Weligama Bay Sri Lanka is a vacation spot suited for children !
Situated between Galle and Matara, Weligama is a small fishing settlement. Weligama is best described by its literal translation, ‘sandy village’.
Although not the most known tourist attraction, Weligama is well worth the trip for its crescent-shaped bay that encloses the warm waters of the ocean. If you swim in the clear water, you can see many types of colourful fish. A bit further away from the shore lie coral reefs that are best admired if you carry basic snorkel equipment. Small cafes along the beach serve beer and local treats.
Weligama is sunny all year round and is best visited from November to April. Situated away from any urban sprawl, Weligama offers all the perks of a perfect beach vacation minus the crowds and steep prices.
How to get to Weligama Bay and how to move in and around
Weligama can be reached by train or by bus. It is on the Colombo-Matara line and is thus connected to Galle as well. The trip by train from Colombo takes about 4 hours and about an hour from Galle. You can also take a bus to Weligama from Matara or Galle. These trips that last about an hour do not cost more than Rs.20.
Top tourist attractions in Weligama Bay
Whale watching in Mirissa
Whale watching is one of the most popular tourist activities for visitors to Weligama. You just need to go to Mirissa Bay, just 8 km away. The waters around the bay here are home to 5 different types of whales especially Blue whales. Mirissa harbour is hence one of the few spots in the area where you can book a trip to admire the whales and immortalise the sights on camera. If you are lucky, you can also spot some specimens of the 4 Dolphin species that frequent the area.
A typical whale watching tour starts early in the morning, and the tour lasts between 3 and 5 hours. All crew on the vessel are certified, and the boats are in good condition.
Whale-watching tours cost around Rs.6000 per person with reduced rates for children. The Sri Lankan Navy conducts some of them. Take a cap, some water, sun cream and sunglasses before you board the boat. Most trips offer a small snack on board but it is safe to enquire about this when booking.
It is also better to enquire about the size of the boats before you reserve as some tour operators try to make a fast buck by carrying too many people in one boat.
Taprobane Island is Sri Lanka’s only privately owned island. It is close to the shore – so close in fact, that you can walk across during low tide. It was developed in the 1920s by a French self-styled count named ‘Compte de Mauny-Talvande’.
Taprobane Island is a private resort with world-class service. Accommodation is provided for in en-suite bedrooms with spacious living areas, balconies, verandas, tropical gardens and a great infinity pool.
Over the years, Trapobane Island has played host to writers like Paul Bowles and Pieter Ten Hoopen. Of and on, Trapobane welcomes well-known artists and even singers like Kylie Minogue. So much so that it can claim to be a hub of art and culture.
You can admire it from the shore but if you can afford, the resort can be a little paradise for your own.
Enjoy walking around the village
The best thing about visiting a coastal town like Weligama is that it is not crowded or stuffed with tourists. You can spend your day walking around the small town and chatting with the locals to try out their food and learn more about their lives.
Weligama is a predominantly a fishing community. In the morning, you can see fishermen on stilts waiting to get their catch of the day although some of them are just there to be photographed. You can then head the west side of the town to have a look at the Leper King Statute whose origins are unknown (while some say it could be an ancient king, others argue that it is a figure of the Buddha). As you continue your stroll on the outskirts of the village, you can admire bright green paddy fields, rubber plantations and locals producing lacework.
Mirissa and Ahangama, the top tourist spots around Weligama Bay
Just 8 km from Weligama, Mirissa is a golden crescent of sand and sea that is one of the most-visited beaches of the south. You can drink at simple cafés that line the beach or hire a hammock and sip on coconut water as you relish the sunshine under tall coconut trees.
It is said that Marco Polo was so moved by the beauty of Mirissa that he dubbed Sri Lanka as the most beautiful island in the world. British colonials called Mirissa “Serendib”, another testament to its tranquil character. Colourful sunrises and blazing sunsets are just some of the spectacular views you can admire here.
The coast is flat and safe, making it ideal for children to wade around or indulge in water sports.
Another small fishing community in the Southern province of Sri Lanka, Ahangama and the nearby Midigama are one of the best value-for-money beaches and surfing holiday destinations in the country. Ahangama gives you a chance to gain first-hand experience of life in Sri Lanka as you can mingle with the local fishermen and learn about their lives. Ahangama has also got lots of stilt fishermen to photograph. If you see only the stilts protruding from the water, get near the shore and you will see many of them come over to pose for your camera.
Weligama Bay has some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka
A perfect spot for a tropical holiday, Weligama Bay is most sought after in the winter months, thanks to its unlimited sun and sand. It overlooks the tranquil island of Taprobane and offers fishing, surfing and scuba diving on its long, clean beaches.
