Top 10 Things To Do In Matara, Sri Lanka

things to do in matara
| 5 min read

Sri Lanka isn’t called Pearl of the Indian Ocean for nothing! It was given that name because of its spectacular natural beauty and its unique biodiversity and even some gemstones. There are so many interesting things about Sri Lanka, for instance, it has a large variety of wildlife from animals such as elephants, leopards, crocodiles, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and so much more. It’s also a great place to get tea because the country is known for having a large tea business. Aside from the interesting facts about the country, there are so many beautiful places to visit in the country, especially in Matara, which is one of the major cities in Sri Lanka. To make sure you get the best experience here, we’ve listed down the top things to do in Matara, Sri Lanka. Read on to learn more.

1. Take a trip to history at Star Fort

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Zapata1000 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Built by the Dutch in 1765, Star Fort is a must-see historical building as it is still in top condition and is well preserved even after the years. Following its name, Star Fort was built as a 6-pointed star, so you’ll be amazed by the structure and architecture inside. They also have several items on display in their small museum. You’ll also fall in love with the 360-degree views of the surroundings from the site. The place is also located almost a five-minute walk from the Matara bus station.

Star Fort, Matara

Address: Galle Road, Matara 81000 Sri Lanka

Opening hours: 9am - 4:30pm (daily)

Price: Free

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2. Admire the beautiful architecture and history of Old Nupe Market

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

This t-shaped building is considered to be one of the most historic places in Sri Lanka. This market used to be called the Old Dutch Market. The place is divided into three sections: meat, vegetables, and textiles, making it easier for tourists and locals to shop. What you’ll find interesting here is definitely the materials used for the building. Kandyan period clay tiles were used for the roof and wooden latticework for the frame of the roof. Old Nupe Market is the perfect place to go to after you visit Matara Fort as it is just 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) away from the fort.

Old Nupe Market

Address: Wilmot Balasuriya Mawatha, Matara, Sri Lanka

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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3. Find peace in Weherahena Temple

Weherahena Temple Sri Lanka
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Sandunlasantha used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Home to one of the largest Buddhist statues built in the world, Wehereahena Temple is a beautiful sight to see. The statue is 39 meters (128 feet) tall and it is placed on an area that is shaped like a lotus flower. You’ll also notice that there are lotus flower designs in the middle of the two large ponds of the courtyard. Found in the temple, you’ll also get to enjoy lovely paintings and frescoes that tell a story of Buddha. Visitors need to observe proper decorum and dress modestly. Footwear is not allowed inside, so it is recommended to avoid visiting when the sun is up.

Weherahena Temple

Address: Weherahena Rd, Matara, Sri Lanka

Opening hours: 6am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 250 INR (3 USD)

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4. Have fun under the sun at Polhena Beach

Polhena Beach, Matara, Sri Lanka
Source: Photo by Flickr user used under CC BY 2.0

Polhena Beach has one of the cleanest and clearest blue waters in Sri Lanka. Aside from the blue water, the sea is pretty calm and relaxing because the tides are blocked. The best part is that you get to swim with green turtles and all you have to do is jump in the sea and you’ll see pretty much a lot of them. Getting a tour is not encouraged, but rather, just enjoy the beach by yourself by renting out or bringing your own snorkeling gear. You’ll get to have a lot of peace and quiet since the place isn’t that crowded.

Polhena Beach

Address: Matara Sri Lanka

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5. Visit Matara Paravi Duwa Temple

Paravi Duwa Temple
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Nisal Senanayaka used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Just getting to the temple, you’ll be able to immediately enjoy a breathtaking view of the sea because you have to cross the Golden Island Pathway to get there. The temple is beautifully located on the island of the Indian Ocean, so the view of the ocean is something you will love while you’re there. There are also fresh flowers that you’ll appreciate, fishes you can see, and different statues. The temple is the highlight of the island as it is designed modestly and it’s very spiritual as well. It’s also conveniently located near the Matara bus station, so traveling here won’t be a problem.

