra Head Lighthouse offers great views of the ocean and is one of the tallest in South East Asia.
Weligama is a town where you can catch a wave, dig into spicy seafood, or simply enjoy a sunset on the beach. It's an easy-going town with diverse attractions that make it well worth the visit. So if you are exploring Galle, Mirissa, and the Southern area of Sri Lanka, be sure to stop by this charming coastal town.