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What to see in Matara

Matara Attractions

Most travellers to Matara are primarily seeking the palm-treed sandy stretches of beach along the southern coast of Sri Lanka, and the region is usually part of a coastal road or rail trip beginning in Colombo, passing through the artistic town of Galle, and culminating in the city of Matara. There are many beautiful beaches along this route and some quiet resorts for those wanting privacy and peace.

Within the city itself, there is a vibrant and unaffected street life which is interesting for foreign visitors and provides ample people-watching opportunities and chances to sample authentic local food. Matara has a rich colonial history and the old Dutch fortifications are perhaps the main sightseeing attraction away from the beaches, with the well-preserved Star Fort a popular site to explore. A visit to the modern Weherahena Buddhist Temple, with its gaudy riot of religious art, including the enormous Buddha statue, is another must for tourists in the area.


The southern beaches of Sri Lanka are the most popular for tourists, with the main season extending from October to April when the monsoon has moved on and the sea is calm and tranquil under bright…

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The port town of Galle, about 60 miles (100km) south of Colombo and a short distance west of Matara, is steeped in the heritage of the Dutch presence in Sri Lanka, and is dominated by the 36-hectare…

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Wewurukannala Temple

Not all Buddhist temples are ancient, nor are they all conservative affairs. The colourful and modern Wewurukannala Temple at Dikwella village near Matara is quite an eyeful, featuring hundreds of…

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Yala National Park

Elephants are the most frequently spotted inhabitants of the vast Yala National Park (also known as Ruhunu), in the southeast of Sri Lanka, east of Matara, but they share the reserve with 130 different…

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