Matara is the first large and commercial city that one comes across moving south east from Galle and moving along the southern coast of Sri Lanka. It is about 160 km from Colombo. The sea frontage to Matara city gives a glamorous look with a beach which extends to about half a kilometer in distance. It is made more beautiful and serene by the presence of a temple on a little island which worshipers reach through a bridge.
The Nilwala river runs through the city bordering the Matara Fort and falls into the sea at Totamuna which is not far from the city. Polhena is the famous beach area for swimming in Matara and is 2 km away from the city centre. Naturally fenced with a coral reef that makes it a very safe area for swimming, Polhena has been a tourist attraction for long years.
Matara is the commercial centre of Sri Lanka’s south bustling with business activities. Several reputed companies from Colombo have set up branches in the ever expanding city. The bus terminal is strategically located facing the sea and transport services are remarkable with the addition of ‘three wheelers’ to private and public buses. New hotels of all standards have come up within and out of the city. The city is full of Cyber cafes with e-mail and internet facilities and outlets for shoppers.