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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 5 Things to See in Matara Sri Lanka – A trip to remember
Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Things to See in Matara Sri Lanka – A trip to remember

Matara located towards the south of the beautiful island of Sri Lanka is an area visited by both locals and tourists alike. The best part about Matara, being on the coastline is obviously the lovely beaches, but, there are other interesting things to do here as well;


Tour the area

Matara is a city much similar to Colombo and therefore, hasn't much to offer in this aspect. However, that does not mean that there aren't any interesting places to visit. Check out the Star Fort that was built by the Dutch in the year 1765. It was built to make up for the insufficiencies in the neighbouring forts. This rampart is relatively small, inside is a museum that displays items that tell the story of Matara. One will also be able to see the former sleeping quarters and prisons here. What's more, visit the Dutch Rampart which was built in the 18th century. The structure is located in a position where it separates the Nilawala Ganga from the sea. This was set up to protect the administrative office, Kachcheri. Parey Dewa is yet another frequently visited place. It is a modern bridge that connects to a small island which is home to a small temple. This island is perfect for an evening walk on the beach!


It's beach time!

The beaches in Matara are an absolute delight! Be it sunbathing for a skin tinted tan or some energetic water sports and fun activities, the beaches in Matara offer it all! One of the best beaches here is the Polhena Beach. if you want a simple quiet time at the beach, weekdays would be the best time to visit. If you plan on observing the locals, hit the beach on weekends and watch as the locals have their fun in the sun! The beach is quite romantic with golden sandy shores and shallow light blue waters. There is also a reef offshore that is perfect for snorkelling. The water may not be crystal clear, but the experience is still enjoyable. Turtles are easily spotted here. Also, hidden in the cluster of palm trees is the Hiriketiya Beach that is one of the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka. This is the best place to catch great waves for surfing and other water sports.


Weherana Temple

If you are residing in Matara hotels such as the popular Soul Resorts, step out and make your way inland to the Weherana Temple. This is an old temple that is home to a massive Buddha statue! There also lies a man-made cave in which there are 200 uniquely styled paintings that tell the tales of Lord Buddha. If you happen to be in Matara in late November or early December, try to make it in time to watch the perahera (a procession of dancers with elephants and devotees too) which is held to celebrate the founding anniversary of the temple.


Explore local street food

One of the experiences that cannot be foregone on a visit to Sri Lanka is trying out the amazing street food here. Taking a walk down the street, you will come to notice the strong aroma of food that hits your nostrils. Every now and then, you will come across small boutiques selling food like kottu, string hoppers (indi appa) and hoppers (appa) which are unique local delights. There may also be small vendors pushing around carts with bites like wadey and devilled chickpeas! Simply yum!


Visit the tea factory

Located in Akuressa, on the border of the Nilwala Ganga is a tea factory that has been around since 1910. The Nandana Tea Factory is an export quality brand that sells tea with an exquisite taste! Explore the factory and take a look at the plantation too. Enjoy your very own cup of tea while you relax in the pretty little garden there.