Weligama Bay is secluded, safe and well-equipped for all your holiday needs. You can, for example, take a quiet fishing trip, go scuba-diving and enjoy the undersea biodiversity or indulge in a game of beach volleyball.
Best known for its surfing culture, Midigama is one of the cheapest places for top-quality surfing in Sri Lanka. Midigama town is very low-key and friendly – the locals warmly welcome you and make you feel at home very quickly! Surfers dot the coast from dawn to dusk, giving you a chance to make some new friends as you chase waves up to 6 feet high. Snorkelling is also a good option here, given the varieties of tropical fish in the water.
Midigama is a great place for novice and intermediate surfers although there is some coral and reef formation. On the whole, surf-lovers are bound to thank Midigama for its great waves.
Wildlife, bird safari and natural parks in Weligama Bay
Hiyare Rainforest Sanctuary
About 20 km from Weligama Bay is the Hiyare rainforest.
The forest is to be explored on foot or by boat, as there are practically no tracks. As soon as you enter it, you sense the fact that you tread on an almost undisturbed part of the world. The reservoir is a natural lake and provides drinking water to the city of Galle.
Over a hundred varieties of birds are to be seen here including endemic ones like the Two-spotted Threadtail and the Black Ruby Barb. Mammals in the forest include Mongoose, Porcupine, Purple-faced Leaf Monkey and Hog Deer, an extremely wary and nocturnal animal that is rarely seen in the wild by naturalists. Butterflies and dragonflies of different species and reptiles such as the Sri Lankan Green Pit Viper make up for the ecosystem of the forest.
Keep children occupied during your family trip to Weligama Bay
Go for a boat-ride in Mirissa
From November to April, early morning boat rides around Mirissa can be the most exciting activity your family could experience. Mirissa is one of the southernmost points in Sri Lanka, and close to the living zone of different kinds of whales and dolphins.
A 4 to 5 hour boat ride can be booked from many operators, all of whom are licensed and trained for operating boats and guiding you around the coast. Remember to put your children to bed early as tours start at 6:30 am. Most of the time, you will be picked up at the harbour and taken for an early morning spin on the Indian Ocean. Often, breakfast is provided on board. If you are worried your children might get seasick, convince them to have something before you catch the boat.
Trips last as long as it takes to spot some whales or dolphins, and costs about Rs.6000 per person. (children pay less depending on age). With lifejackets strapped and the ocean breeze in your hair, get set for an adventure you won’t stop talking about on reaching home!
Surf camp in Ahangama
Surfing at Ahangama is cheap, but does not compensate on quality. Many surfing schools have cropped up on this calm bay. If you would like to spend a part of your tropical holiday embracing the ocean and learning how to surf, Ahangama is probably the best place on this part of the island to start. The many surf schools along the coast have packages for beginners as well as intermediate surfers.
If you are just starting or have never surfed before, the beginner package will take care of equipment, food and board as well travel. Everything is planned so that you can focus on learning how to surf. For children, there are instructors who will help them ride smaller waves closer to the shore.
If you have your own equipment and just need a place to stay, this can be arranged as well.
Surfing instructors will keep an eye on you to make sure you don’t get into any trouble, but you are free to surf on your own. As the place is quite popular, you may need to book your accommodation before you arrive especially if you plan to be here during the peak season.
Great things to do during your holiday in Weligama Bay
Snorkelling, Deep-Sea diving and Surfing
All the main beaches around offer a palette of opportunities to choose from when it comes to water sports.
Weligama, with its soft waves and sandy beaches, is an ideal place to explore underwater wonderlands. Most snorkelling, scuba diving and surfing sessions at licensed schools will include equipment, meals and transportation.
There are many shallow reefs at Mirissa Point that offer a great setting for beginners who have just started snorkelling. Intermediate dive sites off the coast with a depth of 15 to 20 metres offer great locations for more experienced divers. Of note are the Prince Hienrich Patch, Bridge Rock and Yala Rock, about 30 minutes from the main coastline. They have rock formations and many different types of colourful fish. You can even see rays, turtles and parrotfish among the corals and anemone. A trained specialist will accompany you on all dives. Equipment can also be hired if you do not have your own.
Enjoy a spa
Relaxation can mean different things to different people. If on your tropical vacation, you want a break from lazing on the beach, why not try a spa treatment?
Most hotels have their own spas, or will be happy to recommend one in the area. The soothing sound of the waves combined with a relaxing treatment could be just the thing you need to make your vacation perfect.
Most spas will offer an Ayurvedic package using traditional herbs and methods handed down from ancient times. Aromatherapy or a coconut oil massage is also available, as are the standard manicure and pedicure options.
Rejuvenate yourself on your trip to Weligama with a soothing massage that will refresh your mind, body and soul.