Samaru Beach House is a guest house/hotel that is located smack in the middle of the beautiful Weligama Bay. In the future this will become a very popular destination since the surf is brilliant (without a dangerous reef), it is far safer than Hikkaduwa and everything is more chilled out. Plus you can play in the sandy shallows if you are a child (or not a surfer) without fear of rip currents or coral etc..
Weligama is a 45 minute taxi ($20) south of Hikkaduwa located on the southwest coast. Directly from the Colombo airport a taxi will take 3-5 hours (traffic dependant) and cost about $70 if you arrange it through the guest house. Tip - ask to go on the "new highway" as it saves an hour's journey time, is far more comfortable and will only cost you $3 extra! One brilliant thing is that the guest house's taxi's seats go flat so you can easily catch up on sleep!
The tsunami did hit here, although the damage was less compared to other parts of the island. Locals are very happy to talk about it and how it affected them, as well as show you high water marks and photos etc... You get a feeling that Sri Lankans appreciate the support the world has given them.
The guest house provides rooms (with air con for a small supplement) and freshly prepared meals (acceptable quality by western standards but good for Sri Lanka). Breakfast is included in the room rate always, and you can have dinner included too. We booked directly with Samaru upon arrival and paid about 6,000 LKR (Sri Lankan Rupee) which is about £28 or $18 for a room with aircon and breakfast (including omelettes etc...) and dinner for two. My sister and I had a great room with a great view and with air-con (one of the more expensive rooms). Expensive is a relative term here, as everything is extremely affordable. The bathroom was simple but clean with a walkin shower (no bath - but really who wants a bath in this climate?) and they quickly unblocked the loo after I had far too hot a curry at lunch!
The service for food and drinks is slow which is annoying, but it's unfortunately the same everywhere except the few 5* hotels. Like most places, it takes, 45 mins for food to arrive. We learnt to order before we were hungry and read our books on the amazing balcony above the beach.
They have a number of different boards available for rental at around $2 a day from short boards to 10ft long boards. Surf lessons are pretty expensive ($20 or £12) - I would just take a big board and ask other guests for a little help as everyone was friendly. Tip - the wind is normally offshore up until 10am so it's worth getting up at dawn - 6:30am (get the surf locker key the night before) and going for a few hours whilst just a few lucky others are in the water. The waves varied from 2ft to 6ft whilst we were there over ten days - mostly about 3-4ft though. Dawn and dusk are the best times to surf without a doubt as wind is onshore in the daytime.
Through Samaru we rented a couple of scooters for about $6 or £4 a day which was awesome - definitely worth it if you have decent hand eye coordination as the roads are hectic! If you are a nervous driver stay away! The fuel is dirt dirt cheap and available all over the place. Galle is lovely with its old fortress and bizarre antique shops - this takes about 20 mins directly north. Generally though we went farther down the coast line to see other surf breaks and towns, and to vary our days. With plenty of sun cream it's nice in the breeze when on a scooter in the midday sun. Matara was lovely and 'sleepy' as the guidebooks said - some nice spots on the beaches for afternoon cocktails. Take a basic map (or an iphone) but it is incredibly easy to get around as there aren't that many roads! Tip - if you load map data on the free wi-fi you can still access it when out and about without paying for roaming data charges. We enjoyed the scooters so much we headed inland for an overnight trip to Siharaja Forest Reserve. Although the actual reserve wasn't all that great in basic terms (yes the trees were apparently very rare - but not much else to see compared to somewhere like Borneo) we had the best time on the AMAZING roads snaking around the hills on our little scooters! Incredible views for about 2.5 hours of the three hour trip to Deniyaya.
All in all, go to Sri Lanka, go to Weligama, and stay here as it's simple, lovely and better than anywhere else we stayed in a month of travelling on the island.
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- Also Known As:
- Samaru Beach House Hotel Weligama