Matara Travel Guide

  • Beach, Matara, Sri Lanka.
    Beach, Matara, Sri Lanka.
    by planxty
  • Religious procession, Matara, Sri Lanka.
    Religious procession, Matara, Sri Lanka.
    by planxty
  • Boats, Fort area, Matara, Sri Lanka.
    Boats, Fort area, Matara, Sri Lanka.
    by planxty

Matara Things to Do

  • Plain but pleasant enough.

    In the same way as the Fort in Matara is smaller and not as grand as nearby Galle, so it is with the Dutch Reformed Church. There is some debate as to when the Church was actually founded. 1706 is the generally accepted date although there may have been another structure there previously. This is suggested by some old headstones present in the...

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  • Explore the Fort.

    The history of Matara Fort closely mirrors that of Galle Fort some miles to the North although it is nowhere near as large or grand and nor is it a UNESCO World Heritage Site like it's cousin. Indeed, these days it is in need of some repair. The matter appears to be in hand with a joint project between the Sri Lankan authorities and the Netherlands...

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  • Another historical mystery.

    Undoubtedly one of the major attractions of Matara is the old Fort area, which I find rather atmospheric, and was undoubtedly built by the Dutch during their colonial period in Sri Lanka. Standing a proud 12 metres high above it and visible from just about anywhere in town is the gleaming white clocktower and it is this that provides the mystery. I...

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  • Fascinating island temple.

    I came upon this place purely through reading my guidebook as I had no clue about the town and had gone there on a daytrip from Galle although I was subsequently to revisit the place and stay for quite a few days, which I thoroughly enjoyed.It was on this subsequent trip that I actually found out about this island temple. The idea of an island...

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  • Lest we forget.

    I have made no secret here on Virtual Tourist that I was in the armed forces and that I have an interest in military history and war memorials and commemorations. I have also mentioned in my other Sri Lankan pages that this country was, until about five years before time of writing (March 2014) in the grip of a bloody and brutal civil war which...

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  • Polhena Coastal Belt

    If there is a Calm and Quite Coastal Belt with awesome beaches in Southern Sri Lanka, Its Polhena... The softest tranquil groups of small beaches along the village.. Its Surfer Friendly but the waves are not too high, But the water and the sea life and the reef is one of the greatest in Asia.. The Ravana's Ridge which relates to Ramayanaya the...

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Matara Restaurants

  • Food fit for a king

    I have mentioned on a separate tip on this page that I stayed at the excellent Nawathana Hotel whilst I was in Matara and I do recommend it. However, even if you do not stay here, it is well worth dropping in for a meal whilst you are in the town. It has a pleasant seafront location within the blissfully quiet area of the old Fort where you can sit...

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  • Another fine restaurant.

    I had been in Matara for a couple of days and , as is my wont, was trying to sample as many of the eating options as I could. Strolling along the seafront that evening, I chanced upon the Mayura Beach Resort which looked clean and pleasant enough so I thought I would give it a try. Although the fairly extensive menu did not seem overpriced to me by...

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  • Great food, slightly odd place.

    I had read about this place in my guidebook and decided to visit it fairly soon after my arrival in Matara. The guidebook had mentioned that it was more a "drinking den" than a restaurant per se and that it was extremely gloomy and that is correct to an extent. Samanmal extends over three floors with the ground floor being a snack takeaway as the...

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Matara Shopping

  • Maxus's Profile Photo
    Polhena beach caddae

    by Maxus Written Feb 2, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There isn’t much shopping in Polhena but Matara is close enough and has everything you might need. Cargill’s is a big supermarket chain selling western type things (for when you’ve had enough rice and curry) and is comparatively user friendly, it has a butchery dept. and a pharmacy.

    The people at the shop on Polhena beach were so friendly that I would call in as much for a chat as for the cool drinks and snacks they sell. It's like a million other shops in Sri Lanka with the addition of some beach balls, buckets and spades etc.

    What to buy: Your guesthouse probably doesn’t have an alcohol license but will let you drink your own so it’s worth finding the wine stores which sell beer and various spirits including some western brands (we developed a taste for Absolut Vodka) for which you will pay about the same price as you do at home. Local brands are much cheaper but taste dreadful and unless you have a particularly good liver you might not be able to see the next morning.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Trains
    • Budget Travel

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