Matara Paravi Duwa Temple

Address: Golden Island Pathway, Matara, Sri Lanka

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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6. Dare to hold snakes at the Sri Lankan Snake Farm

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Try something new and visit the Sri Lankan Snake Farm which hosts around 15 different kinds of snakes, such as cobras, vipers, pythons, and more. You’ll love how the farm is very private and secluded because it is located in a family home. You can expect an educational trip because the staff always makes sure to share the background, history, and fun facts about the snakes they own. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to hold some of the snakes and even place one around your neck. You’ll certainly love and enjoy this amazing experience, so don’t forget to take pictures as well.

Sri Lankan Snake Farm

Address: Horagoda Rd Udukawa, Matara 81000 Sri Lanka

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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7. Visit the miraculous shrine of Our Lady of Matara

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Our Lady of Matara on Saturday, September 5, 2020

You might feel astonished as this shrine is home to the miraculous statue of Mary, which was able to withstand the tsunami back in 2004. This is a highlight of a lot of people as the shrine is home to miracles for many. This Roman Catholic Church is located facing the sea, which gives you a sense of peace and being at ease. The location is also away from the city, so it’s a nice trip away from the noise of the city. Here, you can also see a life-size replica of the Virgin Mary with the child Jesus in the garden. Wander around the garden and you’ll immediately feel at home. There is also a little souvenir shop where you can buy religious books, statues, and other religious pieces.

Shrine of Our Lady of Matara

Address: Matara Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka

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8. Have a taste of good food at Dutchman's Street

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

The mouth watering Snack Platter thats currently on a hit these days . Order yours now (one day prior) Call - 041 223 6555 / Whatsapp - 070 452 0620.

Posted by The Dutchman's Street on Friday, November 13, 2020

You’ll instantly fall in love with Dutchman’s Street because of the ambiance, location, food, and service. The restaurant is uniquely decorated with different upcycled materials to make sure you feel cozy and at home. The colors used are very vibrant and so eye-pleasing that you should take pictures while you’re here. As for the location, it’s near the beach so you can really feel the cool breeze. There is a wide range of food choices, all proportioned and priced well. Lastly, you might keep coming back for more because of the friendly and helpful staff. They certainly add to an overall wonderful experience.

Dutchman's Street

Address: Court Rd, Matara, Sri Lanka

Website: Dutchman’s Street

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 10pm; Sun: 10am - 10:30pm

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9. Learn how to surf at Infinity Surfcamp

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Infinity Surfcamps on Tuesday, December 24, 2019

One of the best surf camps you can find in Sri Lanka, Infinity Surfcamp won’t let you leave disappointed. This location is the best place for tourists to visit and it’s also a perfect place to surf. The coaches here make sure that everyone learns and you’ll get only the best experience. You’ll love how everyone friendly, lovable, and will make you feel at home. Whether you’re a beginner or expert, the surfing area is for everyone and you shouldn’t be afraid to try it. They also have a lot of good-tasting local food that you can try out.

Infinity Surfcamp

Address: 46/8 Kurunduwatta, Beach Road, Browns Hill, Matara, Sri Lanka

Website: Infinity Surfcamp

Price: 613 - 766 USD

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10. Discover the tragic past of Matara Bodhiya

Matara Bodhiya
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user K.K.D.Dhananjaya used under CC BY-SA 4.0

One of the most respected and visited by tourists is Matara Bodhiya, which is a fig tree. This tree tells about the history of King Kumara Dhamesena, whose friend was killed in order to attain the rights of a poem created. The king felt grief and immediately threw himself in the burning flames into which he was accompanied by his queens. Here, you’ll see how beautiful the tree grew and you can even learn more about it from the local tourists there.

Matara Bodhiya

Address: Main St, Matara, Sri Lanka

Website: Matara Bodhiya

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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Experience the beautiful culture of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s culture is to die for: its creativity through different art forms, the variations of food choices, and the places to visit in the country - everything about it is beautiful. The regional diversity of the country is something you’ll be impressed with, which is evident everywhere you go. There are so many wonders still waiting to be discovered by tourists, so what are you waiting for? Share your experiences on each tourist site while you’re there.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Melissa is a 20-something-year-old storyteller from Manila. She's been to Europe and Asia but still dreams of going around her home, the Philippines. When she's not traveling, you can find her in...Read more

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