Polhena beach, one of the best beach in Sri Lanka. Naturally, grown coral reef softens the peak waves so that it is safe to swim in this area throughout the year. A hotspot for colorful fishes around the reef which also has become a good source of income for the unemployed youths to catch them for exporting for domestic fish tanks kept for delight the houses. Located just about four kilometers away from the city of Matara. For cultural sightseeing you can visit the countries largest lighthouse and the monumental Buddha statue of Weherehena. As intellectual center of the South Matara shows off the high reputed Ruhuna university. Matara is also famous for its delicious curd, which ripens in clay pots. The most famous sight in Matara is the Star Fort which you will find just a few hundred metres from the main rampart gate. With its five-pointed star shape and the massive walls it appears like an impressive bastion. Polhena beach is good for snorkelling, bathing and diving, the nearby river Nilwala Ganga gives you the opportunity for boats riding. For temple lovers we recommend to see the impressive Buddha statue in Dondra of the temple Weherehena which is 39 m high in Samadhi posture on a holed rock that was once a hidden temple.
Polhena beach is the weekend spot of the fun lovers of Matara since a long time. I too used to go to Polhena for a sea-bath on every weekend when I was a schoolboy. Today, Polhena beach is crowded with local and foreign travelers right throughout the week. Actually, sea-bathing is fun when the place has a little crowd.
Polhena Reef Gardens Hotel is the oldest hotel in Polhena. It stands on the beach front since 1970\’s. Today however there are a couple of other new hotels around Polhena, including one of the 5-star category. A lot of guest houses and restaurants too are available around the Reef Gardens Hotel.
The sea between the shore and Polhena reef is shallow, and within the standing depth. Sunshine falls all the way to the sea bed, and this is best for snorkeling. The water level is even lesser at low tide everyday, and between November-January months of the year. If you have a set of snorkels you are privileged to see the colourful world of the Polhena reef. It is vibrant with the highly contrasting colours of purple, green, orange, red and yellow on the backdrop of corals and shining sand of the sea bed on a good sunshiny day. The ripples on the water surface makes patterns of sunshine on the sea bed which makes the realistic adventure of snorkeling more like a dream. Polhena reef is home to a number of marine species including some colourful reef fish, colourful corals, urchins, star fish, sea cucumbers, etc.
Polhena reef is huge. Early in the morning, between 7-8 am the tide is low, so anyone can just walk up to the reef. In low tide, the depth of the sea near the reef is less than an average man\’s height. Those who walk up to the reef can get on to it. Polhena reef is just like a vast concrete slab laid in the middle of the sea. Sea sand has got collected within the spaces between the dead coral, and seaweed has grown over it to make the top of the reef flat and smooth to the barefoot. In my schooldays I used to come here on to the top of Polhena reef with my friends and play football with them, until the tide starts going up. Although the sea on the shore-side of the reef is shallow, the ocean-side of it is very deep. Therefore it is advisable to be extremely careful not to walk too far on the reef.
When the Tsunami hit the southern coast of Sri Lanka in 2004, rocks and sand aroused by the destructive sea waves were thrown over the reef to the shore. This has made the bathing area even shallower today. Therefore, bathing at Polhena has become more fun for children and adults alike.
Sunshine falls all the way to the sea bed, and this is best for snorkeling. The water level is even lesser at low tide everyday, and between November-January months of the year.
Polhena reef is huge. Early in the morning, between 7-8 am the tide is low, so anyone can just walk up to the reef.
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