The biggest bay along the south coast of Sri Lanka, Weligama is situated on the southwestern tip of the island, between the golden curves of Mirissa Beach and the reef breaks at Ahangama. Less than an hour from the city of Galle and the famous turtle beach at Unawatuna, it’s also within striking distance of popular backpacker destinations such as Hikkaduwa to the west and Hiriketiya to the east. This makes it the ideal base to explore much of Sri Lanka’s south coast.
Sri Lanka has earned a name for itself as one of the best surfing destinations in Asia, with coastlines to suit all seasons and abilities. For beginners, Weligama has proved itself to be the best beach for those learning to surf.
A huge horseshoe bay, it’s protected from the biggest swells and enjoys soft, smooth waves that are perfect for beginners. It’s not only learners catching waves here though, the bay offers breaks for intermediate surfers too. Blessed not only with great waves, the bay boasts a sandy beach, and during high season the town throngs with surfers, yogis and beach bums alike.
Weligama Map & Resources
Best Time to Visit Weligama
Sri Lanka’s southwest enjoys the best weather during the winter months. The surf season on the south coast runs from November-April, and this is when you’ll find the best waves and like-minded visitors at Weligama Bay.
Where to Stay in Weligama
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Most accommodation can be found in Weligama town, however, there are options all along the bay. If you’re willing to walk for a few minutes beyond the town centre, there are some great options, many with sea views!
Hangtime Hostel is a popular option located in the centre of town. It’s excellent value for budget travellers and has a choice of A/C or non-A/C rooms. With daily yoga sessions, a party vibe and a rooftop restaurant overlooking the ocean, it’s easy to see the draw.
Slightly pricier but still great value, Beatroot Hostel offers a cosy, relaxed atmosphere and onsite café. Docrid Hostel and J Walker Hostel also provide decent budget accommodation just moments from the beach.
The Surfer, around a 15-minute walk from the town centre, offers great value dorm rooms and benefits from being just steps from the beach. With an onsite bar and restaurant, there is a real community feel here. The Surfer also offers surf camp packages – perfect for those who want to concentrate on learning or improving their skills alongside enjoying a great social scene.
Things to Do in Weligama
1. Get Your Surf On
Whether you’re an absolute beginner or looking to improve, Weligama is the ideal spot to catch some waves. Join a surf camp for a week or two (or even longer!) or simply hire a board and instructor from the plethora of surf schools along the beach in the centre of the bay.
2. Practice Yoga
Hangtime Hostel and The Surfer offer daily wellness sessions, with a variety of vinyasa, hatha and yin yoga available to both residents and non-residents. Alternatively, check out Basecamp which has a shala overlooking the ocean. Some surf camps also offer surf and yoga packages, perfect for those that want to stretch and unwind after a day on the waves.
3. Relax at Kurumba Bay
Located directly next to the Marriott Hotel on the beach, Kurumba Bay is the perfect little square of relaxation. Benches and beanbags dot the shoreline, behind which a quartet of restaurants offers a wide variety of food, including poke bowls at Bowl’d, seafood at Isso and Italian dishes at Mama Roma.
Sea Salt Society has a global menu including local, Western, Asian and Mexican dishes. Here you’ll also find Isle of Gelato with its mouth-watering array of ice cream and poolside bar as well as Zephyr, serving up fresh juices, lassis and cocktails. Beside the pool, a clutch of shops sells everything from Ceylon tea to swimwear and jewellery.
4. Ride the Bus
One of your first impressions in Weligama, if not elsewhere in Sri Lanka, will be of the startling fast and loud blue buses, zipping up and down the coast road. With their party music, disco lights and incessant honking, riding one is a must-do experience and a great way to mix with the locals.
5. Drink Fresh Juice
You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to exotic fruit concoctions here! Try a mixed fruit juice for a real taste of island life, or grab one of the king coconuts sold on the side of the road for some delicious refreshment.
6. Check Out the Local Fishing Boats
You can’t miss the local fishing boats dotting the beach in the middle of the bay, but take a walk eastwards along the beach and you’ll find a cluster moored together, all different sizes, brightly and beautifully decorated. You’ll also likely encounter the local fisherman, and, if you’re there early, you might be lucky enough to see them going out for the day’s catch.
7. Get a Massage at Jagath Massage Centre
Take a walk along the beach or a five-minute tuk-tuk ride to Jagath Massage Centre for a full body massage – perfect for relaxing sore muscles after a day catching waves.
8. Work and Play at Outpost
A co-working and co-living space with onsite café, this is an ideal spot for digital nomads who want to work and surf.
Food and Drink
Whether you fancy Sri Lankan rice and curry or are craving some home comforts, Weligama has lots to offer on the food scene with great choices of local and Western options.
Local food: Dulnetha Homestay and Restaurant is widely regarded as the best place to sample the local cuisine in Weligama. Mama’s Café, a few minutes’ walk from the main town, is also well worth a visit, with delicious and cheap Sri Lankan food.
Western food: Hangten Café is Hangtime Hostel’s rooftop restaurant, offering a variety of tasty Western dishes. For pizza, head for High Tide along the seafront to sample their offerings fresh from the wood-fired pizza oven.
Veggie/vegan options: Moochie’s, in the centre of town, offers fresh and healthy veggie and vegan options for brunch, lunch and dinner and Natural Earth on the seafront has a good selection of vegetarian options for breakfast, brunch and lunch. Nestled among the surf schools on the beachfront is a stationary ‘nicecream’ van, Cruising Smoothly, which serves fresh smoothie bowls, juices and ice cream bowls. Everything is vegan, nut-free and gluten-free.
How to Get to Weligama
Trains run direct from the capital, Colombo (approx. 3 hours) to Weligama, via Galle (Galle – Weligama approx. 45 mins). Buses also ply the coast road; the 350 runs from Galle to Matara via Weligama, making it easy to reach the town whether you’re travelling from east or west along the coast.
Where to Go Next:
Mirissa: Head to the next bay along to relax on Mirissa’s beautiful sandy beaches. Don’t miss The Slow, a beachfront restaurant with an entirely vegan menu and a stunning setting – perfect any time of day. Check out Shady Lane, tucked just off of the main drag in Mirissa, a café-cum-shop where you can find fresh veggie and vegan meals and treat yourself to a new shirt. Party at Petit Petit on Saturday nights, grab a beer and enjoy the ocean lapping at your toes while you dance under the stars.
Hiriketiya: Enjoy the laidback vibes at this quiet surfing beach. Once a hidden gem, Hiriketiya is making a name for itself as a chilled-out spot great for beginners and intermediate surfers alike.
Galle: A must-visit on any Sri Lanka itinerary. Take the train, or bus, along the coast and explore Galle Fort. You’ll feel like you’ve entered a different country as you walk among the Dutch buildings in this beautiful corner of the island.