About 30km east of Galle, the town of Weligama (which means ‘Sandy Village’) has a fine sandy sweep of bay – just as its name suggests. It’s a busy fishing town, and you could easily spend a day wandering around, getting a feel for local life. The commercial area is small but vibrant; the fish stalls are both smelly and interesting.
Close to the shore – so close you can walk out to it at low tide – is a tiny island known as Taprobane. It looks like an ideal artist’s or writer’s retreat, which indeed it once was: novelist Paul Bowles wrote The Spider’s House here in the 1950s. Even better, the island was once owned by the French Count de Maunay-Talvande. You can stay here.
The road divides to go through Weligama, with one branch running along the coast, and the other running parallel through the town centre, a short distance inland. To reach the centre from the coast road, turn inland 500m east of Taprobane. The bus and train stations are in the middle of town.