Diary Entry

Right at the entrance to Matara’s attractions we are greeted by incredibly colorful buses. Even though the buses on the road try to kill us as quickly as possible with their driving style, they are a sight to behold.

A lot of imagination goes into painting one of these vehicles. No two look alike.

The colorful buses of Sri Lanka are awesome

In Matara we take time to visit the monastery of Parevi Duwa, the “Pigeon Island. The temple is also known as Uposathaghara Raja Maha Viharaya. On most websites you can still see a solid steel bridge connecting to the mainland. But it collapsed in 2022, injuring 60 people.

We walk over a brand new stone bridge and see a large stupa, also brand new, on the tiny island in front of us. In the shrine we meet some very nice monks.

The beach is very picturesque, but no one dares to swim there. A sign indicates that difficult currents pose a risk to life.

We walk past the tour buses and tuk tuks towards the actual city, which is less impressive but crowded and hectic.

In Mirissa, everything is very clean. The first impression of Matera is also that it is clean, but then we see how rubbish has been swept under palm trees or is simply lying where tourists don’t look.

Other travelers tell me that it is much worse in India. But it would be nice if there was no garbage lying around in nature here.

It is oppressively hot and Leon falls asleep at midday. We have to carry him with us or take turns waiting with him in the shade.

During this time, the others can explore the city and its sights. Sara in particular is very self-sacrificing.

Matara still has an old fort from the Dutch, who had their base here for some time. The fortress is now almost completely integrated into the cityscape and only a bell tower, walls, gates and colonial-style houses remain as evidence of Dutch history.

The tuk tuks whizz merrily through the city gates and the old houses are now museums, shops or residential buildings.

Matara Fort

Unlike the eight other coastal forts built by the Dutch in Sri Lanka, the fort at Matara was originally built as an elephant taming and training centre, rather than for military purposes.  Its proximity to the ocean and the Nilwala River made it easy to bring elephants across the river from inland areas such as Akuress, Deniyaya, Tangalle and Walasmulla and then ship them.


We spend ten days on the idyllic beach of Mirissa. Today we have a day trip with a tuk tuk and a scooter to explore the nearby town of Matara and the surrounding area.

Of course there are no traffic rules. You don’t even need a lottery to win a driver’s license. I get along well with the scooter. Compared to a motorbike, this thing is a toy from the fair.

In Sri Lanka you don’t need traffic rules, just good nerves

We say goodbye to Matara and continue to the northeast. There I found a beautiful monastery on the map that might be worth a visit.

At the Weherahena Viharaya monastery, I notice a huge Buddha statue. But there are many other exciting things to see there.

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