Driving along from Ahangama, you begin to notice the famous Stilt fishermen perched like curious-looking birds all the way towards Weligama. At one end of the sleepy town, stands a megalith to the memory of Kustaraja- the Leper king- who became miraculously cured of his dreaded disease by consuming copious amounts of King Coconut water.
The catamarans are a good way to grab a ride round this picturesque bay, and fishermen are most obliging in between fishing trips. At the prettiest end of the bay, you can wade out at low tide to She-devil Island or Taprobane, which appears like an islet out of a James Bond movie. It was built in the 30’s by Count de Mauny, a French landscape architect who created this legendary folly on a piece of land which was originally a cobra dump. The octaganal white villa has attracted everyone from Noel Coward, Paul Bowles and Robin Maugham and is currently featured in Hip Hotels.
If you head towards Mirissa, a picture-postcard beach for wave surfing and swimming, you won`t need any further entertaining; but if you are trying to keep up with the Indiana Joneses, the Snake Farm (14 kms from Weligama) has 15 different varieties of snake, some of them are extremely large and serious-looking pythons, and Tarantulas which were probably displaced when Count de Mauny sent them packing!
The American writer Paul Bowles lived on Taprobane island for four years. During this time he wrote the novel Spider's House.
An Insider's Perspective
Dominique Nordmann discovered Sri Lanka in 1992 having worked in Asia since the late 1970s. He toured the island extensively, but fell in love with the south coast. Its micro-climate, stunning beaches, pristine waters and rugged coastline made it stand out compared to any any other sea board in Sri Lanka. He now works for Ceylon Tea Trails but likes to escape to his house in Weligama in his spare time. Here he gives us a low down…
What is your favourite part of the area?
It is difficult to say - The Weligama bay is one of the only places where you can windsurf and sail. It also has the best diving site on the island. Mirissa is only a few kms away, which is now known for its fleet of whale watching boats. The back country off Weligama is also beautiful with rice paddies, rubber estates and low grown tea estates - a perfect place to bike and explore.
What is your favourite activity?
You can guess from the above.
What is your favourite restaurant?
Mirrisa beach restaurants where you can have the best seafood including lobsters, garoupa and king prawns fresh from the boats that call in.
Keep it a secret :)
Miguel Cunat is a Partner of Sri Lanka In Style founded in 2005 to provide visitors with insightful, engaging experiences in his adopted homeland. Recognized by Conde Nast Traveler as Sri Lanka’s Top Travel Specialist, and recently featured on Wendy Perrin’s WOW List.