Galle and Matara


Galle and Matara
Galle is the most important southern town with an old- world charm. Believed to be Tarshish of the Bible, its natural harbor was a famous fort in days gone by. Famous for its Dutch fort, lace- making, embony carving and gem polishing. Built on the banks of the NilwalaGanga (river), it is an ancient settlement. Weherahena Temple built underground with a colossal Buddha statue and the Polhena Beach is its main attractions. Matara, is protected by a coral reef forming a lagoon between beach and reef with the faned Coral Gardens just beyond the reef. The Lagoon is safe for bathing throughout the year, and is an absolute marine wonderland. The sea off Mirissa harbor in Matara is among the best places for whale watching.

Bentota Resort Complex in a romantic meeting point of river and sea with several hotels, railway station, post office, shopping arcade, cafeteria and an open air theatre showing folk and mask dancing –with clusters of palms overlooking everything. Interesting boat trips to the hamlets bordering the river and the Meethiyagoda Moonstone mines nearby. Most hotels have facilities for water sports.

Home of the low country masked dancing (devil dancing) and mask making. An interesting mask museum and an enchanting beach for sea bathing Hikkaduwa Hikkaduwa is the place for underwater delights. Site of the famed coral gardens, hire a glass- bottomed boat or goggles and flippers and discover the fantasies under your feet.

Close to Galle, is a beach resort popular with tourists as well as local travellers. It provides the beach facility Galle lacks. Hotels, gusthouses, and restaurants line the beach road among lush green vegetation.