"Matara, a working town" Matara by Maxus

Matara Travel Guide: 23 reviews and 93 photos


I like Matara, it's got just about everything you need - like banks, shops, restaurants, internet cafes, good transport links, the odd historical monument and a good little beach at Polhena but it doesn't have much of what you don’t need like the touts which haunt places like Negombo and towns adjacent to tourist resorts such as Aluthgama.


Matara sits on the south coast of Sri Lanka at the terminus of the coastal railway line it’s about four hours from Colombo (one and a half from Galle) and on a good day train is a great way to travel as you get to see the best of the coast.

Where to stay.

Matara does have beaches of it's own but they are'nt up to much, Polhena however, which is within walking distance of the town, has a great little beach and if you are going to stay in the area it’s probably Polhena you want.

Polhena beach gets busy with Sri Lankan people most afternoons and at weekends but it the morning you will probably have it to yourself. An offshore reef, which you can swim out to, protects the beach from all but the gentlest waves (surfers need to go along the coast a little) the water is shallow and almost perfect except for some patches of coral, so you might want to put something on your feet.

There is plenty of accommodation in every price range, the main hotel has a bar which is open to non-residents, in other places you need to order your booze in advance and the staff will go and buy it for you .

Polhena was hammered by the tsunami and the evidence is still apparent and the locals all have tales to tell but like elsewhere Polhena is bouncing back and getting on with life.

I intend to add to this page, in the meantime if you have any questions email me and I will do my best.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Polhena Beach (in the morning)
  • Cons:Like most Sri Lankan towns, Matara is a traffic nightmare
  • Last visit to Matara: Jan 2010
  • Intro Updated Jan 10, 2010
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Reviews (7)

Comments (4)

  • PierreZA's Profile Photo
    Jan 9, 2010 at 5:58 AM

    I changed busses at Matara, should have stayed a few days.

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Feb 9, 2009 at 3:02 PM

    Wow, those are really reasonable rates for hotels and food at Matara...I hope their economy is okay though and not too affected by recession now...

  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo
    Apr 23, 2008 at 12:08 PM

    fried rice and noodls - sounds terrific after what you must have been consuming. like pseudo-crocodile. Had to see a village page. Interesting. N.

  • SWFC_Fan's Profile Photo
    Apr 5, 2008 at 3:39 PM

    Wow, this place looks ideal - nice beaches, friendly locals and not too many tourists! :-) You've certainly sold it to me with your great tips and photos! My Bucharest tips are coming soon...when I can find the motivation to write them! ;-)

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