Weligama, an upcoming tourist destination in the southern coast of Sri Lanka is a rustic, laid-back town, well known for its fishing industry, red cliffs, golden beaches and hotspots for surfing. Sandy Village is what Weligama translates to in Sinhalese. Close to this town is the popular Galle and Matara towns renowned for their maritime history. Simply base yourself at one of the exclusive holiday resorts in Weligama for a few days and enjoy these eight bucket list items that you MUST TRY to complete your vacation in Sri Lanka.
1. Perch up on the CAPE
Cape Weligama, a resort set on the rocky southern tip of Sri Lanka is accredited by Resplenent Ceylon’s Relais and Chateaux. Belonging to the Dilmah tea family, this property is a terrific maze of villas and suites which have names after the famous explorers of Ceylon. Also giving a village like feeling are the restaurants, pools and bars. Within the walled gardens are a few terracotta-roofed villas with amazingly chic interiors, blue accents and a steam room gathered around a pool. Another beautiful highlight is the huge crescent shaped Moon Pool fenced with palm trees, set on the edge of rusty red cliffs. Spend plenty of time relaxing in the pool and don’t miss the stunning sunset view from there.
2. Say HI to the Whales
Mirissa is a small fishing town further up on the southern coast, just a short tuk tuk ride away from Weligama. The waters of Mirissa are rich in microorganisms known as plankton, hence becoming the migratory route for whales as they transition to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. You could opt for a speedboat from Cape Weligama for the whale watching tour or you could take a boat from the Mirissa harbor – which takes you deep into the sea, providing a fantastic experience of seeing these massive mammals prance around while expelling air from their blowholes. Mirissa waters are home to some of the world’s largest blue whales, spinner and bottle nose dolphins.
3. Explore Sri Lankan History
From Weligama, a short drive towards the west coast is the Dutch built town of Galle – a grid of narrow streets filled with low roofed homes, old mansions transformed into hip boutique hotels, jewelry shops, art galleries, restaurants, ice cream parlors and cafes. Plenty of Dutch and Portuguese style architecture is visible with gables and porches, tiled roofs, courtyards and walls built from coral and clay. The Dutch Reformed Church, shaped like a cross and built in 1754 is a must visit along with the Historical Mansion Museum where unique and ancient treasures are exhibited.
4. Pamper yourself at a Spa
The Sanctuary Spa at Cape Weligama is known for its special Ceylon therapy massages which have anti-aging effects. Try one of these traditional Sri Lankan spa treatments – choosing from local spice scrubs such as clove, nutmeg and sandalwood, mixed with Ceylon tea oil for an absolutely relaxing, stress relieving and anti-aging treatment.
5. Visit to the Lake
Weligama’s lush neighborhood comprises dazzling paddy fields, banana plantations and tiny villages. A boat trip on Koggala Lake is a must – surrounded by cinnamon plantations and dotted with small islands, keep an eye out for monitor lizards, crocodiles and bird species such as sea eagles, cormorants and egrets. Get off board on Cinnamon Island and mingle with a third generation family involved in extracting and selling 100% authentic cinnamon powder and oils.
6. Water adventure
Snorkeling, wreck diving, big game fishing and surfing are popular in the waters of Weligama. Plenty of surf schools are lined up on the coast offering lessons to those interested in trying out the sport.
7. Fishermen encounters
The much spoken about stilt fishermen are iconic figures that many tourists love to observe. Perched carefully on a vertical pole anchored into the reef, fishermen sit on these, holding the stilt for support with one hand and the fishing rod in the other hand. This activity is a talent and can only be done by fishermen with years of experience – though tourists often like to try out their talent at stilt fishing! The tradition of stilt fishing began after the Second World War when fishermen were struggling on rocky beaches so they found this to be a good method to fish in deep waters.
8. Lankan food fiesta
You can’t go back home without feasting on local food – a range of curries cooked with coconut milk and spices, traditional green leaves, sambols, hoppers, kottu rotti, and creamy buffalo curd topped with treacle. Seafood is another specialty in Sri Lanka – locally grilled fish, calamari, crabs and prawns. Along with these local foods, the British remnants are still around with hotels offering high tea – an exclusive range of sandwiches, pastries, scones, cakes and more offered with a perfect blend of Ceylon milk tea.